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Frosty Pumpkin Power

By Cheryl Forberg
Image of Frosty Protein-Packed Pumpkin Smoothie
This luscious smoothie is packed with protein (12 grams per serving) and is a great way to start the day, savor a post-workout snack, or satisfy your sweet tooth at any hour! Serve up the family at your holiday breakfast or make one for yourself and freeze the rest in small Ziplocs for a last-minute treat.

Frosty Protein-Packed Pumpkin Smoothies
Makes 4 (1 cup) smoothies
Image of Ingredients
Ingredients
2 cups fresh (or canned) plain pumpkin purée
2 cups plain Greek-style yogurt.
¼ cup Melissa’s Organic Blue Agave Syrup (or maple syrup or sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
Variation: add 2 cups crushed ice

Directions
Image of smoothie ingredients in blender
Combine all ingredients in the jar of a blender or bowl of a food processor. Blend or process until smooth and creamy. Makes 4 cups. Leftovers can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 days (or frozen).

Variation: For a thicker, frosty drink, add 2 cups of crushed ice to a blender or food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and blend or process until thick and creamy.

Yield: about 6 cups

Creamy Pumpkin Butter
Image of pumpkin butter
If you're a pumpkin pie fan, you'll love this creamy spread. Try it on muffins, whole-grain toast, or stir a spoonful into your favorite hot cereal.

Yield: 4½ cups; 6 (1/4-cup) servings
Keep refrigerated for one to two weeks.
Image of Ingredeints
Ingredients
3 1/3 cups fresh (or canned) plain pumpkin purée (29 ounces)
1½ cups milk or nut milk (unsweetened)
¾ cup Melissa’s Organic Blue Agave Syrup or sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch salt

Directions
Image of pumpkin butter ingredients in saucepan
Combine pumpkin, milk, agave, and spices in a deep 3-quart saucepan; stir well. Preheat oven to 350 F.
Image of pumpkin butter
Bring mixture just to a boil over medium heat. Immediately remove from heat and carefully transfer the mixture to a 2-quart baking dish; bake uncovered at 350 F for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Pumpkin Factoid: A dark, antioxidant-rich oil is pressed from the dried seeds of certain varieties of pumpkin. Pumpkin seed oil is rich in vitamins and omega fatty acids. It should not be heated but adds a nutty, distinctive flavor when added to salad dressings.

Pumpkin Factoid: Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are at least 50 percent oil by weight. The majority of the oil is healthy, unsaturated fatty acids. The seeds are also a great source of the antioxidant vitamin E.

Pumpkin Factoid: The lively carotenoid family also colors the fiery pumpkin. Though most edible varieties wind up in pies on Thanksgiving, the pumpkin has incredible culinary versatility to bolster your antiaging armada. This time-honored vegetable is one of the hardiest staples of the global pantry. It is a good source of carotenoids, potassium, and vitamin C.
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