Here is a way to enjoy eating fresh foods in season. Root vegetables, pumpkin and a hearty beef stew make an excellent meal to warm you up on a cold day in fall or winter.

Pumpkin will keep through most of the winter, so be sure and grab extras to store back in a cool place in your house or cellar.

Pumpkins are nutrient-dense. They are loaded with beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, manganese, folate, omega-3, and vitamin B1. Pumpkins keep your heart healthy and help with asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. They keep you healthy!

The first step is to make your basic stew. Stews are easy. Just cook up some roast cubes or chunks and throw your favorite veggies into a pot to boil. There's no one right way to make a stew. Mine are different every time I make them because I rotate what veggies we are eating.

So, cook the meat, and boil some root veggies, like potatoes, carrots, green beans and corn. Amounts and types of veggies are your choice. Add some greens like spinach or collards to the mix. This puts lots of magnesium and potassium into your stew.

Next, cut the top off of a small pumpkin for a lid. Scrape out the seeds and stringy fibers. Don't throw away the seeds-you can roast them for a tasty snack.

Put your meat, vegetables and the broth it made into the pumpkin. Put the pumpkin lid back on and bake at 375° for 1 1/2 - 2 hours until the pumpkin is tender.

Ladle the stew into bowls and be sure to scoop the pumpkin flesh from the sides of the pumpkin too. Enjoy your beef stew in a pumpkin pot! And eat fresh foods in season as much as possible.

©2009 Shanna Ohmes

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