I've been wanting to do a food challenge for awhile now and I figured that I would take inspiration from that article I mentioned earlier, "The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating", by Tara Parker-Pope.
The Challenge Basics:
Let's start with the challenge basics, first. I want to have a weekly food challenge where each week, I select an ingredient and challenge each of you to cook/prepare something of your choice during a one week period, at least once, using that ingredient. I'll add a Mr. Linky to my challenge post so you can add a link to your blog where you blogged about your challenge dish. If you cook/prepare more than one dish with the week's ingredients, you're welcome to link to all of your posts using the challenge ingredient. If you don't have a blog, I believe you should be able to link to anything, like Flickr, if you upload a photo there, etc. If you don't have a blog or access to somewhere where you can upload a photo, you can just leave a comment with what you made. I'd love to hear about it! Oh, and don't worry about getting fancy with this, even if you just eat the ingredient raw, that counts!
I'd like to say that the reason you should play is because I have a fabulous giveaway, but I don't (unless anyone out there wants to offer one…Kashi, Clif, Quaker, you there?). The reason I started this challenge was to challenge myself to use new, interesting, and (hopefully) healthy ingredients that I may never have thought to use before in my cooking. I'd like to learn more about the various foods out there – how to cook them, eat them, what makes them healthy and more! By participating in this challenge, I'm hoping you will learn to incorporate some new foods and/or recipes into your diet, too.
This Week's Challenge (1/21/09 – Saturday, 1/24/09) – Pumpkin:
I'm going to spend the first couple months of my challenge working my way through the foods listed in the article linked above. This week, we'll have 2 challenge ingredients, and you can use one and/or the other:
1. Canned Pumpkin – According to Parker-Pope, this ingredient is, "A low-calorie vegetable that is high in fiber and immune-stimulating vitamin A; fills you up on very few calories.
How to eat: Mix with a little butter, cinnamon and nutmeg." According to Ellie Krieger, in her book The Food You Crave, "1 cup (of canned pumpkin) contains more potassium than a medium banana and more vitamin A than a cup of carrots."
2. Pumpkin Seeds – According to Parker-Pope, this ingredient is, "The most nutritious part of the pumpkin and packed with magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death.
How to eat: Roasted as a snack, or sprinkled on salad."
Cooking Ideas for Canned Pumpkin and/or Pumpkin Seeds:
Parker-Pope has some great ideas for ways to eat this week's challenge ingredients (see above). You can also try adding some to your oatmeal like Kath from Katheats.com does (click here to see all her pumpkin-related posts).
Here are some more recipe ideas:
- Pasta with Pumpkin & Sausage – Rachael Ray
- Pumpkin Muffins – Ellie Krieger – this is what I've been planning to make the last week or so – it uses both canned pumpkin and pumpkin seeds!
- Spicy Pumpkin Bars – Gale Grand
- Vegetable Couscous – Rachael Ray
- Pumpkin & Black Bean Soup – Rachael Ray
- Spiced Pumpkin Cookies – Eatingwell.com
- Pumpkin Bars – Patty Ronning and Paula Deen
This Week's Challenge: Canned Pumpkin and/or Pumpkin Seeds
Challenge Week: Wed 1/21/09 – Sat 1/24/09 (I know, short week, but I was so ready to get started!)
Add your link here on Mr. Linky if you decide to play, please try to link to your blog post/photo for this week's challenge.
Btw, this is my first time trying to use Mr. Linky, so if it's not working, I will try to fix it as soon as possible. Please bear with me since I'm on a learning curve here. 🙂