Crisp air, colorful leaves and pumpkins popping up on porches everywhere — there is no doubt that fall is my favorite time of the year.

From table decorations to jack-o'-lanterns, pumpkins are great for adding to your fall festive flair. However, don’t just use that oversized squash for décor.

Pumpkins provide a host of vitamins and minerals and are rich in carotenoids, including the antioxidant beta-carotene, which is what give pumpkins their bright orange color. Even if you use canned pumpkin, you're getting lots of good nutrients. Canned pumpkins provides 7 grams of heart-healthy fiber per cup.

The essence of the fall season is in the air when the aroma of these sweet and savory pumpkin recipes waft through your home. Pumpkin, Orange and Cranberry Muffins make this a standout breakfast, snack or dessert. I have made these many times, and they're always gobbled up.

Pumpkin Cornbread is a hearty savory side that is the perfect partner to just about any main dish. If you are looking for something that pairs well with your cool weather soups and chili, then look no further.

And speaking of soup, believe it or not, delectable Louisiana crawfish combined with autumn’s No. 1 flavor makes for a spectacular Pumpkin Crawfish Soup. This creamy delicious soup is also diabetic-friendly.

And here's a fun idea — hollow out a pumpkin to serve this recipe or any of your favorite fall soups. Use vegetable broth and omit crawfish for a vegetarian pumpkin soup.

I cannot wait for you to try my three favorite trim and terrific pumpkin recipes to really taste and smell the season. Check out my blog for more festive fall recipes.

Fall Favorite Tips:

  • Get creative at your next tailgate and throw a pumpkin into your centerpiece with a basket of pompoms and seasonal mums or paint an oblong pumpkin like a football — so easy and so cute.
  • One cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which is important for bone health, immune support and vision.
  • If you make a jack-o'-lantern, don’t throw out the seeds. They pack a punch of fiber, healthy fats, magnesium and zinc. The seeds can be roasted to eat as a snack or tossed into trail mix or salads.

Holly Clegg, best-selling national cookbook author of the trim&TERRIFIC & Eating Well cookbook series, specializes in easy, healthy, everyday recipes. Visit her website, The Healthy Cooking Blog. Follow her on facebook.com/HollyClegg, instagram.com/holly_clegg and twitter.com/hollyclegg. Email her at holly@hollyclegg.com.