Salty Lime Chile Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)

Grab a handful as a snack or sprinkle over soups and salads!

This recipe was inspired by The Brassica Diaries Blog. 

Ah, winter is upon us. Which means that soups and hearty salads are "fare" game. I discovered these beauties when trying to figure out how to doll up some squash bisque. Perfect combo. But you can also mix these with raisins for a hearty snack or sprinkle them over any other of your autumnal/wintery meal creations for a hint of spice. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 cup raw pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) Juice of 1/2 lime 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon chile powder Pinch salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375.

Toss all ingredients together to evenly coat the pepitas.

Spread the pepitas onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Place in the oven and roast, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking, for about 10-15 minutes, or until most of the pepitas are nicely browned and puffed up.

Use immediately or store in an airtight container and use within a week.

Benefits:

Chile: Ah, the beloved chile. A sacred plant where I come from (New Mexico), this pungent pepper has a myriad of health benefits. The phytonutrients found in chile can fight inflammation, clear congestion, boost your metabolism and immunity, while balancing your blood sugar. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Lime: Limes are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Pepitas (Hulled Pumpkin Seeds): These babies are packed with zinc and vitamin E, but are also excellent sources of manganese, tryptophan, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. They are also very high in protein. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Pepitas and Bisque

Traditional Meusli

Try a bowl of traditional meusli as a breakfast, snack, or light dinner. One of the most nourishing comfort foods!

Bowl of Health

Traditional muesli is a nourishing cereal popularized in the early 1900s by a Swiss physician named Maximillian Bircher-Benner. He developed the dish to feed patients in his hospital to nurse them back to health.

Interestingly, the ingredients in muesli are very similar to the staples of a saatvic diet, which is said to be the most healthful diet for yoga practitioners because it is nourishing to the body while allowing the mind to maintain a peaceful state.

This dish has has many forms and can be varied according to one's personal taste or health preferences. Generally it is prepared using rolled oats (which can be made gluten free) that have been soaked in water, milk, or juice, as well as nuts, seeds, grated or chopped fresh or dried fruits, and spices. The recipe below is just a suggestion. Try it out, or comment with your variation, s'il vous plait.

Ingredients:

2 cups gluten free oats

1/2 cup chopped walnuts/pecans

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup golden raisins (or other dried fruit)

4 tbs. chia seeds

*Mix above ingredients in a jar. Makes almost four cups.

Method: When ready to eat, mix 3/4 cup of above mix with:

1-2 tbs. flax meal

1/2-1 grated apple or 1/2-1 cup berries

1 cup fresh almond milk

pinch nutmeg

pinch cinnamon

*Mix together and allow to sit for a few minutes before eating.  Enjoy!

Health Benefits:

Rolled Oats: Due to their high fiber content, oats are known to help remove cholesterol from the digestive system that would otherwise end up in the bloodstream. Oats also help maintain cardiovascular health since they contain antioxidant compound called avenanthramides, which help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol. Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal also contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan, which has been shown to help immune funtion and to stabilize blood sugar. Oats are also high in manganese, selenium, and phosphorous. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Walnuts: Walnuts are powerful medicine. They are packed with valuable antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega fatty acids, manganese, and copper. Walnuts have been studied and proven to help decrease risk of certain cancers,  including prostate and breast. They also help prevent cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Pecans: Pecans contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, a variety of B vitamins and zinc. One ounce of pecans provides 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for fiber. Pecans are also a source of monounsaturated or "good" fat and protein. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Sunflower Seeds: A handful of sunflower seeds will supply significant amounts of vitamin E (the body's primary fat-soluble antioxidant, which is also an anti-inflamatory and cardiovascular health superstar), magnesium (which has been said to help reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke), and selenium (helpful for DNA and cellular repair). See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Raisins: Raisins are high in fiber witch can aid in relief of constipation. They a good source of iron (thus helping with anemia), arganine (which can enhance libido and aid with sexual weakness). They also contain calcium and boron, both of which are crucial for proper bone health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Chia Seeds: "Chia" is the Mayan word for strength. Once an important energy source for Mayans, Incas and other ancient cultures, they are now favored by athletes and birthing mothers for their strength and energy enhancing properties. They are a great source of omega-3 acids, calcium, protein, fiber and potassium. Plus they’re low in cholesterol and sodium. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Flax Seeds: Flax is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They're also high in lignans, fiber-like antioxidant compounds. They contain mucilage (gum), a water-soluble, gel-forming fiber that provides special support to the intestinal tract by helping improve the absorption of certain nutrients in the small intestine. Their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits can also be helpful in cancer prevention and the quelling of chronic inflammation. Flaxseeds are also high in manganese, magnesium, and vitamin B1. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Apple: Due to their water-soluble fiber (pectin) content, and their  mix of polyphenols (antioxidants), apples can help decrease our total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol. Also, the phytonutrients in apples can help regulate blood sugar. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Blueberries: Blueberries are touted as a "superfood" and it's no wonder why. Particularly wild organic blueberries contain a variety of antioxidant nutrients which support the whole body. Recent studies suggest that blueberries are also likely beneficial for improvement of memory, and  help protect our nerve cells to help slow down the onset of other cognition issues frequently associated with aging. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

