Tasty Pumpkin treats for children

A pumpkin isn’t only for Halloween! It’s a nutritious food for the year round…

Not only is pumpkin utterly delicious, the health benefits are plentiful. The tasty veg is   loaded with vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids, particularly alpha and beta-carotenes, and it’s a good source of vitamins C, K, and E, and lots of minerals, including magnesium, potassium and iron. As you scoop the innards out of a pumpkin, use the fleshy bits to cook up some delicious snacks for your children.

Livestrong.com provides some healthy recipe options that are sure to tantalise your children’s taste-buds as xmas approaches. The following recipes are great for toddlers and even older babies:

Crunchy Pumpkin Pie

Combine 1 cup quick cooking oats, 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup ground almonds, 2 tbsp. brown sugar and 1/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl. Mix 3 tbsp. vegetable oil and 1 tbsp. water, then add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir. Press dough into a 9-inch pie pan — add a touch more water if it doesn’t hold together – and cook it for 8 to 10 minutes at 220 degrees C. Decrease oven temperature to 180 degrees after the crust has finished baking. Next, mix 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg and 1/4 tsp. salt. Add 1 beaten egg and 4 tsp. of vanilla and blend. Finish by adding 1 cup already cooked, mashed pumpkin and 2/3 cup evaporated skim milk. Stir well, then pour into the pie shell. Bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes or until you can insert a knife into the centre of the pie and it comes out clean.

Breakfast Pumpkin Cookies

Combine 1 3/4 cups cooked pureed pumpkin, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, two eggs and 1/2 cup vegetable oil and stir. In another bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, 1 tbsp. baking powder, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. ground ginger. Combine the two mixtures, then add 1 cup raisins and 1 cup chopped walnuts. Drop teaspoonfuls of mixture onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 200 degrees C for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Honey of a Pumpkin Bar

Combine 1/3 cup dry non-fat milk, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. cloves, 1/2 tsp. allspice and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg. In a separate bowl, mix 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 2/3 cup honey, 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 tbsp. grated orange peel, two eggs and 1 cup mashed pumpkin. Slowly combine the dry ingredients with the moist mixture, stirring until smooth. Lightly spray a 12-by-15-inch baking pan and spread the batter in the pan. Bake at 180 degrees C for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and bars spring back when touched.

Pumpkin Muffins

Sift together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tbsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 3/4 tsp. allspice. Set the mixture aside and combine 1/3 cup vegetable oil, two large eggs and 1 cup already cooked, mashed pumpkin. Beat until thoroughly blended. Combine the two mixtures, stirring to moisten. Pour into paper-lined muffin cups until 2/3 full. Bake at 200 degrees C for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool for one minute and then remove from the pan.