Pumpkin spices up traditional dishes and old favourites

For busy parents running out of time as Halloween approaches, there are some last minute ideas that may help.

For pumpkin carving, try traceable stencils. Many are available online and are fun to do. Here are some alternatives to sugary treats:

  • sugar-free chewing gum.
  • chilled water bottles or sparkling fruit juices.
  • food that contains less than four grams of saturated fat, less than four grams of sugar and more than four grams of fibre (eg. whole grain chips or snack sized pop corn.) Fibre will help to stabilize blood sugar after consuming sugar.
  • mandarin oranges.

The trick is not to make a big deal about the junk kids have in their bag. The excitement soon fades and they turn their attention away from the candy.

Pumpkin is loaded with carotenoids, vitamin A and C, iron and fibre and is great for seasonal meals and gatherings.

Pumpkin Taco Salad

  1. Kids will appreciate this light, nutritious meal when preparing for trick or treating.
  • 2 lb. ground beef, 1 kg turkey or chicken
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. chopped yellow 125 mLor orange pepper
  • 1/2 c. pure pumpkin 125 mL
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder 15 mL
  • 1/2 tsp paprika 2 mL
  • dash of cayenne pepper and seasoning salt
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped or an equal amount of whole cherry tomatoes
  • 1 c. shredded cheese 250 mL of your choice
  • 1/2 c. ranch or catalina 125 mL dressing
  • 2 c. tortilla chips, 500 mL crumbled
  1. Brown meat with onions and pepper until no longer pink. Drain off liquid and add the pumpkin and seasonings, blend and bring back to a soft boil. Simmer for approximately three minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Combine lettuce and tomatoes in a large serving bowl. When ready to serve, top with the meat mixture, cheese, chips and dressing. Serves four.
  3. Source: adapted from www.kraftcanada.com.

Frosted Pumpkin Bars

  1. Serve with fresh fruit and a hot beverage.
  • 1/2 c. butter/margarine, 125 mLsoftened
  • 1 3/4 c. sugar 425 mL
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. pure pumpkin 375 mL
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
  • 2 c. flour 500 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 2 mL
  • dash of salt
  1. Glaze
  • 1 block cream cheese, 250 gsoftened
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened 75 mL
  • 4 c. icing sugar 1 L
  • 2 tsp. vanilla 10 mL
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add and beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in pumpkin and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda, spices and salt. Add to the creamed mixture until thoroughly combined. Place the batter into a greased 15 x 10 inch (25 x 38 cm). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, add the icing sugar and vanilla. Combine thoroughly and frost the cooled bar. This frosting recipe makes a large batch. If a thin layer of frosting is to your liking, half the recipe. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
  4. Source: www.tasteofhome.com.

Spiced Pumpkin Cake

  • 1/3 c. butter, softened 75 mL
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar 300 mL
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
  • 1 1/4 c. pure pumpkin 300 mL
  • 2 c. flour 500 mL
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder 6 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 2 mL
  • pinch of clove
  • 1 c. plain Greek yogurt 250 mL
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, add vanilla and pumpkin and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Fold into the creamed mixture alternately with the yogurt until well combined. Spoon into a greased Bundt pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Dust with icing sugar or a glaze if desired.
  4. Cut into slices. Serves 12.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

  • 2 c. flour 500 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats 375 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon 10 mL
  • dash of ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg 1 mL
  • 1/2 tsp salt 2 mL
  • 1 c. unsalted butter, 250 mL softened
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, 125 mL packed
  • 1/2 c. sugar 125 mL
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 5 mL
  • 1 c. pure pumpkin 250 mL
  • 1 c. chocolate chips 250 mLor raisins or chopped fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans, 125 mL optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use an ungreased sheet.
  2. Whisk together flour, oatmeal, baking soda, spices and salt. In another mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla and mix until well combined and smooth. Stir in the pumpkin puree.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix. Fold in chocolate chips, raisins or cranberries. Add nuts if desired.
  4. Drop the batter by large spoonfuls onto the baking sheet, about three inches (7 cm) apart. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes or until cookies are golden. Makes two dozen.
  5. Source: adapted from www.the-baker-chick.com.

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