The Easiest Homemade Hummus Ever...

They could call this "yummus." This week I had the absolutely delightful experience of hosting a few young cyclists at my house in preparation of the USA Cycle Pro Challenge, Tour de Colorado (which started in Durango this year...boo ya!). Long story short, I needed to find a way to feed some grande appetites without hours of preparation. One of my staple recipes for such an occasion is hummus. See below for the base recipe, but keep in mind that you can add whatever you want. This recipe is the standard hummus, dressed up with a few other fresh ingredients to kick up the flavor quotient. I added chopped Greek olives, basil, pine nuts and paprika to this batch, and it was gone in minutes. Happy creating!

In other news, I totally enjoyed being "cycle Mom." Who knew how much fun it could be to have four 20-ish-year old sons. I cooked a massive spaghetti dinner, they cleaned, and we all jammed out to Notorious B.I.G. Yes, Biggie Smalls is the illest, but team Bondrager/Livestrong, the feeder team for Team Radioshack, is pretty bad ass too. Good luck this week, guys!

Ingredients

1 clove garlic, chopped or pressed (or you can use a hefty sprinkle of garlic powder)

1 (19 ounce) can garbanzo beans (or soak your own and cook according to package directions which I think is waaay better)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon, or 1 drop doTerra lemon essential oil

2 heaping tablespoons tahini

1 heaping teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons-ish olive oil

Method

Rinse garbanzos and pour into blender, reserving a couple tablespoons for garnish.

Place lemon juice (and/or essential oil), tahini, chopped garlic, and salt in blender.

Blend until creamy and well mixed. (Add a little water and/or olive oil if not blending easily.)

Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.

Sprinkle with pepper and pour olive oil over the top. Garnish with reserved garbanzo beans and other tasty and pretty items for an impressive flavor and presentation.

Serve with bread, crackers, crudite, or your fingers...kidding.

*Optional items to put in and/or on your hummus: paprika, Greek olives, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro, or rosemary, pine nuts...the list goes on. Just use your imagination.

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per dish. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting meal!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Health Benefits

This bean/seed combo makes a complete protein, which means that all the amino acids your body needs are present in this combination. See here for other complete protein combos to get the most out of your nutrients. Enjoy!

Garbanzo Beans: Also known as "chickpeas," these beans are particularly high in insoluble fiber, which means you have a squeaky clean colon and feel fuller for longer when eating these legumes. They are also extremely high in lots of nutrients such as manganese, folate, and tryptophan. They are a great source of plant-based protein. If you find legumes make you gassy, try pre-soaking them for easier digestion. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Tahini: Sesame seeds (of which tahini is made) are jam packed with manganese and copper, and are a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, and dietary fiber. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Lemon Juice: Lemons (and limes) are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil has many properties including anticancer, antidepressant, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant. It is refreshing and invigorating, had can be used to help lower blood pressure, improve memory, ease sore throats and anxiety, help dissolve cellulite, boost energy, calm digestive problems, cleanse the lymphatic system, and promote a sense of well-being. See here to learn more about doTerra essential oils.