Saturday, April 6, 2013

Don't throw away those seeds!

An update about my life in Haiti is coming soon. Lots of exciting things happening and transpiring..

For now, let's just cut to the chase. Pumpkin/ Squash Seeds. Seriously, that's what this blog is about.

In my last blog, I told you how cool plants really are. If you didn't read it, check it out: Sustainable-Food. I specifically talked about that cute little squash and how it serves multiple purposes. Most people are familiar with squash (and if you aren't--start trying them ALL. My personal favorite is the butternut squash).  Enough about the squash..let's get to the seeds. Yes, the seeds.  They deserve to be eaten too. Don't throw them out! 

1/2 cup of seeds provides about:

Calories: 180 
Protein: 9.75 grams
Carbohydrates: 3.45 grams
Fiber: 1.94 grams
Fat: 15.82 grams (5.24 from monofats and 6.76 from polyfats) 

It also provides a good sources of: 
copper ( 14.84 mg, 21.5% of DV)
iron (2.84 mg, 15.87% of DV)
magnesium (190.92mg, 47.73% of DV)
manganese (1.87mg, 73.5% of DV)
phosphorus (3.97.64 mg, 39.76% of DV)
 zinc (2.54 mg, 16.8% of DV)

** Information given is from pumpkin seeds, however, the nutrient profiles are used interchangeably on a few resources I discovered.  This specific nutrition info was obtained from: whfoods.org 

So basically what I am trying to say is....


Eat your Squash and the SEEDS too!! 

There is a lot you can actually do with the seeds. Some people like to wash them and roast them in the oven with a pinch of olive oil and salt. You could toss them on a salad or eat them raw. 

I tested out a few new things tonight with my squash-seeds.. (in Haiti, mind you). 
For these squash-seed ideas you will need a blender. 


Ready to roll. 


Yup, just throw them in the blender. Stringy pieces and all. I added water to my mixture because the seeds weren't blending with just the pulp and the seeds. After things were mixing along,  I added some fresh ginger.....


Hello, creamy-ginger squash sauce! 

Did I say creamy? Yes-- it has a creamy texture. You can eat the mixture like a soup. Add less water to make it a thick dipping sauce for veggies or bread. Use it in replace of cheese or tomato sauce for noodles, quinoa, or tofu.  You don't have to add ginger to it. Maybe you like garlic, basil, cilantro, rosemary... or all of the above... mixed in your sauce! Go for it! Have fun, be creative. 

I even took my sauce a little further...

dah dah dahh.... 


I used the squash-seed sauce to make homemade vegan "pumpkin" ginger, chia-seed, bulgur bread! 


phew that was a mouth-full. 


Did I mention Bulgur? 
(We call it "ble" in Haiti. A great whole wheat-- rich in fiber, protein, and iron).



So this is what Happened. Friday, at the Market. 

MARKET.

THIS MAN....
 



GAVE ME FREE...

BULGUR. 

Our feeding center just had boughten a whole potato-sack full of bulgur from him this week. So he gave me a free little bag full. 
I wanted to buy my own personal supply so I could sample making whole-wheat bread. 

So here I am. 


Grinding up my bulgur and making bread. 

My hearty whole grain pumpkin, chia-seed bread

It is not sweet. I didn't add sugar. It could use a little more ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla. 
This was the test. Before Tuesday, I will prepare another loaf to bring to my new friend in the market. 

So besides using the squash-seeds as a sauce, as an ingredient in bread...
you can also add it to soup! 

Yes, Soup. 



This is my spinach, carrot, and squash-seed soup with a hint of fresh ginger. You could add a sweet potato, onion, green onion... a few fresh herbs and/or spices. Again, have fun, be creative. Eating plants is NOT boring. 




And to top it off-- I put a little extra squash-seed sauce on top for decoration. Food art. I dig it. 

So after my art was complete. I thought it would be fun to show the kids my dinner tonight. 
The little kids that saw the soup told me they wanted to try it. I told them they've tried it before and that they told me they didn't like it. So I just kept showing it off. Taking a bite and talking about how pretty it was. 
(Marketing folks. Marketing)
You just have to pretend you are Vanna White. 
...And they all wanted to try it. 
They kept begging me. 
I was being kid pressured. 
I wasn't going to share. 
But I gave in. 
I couldn't resist their eagerness to try my cute little heart-healthy soup. 
Their little hands reached out for my bowl.
blop, blop, blop. 
They liked their fingers. 
Hm. 
"Ou renmen?" 
"Wi" 

Okay. A job well done. 

I hope they say that next time we add it to the menu. :) 



So you see.. 
A few lessons to be learned from this blog. 

1. Save your squash seeds. Roast them, blend them. They are multi-purpose and nutritious.
2. Make friends that grow/ sell food. 
3. Learn to make tasty treats with whole-food ingredients. 
4. Don't be afraid to experiment with food. 
5. Marketing. Teaching kids good nutrition is part education and part marketing. 
6. If you are trying to get your kids to eat fruits and vegetables, you better be eating them yourself... and make them look like they are the best thing that has ever happened to you! Don't let them try them.... even if they give you that cute, puppy dog face and beg you. Okay...maybe then you can. :) 


So that's a wrap. Eat your seeds. 
Find a squash. 
And don't forget. 

FOOD IS YOUR DAILY MEDICINE. 

Love from Haiti, 
Kristina



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