THE RECIPE BOX – Pumpkins are perfect for autumn cooking and decorating

THE RECIPE BOX – Pumpkins are perfect for autumn cooking and decorating

LINCOLN — It’s been a dreary week this last week of October and already the commercials on the television are pushing Christmas music – and vying to be the first to get your dollars.

The autumn season upon us is not yet half gone, and hardly a serious frost has occurred. I suppose suggesting we take in the here-and-now and fully experience the moment at hand would fall on deaf ears? But, I’m going to try.

One of the wonders of fall is pumpkins, and like people, some are smooth and perfectly shaped while others are more irregular and bumpy. But on the inside, you’ll discover flesh with many good parts.

Is a pumpkin a fruit or a veggie one might ask? Well a Google search discloses that “A pumpkin is a fruit,” because it matches this dictionary definition of fruit: The edible plant structure of a mature ovary of a flowering plant, usually eaten raw. But the same entry goes on to add: “Many fruits which are not sweet, such as tomatoes, beans, green peppers, etc., are popularly called vegetables.” So do we get to pick?

The nutritional value is a good deal with only 49 calories for a one-cup serving of the cooked, boiled and drained pumpkin with no salt added. As for this week’s pumpkin cookies recipe, well they are not low calorie but they are delicious. An old Weight Watchers friend shared the recipe. And yes, the pumpkin does add a nutritional component along with the almonds if you are a creative thinker like me.

I use pumpkins for decorations outdoors and they make an awesome vessel for a bouquet of fresh seasonal flowers. Use the little ones, mini-pumpkins, to carve out, place a tea light in and function as dinner table decorations. I prefer the small battery tea lights as there is little danger of forgetting it and having a fire.

I also love my authentic-looking candles sprinkled around my home for autumnal ambiance. They look like real beeswax and have a small battery and a timer on the bottom. I set them (after daylight saving time) to come on around 5 p.m. and they shut themselves off before my bedtime. No need to worry about dosing off in the recliner and forgetting them.

Please take some advice right now … plan your holidays, menus and events of the season, making good choices and memories while sharing some real time (face to face) with your family and friends.

Drop the cell phones into a basket at the door and skip the numerous interruptions: phone calls and email messages, texting, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and all the other impersonal vehicles that we now consider communication. Quite frankly, it borders on rude behavior to be in the company of someone and stop a conversation with them to talk to a machine.

What is the take-away here? What are we teaching our children? And do we really need to be that busy? I dare you to find out what intimacy and real life slice-of-life awaits you!

We are getting near the time of year when those special family recipes come out of your recipe box. If you have a tried and true recipe or a holiday family tradition that you’d like to share with me and The Recipe Box, mail rhonda@valleybreeze.com . I’d love to talk with you!


Pumpkin Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1 & 1/2 cups sugar

1 egg

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 tsp. vanilla

2 & 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup chopped almonds

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Beat in egg, pumpkin and vanilla.

Mix (dry ingredients) and sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. (Add to wet ingredients.)

Add almonds and chocolate chips; mix thoroughly.

Drop by teaspoonful onto a well-greased cookie sheet.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Remove from cookie sheet while still warm; cool on a wire rack. Makes 6 dozen.

Pumpkin cookies are a delicious autumn treat to share with friends and family.
Add some flowers to hollowed-out pumpkins for a seasonal centerpiece.