the chef's corner

The Famous Pumpkin

At Watercrest, as season changes, so does our menu. This season’s feature is, Pumpkin! Pumpkins’ bright orange color may make them a good substitute for traffic cones, but the real power behind their hue is beta-carotene, a provitamin that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Known for its immune-boosting powers, beta-carotene is essential for eye health and has also been linked to preventing coronary heart disease. However, there’s no need to choose fresh to get the benefits of pumpkin. One cup of canned pumpkin has seven grams of fiber and three grams of protein— even more than fresh— and contains only 80 calories and one gram of fat. Plus, canned pumpkin is packed with vitamins and provides over 50 percent of the daily value of vitamin K, which may reduce the risk for some types of cancer.


The real treasure is in the seeds. One ounce (about 140 seeds) is packed with protein, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Studies suggest pumpkin seeds provide a number of health benefits— such as blocking the enlargement of the prostate gland, lowering the risk of bladder stones, and helping to prevent depression. Plus, they contain high levels of phytosterols, which research suggests can reduce cholesterol and even help prevent some types of cancers.


At Watercrest, we believe our residents should enjoy a delicious and balanced diet. That’s why our “Always Available Menu” offers an array of superfoods such as Spinach, Kale, Chickpeas, Beans, Tomato, Salmon, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Lentils, Berries, Walnuts, Smoothies. All prepared by our talented Chefs.


Here are some ways in how pumpkins will be used this season in our kitchen: Soups, Stews, Roasted Pumpkin, Chef’s Specials, Cookies, Oatmeal, Pies, Pumpkin Pancakes, “Taste of Watercrest” and more. Come tour our facility and stay for lunch!


Here is a Deliciously Healthy Recipe:

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal    

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 3/4 cups almond milk

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup maple syrup



Combine oats and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency is reached, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg until heated through, about 1 minute.

Serve immediately, garnished with pecans and maple syrup, if desired.


From the Kitchen of Chef Manny Navarro, Director of Culinary Operations