October 1, 2012

Pumpkin Gingersnap Smoothie

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The beginning of October rings a bell for me marking the official beginning of fall and all my favorite foods that go along with it. The inspiration of these ingredients also act as a reminder that Thanksgiving is just around the corner and that it is time to start thinking about new recipe ideas. This is partially due to the fact that if I am going to create dishes to share with you, I'd better get started.

In trying to come up with healthy things to make myself for breakfast as well as treats for my kids, I put together this creamy seasonal smoothie that is kind of like drinking a little glass of pumpkin pie. I like to use fresh ginger in this recipe acts as  a powerful anti-inflammatory. For people such as myself who suffer from chronic joint pain (osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis), regular consumption of ginger has been proven to help reduce and alleviate the pain and swelling. If you are not fond of the heat brought on by fresh ginger or are making this recipe for kids, use the ground spice instead. Consuming fresh ginger is also very effective for relief of nausea, intestinal gas, and tummy aches in general.

Strong representation of the potent antioxidants alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are found in pumpkin as well as sweet potatoes and carrots. They are pro vitamin A carotenoids which help the body convert the carotenes into vitamin A. Vitamin A is known to boost immunities, reverse skin damage, and is essential for healthy vision . Pumpkin is also a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins C and E, and the minerals potassium and magnesium which help to promote strong bones. Apples contain nutrients that are shown to help prevent bone loss, Alzheimer's, and cancers of the lungs, breasts, colon, and liver. The pectin in apples helps to lower cholesterol (LDL
"bad cholesterol") and manage the body's need for insulin for those with diabetes.
Bananas are high in potassium, vitamin B6, and dietary fiber. 

Chia seeds will add a great punch of nutrition to any smoothie and are practically flavorless. They are probably the best plant-based source of essential fatty acids as well as being high in antioxidants, protein, and dietary fiber that not only is nutritionally beneficial but will fill you up. Chia expand and become gelatinous when mixed with liquids and during digestion. They will make your smoothie extra creamy, but note that if you opt to use them in this recipe, it will thicken rather quickly.

Not only is this a tasty treat, but a healthy one too. Enjoy this kid approved smoothie for breakfast, snacks, or even dessert.

Pumpkin Gingersnap Smoothie
Serves 4
For all ingredients, please use those that are organic or grown without pesticides.
 
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, canned unsweetened is fine to use
1 apple, cored
1 cup coconut milk
1 banana, frozen
2 teaspoons chia seeds,preferably ground (optional)
1 tablespoon maple syrup or blackstrap molasses
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
8 ice cubes
 
Put all of the ingredients into the bowl of a blender. Blend until smooth.
Serve immediately with a sprinkling of cinnamon and/or nutmeg over the top.

 
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Categories: Fall & Winter, Kids in the Kitchen, Smoothies & Libations
 

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