I’ve been all about the pumpkin this weekend. On Friday, John and I carved a couple–I made a Franken-gourd (isn’t he cute?!) and John carved a face that looked like it was being suctioned off by a vacuum.
For the requisite picture with the finished product, my dad told me to ham it up. He must be so proud…
The rest of the weekend was spent experimenting with pumpkin in the kitchen. A culinary genius I am not, so I scoured the internet for recipes that someone ELSE dreamed up. My selection criteria were simple: it had to be fall-ish, frickin’ delicious and heart-healthy (more about my devotion to heart health here and here).
A half hour later, I re-affirmed my love the website Skinnytaste.com. Gina Homolka, the brains/chef behind Skinnytaste, has a whole pumpkin page on her healthy recipe blog–I cherry-picked three from this section.
First up was the Crock Pot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili, which was super easy. I cooked extra lean ground turkey over the stove, dumped it in a crock pot with the other ingredients and then let it do its thing for 4 hours. Pumpkin was the unexpected star of this chili, earning a thumbs up from the whole family.
Next I made pumpkin butter. OH MY CHRIST, this stuff is out of control. Basically, you boil down pumpkin puree, apple cider, brown sugar, vanilla and spices, and then let it simmer until all the flavors melt into fall-ish goodness. I can mix this in my oats, “frost” a muffin with it or hook myself up to an IV of this. Henceforth, I shall refer to it as pumpkin crack.
The final recipe I made in the pumpkin bonanza was pumpkin spice pancakes. For something made with wheat flour and egg whites, these bad boys had a pretty normal texture (something I’ve noticed is hard to achieve when baking with wheat flour). These were also given a thumbs up, but let’s be honest…they really were just a vehicle for the pumpkin butter 😉
Lessons learned from the pumpkin binge weekend:
** Pumpkin pie goes well with turkey on Thanksgiving, so combining turkey and pumpkin in a chili isn’t really all that strange. Plus, it gives flavor to very lean meat.
** Pumpkin is a great low-fat binding agent for heart-healthy baking. I will have to explore the potential here…
I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful flavors and colors of fall!