Fall Back & Pump-kin Up!

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin beer — from savory to sweet, the options are endless. It’s finally pumpkin season, and the reasons to celebrate are many.

Not only is fall’s signature squash versatile enough to fit into all the above and more, it also packs some powerful healthy perks — like keeping heart health, vision and waistlines in check, as long as you take it easy on the sweets, that is.

Below, are a few favorite health benefits of pumpkin.

1) Pumpkins Keep Eyesight Sharp
2) Pumpkins Aid Weight Loss
3) Pumpkin Seeds Can Help Your Heart
4) Pumpkins May Reduce Cancer Risk
5) Pumpkins Protect The Skin
6) Pumpkin Seeds Can Boost Your Mood
7) Pumpkins Can Help After A Hard Workout
8) Pumpkins Can Boost Your Immune System

http://dailyburn.com/life/health/pumpkin-health-benefits/

For a healthier way to add pumpkin into your diet, adding pumpkin chunks to a roasted vegetable medley, or sprinkling pumpkin seeds on top of your salad. You can also try pumpkin puree in place of nut butters as a spread. And for an energizing morning smoothie, blend a high-quality vanilla protein powder with coconut milk, chia seeds, pureed pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice.

Other than pumpkin seeds and pumpkin muffins, I’ve never been much of a pumpkin lover, but the recipes below and the health benefits have definitely sparked my interest and taste buds.  Although pumpkin-laced desserts decrease in the health benefits, these recipes look and sound too yummy to resist!  I can’t wait to try them all.  Because GraceFace is all about “trying to get it to healthy” a few substitutions have been made to lighten the calories and the sugar content.  If you have any other healthier alternatives to making these treats even lighter, please feel free to share with us!

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Pecan-Crusted Pork with Pumpkin Butter

1 (14 ounce) can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup apple juice
3/4 cup sugar
1 pinch ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans
3/4 cup bread crumbs
4 (1/2 inch thick) boneless pork chops
1/4 cup oil for frying

Whisk together pumpkin puree, apple juice, sugar, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon in a saucepan until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the mixture has reached the consistency of applesauce. About 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pulse pecans and bread crumbs in a food processor until the pecans are finely chopped. Pour into a shallow dish, and press pork chops into the mixture to coat.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add breaded pork chops and cook until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve the pork chops with a dollop of pumpkin butter.

 

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Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Enchiladas

Yield: 9-12 servings

1 pkg. (8 oz.) low fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2½ cups Lite Cool Whip, thawed
18-24 Flour tortillas
6 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Caramel sauce

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in the whipped topping. Divide the cream cheese mixture evenly between the tortillas. Roll each tortilla up and put on serving plates. In a small bowl, combine the butter, sugar and cinnamon. Brush the mixture over the rolled tortillas. Top with caramel sauce.

 

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This recipe is fairly simple to make. If you’re looking for a great Fall recipe, be sure to give these Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Bars a try – you’ll be glad you did!

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Bars
Printable recipe
Yield: 18-24 bars

For the crust:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses

For the cheesecake layer:
1 pkg. (8 oz.) low fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2½ cups Lite Cool Whip, thawed

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-in. baking dish lightly with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine first 6 ingredients crust ingredients in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, shortening and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well blended. Add the flour mixture and mix just until blended.

Press the dough into the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in the whipped topping.

When the crust has cooled off, spoon the cream cheese mixture into crust. Level with an off-set spatula or the back of a spoon.

Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Store leftover cheesecake bars in refrigerator.

 

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Decadent Pumpkin Muffins
Original recipe makes 24 muffins
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
4 egg whites
1 egg
2/3 cup water
1 cup raisins

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line two 12 cup muffin pans with paper muffin liners.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin, white sugar, brown sugar, applesauce, yogurt, egg whites, and egg. Blend the flour mixture into the sugar mixture, alternating with the water, to form a smooth batter. Fold in the raisins. Transfer to the prepared muffin pan.
Bake 16 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.

28 Day Beginner Squat Challenge

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So I’m pretty much obsessed with the Myfitnesspal app these days!  It tracks my steps through my iPhone 5 and I use it to track my daily calories.  Since starting my weight loss journey a few months ago, I’ve noticed a loss in a certain area that I didn’t necessarily want to lose, so this challenge comes right on time!  Who’s with me?  Let’s do it!!!!

The 28-Day Squat Challenge You’ll Want to Start Now!

I’m a huge fan of bodyweight exercises for the reason that you can use them for a great workout anywhere. And perhaps the king of all bodyweight exercises, is the squat. Squats are awesome because they provide a great workout for multiple muscle groups, including the butt, thighs, and core.

It’s for that reason that 30-day squat challenges have become increasingly popular over the past year. There are hundreds of variations available online, but generally they all involve squatting almost every day for a month, starting at 50 reps on your first day and finishing at 250 on your last.

