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Autumn is the perfect time to enjoy the goodness of the pumpkin. Although it may be tempting to simply use pumpkins as decorations for Thanksgiving or Halloween, pumpkins are jam packed with nutrition including:
Vitamin A – Required for properly functioning immune and reproduction systems as well as eye sight.
Potassium – Needed to regulate blood pressure helping to reduce the risk of strokes. High intakes of potassium are linked to decreased risk of osteoporosis and kidney stones.
Vitamin C – Helps with tissue growth and repair and is an antioxidant.
Pumpkins provide a wide variety of uses as their seeds, leaves and flesh are all edible! There are many ways to use pumpkin in your kitchen including:
· Keep the seeds after you empty out the pumpkin and enjoy them roasted.
· Use cooked pumpkin puree in delicious baked goods like pies, cakes, and muffins.
· Season and roast or bake pumpkin as a side dish.
· Simmer pumpkin puree with cream or milk to make an alfredo sauce for pasta.
· Use pumpkin as a filling for your quesadillas (add cheese, hot peppers, beans, etc.)
DID YOU KNOW?! Pumpkins are grown on every continent except Antarctica!
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons pumpkin puree
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
11/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1. Whisk melted butter or margarine, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl until no lumps remain. Whisk in vanilla and pumpkin until smooth. Set aside.
2. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together in a large bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon. Fold in chocolate chips. Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes or up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory.
3. Remove dough from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Roll the dough into balls, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough each. Using the back of a spoon, slightly flatten the tops of the dough balls.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges appear set. The cookies will look very soft in the center. Remove from the oven.
6. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Creamy Canned Pumpkin Soup
1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup cream
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Simmer all ingredient for 5 minutes, whisking frequently.
2. Serve warm.
Tasty Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 ½ cup raw whole pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons oil or melted butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons of favorite seasoning (optional) – garlic powder, curry powder, chili powder, etc.
1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally.
1 cup rolled oats
¾ cup milk, or as needed
½ cup canned pumpkin puree
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
1. Mix together oats and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring once. Add more milk or oats to achieve the desired consistency, and cook for another 30 seconds.
2. Stir in pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon sugar. Heat through, and serve.