Joanna Barajas

Joanna Barajas Joanna Barajas Joanna Barajas

Shape Up America! is proud to introduce our “in-house” chef, Joanna Barajas. Based on our survey results, many of you would like to see more recipes and with Joanna’s help, we are responding. As a holder of Le Grande Diplôme in Pastry and Cuisine from the esteemed Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Joanna is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in nutritional science.

You will be delighted with her nutritious, beautiful and great-tasting culinary delights. She will be developing new recipes to be incorporated into our website and to help you achieve your weight management goals without compromising taste and sound nutrition. To further acquaint yourself with Joanna, visit her blog, “What’s in the Fridge?” at

You can find many of Joanna's recipes featured in our Shape Up Cookbook in the resources section of our site.

Another question from a SUA visitor! Thanks, Linda, for checking out my posts! Here is Linda’s question:

Hi, I was told that there is a difference in pumpkins from the garden. I want to use them in my cooking but not sure if I can? Carving pumpkin vs. baking pumpkin.

There are some differences between the two pumpkins, the carving pumpkins are known as Jack-o-lantern pumpkins and the baking pumpkins are known as “pie” or “sugar” pumpkins. The major differences between the two, is that the Jack-o-lantern pumpkins have a much more watery, and stringy pulp. They are really grown to carve into, so they also very hollow inside. The “sugar” or “pie” pumpkins, on the other hand, have much more pulp, more flavor, and are less stringy. That makes them the better choice of the two.

But I made the Roasted pumpkin quinoa post, as well as pumpkin spice bread with a Jack-o-lantern pumpkin, one we never carved from Halloween, and it turned out great. I roasted the pumpkin, and then pureed it for the pumpkin bread. If you have an extra Jack-o-lantern pumpkin lying around, you can go ahead and use it. But, if you can, it's best to cook the pumpkin puree over a very low heat to remove some of the excess water and intensify the pumpkin flavor.

Hope that helps, thanks for the question!

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