Pumpkins aren’t just for October. They remind me of Fall and all that we should be thankful for. There are so many heirloom pumpkins now that the iconic, perfectly shaped pumpkin is so ordinary. All these varieties and shapes of pumpkins remind me of people and how different we are, not only our outward appearance, but our personalities, character and idiosyncrasies that make us who we were created to be. One of my favorite kid’s books is the Pumpkin Patch Parable which often speaks to me as much as my kids each time I read it. It was a good pumpkin season in our garden this year, with over 15 pumpkins harvested by my kids. Here are a couple that we put on our front porch:
This member of the squash family can be stored in a cool location for months to pack your wellness routine with antioxidants and a smile for the winter. These edible treasures aren’t just for carving, they are filled with nutrients galore that will nourish your body and skin. I like carving pumpkins with my kids, but my favorite part is saving the seeds, soaking them in savory seasonings overnight and drying them for a tasty treat. Both the canned and fresh pumpkin both have the same nutrients according to Mayo Clinic, so you can choose either for many uses.
Pumpkin flesh is rich in antioxidants that are great to eat and put on your skin for some natural beauty treatments. Pumpkins are high in Vitamin A & Beta Carotene that support eye health, B-vitamins that help the body deal with stress, Pumpkin Seeds are also high in iron, selenium and zinc with fiber to boot. Just make sure to skip the canned pumpkin pie filling which is more processed and filled with added sugar and flavorings. Look for a can that has 1 ingredient: PUMPKIN :).
Ideally, organic pumpkin is best. Near my home we have a lot of local farmers who grow pumpkins. If you have local pumpkin farmers, ask them if they spray their crops with any pesticides or synthetic fertilizers (many don’t because they are a pretty easy crop to grow free of pests). If you’re taking the time to make a great recipe, use the best and purest ingredients you can. Make sure any canned pumpkin comes in a BPA-free can that is not lined with this plastic which can leak into the flesh. The Pioneer Woman has a great tutorial on how easy it is to make your own pumpkin puree whether you choose to use it for a cooking recipe or body care. Freeze some to last into the short days of February. Here are some recipes I plan to try in the coming weeks, hope you’re inspired to add some to your green living routine! Make sure to only use Therapeutic Grade essential oils from a source you trust, just like pumpkins, find a manufacturer that grows their own plants and distills quality oils from seeds to bottled oil. If you are unsure at all about the quality of your oil, don’t use it in recipes or on your skin. Maybe just for cleaning :).
- Crock Pot Pumpkin Red Lentil Chili from Kitchen Treaty
2. Crispy Mexican Vegetable Crackers with pumpkin seeds (dehydrated and gluten-free) from Young and Raw
3. Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie from Gluten-Free Mama
4. Chicken baked in a Pumpkin Pot by Chef Daniel Orr
5. Pumpkin & Avocado Smoothie with Chia Seeds from Incredible Smoothies
6. Nourishing Pumpkin Mask with Sandalwood and Carrot Seed Essential Oils from Indie Lee. I can’t wait to try this recipe, Sandalwood essential oil and Carrot Seed oil are so hydrating and healing to the skin, they’ll be a great addition to spa ingredients, not just a facial mask.
7. Chili-Lime Roasted Pumpkin Seeds from Nourished Kitchen
8. Pumpkin Hair Mask from EcoTerre
9. Pumpkin Pie Body Scrub from Saved by Grace
10. Natural Pumpkin-Spiced Coconut Milk-Latte: Pure Home and Body Style Starbucks alternatives are all over the place, I’ve never really been a Starbucks purveyor except for the occasional visit to meet up with a friend and I usually have a cup of tea. The last couple of times I checked, their dairy-free options in milk contained Carageenan, a thickening ingredient that scientists feed to lab animals to induce inflammation in their digestive tract, why would I want to eat that???. Sorry if that was too much information but the additive is in many dairy-free milks (coconut, almond) you just have to read the label to find which ones since manufacturers are always changing the recipe. Here is my version of a Pumpkin-Spiced Latte, Dairy-Free version. It may not be as sweet as a Starbucks drink, so you can alter it to suit your tastes.
8 oz. almond milk steamed or warmed in a pan
1 shot espresso or 3T really strong coffee
3-4 T organic pumpkin puree
1 drop Thieves essential oil or a drop of cinnamon & clove (food grade oils only)
2 tsp Sweetener (Rapadura sugar, Raw sugar, Molasses, Stevia or honey)
1/8 tsp vanilla
Additional spices (optional) pinch of ginger, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice or pumpkin pie spice if you don’t have the food-grade oils on hand
Coconut whipped cream for a topping
Warm all ingredients together over the stove, add whipped cream if available, top with fresh ground nutmeg & cinnamon. Makes 2 smaller servings or 1 big one, enjoy!