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Magic Pumpkin

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I live in the upstate New York surrounded by apple orchards and farms. Fall is particularly spectacular up here not only due to the leaves but to the epic number of pumpkin patches in the vicinity. I look forward every year to taking my two little ones to pick out a pumpkin and also look forward to using what’s left of the pumpkin once we carve it. What lies inside is a sumptuous treat for all the senses.

Pumpkins are not only beautiful to look at but delicious to eat. One fun fact, they are actually a fruit not a vegetable since they form from a flower and contain seeds. They are a cultivar of squash and thus, pretty much anything you would do with a squash, you can do with a pumpkin. You can make pumpkin pie, soup, muffins and pancakes to name a few. Pumpkin is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin E and antioxidants but low in calories. My favorite pumpkin recipe (besides pie) is roasted pumpkin seeds with salt. Pumpkin seeds are very high in protein and a great snack or addition to a salad. You just scoop out the pumpkin seeds, wash them off in colander, pat dry, mix with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast them in the oven at 300 degrees for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. They are ready when they are toasted light brown.

Besides being delicious, pumpkin is highly beneficial to skin, hair and body. The seeds are cold pressed in pumpkin seed oil, which is an incredible addition to skincare and hair care products. It is natural high in vitamin E, zinc, omega 3- and 6- fatty acids and antioxidants. It not only helps skin retain moisture, it also fights free radicals and helps prevent fine lines. The flesh of the pumpkin is also a vitamin rich treat for skin. Pumpkin has a plethora of benefits for all skin types. Vitamin A soothes and nourishes skin, Vitamin C helps fight free radicals and Vitamins E and T help with blemishes since they are anti-inflammatory, help control oil production and reduce pore size. Pumpkin also contains natural enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids that help dissolve dead skin cells and aid skin regeneration. What a magical fruit! You can make a face mask from applying pumpkin puree straight to your face or I like to mix 1 TSP organic pumpkin puree, 1 TSP organic yogurt, ½ tsp raw honey and a pinch of cinnamon. Leave on for 5-10 minutes and wash off with warm water.

To get the benefit of pumpkin all year round for skin, I love Meow Meow Tweet’s Face Mask with organic powdered pumpkin. It is a gentle but powerful blend that includes organic pumpkin powder, organic chickpea flour, French pink clay and organic Aloe Vera powder. It helps brighten, clarify and even skin tone. It leaves skin soft, glowing and refreshed while gently drawing out impurities. Also, it has a beautiful orange color and captures the fresh scent of pumpkin, yum. It is a must have for pumpkin power anytime of year.

Pumpkin season is upon us. I hope you use your lack-o-lantern for more than just decoration this year and indulge in all its wonderful culinary and cosmetic delights.