Kristi Whitley

Healthy Living

When the first cool snap of the fall comes, I start craving pumpkin! When you love pumpkin as I do, you have to find many ways to eat it. First start by eating a variety of winter squash. They come in many shapes and sizes and all taste and look about the same. Try spaghetti squash and pour your favorite marinara over it’s noodle-like strands. Try butternut, acorn or pie pumpkins for their mild flavor and creamy texture.
 The biggest obstacle to my pumpkiness has been actually cooking a pumpkin or winter squash. I have had several near misses with my hand, a huge knife and a butternut, spaghetti, or acorn squash. 
Pumpkin Cooking
Read this and remember it…Choose a pumpkin or other squash that fits in your microwave. Cook the whole squash/pumpkin in the microwave on high for 5-10 minutes, depending on the size. Then, you can cut it or peel it. If it is an acorn or other difficult to peel squash just slice it, take out the seeds, and place it on a cookie sheet to roast. You can bake it or roast it at any temp from 350-400 until it's soft, at least 30 minutes.  If you are making spaghetti squash or baking one to mash, just put the halves cut-side-down on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake at 350 for about 30-45 minutes. The spaghetti squash will come out of the skin in strings when raked out with a fork. The others will just scoop out with a spoon. 
Being a pumpkin addict, I use as many forms of pumpkin and winter squash I can find, including frozen, pre-peeled and sliced fresh, and canned.
Pumpkin Nutrition
One cup of cubed raw pumpkin has approximately 30 calories, 2 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 1 gram of fiber and a whopping 171% of the RDA of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a potent anti-oxidant, which neutralizes the free radicals that cause DNA damage resulting in cancer and premature aging. Vitamin A is also well known for promoting eye health. Getting Vitamin A from food is the safest way to take it in because supplements can cause toxicity. Pumpkin is also a good source of Vitamin C, and E.
Pumpkin Seasoning
Another great thing about winter squash and pumpkin is the variety of seasonings you can add to them. They can be eaten sweet with pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, cardamom, etc. or eaten savory with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, etc. You will find them staring in pie, cookie, and cake recipes as well as chili, curry, and soup recipes.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Almond Bread
Recipe Yield: 12 servings
Recipe Calories: 312
Recipe Ingredient Details:
4 cups almond flour
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 egg substitutes like Ener G Egg Replacer
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup organic pumpkin puree
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Recipe Instructions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Coat a 4x8-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with oil and add pumpkin, nuts, and spices.
Add wet ingredients to dry, mixing until smooth.
Pour into loaf pan and bake for 60–70 minutes, until top feels firm to the touch.
Remove from oven and cool completely.
Wrap in foil and store in refrigerator.

Psalm 67:6
The land yields its harvest;
    God, our God, blesses us.