As much as I love anything that gets people moving, particularly squatting, that kind of challenge simply won’t help you reach your goals. 50 squats in one day is too difficult for most beginners, and even if you could do 250 squats with perfect form, you will be training for muscular endurance rather than strength (which is what leads to the toned look). It’s the same reason you wouldn’t do 50+ reps of an exercise in the gym.

Instead, the focus should be on fewer, quality reps that get tougher over time (like using heavier weights in the gym). I decided to use this principle to create a different kind of squat challenge that will give you the best possible chance of safely getting a toned butt and thighs, along with improving your technique. Here’s how it works:

You will do a different squat variation each week for a month. The variations get more difficult as the month progresses.
Each day has a target number or reps for which you should aim. You can do them all in one go or spread them out throughout the day.
If you fail to reach the target number of reps with perfect form you must go back to the beginning of that 7 day period.
You may not have heard of each variation, so how to do them properly is explained below.
This is the beginner challenge. Once you have mastered the basic bodyweight squat there are two more challenges for intermediate and advanced squatters that you can find on Travel Strong.

– See more at: http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/2014/09/the-28-day-squat-challenge-youll-want-to-start-now/?utm_source=mfp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly_20141013&mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRonvqvPZKXonjHpfsX66%2BQuUKG2hIkz2EFye%2BLIHETpodcMTcVrN6%2BTFAwTG5toziV8R7DBLM153N8QXRTg#sthash.L0A95hTp.dpuf

Counterbalance Box Squat:

With your feet shoulder width apart, keep your chest up and arms out in front of you as a counterbalance.
Sit back and down onto a surface, such as a chair or stool. Let your butt touch the surface, but don’t sit down.
As you descend make sure your knees are tracking over your toes.
Return to the starting position by pushing through your heels and squeezing your glutes.

Prisoner Box Squat:

Keeping the tips from above in mind, place your hands behind your head rather than out in front of you.
Use a lower chair or stool than before to make sure you are squatting deeper.
Over the course of the week keep lowering the surface until your thighs are parallel (or lower) to the ground when in the bottom position.

Counterbalance Air Squat:

Remove the chair or stool and put your arms out in front of you.
Squat down as before, ensuring that your thighs are parallel to the ground (or lower). The deeper you squat the more muscles you activate.
Remember to keep your torso as upright as possible by keeping your chest up.

Prisoner Air Squat:

Put your hands behind your head once again and continue squatting as low as you can.
Remember: chest up, feet shoulder width apart, knees tracking over toes, sit back, and push through your heels.
By the end of the month, you should be able to do a basic bodyweight squat with great form.
So what are you waiting for? Take on the challenge and share it with your friends! We can’t wait to see your results!

You can read more about this squat challenge, and get the intermediate and advanced challenges at Travel Strong.

– See more at: http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/2014/09/the-28-day-squat-challenge-youll-want-to-start-now/?utm_source=mfp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly_20141013&mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRonvqvPZKXonjHpfsX66%2BQuUKG2hIkz2EFye%2BLIHETpodcMTcVrN6%2BTFAwTG5toziV8R7DBLM153N8QXRTg#sthash.iwVMlwG3.dpuf

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I don’t wear make up. I don’t wear push up bra’s. I don’t wear hair extensions. I don’t wear spanx. I don’t buy expensive clothes. I love thrift stores. i’ll take a hand me down in a minute. I enjoy painting my own nails. I like doing my own hair. I’m very sentimental. speaking loudly makes me anxious. I need at least one hug a day. I can not lay on pillows, they hurt my neck and back. looking up at the stars at night makes me feel weightless. I want to save the world. I hate school. I want a job where I can just be ppls support to carry on and be better. I hate gossip. slapstick makes me crack up. I can easily entertain myself. im silly. I hate complaining. I don’t know how to handle the spotlight. I am in love with God Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit. I have boys names picked out for my Braxton sized family. I love diy projects. Im an all or nothing type of person. I can go all day without eating. i’m not perfect! so please hold me to that! God is working on me! I believe that everyone deserves a second chance and only God can change us. I love the person God made you to be! He loves you even more! I love the woman God has made/is making me into!💗

About the author: Rashelle is a vivacious, young lady that truly has a heart for giving and serving God and others.  GraceFace is excited to have her beautiful face, spirit and energy as a part of the team.  Rashelle is 100% authentic and it is my plan to make sure that her pureness always shines through in her writing.  It is my plan to keep her encouraged to keep reaching for the stars in heaven.  I look forward to reading more of what God gives this beautiful young lady to share with us. ~phyllis

You can also find Rashelle on our GraceFace Pink Pages https://gracefacenetwork.com/pink-pages/ where you can contact her about purchasing her handmade jewelry.