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Pumped about Pumpkins

The telltale signs of fall are upon us … the shorter days, the crisp mornings, the turning leaves (the pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks!).

Everyone loves the pumpkin flavor, but did you know that pumpkin (the vegetable) has some pretty amazing health benefits? Pumpkins are filled with antioxidants and vitamins (like Vitamin A, C, and E, and potassium), while being low in calories. And pumpkin seeds are packed with protein and iron.

This year, when you are carving the perfect face on your pumpkin, take a moment to utilize it’s inner goodness with these recipes.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

- Separate seeds from pulp (put in colander and rinse under water).

- Dry seeds by shaking them.

- Place the seeds in a bowl and add a little olive oil to coat them all.

- Add some sea salt (or other seasonings you wish to add!)

- Place seeds on a sheet pan in a single layer. Bake them for about 25-30 minutes (stirring occasionally) until golden brown.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

- 12 cups day-old bread (multi-grain works well or any whole loaf)

- 2 cups heavy cream

- 2 cups whole milk

- 6 whole eggs

- 1 ½ cups brown sugar, packed

- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

- 1 tsp ground nutmeg

- 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

- 1 cup golden raisins

- 1 cup chopped walnuts

- ½ cup brandy

- pinch of salt

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 * F. Grease an 11” X 17” baking dish with cooking spray or softened butter and set aside.

  2. Over medium-low heat combine brandy and raisins and heat until raisins have plumped and start to absorb brandy. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

  3. Cube bread into 1” pieces and place in a large mixing bowl, reserving two cups of cubes.

  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together heavy cream, whole milk, and eggs. Whisk in brown sugar and spices to combine. Fold in pumpkin puree until mixture is smooth.

  5. When raisins have cooled, pour mixture over the bowl of cubed bread. Sprinkle chopped walnuts over bread and pour liquid ingredients on top. With a rubber spatula or clean hands, gently mix together bread and wet ingredients to combine. If mixture has remaining liquid in bowl, add remaining two cups of bread cubes. The mixture should be wet but not have excess liquid.

  6. Turn into greased baking dish and bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until center of pan is slightly firm to the touch. Baking time may vary by oven.​

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