Loving all things pumpkin – surprising pumpkin recipes abound!

                  Pumpkin soup

It’s really no secret how much I love pumpkin. I’m one of those people who can’t wait to make pumpkin bread in the fall – in fact, sometimes I bake a loaf (or a batch of muffins) in spring or summer even if it means I’m “out of season” – and can’t wait for pumpkin spice lattes to arrive at Starbucks, even if I only buy one of those over-sugared drinks. What’s the highlight of the Thanksgiving meal? Pumpkin pie, of course! (Secretly, my father’s sage-sausage stuffing is tied for first.)

What boggles my mind is how pumpkin recipes are usually relegated to some sort of second class status. They only start popping up in October and stay as long as perhaps mid-January, if we’re lucky. I’m guilty of this, too. It’s hard to get in the pumpkin spirit when no one else is, especially when there are so many other tempting recipes to make. But I think we’re all remiss in forgetting canned pumpkin is available 365 days a year. First, pumpkin is actually a very healthy vegetable; it provides a potent dose of lutein and vitamin A, among other nutrients, and is a welcome respite from carrots, the typical source of vitamin A in our diet (and in the case of my picky eater husband, pretty much the only source, if you don’t include orange juice). Second, it is easily adaptable to both sweet and savory recipes, and it can be eaten at any meal. We can be cooking a myriad of dishes with pumpkin!

Hence this article I wrote for Yahoo Voices (plug here: I write articles for Yahoo Voices periodically on the topics of food, family, and whatever else moves me). In it, I describe methods and recipes for adding pumpkin to everyday recipes. In other words, why wait for a “special” pumpkin recipe – or a “typical” recipe – such as pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bread, etc.? Why not incorporate pumpkin into any recipe?

My current favorite is the pumpkin pie smoothie; it is truly divine and feels like a sinful breakfast (it is perfectly delightful and less guilt-inducing without the sugar, by the way). I’ve made pumpkin pancakes for years, and I am in love with the sausage pasta recipe with pumpkin-cream sauce. You might lick your plate if you make that (I’m not saying that I have, mind you, er…). I hope you’re inspired by this article and springboard from it to your kitchen, off to make pumpkin sticky toffee pudding, or pumpkin butter, or….

Note: The article was actually published over a week ago, on November 28th, but I haven’t  had time to write about it until now. You see, on the 28th I was busy doing last-minute packing for a trip to Strasbourg, France … but more about that soon! Right now, I’m off to develop a pumpkin crepe recipe….

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