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August 15, 2018

11/3/2017 1:23:00 PM
Pumpkins are a fall favorite

It’s about pumpkins today. I have a few “Did you know?” facts about pumpkins that I didn’t know. They are 90 percent water. In the past, American Indians roasted long strips of pumpkin over an open fire as food. They once made mats out of these strips as well. It is said that the origin of pumpkin pie is that the Colonists sliced off pumpkin tops, removed seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. Then the pumpkin was baked in hot ashes. (I prefer to use the oven!)

The nutritional value is interesting. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains 50 calories and a whole lot of beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A plus a lot of other nutrients. They have been shown to decrease the risk of various cancers, including those of the lung, colon, bladder, cervix, breast and skin.

Pumpkin and squash can be substituted for recipes calling for one or the other, such as desserts, breads, muffins, etc.. That’s just what I have for you today. Take your pick or try all of them.

3 c. flour                                                                                                                                                                   
1 t. each salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon
1/2 t. each ginger, nutmeg and ground cloves

3 eggs, slightly beaten
2 c. canned pumpkin
1 c. canola oil
2/3 c. each, white sugar and brown sugar
3 t. vanilla
1 c. dried cranberries (craisins)
1 c. chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine first 8 ingredients, mix well. In another bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin, oil, sugars and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients (with a spatula) just until moistened. Fold in cranberries and pecans.
Pour into two greased 9x5-inch baking pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans onto wire racks. Makes 2 loaves, 12 slices each. Note: When cold, wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight for ingredients to meld and easier slicing.


2 c. flour  
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. each, salt and baking soda
1-1/2 t. pumpkin-pie spice (recipe follows end of column)
1 c. canned pumpkin
4 T. butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 c. buttermilk
2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. coarsely chopped walnuts or green pumpkin seeds (found in produce dept)
2 T. finely chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients; mix well. In another bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients, except nuts. Add to flour mixture mixing just until combined. Stir in 1/2 c. nuts. Spoon into 12 greased or paper lined muffin cups filling 3/4 full. Sprinkle with finely chopped nuts.
Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until muffins spring back when pressed lightly with a finger.  Makes 12 muffins.


1-15 oz. can pumpkin
1-12 oz. can evaporated milk
3 eggs
4 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. sugar
1 regular size yellow cake mix
1 c. coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4 c. melted butter
1/4 c. finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Whipped cream and finely chopped nuts, optional

 In a large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a greased or sprayed 9x13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the top. Gently pat down.  Top with 1 c. nuts. Drizzle with butter (criss-crossing to cover nuts as much as possible).  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Cool completely. When ready to serve, top with dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of chopped nuts if you wish.    Makes12-15 servings
Note:  I’m sure you’ve noticed that all of these recipes have about the same spices or pumpkin pie spice. As Julia Child would say, “These spices combined with pumpkin are a marriage in heaven.”  If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, check the spice section  in the grocery store, or use this recipe I use: Pumpkin Pie Spice: In a small bowl or container, combine the following ingredients: 2 T. cinnamon, 1-1/2 t. each, ground nutmeg and ground ginger and 1 scant tsp. ground cloves.  This amount makes about 4-1/2 tsp. I always double the recipe and keep it in a tightly covered small jar in the fridge.

Thought for the Day: The trouble with doing nothing is….you can’t stop to rest. 

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