What food signifies that fall is here more than the pumpkin? This hugely versatile food is not just relegated to pumpkin pie for your Thanksgiving dinner table (although I would never argue with that choice!). You can make pumpkin soups, roasted pumpkin cubes, pumpkin cinnamon rolls (I have yet to try this!), pumpkin smoothies – the list just goes on and on. Here in Texas, you won’t find a shortage of pumpkin patches where you can take the kids on a hay ride and pick up some pumpkins to eat and carve. If you have a garden here, you can, in fact, grow a variety of squashes and pumpkins during the long, hot summers. (We benefit from a friend’s squash harvest!).
I always tell people to make their plates really colorful, because then you get a whole host of different vitamins and minerals in your diet. For example, green kale, red berries, white cauliflower, yellow squash, and so on, all offer you a variety of goodies. Pumpkins, with their bright orange color, are no exception. Pumpkins are a great source of vitamins A and C, and potassium, which is great for lowering that blood pressure. Grown from the ground, they have no cholesterol. They’re also high in fiber, and minerals such as copper, manganese, and iron can be found in this superfood.
Serve this pumpkin dip at your next party – the kids and adults will love this. I serve this with slices of pear and apple, and this would be great with some gingersnaps or graham crackers as well.
8 oz fat-free cream cheese
1/3 cup pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp maple syrup, optional
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
a couple shakes of ground allspice
a couple shakes of ground nutmeg
a couple shakes of ground cloves
a couple shakes of ground ginger
pinch of salt
In a mixer, beat all ingredients together until combined. Serve with gingersnaps, graham crackers, pear and/or apple slices.