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Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

A little pumpkin still sits on my front steps—a tradition for us from the end of October to Thanksgiving. And once or twice a year we eat pumpkin pie, albeit my healthy version. Other than that, I don’t think too much about pumpkin. But it turns out it’s a very healthy squash that we should eat more often than just Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Here’s what pumpkin offers:

  1. Pumpkin helps prevent cancer. They are rich in beta carotene, an antioxidant that has great cancer preventative properties, along with plant sterols in the seeds that are excellent as well.
  2. Pumpkin is high in potassium—an energy booster that’s better than an energy bar. Potassium is one of the electrolytes that is helpful after a workout to keep your muscles in shape and from getting sore.
  3. These dark orange squash offer vitamin C along with carotenoids—good nutrients for the immune system.
  4. They are also good for your eyes because of their carotenoids, which are converted to vitamin A as needed.

 

pumpkin-pie-horiz-a-1600Best Ever Pumpkin Pie

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 (13.5oz) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats, ground
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/4 cup coconut nectar or pure maple syrup
  • 3-4 drops liquid stevia
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. clove
  • 1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Blend all ingredients together until smooth, then pour into a prepared pie crust in a 10-inch round pan.
  • Bake 30 minutes (it will still be slightly underdone after this time. No worries; let it cool. Refrigerate at least 5 hours uncovered for the pie to thicken and set.)

Gluten Free Crust Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup palm shortening, coconut oil, or organic butter
  • 1 egg
  • ⅔ cup water (approx. depending on consistency – add a little at a time – not too wet, not too dry
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or season to taste)
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Mix together gluten free flour along with salt and sugar.
  • Add in shortening, oil, or butter, and mix until crumbly.
  • Add the egg and mix until well incorporated -mixture will still be crumbly.
  • Add water by stirring in 1Tbsp at a time until dough holds together for rolling – better a little moist, then too dry.
  • Cut dough in half and roll into 2 balls (one for each crust).
  • Shape dough balls into disc with floured hands and place onto a sheet of floured parchment or wax paper.
  • Cover with an additional sheet of parchment or wax paper. Roll crust out to slightly larger than your pie tin.
  • Remove top parchment/wax paper. Slide your hand gently under the bottom paper to flip into the pie dish, carefully peeling back the paper as you press it into the pan. Don’t worry if it breaks apart a little, you can always press it together again.
  • Crimp edges of crust to make a decorative edge.
  • Pierce bottom slightly with fork.
  • Fill with pumpkin filling and bake according to pie instructions.

Coco-Nutty Whipped Cream Topping

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • Liquid stevia to taste; I use several drops of Sweet Leaf Vanilla Creme

INSTRUCTIONS

Start with a can of full fat coconut milk. Native Forest is the brand I use. Don’t get one with guar gum as it emulsifies the coconut milk. That is not what you want. You want it separated with the cream on top. Chill the can overnight. Place your mixing bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes before making the whipped cream. Remove coconut milk can from the refrigerator and fillip it upside down. Pour the liquid into another bowl; you won’t use it for this recipe. Scoop the coconut cream into your chilled bowl. Now whip the cream until fluffy. Add vanilla and liquid stevia to taste. This is a great topping for your eggnog, or pumpkin pie, but it’s also good for any dessert.

These Recipes are from my Healthy Holiday Recipe Book.

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