PUMPKIN WEEK 2013!

My mom informed me last week that Monday, October 28th would be “Pumpkin Day.”

Picking Pumpkins

Before you get too excited… this is not a documented holiday. My mom made up her OWN holiday.

It’s a thing. You can do it too.

I don’t know why, but my mom convinced herself that we needed to go buy an excessive amount of pumpkins this week. Normally, we might pick out one pumpkin per person, carve them, and call it good. Not this year. This year, we’re celebrating PUMPKIN DAY which means we need about 14 different pumpkins of all different sizes.

Logically…

Fortunately, 10+ pumpkins takes more than one day to fix. So, we have revised the theory of “Pumpkin Day” into a week long celebration. Pumpkins EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR A WEEK!

I think everyone should probably have a “Pumpkin Week.” After all, eating pumpkins will help you have that healthy glow. Remember when I turned orange last fall?I know we all want to be able to flaunt our vegetable hands for November…

Well, it won’t happen on it’s own! You’ve got to WORK at it! ;)

pumpkin dinnerSimple Instructions on How to Cook a Pumpkin(See top left pumpkin)

  1. Choose your pumpkin wisely. The small ones are best for cooking.
  2. Cut a pumpkin in half. This can be difficult if you don’t have the right knife, if you don’t have much strength, or if you are prone to cutting off fingers. If any of these things apply to  you – try microwaving the entire pumpkin for about 3 minutes. This will soften it up.
  3. Scoop out the seeds. You can save these to fix later, or you can throw them in the trash. BUT, do NOT put them down the disposal. They’ll cause a problem down there.
  4. Place the half pumpkin face down in a casserole dish.
  5. Fill the bottom of the dish with 1-3 inches of water (Depending on the size of the pumpkin).
  6. Place in microwave and cook on high for about 6-8 minutes or until pumpkin is soft to touch.
  7. Let cool. Scoop out pumpkin “meat” from the pumpkin “skin.” Throw the skin away.
  8. Mash or cube and use in any pumpkin recipes.

Pumpkin Tuna Casserole

Now before we get any further. I want to tell you something. Pumpkin is good in MORE than just pumpkin bread, pumpkin latte, pumpkin pie concretes, and pumpkin eggnog. I had a friend that made himself SICK every Fall drinking all the pumpkin eggnog he could handle. Don’t be like him. (If you’re reading this…sorry, friend)

Pumpkin is a HEALTHY ingredient. You’re killing it when the only way you can think to use it would be to add a bunch of sugar, simple carbohydrates, and saturated fat to it.

Pumpkin recipes don’t have to be a way to raise your blood sugar and add weight while you still feel hungry for more. Pumpkin recipes can be nourishing and filling. They can be part of a balanced meal.

But, if you’ve never had pumpkin fixed these ways, you might need to open your mind to some new possibilities. Don’t be scared. Just TRY it.

Recipe: Pumpkin Tuna Casserole

Healthy Pumpkin Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small pumpkin, cooked and cubed (about 3-4 cups)
  • 1/2 bunch of celery, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 C three color rotini pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1 1/2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cooked carrots, drained (frozen carrots work equally well)
  • 1/4 C Milk
  • 2 cans of tuna, drained well
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C shredded provolone or mozzerella cheese
  • 2/3 C shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook pumpkin as directed, and let cool. After cooled, cube and set aside. Cut other vegetables as directed.
  2. Boil water in large saucepan and add noodles. Cook as directed. Remove and drain. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, add 1 Tbsp Olive oil and cook onion for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add celery and continue cooking for another 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Onion should be cooked, but not clear. Celery should be slightly cooked with some crunch. Add to pumpkin.
  4. When noodles finished. Large saucepan should be free. Add all ingredients (EXCEPT CHEDDAR CHEESE) and mix well. Top with cheese and bake at 425 degrees F for 10-20 minutes.
  5. Hint: If you want crusty cheese on top, turn the broiler on for the last 5 minutes. Be careful not to walk away!

A Note to the Diabetics: Don’t worry about adding up the carbohydrates to every casserole you meet in life. There are too many and that would be too obnoxious. Instead of making your host worrisome over carbohydrates, apply a simple rule. 

1 cup of MOST casseroles = 30 grams of carbohydrate

See. Isn’t that easier than stressing out? I promise it will get  you pretty close. The only way to know if it worked for sure is to check your blood sugar before and two hours after. Less than a 40 point rise means you got away with it!

Pumpkin Tuna Casserole

Enjoy! I think this dish was literally the BEST tuna casserole I’ve ever tasted. Certainly the prettiest!

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