It is PUMPKIN SEASON: one of the healthiest foods of Fall.

I love to educate myself about all the different benefits that the foods I eat may have for both my health and overall wellbeing. Since it is fall and I love pumpkins, I thought I would share with you 5 amazing benefits of one of the healthiest (and yummiest!!) foods of the season.

To begin with, let me emphasize on the fact that pumpkin is such a versatile ingredient. I find it is so easy to incorporate in my diet. Even though I eat pumpkin during all year, it is for sure one of my staple foods when the chillier weather comes around.

Here is my small collection of pumpkins currently sitting at my house. Can you tell how much I love them? haha I feel so lucky to be able to find a wide range of types, colors, shapes and sizes at my local grocery store! 🙂 Okay enough of faffing around, let’s hop right into the health benefits of pumpkins:

  • It is a food rich in essential antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin A that can neutralize the free radicals that our bodies may excessively create, preventing them from damaging our cells
  • It is a source of vitamin A, which promotes good eye sight and strengthens our immune system, helping to ward off ilness and fight bacterial and fungal infections (just 100g can meet 170% of our RDA). It is also a source of vitamin C that, despite being widely-known for fighting the common cold due to its crucial role in increasing our white blood cell production, it is also very important for iron absorption as well as for tissue repair and regenaration.  Lastly but not least, it also contains vitamin E, which is equally vital for a strong and well-functioning immune system. It is also very important to regulate our endocrine and nervous systems (working in a way that balances our hormones naturally) and to repair damaged skin.
  • It is an iron and zinc rich food, the two minerals that are considered most important for a welll-functioning body. Iron is required for hemoglobin formation, which is basically the protein existing in our red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout our body; being thus essential for growth, development and normal cellular functioning. Just like iron, zinc also plays an important role in our cell growth and in protecting us from free radicals. In addition, this mineral is also required for the maintenance of our special senses (i.e vision, smell and taste), healing of wounds and thyroid function.
  • It is a great source of fiber, which as you probably know is essential for our gut health, supporting normal bowel movements, helps constipation and aids disgestion. Another reason why fiber is so important is its role in regulating blood sugar, cholesterol levels as well as in reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Contains folate, a B vitamin vital for creating both white and red blood cells and subsequently for preventing anemia.

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Are you also a pumpkin lover like me? Please let me know in the comment section below what is your favourite fall food! 🙂

Much Love,

Blissfully Greateful

Pumpkin and vegetable soup (VGN & GF)

It is finally pumpkin season and to celebrate it, I just came from the supermarket with various types of pumpkin (some of which are actually completely new to me). You should have seen me carrying them through the steep and narrow stairs (typically Dutch) of my house! haha but hey, they looked so cute and oh so pretty that I could not help myself! #sorrynotsorry Also, I swear they screamed “Please take me home with you!” and so I did (even though I have no idea of what I am gonna do with them because it feels like it is a waste to just cook them! haha).

Anyhoo, I am here today to share my pumpkin soup recipe, it is the perfect comfort food for brisk and cold Autumn nights. It is a bit different from the “typical pumpkin soup” because I added two of my fave veggies (cauliflower, mushrooms and spinach) to make it extra nutritious and comforting.

Whenever Fall and Winter come around, soup makes up my perfect staple diet for the week. I love to cook a pot of it in the weekend and store it in the fridge for when I come back home from work and gym feeling knackered during the week.

This soup recipe is just gently spiced with ginger powder and turmeric because I wanted to make sure that the pumpkin flavour shines above the rest. However, please do feel free to adjust the seasonings to your liking. My favourite thing about using pumpkin in my soups is the perfect silky and creamy texture it gives to it.

Ingredients:

  • 500gr pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 200g carrot, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, peeled and cubed
  • 150g cauliflower, grated
  • 100g brown mushrooms (or any type really), finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls of spinach leaves
  • 2tsp of ginger powder
  • 2tsp of turmeric
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Fill a medium-sized pan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat.
  2. In the meantime, peel and dice the pumpkin, carrots and zucchini and put them aside.
  3. Then grate the cauliflower and put it aside.
  4. When the water is boiling, add the diced carrots, zucchini and pumpkin. Cover with a lid and let it cook for 10 minutes. Then, add the spices and salt and simmer for around 20 mins until pumpkin is soft.
  5. Turn off heat, and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth.
  6. Add the grated cauliflower to the soup and simmer it again until it becomes soft.
  7. Then add the mushrooms and spinach leaves and let it all cook for more 3-5 minutes.

….And this is what you end up with:

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A thick and creamy soup loaded with flavour! If you decide to make this soup recipe (which I hope you do!!), let me know in the comment section how you liked it! 🙂

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Baked pumpkin cinnamon oatmeal (VGN & GF)

My favourite time of the year – FALL – has arrived and this season calls for baking soul-warming comfort food recipes! Hence why I am here today! If you guys did not know already, I am a huge lover of pumpkin. I eat it all year around but… as soon as Fall arrives, I feel this huge urge to come up with new recipes where I can use it! I have been eating pumpkin nearly every single day and I don’t seem to get enough of it haha what can I say..? It is too big of a love!! I will certainly be sharing some fall-inspired recipes with pumpkin. So, my friends, please get ready for tons and tons of pumpkin everything!

Oatmeal is one of my favourite go-to breakfasts. I find it to be so satisfying and comforting, regardless of how hot or cold might be outside. Plus, you can really get creative with it according to what you’re craving: spices, seeds, nuts, dried or fresh fruits, nut butters…whatever floats your boat! Nevertheless, if I am at home and have the Sunday afternoon all to myself, I usually like to try out a new recipe. For this reason, last Sunday I decided to twist up the oatmeal game and do this fall-inspired baked pumpkin cinnamon oatmeal instead! It filled my house with the cosiest aroma and, as the result turned out quite good, I am here to share the recipe with you! It is easy to prepare and down right delicious. Plus, it is an easy make-ahead breakfast that is down right delicious and that you can enjoy all week.

 

Ingredients:

  • 70gr gluten free oats
  • 180 pumpkin puree
  • 180ml almond milk (I used the unsweetened roasted almond milk from Alpo but if you want to make it sweeter, you can use the regular version instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • A handful of cacao nibs
  • A handful of any kind of nuts: pecan, walnuts, pumpkin, almonds… (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl
  2. Once the ingredients are well incorporated, pour the mixture into a baking dish
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees until the oats become tender and the liquid tick.
  4. Cut it into slices or squares and serve warm or store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Leftovers are just as good as reheated! 🙂

 

For a perfect final touch, you can drizzle your slice with maple syrup or even a plant-based milk (I reckon that adding a splash of almond or coconut milk would make it even tastier!), add a spoonful of coconut yogurt and/or fruit on top if you like.

 

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This breakfast recipe is just perfect for rushed mornings because all you need to do it to pull out a serving, pop it in the oven or microwave, then add any toppings you like to finish it off! It is filling, heart-healthy and wholesome. Please do let me know in the comments if you make it or if you have a similar recipe of baked oatmeal! 🙂

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful