Growing up my mom made almost all the food we ate, from scratch. But my favorite things she made usually had to do with baking, like homemade bread and orange rolls. But, she didn’t just make amazing meals and baked goods, she also taught me to cook and bake. I don’t know if the rest of my siblings learned how to, but I am grateful that I did. When I was in high school my mom had me fix dinner for our family every weekday. She did the weekend meals and the big dinners, but the family dinners were my job. She usually assisted where needed, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn how to feed people.

When I got married, I became extremely grateful that I had learned how to cook, and the majority of my adult life I have prepared most of the food that we eat in our house from scratch as well. However, I have noticed that as our kids get older and busier, I have a lot less time to make really involved meals like I used to. A lot of my meal prep now is throwing a bunch of stuff from the fridge onto the counter and saying have at it. But, as we are shifting, or here in Alaska, have shifted, into fall, with winter fast approaching, I rediscover, every year, how much I love baking and cooking really good, homemade food. And one of my favorite ingredients in the fall is … Pumpkin!

Love it or hate it, tis the season for all things pumpkin. I love pumpkin, especially in baked goods. But I only make pumpkin type treats in the fall. I don’t know why that is, but that’s when I crave them. My kids love pumpkin, or at least they devour any type of pumpkin items I make, so I guess that’s a good sign. I love pumpkin because it is such a versatile ingredient. It can be made savory if you buy whole pumpkins and cook like a regular squash and season accordingly, but it can also be made into sweeter treats, which is the way I prefer to use it.

Pumpkin is so good for our bodies as well, like many of the deeply colored vegetables, just 1/2 cup of pumpkin has 40 calories, 0.5 gram Fat, 252mg Potassium, 9mg Carbs, 2 g Protein, 1325 IU Vitamin A (300% of your daily requirements), 6mg Vitamin C, 1.5mg Vitamin E, 0.5mg Niacin, 11.5mg Folate, 14.5mg Calcium, 11mg Magnesium, 0.5mg Zinc. Over the years I have done a bit of research about Electrolytes. As a workout enthusiast, and a person who sweats a lot, a lot of electrolytes are lost. Before I understood electrolytes, this caused a few problems for me. Electrolytes affect several bodily functions, including fluid balance control, regulating blood pressure, muscle contraction (including the heart muscles functions), maintaining correct pH, etc. The most common electrolytes are Calcium, Magnesium, Chloride, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Sodium. So pumpkin is a great food to get electrolytes naturally, and support all of those systems.

Today I made pumpkin cookies, you can find the recipe here. I used to make cookies all the time when my kids were in elementary school, but as they have gotten older, I haven’t done so. It’s been a couple years since I actually made pumpkin cookies, but today I remembered why I don’t, I love them! I could eat a whole batch of them by myself. My husband says the same thing, so I guess once a year is plenty. However, I have some other favorites, that are still somewhat sweet, but not as sweet as the cookies. One of my favorites is pumpkin waffles. This is the recipe I use here, but I have never made the apple cider syrup. I’m not a big syrup fan, we usually have whipped cream, and depending on the waffle, berries or fruit to go on top, so if you make the syrup, let me know how you like it. I also love pumpkin bread, but I don’t have a particular recipe that is my favorite, so I’ll let you search and find your favorite. And, of course, I love pumpkin pie. That is the one thing that carries over to at least Christmas, as we have to have pumpkin pie for Christmas dinner. It’s one of the few pies that my kids have all liked, all their lives. I just use the recipe off the inside of the canned pumpkin label, so if you need a recipe, I recommend that one. But there are so many options out there, so try a few.

I love pumpkin, and now you know some of the reasons why, and you have some of my favorite recipes. I hope you take the opportunity to bake something with pumpkin, or even try something with pumpkin spice. What are your favorite pumpkin recipes?

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