Apocolocynposis is the fear of turing into a pumpkin. Only cinderella could imagine something so horrible. The pumpkin is the worlds largest fruit. Did you know that 80% of the pumpkin supply in the US is available during the month of October? Halloween is right around the corner and there are pumpkins everywhere. There is the creepiest giant balloon sized pumpkin right down the street from our house and it kind of looks like the pumpkin in this picture. Pumpkins are extremely healthy which is evident by their bright orange complexion. They contain the antioxidant beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body, fibre, and low in calories.
If you have ever heard the term retinol equivalent, it means you need 12 mcg of beta-carotene to convert to 1 mcg of retinol (vitamin A). Beta carotene is an antioxidant providing the body with many health benefits. It is found in bright orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, while good sources of vitamin A are liver, fish oil, milk, and fortified cereals. Vitamin A is toxic if taken in high quantities (usually in the form of a vitamin or polar bear liver) while beta-carotene is not, although high doses of beta-carotene has been known to turn people bright yellow because it builds up in the fat beneath the skin. Vitamin A plays a role in vision, immune defenses, maintenance of body linings and skin, bone and body growth, normal cell development and reproduction. Sounds like Mr. Vitamin A has a pretty important role in the body. So next time you think that bag of potato chips looks good, why not snack on some mango, cantaloupe, orange or red peppers, or better yet, why not try some of those delicious pumpkin seeds, which are loaded with B vitamins, zinc, fibre, iron, and protein. Pumpkin seeds smell amazing while being roasted in the oven, and delicious eaten with a sprinkle of salt.
In light of my pumpkin obsession, I stumbled upon a delicious pumpkin beer made by Buffalo Bill's Brewery in Seattle. It tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass. There are a few other pumpkin beers in Seattle but I prefer the taste of this one in particular. I have also finally made that pumpkin cheesecake recipe I had been talking about in my previous post. It was a great Thanksgiving dessert, nice substitution for pumpkin pie, and my friends loved it. It was super creamy, delicious, and very unhealthy. "Everything in moderation is OK", that is my motto.
PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE RECIPE (print)
makes one 9 inch cheesecake
adapted from Meemos Kitchen
1/2 cup melted butter
3 - 8 ounce packs of light cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
CARAMEL SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 ºF.
Grease the bottom and the sides of the cheesecake pan with butter or cooking spray.
To make the graham crust combine the graham crackers and melted butter in a bowl. Pour the mixture into the cheesecake pan and press flat with your hands. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Then remove from the oven and let cool 15 minutes.
While the crust is cooling, beat cream cheese with a hand mixer until smooth. Add sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg and continue to mix until light and fluffy.
Next, add the pumpkin puree and mix until blended.
Add the eggs one at a time, and mix until combined.
Finally mix in the cream. Once the crust has cooled, pour the pumpkin pie filling over it.
Wrap the bottom of the pan in tin foil. This will hopefully prevent water form leaking into the pan. Make sure you use large tin foil so it can cover the whole bottom.
Place the cheesecake pan in a roasting pan filled with warm water 1/4 inch.
Bake in the oven at 350 ºF for 50 minutes or until cheesecake is firm.
When the cheesecake is done, let it cool on a wire rack for one hour then place in fridge for 4 hours.
When you're ready to serve, prepare the caramel sauce by adding butter, brown sugar, and milk to a small sauce pan.
Bring to a boil for 4 minutes and then remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract. Drizzle the sauce over the cheesecake.