A Not-At-All Basic Guide to Loving Pumpkin

For all of you orange-obsessed (and for those of you who aren’t…beware, you might just have a change of heart). All of your pumpkin beauty/food DIY needs below…

This post comes to you from contributor and friend, Katheryn Erickson.

I have a confession: Every year, once mid-September rolls around, I become a little pumpkin obsessed. I light pumpkin candles. I’ll spend well over an hour at the pumpkin patch, drinking cider, looking for the perfect one. I buy a box of pumpkin pancake mix. And although the squash has gotten a bit of a bad (read: basic) reputation with all of the artificially-flavored pumpkin spice treats that fill our grocery stores this time of year, I still love it wholeheartedly. I know I’m not alone (hence the aisles full of treats). All of this is why, after filling up my tiny East Village kitchen with pumpkin-themed items last year and indulging in one too many PSLs, I was borderline devastated to realize halfway through October that I was simply sick of pumpkin. The ice cream I looked forward to every fall season from the shop around the corner? Didn’t even enjoy it. The pancake mix went unused. I overdid it.

Thing is, it isn’t pumpkin’s fault. Pumpkin is fantastic — but the artificial version, the kind that I was hoarding, can become a bit cloying in large doses. So how do you enjoy pumpkin in its true, wholesome state while cancelling out the white noise of “pumpkin flavor?” Squash lovers, let this be your guide:

Bake a gluten-free pumpkin loaf:

Pumpkin bread is one of the most satisfying fall sweets—especially when it’s fresh and still warm from the oven. This, recipe, provided by Anima Mundi’s Adriana Ayales is also packed with protein thanks to a crunchy pumpkin seed topping. “From its seeds to its fruit to its flowers, pumpkin offers a wide array of healing benefits,” Ayales explains. “Fall is the season of the pumpkin and the lovely squash family takes over many savory and sweet menus. The trouble is that all the pumpkin spice things you can buy at the store are loaded with crap and full of refined sugars. However, with just a little effort, it’s easy to make your own Paleo pumpkin bread. It’s filled with the bold spicy flavor you’re craving, but free of the gluten, dairy and refined sugar.” My recommendation: make this recipe on a Sunday morning, and snack on it the rest of the week.

Paleo Pumpkin Bread 

Ingredients

Dry:

1 cup cassava flour

1/8 cup coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon Anima Mundi Pau D’Arco powder*

A pinch of salt

*From Ayales: Pau D’Arco works an immune booster (perfect for the season), as well as an anti-candidal — helping digest the bread itself!

Wet:

3 eggs

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (make your own or purchase an organic source)

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil or grass-fed butter (melted)

1 tsp vanilla

Topping:

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a bread pan with parchment paper or grease it with coconut or avocado oil. Place dry ingredients in a medium bowl, and whisk together until evenly mixed. Place wet ingredients in a larger bowl. Whisk until all the ingredients are creamy. Slowly pour dry ingredients into wet blend, stirring until the flour is thoroughly mixed. Pour batter into bread pan. Roughly chop raw pumpkin seeds, and sprinkle on top. Place in oven and cook for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow bread to cool… slice and serve!

DIY a pumpkin enzyme face mask:

You probably didn’t realize that pumpkin is packed with glow-making alpha hydroxy acids, but it is. This mask, the brainchild of NYC-based natural esthetician and founder of JustBe skin line Negin Niknejad, who focuses on using food ingredients in her custom facials, will give dull skin a boost and leave it feeling baby soft. “Traditional skincare is the food-based plant-based skincare that our forebears used,” Niknejad says. “These are the ingredients skin will recognize and digest. It seems the more natural way and that is probably why I am attracted to it — it’s natural.” A few things to keep in mind before you reach in your fridge: only use fresh foods you’d actually eat, try to keep ingredients organic, and do a patch test to make sure your skin doesn’t react first (raw honey, which is used in this recipe, can be too strong for some skin types). Food is powerful!

Raw Pumpkin Mask

Ingredients:  

2 tbsp grated fresh pumpkin (contains live enzymes, vitamin c, beta carotene, and works as an antioxidant)

1 tbsp ground flax seed (rich in omega-3)

A pinch nutmeg and clove powders (smells lovely, and works as an antibacterial)

1 tbsp honey (exfoliating, soothing, hydrating)

1/4 tsp olive oil (adds moisture)

A dash of milk or green tea (for mixing purposes — milk has lactic acid, an exfoliant, whereas green tea has antioxidants)

Method

Begin by grating the pumpkin (save the rest for a pie or the above loaf), and grinding the flax seeds. Combine all ingredients, then add tea or milk little by little until you have a consistency that is not too runny and not too pasty. Leave mask on for 3 minutes, and no more. The mask may tingle, but if it burns, remove immediately with cool water.

Mix a healthy twist on the pumpkin latte:

Most warm pumpkin drinks can make your teeth hurt, but this version, from Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon, is powered with nutritionally-dense pumpkin seeds instead of high-fructose corn syrup. “Pumpkin seeds are rich with minerals and fatty acids, including protein, plant-based omega-3’s, zinc and magnesium,” Bacon says. “They satiate cravings while feeding your brain and nervous system. In addition, they balance the endocrine system, encouraging healthy hormone production. They are an anti-inflammatory, nutritional powerhouses wrapped up in a very small package.” Drink up!

Pumpkin Beauty Dusted Latte*

Ingredients

12 oz Pumpkin Milk (see below for recipe)

1 tsp rose water

2 tsp lucuma powder

1 tsp Beauty Dust (2 for a “double”)

1 tsp ghee or coconut oil

1 tbsp Tocotrienols

Method

Warm the pumpkin milk in a saucepan over low heat (don’t allow it to simmer), then pour into a blender. Add all ingredients but tocotrienols and blend on high until it’s frothy. Serve with tocotrienols on top.

*Adapated from Bacon’s cookbook, The Moon Juice Cookbook.

Pumpkin Seed Milk*

Ingredients:

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds


4 cups water


1 1⁄2 tsp raw honey

1⁄4 tsp pink salt

Method

Place dry seeds in a bowl with equal parts water. Soak in the fridge overnight. The next day, drain the seeds and transfer
 to a blender. Add water, honey, and salt and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a fine-mesh sieve or nut bag and strain.

*Recipe appears in The Moon Juice Cookbook.

Embrace rusty, orange-toned makeup:

While this is a less literal way to express pumpkin love, there’s no time like autumn to embrace burnt, orange-toned shades. Blend a sheer wash of warm copper on your lids (try Rituel de Fille Ashe & Amber Eye Soot in Love Spell), dab the color onto cheeks (Vapour Aura Multi Use Stain Blush), or pat a bright color into lips with your ring finger for a pumpkin-tinged stain (Ice + Jam Jam Lipcolor in Started At The Bottom).

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