In the summertime, I enjoy making and eating parfaits with fresh berries, yogurt, and a variety of toppings. But once fall rolls around, and the seasonal berries disappear, I ditch my parfaits .
Why? Because it never even crossed my mind to use the most iconic fall fruit of all as a substitute! That’s right, pumpkin (and yes, it’s technically a fruit!). Pumpkin is too often only used in Thanksgiving desserts, but it’s quite versatile and is an excellent source of vitamin A and good source of vitamin C, which are both antioxidants.
While pumpkin puree alone would work just dandy in a parfait, I decided to take it a step further to incorporate one of the “hot” trending foods out there–chia seeds. While there are no miracle foods, as some people claim chia seeds to be, they are still pretty cool and offer several nutritional benefits:
- Excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids
- Excellent source of fiber at 10 g per ounce
- Rich with protein and minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc
Emerging research suggests that chia seeds might help in reducing the risk factors of cardiovascular disease such as lowering high blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. When added to liquid and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia seeds forms a gel, which is why they work so well in this pumpkin pudding recipe. The pudding also tastes great by itself, and adds a hint of fall flavor when added to a bowl of oatmeal!
Pumpkin-Chia Pudding Parfait
For Pumpkin-Chia Pudding:
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
- Low-fat vanilla yogurt
- Chopped pecans or walnuts
- Raw, unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds
- Cereal or granola (I used Kashi® Cinnamon Harvest Whole Wheat Biscuits)
- To make pudding, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until no clumps remain. Refrigerate pudding overnight for best results. Pudding will keep for 1-2 days in the refrigerator.
- To make the parfait, layer pudding and yogurt, then top with desired ingredients.
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In the spirit of fall, this month’s Recipe Redux challenged us to create a recipe using fresh pumpkin. Like most people, when I think of cooking with the oh-so-familiar orange squash, I imagine opening a can of Libby’s canned pumpkin and making a typical fall treat, like pumpkin pie or bread. So this was truly an adventure to cook with the real deal!
While this recipe isn’t difficult, it does take some time. I suggest dicing the pumpkin and potatoes ahead of time, especially if you are making this for breakfast. The pumpkin provides a hint of sweet, the seasonings bring a touch of heat, and the bacon gives it all the flavor it needs to feel like a hearty breakfast!
Pumpkin-Potato Breakfast Hash
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
1/3 cup chopped onion
3 slices low-sodium bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 small pie pumpkin, peeled and diced 1/4 inch
1 large white potato, diced 1/4 inch
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
dash of nutmeg
1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook onions and bacon for 5 minutes.
2. Add potatoes and pumpkin to skillet. Add olive oil and stir to coat.
3. Add all spices and seasonings.
4. Cook hash over medium-low heat for 25 minutes, or until potatoes and pumpkin are tender.
5. Serve as a side or top with a fried egg!
A perfect fall breakfast!
With Thanksgiving less than one week away, I finally popped open a can of pumpkin to make a tasty holiday treat. After some deliberation, I decided on Pumpkin Cake with Homemade Cheese Cream Frosting. What a heavenly combo….pumpkin and cream cheese. This cake is VERY moist (with one cup of oil, I would expect it to be). The only variation I made to the recipe, which is from Better Homes and Gardens, is in the cream cheese frosting. Originally, the recipe called for:
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- ½ cup butter
- 5-6 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
I’m not sure why all of that powdered sugar and butter would be necessary, so I lightened things up a bit. Here is my cream cheese frosting recipe:
- 8 oz. Neufchatel cream cheese
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
And let me tell you…people were pretty happy with it. So if you’re looking for a twist on the usual pumpkin pie, try pumpkin cake instead!
Have extra canned pumpkin piling up? Here are a few creative uses for surplus pumpkin!
- Mix pumpkin with greek yogurt and drizzle honey on top
- Stir in a couple tablespoons of pumpkin into oatmeal and top with cinnamon and nutmeg
- Make pumpkin butter by heating canned pumpkin, a bit of applesauce and apple juice, and cinnamon and nutmeg over medium heat
Happy pumpkin-eating! Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving too:)