Pumpkin puree is a great alternative to canned pumpkin. The flavor is quite different than canned pumpkin.  You can use it in smoothies, risotto, soups, pie, scones, chili, pancakes, oatmeal, bread and/or freeze for use later on.

1 small sugar pumpkin (not a large carving pumpkin)
Olive Oil
Fall spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice and/or cloves

Preheat oven to 350. With a very sharp knife, slice pumpkin in half. Scoop out the stringy insides and seeds until it is clean. Save the seeds to be roasted. Brush with olive oil (optional) and sprinkle with spices (optional). I used nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Lay face down on foil lined baking pan. Roast for 50 minutes; may need more or less time depending on the size of your pumpkin. When a fork easily sticks through the skin it's done. Test in several areas to ensure doneness. Let cool for 10 minutes. Using a large spoon, peel skin away; it should peel off easily. If you just want roasted pumpkin, you are done. If you want to puree it, place in Vitamix or Blender for 2-3 minutes until creamy and smooth. Store in fridge up to 1 week. Super easy!

Yield: depends on size of pumpkin. 1 small pumpkin usually makes 2-4 cups of puree.

Nutrition Facts: per 1/2 cup of puree (no olive oil):
50 calories, 0 grams fast, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 10 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 1 gram protein, 280% Vitamin A, 2% Calcium, 4% Vitamin C, 8% Iron

This turkey burger recipe is modified from it's original Whole Foods version and is so great! It's very easy to make and is a staple in my house. They are great to eat alone for snacks (cold or hot), to put on a whole grain or vegetable salad at dinner or on a whole wheat bun for a more substantial meal.

1 pound ground turkey breast
1/2 cup bread crumbs (plain)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese 
2 eggs, beaten
3 TB chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Beat eggs in small bowl. Combine with remainder of ingredients in large bowl and mix well. Shape mixture into small patties and grill on nonstick skillet, flipping once, until just cooked through. 

Yield: 8 mini burgers 
Nutrition Facts (per 1 mini burger):
133 calories, 4 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 94 mg cholesterol, 188 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 19 g protein, 2% Vitamin A, 0% Vitamin C, 10% Calcium, 7% Iron


Here’s a recipe for a quick and easy quinoa salad. I slightly modified it from "Two Peas and Their Pod". It’s healthy, super colorful and delicious! Quinoa is a complex carbohydrate and one of the most nutritious foods - a good source of protein, fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, folate and iron. It has a low glycemic index which means it doesn't raise your blood sugar quickly. It is not technically a grain (it's a seed) so it is gluten free.  Combining the quinoa with the vegetables provides a well balanced meal (you don't even need to add meat - there is a good amount of protein in the edamame and quinoa!)

1 cup uncooked quinoa **
2 cups water (you can also use low sodium broth - broth gives the quinoa a little extra flavor)
1 red pepper, thinly sliced and chopped
1 cup carrots (2 large), thinly sliced and chopped
1 cup napa or red cabbage, shredded and chopped
1 cup cucumber, diced and seeded
1 cup edamame, shelled and cooked (I used frozen but any type works)  
(you can also add fresh corn off the cob or shelled pea pods)

** Check the box of quinoa you bought to see if it’s been pre-rinsed. If not, rinse the quinoa in a colander to remove the bitter coating.

For the dressing:

3 TB low sodium soy sauce or tamari sauce
1 TB rice wine vinegar
1 TB sesame oil
2 TB scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 TB black or white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon ginger root, grated
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Juice from one lemon


1. Add water and quinoa to a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn heat down and cover and simmer for 15 minutes (or until water is absorbed). Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cool and set aside.

2. While quinoa is cooking, chop vegetables and combine in large bowl with the edamame.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the dressing.

4. Combine vegetables with cooled quinoa and pour dressing over to combine.

5. Toss, serve and enjoy! This salad keeps well for several days in the refrigerator.

Yield: 7 1-cup servings

Nutrition Facts (per 1 cup serving)
140 calories, 5 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 287 mg sodium, 18 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, 7 grams protein, 77% vitamin A, 59% vitamin C, 5% calcium, 10% iron