Ah, the joys of autumn...the vibrant colors of the trees tantalizing the eyes, the crisp air refreshing our bodies, and of course the fun and joy of the approaching holidays.
This is the time of the year that we enjoy the amazing pumpkin which gives us the gastronomic satisfaction of yummy pumpkin pie and the creative satisfaction of making a scary jack-o-lantern. The other wonderful thing about the pumpkin is its often overlooked seeds. Pumpkin seeds contain enormous amounts of valuable nutrients and are darn tasty too.
A tradition of mine every Halloween is to pick out the perfect pumpkin, open it up and pull out all the seeds to toast, and then carve it. The seeds are easy to get to and fun to pull out as they are surrounded by the squishy pumpkin strings inside that are just plain fun to handle. It makes you feel like a kid again!
Once you separate the seeds from the pumpkin strings, rinse them off and let them dry on paper towels. You can then put them on a lightly oiled baking sheet and sprinkle with spices such as salt or paprika, or cinnamon and sugar, or what ever flavors you want them to have, and then toast them in the oven. Yummy!
So aside from how yummy they are you ask, "what are their nutritional benefits?" Well, according to research pumpkin seeds have high concentrations of zinc. Zinc is important in the treatment and prevention of male prostrate problems, enhancing wound healing, and helps support the immune system.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, iron, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and niacin. These little guys are a powerhouse of nutrition and are easy to incorporate in your diet.
So get a pumpkin, have fun creating a work of art, and don't forget the seeds. Toast them and enjoy!
The transition to fall has officially begun in New England with cool nights, crisp days, colorful trees, and lots of flannel!
Local farms are packed with people excited to pick apples and indulge in apple cider donuts. Markets are filled with all sorts of funky pumpkins and gourds. Festivals are happening every weekend.
But along with the coziness and hot apple cider comes the common cold. And as the cooler weather progresses, community outings abound, and family gatherings begin, the immune system can easily get run down.
Thankfully, holistic practices like relaxation and herbalism can help keep your immune system strong during this time of year.
A few of my favorite cold fighting tips include:
I hope these tips are helpful to you and your family this cold and flu season. Please share in the comments below your favorite natural remedies for keeping your immune system vibrant and strong.
I just created this divine semi-raw summer dessert because I had an overabundance of fresh picked blueberries from a friend's farm.
And, also I was craving a pie but didn't want the white flour and feeling of empty nourishment associated with traditional pies. Instead I wanted one that was nutrient dense and filling, and frankly one that I wouldn't feel guilty for eating at breakfast. (wink wink!)
This tart has a rich, raw hazelnut pecan crust and is completed with a gooey lemon blueberry filling. It is flavorful, hearty, full of nutrients and d*mn delicious...to the point where I exclaimed how good it was after every single bite. Seriously.
So go pick the last of the blueberries this season, gather your ingredients, and create this beautiful vibrant dessert now!
LEMON BLUEBERRY HAZELNUT TART - makes one 9" tart
1 cup toasted hazelnuts
3/4 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup dates
1.5 Tbsp hemp hearts (probably ok without if you don't have)
1/2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp maple syrup
1/8 tsp sea salt
Place nuts in a food processor fitted with an S-blade and grind to a powder. Add dates and blend until they are broken down. Add the rest and blend until a dough forms.
Dump the dough into a tart pan with a removable bottom and push dough evenly around. The dough will come slightly up the sides, but not all the way. Make sure it is packed down evenly. Place in the fridge while making the filling.
3 cups fresh blueberries, divided by 1.5 cups
1/3 cup organic white sugar
1 Tbsp tapioca starch or arrowroot powder
1 tsp coconut oil
zest of one lemon
1 tsp lemon juice
In a small saucepan over low heat add 1.5 cups of berries and cook about 5-10 minutes until they are broken down. Use a potato masher to squish them and assist in breaking them down into a liquid.
Remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Place back onto low heat and stir about 5-10 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken. It will also thicken more in the fridge after assembly.
Remove from heat and let cool about 5 minutes then pour it evenly into your tart crust. Place back in the fridge and let sit for about an hour to thicken. When you cut in the pie the whole thing should hold its shape. If not, who cares, it will still be delish!
Finished pie should last about 5 days in the fridge if not devoured sooner.
Love & blueberries to you!
What do you do with all that beautiful and abundant patty pan squash that is filling up your garden? Create a delicious and refreshing end of summer salad to bring to the Labor Day weekend party!
This salad is delicious warm or can be served at room temperature. Serve as is or over a bed of fresh garden greens and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
1 cup Israeli couscous (try farro or for gluten free use quinoa or wild rice)
3 cups water
4 cups sliced patty pan squash
1/2 cup diced green onions
1 cup chopped grape tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup toasted sliced or slivered almonds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
In medium saucepan on medium heat, add about 1 Tablespoon olive oil then pour in couscous. Stir couscous until coated with oil. Cook until they are lightly toasted. Pour in water, bring to a gentle boil and cook until water is absorbed and couscous is tender.
In medium saute pan on medium heat, add about 1 Tablespoon olive oil and the patty pan squash. Stir the squash to coat with oil. Add the green onions and spices and saute about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and parsley and saute another couple of minutes. When squash is lightly toasted and softer but not mushy, add almonds in.
Turn off heat in pan and add cooked couscous or other grain. Drizzle on balsamic vinegar and add any additional spices to taste.
One word to describe my breakfast today, YUMMY! Have you ever thought of eating chocolate covered strawberries for breakfast? Well I do, quite often, but just didn’t know how to justify it on days other than Valentine’s. Today, it is officially justifiable!
I created a smoothie which in just one small serving has 6 grams fiber, 7 grams protein, and an abundance of antioxidants, vitamin C & E, calcium, iron, and other minerals.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hal-leeee-lu-jah! OK, I know I am bit overexcited about this one, but at first sip it literally tasted like I just pureed a chocolate covered strawberry. So for something to be this healthy and taste so divine is definitely exciting.
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie – makes one small serving
1 cup frozen strawberries (grab fresh strawberries from the farmers market & freeze)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 heaping teaspoon pure cocoa powder (use raw cacao if your a purist)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon agave nectar (or to taste)
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour in cup. Drink and smile.
This blog is an exploration of life, love, adventure and art primarily through the medium of food.