My Pumpkin Obsession/Quest Continues

For some reason, I am completely obsessed with pumpkin right now. From a health perspective, pumpkin is full of anti-aging and disease-fighting nutrients: alpha- and beta- carotenes, and Vitamins C and E. Pumpkin is also an excellent source of fiber – as much as five grams per half-cup serving, and potassium, which promotes bone strength and helps to relieve stress. Hmmmm, I’m currently unemployed, recovering from a sprained knee and getting closer to 40 (and trying not to look it) – I wonder why I might be craving pumpkin!

Now that Thanksgiving is over – and I can’t eat pie every night – I’ve been trying to find other tasty alternatives, savory AND sweet. Much of my “pumpkin exposure” in life has been in the form of sweets, primarily pie. Unfortunately, I haven’t been very successful in finding savory low-fat pumpkin dishes. I tried a Pumpkin and Basil Lasagne recipe that, from the ingredient list, sounded promising. The result: dry and boring. So I tweaked it, trying to make it wetter, which resulted in yet another failure. I tried another low-fat pumpkin cookie recipe, made with vanilla yogurt and raisins – these turned out so sweet (worse the next day) and hardened like hockey pucks in three days. So, I tried them again, lowering the sugar content and using whole wheat flour. Sigh – I wish I could say these were good, but they were boring and turned into hockey pucks in three days. Maybe I was just ruined by the dark chocolate chip cookies!

I have been loving a Pumpkin-Curry soup my friend Karen made the night we were trying out the low-fat cookies; while it does call for a small amount of heavy cream, it’s actually quite reasonable at 5.5 g fat and 103 calories for a 1-1/2 cup serving. And, when paired with a salad and a slice of multigrain bread, can be a hearty meal. Look for the recipe on her blog, The Hazel Bloom or click on the soup title.

One dessert I did enjoy was a Pumpkin-Chiffon that I found on tasteofhome.com which turned out pretty good. It has a strong pumpkin flavor so don’t try it if you are looking for subtle!

Pumpkin Chiffon Dessert

Ingredients

1 cup vanilla soy milk

1 package (1 ounce) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

4 vanilla wafers

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Spoon into two dessert dishes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Just before serving, garnish with vanilla wafers.

Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving equals 82 calories, 2 g fat (trace saturated fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 332 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 2.5 g protein.

My quest continues!

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