Weight Watchers: Pumpkin Butter and Smoothie 

Eating pumpkins can help you avoid looking like a pumpkin. Pumpkins are actually good for you They have a flavor and texture similar to winter squash, but they have more water and less starch making them the lower calorie choice. Pumpkins are also loaded with beta-carotene which can reduce the risk of developing many diseases. Jackie Conn from Weight Watchers joined Jim Morris on TV5 News at Noon to share a recipe for Pumpkin Smoothies. It’s a quick, easy, nutritious, low-calorie treat that makes a great on-the-go breakfast. It tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass!Pumpkin ButterServings: 14 • Serving Size: 1/4 cup • Calories: 88.2 • Fat: 0.3 g • Protein: 1.0 g • Carb: 27.3 g • Fiber: 2.5 g Ingredients:  3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, or 1 (29 ounce) can (not pumpkin pie filling) 2 tsp vanilla extract 3/4 cup apple cider or juice 1 cup packed brown sugar 2-3 cinnamon sticks 1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (to taste) Directions: Combine pureed pumpkin, vanilla, apple juice, spices, cinnamon sticks and sugar in a large saucepan: stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to your taste. Pumpkin SmoothieServings: 2 • Serving Size: 1 cup Calories: 185.5 • Fat: 0.5 g • Protein: 10.6 g • Carb: 40.7 g • Fiber: 2.6 g • 1/2 cup pumpkin butter (use above recipe to make your own or use canned pumpkin puree)[ ]• • 1/2 cup skim milk • 1/2 cup crushed ice • 6 oz nonfat Greek yogurt (or plain would work too) • 2 tsp vanilla extract • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon (to taste) • 2 tsp packed brown sugar (or to taste) Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve with a straw. Make Your Own Pumpkin PureeSelect a couple of small-ish pumpkins. Cut the pumpkin in half. With a spoon or a scoop, scrape out the seeds and pulp from the center. You don’t have to be too thorough with this. Place all the seeds into a bowl (you can roast them later and make pepitas). Repeat until all the pumpkin pieces are largely free of seeds and pulp.Place pumpkin pieces on a baking sheet (face up or face down: I’ve done both) and roast in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes, or until pumpkin is fork-tender. They should be nice and light golden brown when done.Peel off the skin from the pumpkin pieces until you have a big pile of the stuff. If you have a food processor, throw in a few chunks at a time. A blender will work, too, if you add a little water. Or you can simply mash it up with a potato masher, or move it through a potato ricer, or process it through a food mill. Pulse the pumpkin until smooth. If it looks too dry, add in a few tablespoons of water during the pulsing to give it the needed moisture. (Note, if the puree is overly watery, you should strain it on cheesecloth or over a fine mesh strainer to get rid of some of the liquid.)Dump the pureed goodness into a bowl, and continue pureeing until all the pumpkin is done. You can either use this immediately in whatever pumpkin recipe you’d like, store it in the freezer for later use.To store in the freezer, spoon about 1 cupful of pumpkin into each plastic storage bag. Seal the bag with just a tiny bit of an opening remaining, then use your hands to flatten out the pumpkin inside the bag and push out the air. Store them in the freezer until you need them.Enjoy!