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     Did you know that the Jack-O-Lantern was originally a figure carved from a turnip? When the Irish migrated to North America in the 1800's parsnips were not readily available so they used pumpkins as a substitute.

On my last trip to the US I was amazed at the huge pumpkins for sale out the front of supermarkets. They were enormous and all I could think about was how fabulous they would be for making a big batch of pumpkin soup. I found it interesting that Americans don’t eat a lot of pumpkin and up until the last couple of years, pumpkin was something only used for Halloween. I am determined to teach you the wonders of cooking pumpkin as I cannot live without my pumpkin recipes. I am a huge fan of pumpkin and would rather have mashed pumpkin than potato. It’s such a versatile vegetable and can be boiled, baked, mashed, roasted and made into delicious soup. I even use it in a fruit cake to help make it moist.

Pumpkin is jammed packed with goodness and is loaded with important antioxidants and beta-carotene, which then converts into Vitamin A in the body. Having a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protection against heart disease. Pumpkin also offers a good source of vitamin C, vitamin E, some folate, potassium, niacin and dietary fiber.

So this year when buying your pumpkin to carve for Halloween, why not buy another to make a batch of pumpkin soup. Just cook up 1 lb of diced pumpkin, 1 large carrot sliced, 1 large onion diced and 2 teaspoons granulated chicken bullion to the mix. Add half a teaspoon of nutmeg for flavor and cover with water. Bring to boil and slow boil until vegetables are cooked. Use a blender/ food processor to process vegetables until a smooth texture is achieved. Hardly any fat and a simple way to enjoy homemade soup. Serve with wholewheat bread for a delicious lunch or dinner. This should give you 6 serves and only 0.7g of fat per serve.

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