Roasted Pumpkin Muffins, Salad, and Soup!
I am originally from the Midwest and every Fall I get a little nostalgic for fall foliage, apple orchards, corn mazes, sweaters and stew. So imagine my excitement when I discovered a pumpkin patch here, on this very island!! I must say that the Waimanalo pumpkin patch was not at all like the farms I grew up with, but I did get to walk through some corn fields and went home with a lovely squash.
At home I cut off the rind, removed the seeds for roasting, and cubed all the pumpkin flesh. I roasted two pan’s worth for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees. When it was done, I had enough pumpkin for several meals. It really helps to plan ahead for leftovers like this, that way, later in the week when I don’t have time to cook, or just don’t feel like it, I have some options that I can throw together and have a delicious, healthy meal with practically no effort. For example, I combined some of the leftover pumpkin, along with some lentils I had cooked, paprika, coriander, some goat cheese, leftover chicken, and baby spinach and made a killer salad for lunch a few days later. It was awesome! Doing just a little more work when you’ve already psyched yourself up to cook can go a long way in helping you stick to a healthy eating plan.
I also made a really tasty soup and some savory muffins. I really like muffins like this for breakfast or as a snack. They give me more sustained energy than their sugary counterparts, help keep me satisfied because of the high amount of protein and fiber, and aren’t likely as a scone to send me down the dark sugar binge path. Now keep in mind that I made my muffins with whole wheat flour; regular refined white flour does not impart all this nutritious goodness, and is in fact recognized just like sugar in your body.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 cups cubed roasted pumpkin
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 cup crumbled feta
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup non-fat milk
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, cilantro, feta, oil and mustard. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and milk, then add to the pumpkin. Add the flour and baking soda, and gently mix together. Season with salt an pepper to taste. Spoon the batter into a muffin tin lined with paper liners or lightly oiled. Bake for 15-20, or until the muffins are golden and come clean when pricked with a toothpick. I think these are best served warm. They can be frozen or refrigerated, but I suggest you reheat them. They do not have the best texture once they have cooled completely.
Nutrition Information per muffin: 120 calories, 3.5g fat, 17.5 g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 5.5 g protein