Healthy Cooking Thursday: Pumpkin Palooza

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One of my favorite things about this time of year is the availability of pumpkins.  I can't wait to carve them or cook them.  Each year I bake, puree, and freeze pumpkin in half- cup portions (in muffin tins) to be used in future recipes.  Pumpkin is a great source of beta-carotene and, let's face it, just plain delicious.  Healthy eating involves both nutritious and delicious foods.  It's nice when they come in the same "package."  Also, don't forget the seeds which are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber!

I work pumpkin into waffles, pancakes, muffins, bread, cake, soup, and pie.  We've even made pumpkin smoothies at Green Mountain at Fox Run. <!–more–> It's fairly easy to add pumpkin to an existing recipe, however I tend to seek out recipes that already include it.  One of my favorite recipes is from Tofu Cookery by Louise Hagler for Tofu-Pumpkin Pie.  Sounds crazy, but it's great. To save time and reduce the carb and fat content, I like to make this recipe without a crust, so let's call it a custard.  I just bake the filling in a glass baking dish.  I've also tweaked a little of the filling to reduce the sugar and salt content.

Tofu Pumpkin Custard

Preheat oven to 350 degree F
In a food processor, puree:
1 – 14 oz package of soft tofu, drained and pressed
2 cups cooked fresh pumpkin (you can use canned too)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
 2 T black strap molasses
1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
Zest from 1/2 an orange
2 T canola oil

Once evenly blended, pour into an 8 x 8 inch glass baking dish.  Bake for 1 hour.  Allow to cool completely before serving.

What ideas do you have for cooking or baking with pumpkin?

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