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fall vegetables

From the Patch to Your Kitchen Counter: The Best Ways to Cook with Pumpkin

Written on October 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm , by


The orange veggie is full of good-for-you nutrients. Time to go pick one! (Photo courtesy of Juice Images/Veer)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

With Halloween just a few weeks away, it’s time to head over to the local pumpkin patch. But this time, when you’re searching for the perfectly shaped pumping for your carved creation, snag another one for the kitchen counter. You’ll be amazed by all of the different ways you can cook with this nutrient-rich vegetable. Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP, is just as excited about pumpkin season as we are, and gave us the scoop on everything there is to know about getting the most out of that orange gourd.

“For being so sweet, pumpkin is a great food to add to your pantry and diet,” says Valpone. “It’s low in saturated fat and carbohydrates, and very low in cholesterol and sodium.” As far as vitamins and minerals go, there are very few the veggie doesn’t have. Pumpkin is a solid source of vitamins A, C, E, B6, thiamin, niacin, folate, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese.

While one of the easiest ways to prep pumpkin and reap the nutritional benefits is to roast it in chunks with a little salt and olive oil, it doesn’t hurt to get a little creative—especially around the holidays. “Try adding mashed pumpkin when you’re sautéing onions and garlic in a Dutch oven,” suggests Valpone. “Add a little cinnamon, cardamom, cumin and sugar, then stick the covered pot in a preheated oven until the flavors are combined (about 30 to 40 minutes)—really, the longer you cook it, the better. Add water if it seems to be getting dry. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt, salt and pepper for an Afghani-inspired dish that is too good for there to be any leftovers.”

When clearing out the pumpkin’s “guts,” be sure to save those seeds. “Toast the washed seeds with salt or get fancy with your spice cabinet for a protein, magnesium and zinc-rich snack that is low in cholesterol and sodium (just go easy with the salt shaker),” recommends Valpone. And thanks to your local grocery store, you can enjoy pumpkin seeds even when they’re not in season. Try tossing them into a salad for extra crunch.

If you’re looking for a quick way to enjoy pumpkin on the go all year round, try a pumpkin-based snack, like KIND’s new Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt bar . “All natural, Non-GMO, gluten-free and boasting a blend of 100 percent whole grains, these bars make a great snack for anytime of the day,” says Valpone.

Craving pumpkin’s sweeter side? Give Valpone’s pumpkin “cheese” cake recipe a try for a healthy, yet decadent, dessert that simply screams fall!

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Fit Links: Why Tyra’s Hair is Falling Out and the Worst Jet Lag Culprit

Written on October 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm , by

Stress less and your hair will benefit! (Photo by David Tsay)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Cooking Expert Marcus Samuelsson Encourages Veggie Love

Written on September 30, 2011 at 2:18 pm , by

Chef Samuelsson says anyone can become a veggie fan. (Photo courtesy of AP Images for Birds Eye)

Although fall weather seems to be tip-toeing its way into our lives, the seasonal produce has hit the shelves with full force. Pumpkin, apples, squash and sweet potatoes are ripe for the taking, and new recipes are constantly being created to satisfy your palate. We caught up with award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson, who has been a judge on Top Chef, Iron Chef America, and Chopped, to learn more about his favorite seasonal eats.

What are some of your favorite fall foods?

No matter what season, I love incorporating vegetables into all of my meals. They’re so good and colorful! But for fall I love spinach, pumpkin, squash and many others.

But what if you come across someone who doesn’t like vegetables?

I think it’s just about finding the right kind of vegetable, something they do actually like that is prepared well. Test it out by working with what you’re already eating. It’s not about completely changing what you eat, it’s about incorporating new things. So if you like macaroni and cheese, fold in some avocado or spinach to get a little green mixed in.

Should I just hide the vegetable in the dish, so that they don’t know it’s there?

No, don’t hide the vegetable, highlight it. Adding different kinds of vegetables gives your meal crunch, texture and flavor. Just try to convince them to give it a chance.

What about the person who is constantly on the go? What if they don’t have time to prep vegetables?

Pick up a bag of frozen veggies. Birds Eye vegetables are great because they’re so fast. You can get a Steamfresh bag and just pop it in the microwave for a few minutes, then it’s done. I like them when you’re in a time crunch – they keep all the flavor and color.

What’s your favorite fall meal?

I love making Thanksgiving-esque meals for my family. I get to visit them about twice a year in Sweden, and I like to bring American meals to them. Turkey is a big staple.

Any other fall-type recipes you love?

Chickpea dumplings with squash. It’s so healthy and really delicious. Here’s how to make it:

Chickpea Dumplings with Squash

  • 2 Idaho potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 cup cubed Birds Eye Cooked Winter Squash
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red Thai chili, chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  1. Preheat oven at 325 degrees. Place potatoes on baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for about an hour or until done. Let cool.
  2. Once cool, rice potatoes in ricer then mix with chickpea and all-purpose flour. Work in egg and egg yolks, then knead in spices until fully mixed. Let dough rest for 20 minutes.
  3. On a floured surface, divide the dough in half. Roll each half into 1/2-inch thick ropes. Cut each rope into 1/2-inch long pieces and press the tines of a fork into each piece to make grooves in the surfaces. Place on a parchment-lined sheet tray lightly sprinkled with flour.
  4. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, drop the dumplings into the water and simmer until they float to the top, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in ice water for 30 seconds.
  5. Heat butter in pan. Saute the cooked dumplings and add marjoram, squash, shallots, garlic and chili. Pour in vegetable stock and bring to simmer.

Now tell us: What are your favorite fall veggies?