Saturday, May 12, 2018

NOW WHAT'S YOUR EXCUSE?

     There are few things in life that get me riled up than something negative about children! Sure, many years ago, I would have picked a fight, argued or simply demeaned anyone who disagreed with me or looked at me cross-eyed. But as I get older, I have learned to keep my anger in check, and this keeps my stress level(ultimately keeping my blood pressure on an even keel)down without fear of shortening my life.

     I have been blessed with an immune system that astonishes me every day.(For example, ALL cuts, bruises and even colds and the flue are gone in 1 or, at the most, 2 days). It is eerie actually.
I have never had any sustained medical issues, for my body truly has "healed thyself".

     I have also been able to dodge diabetes, which is frighteningly gathering steam in today's world and it isn't too difficult to figure out why.

For example, go to the pancake syrup of your grocery store and take a look at your choices.

     You have 1 choice of flavor.....MAPLE!!! Sticky maple. Don't get me wrong, I adore the taste of maple,  but we have more different kinds of salts on the shelves of our supermarkets!!!! Crazy? Of course!

     Now take a look at all the maple ingredients and nutritional boxes of each. If they are regular syrups, the very first two ingredients are sugar or corn syrup. I have also seen a couple with the first THREE ingredients being SUGAR, CORN SYRUP and HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP!!!

REALLY!?!?!?!

     And if it is diet syrup, I don't even want to give the time of day to what the processed, GMO or "scientifically altered" ingredients are.

     THIS is the world we live in and there is enough blame to go around as to why our children are suffering from a host of man-made self-inflictions! It is either processed or loaded with sugar!(Even as I am typing this, I can feel my ire elevating because there are so many steps we can take to help curb life-long illnesses....IF WE WANTED TOO!)

    We have gotten away from food that is tasty. I blame the rise of this to a number of factors. From celebrity chefs, Robert Irvine to name one,(who actually PROMOTES the use of salt by using it before, during and after preparing a dish) to manufacturer's who use sugar and corn syrup as the primary ingredients in anything sweet simply because it is cheap! This too, is insane. But this insanity pales in comparison to what I see and now have experienced first hand.

     This monetary  "bottom  line" has such a strangle hold that it clouds judgment and health. I constantly read and hear that people and businesses are striving to feed our children a more balanced and healthy diet, be it in restaurants, fast food or schools. I see some attempts being made but these fruitless attempts have ceased because of the cost. I truly do understand this as a factor, don't get me wrong.  But there are 2 things that I don't understand.


The label from our apple cider syrup...compare to ANY other syrup!


1. Why can't someone use some intelligence in order to prepare meals that are healthy for our children, don't cost any more money and if needed, worked into recipes, meals and preparations so that students have no idea that they are eating healthy? 

   What am I talking about? Take gravy for example. See my recipe at the end of this post for a super simple gravy that is tremendously flavorful, costs the same as the fat-laden brands offered in our schools and is by far the healthiest gravy one can make. This is just one example! I could spend 1 week, yes ONE WEEK, sitting at a desk and completely transform a school breakfast or lunch menu into something that would be tremendously flavorful, nutritious, healthy and abide by ALL restrictions that are in place for school cafeterias.

2. "It costs too much money." It costs too much money! Let that sink in for a minute. While you are thinking about it, ask yourself another question. If you had a choice of spending $1-$2 dollars more per GALLON of pancake syrup that had NO SUGAR in it for school breakfasts, would you? I am not talking about adding boat loads of aspartame or other fake sugars, but just a pinch of natural stevia if needed, with most of the sweetness coming from the fruit and berry juices of the real fruit and berries in the syrup. That equals 3 cents more per 2-ounce pc of syrup per child...TOPS!

     On top of it all, I am constantly hearing the desire of most people in the industry that they want to do something about our children's health. But the slow-paced, often dismissive, nature of the feed-back I have encountered, along with the very first question "How much?" that precedes these apathetic, disinterested and rhetorical "airs" leads me to believe that these same people WANT others to think they are interested in our children's health for the praise they receive from their peers and media, but do not put their money where their mouths are. Which is a shame because it is the youngsters mouths that we should be paying attention to!

     I will not stop trying to convince school departments everywhere to, at the very least, try something new that is healthy! Give our children a taste of something that HAS taste, rather than sugar. Give my, for example, syrups a try. If the children don't like them, then at least they tried . I don't care one way or the other what the children decide. Offering them a choice is what matters to me!

     I even heard one school official tell me(along with a couple retail outlets) that they weren't interested because nobody has asked for flavored syrups before, therefore there is no interest.

THIS IS INSANE!!

     Nobody has asked for them because it isn't being offered. Looks as if the dumbing down can be rightfully attributed to some adults.

     Am I writing this simply to get people to buy my products and am I self-promoting? Of course not! Try other syrups and food items that are healthy. I just don't care one way or the other! I have products that are truly healthy and delicious and try to offer them at a price that EVERYONE can afford because I want as many children to taste them as possible. I tell this to ALL the stores that carry my products, along with the promise that they will NEVER be sold for more than $5 a jar. I will eat the profit myself if that is what it takes!!!!

     To wrap this up(yes, nothing gets me going more than a complete and utter lack of our children's health by those who make decisions that directly AFFECT our children's health)let me just say that those of you who are in charge of determining what is best for our children in the lunch room and are trying to think of any and all reasons NOT to help our children eat healthier, SHAME ON YOU!

     Those of you who are saying what you think others want to hear, but don't back it up with action...SHAME ON YOU!

     Those of you who determine what is best for our children but are unwilling to take a little time to offer healthy yet great tasting alternatives in schools simply because a minute increase in cost....SHAME ON YOU!


It's Just That Simple!™


Amazing Gravy  

1(15-ounce)can low sodium, fat free beef or chicken broth*
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables of your choice, thawed see NOTE
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Warm up the broth in the microwave or stove top until hot, but not scalding. Place in a food processor or blender with the last 2 ingredients and puree, on high, until you can no longer see even small bits of vegetables, about 30 seconds.
You can either strain the bulk from the vegetables from the liquid or leave as is. There will not be more than a teaspoon, if any.
Place mixture in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring almost constantly. Once boiling, remove from heat and serve.

* If you are using bouillon, use enough to flavor 2 cups water.


NOTE: Use 1 cup vegetable broth instead, but increase the cornstarch to 1 1/2 tablespoons.















Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Salem's Witch Hunt...and a whole lot more!

Here it is, my newest book about...well, solving the Salem Witch Hunt, McCarthyism, WWI and WWII mass hysteria outbreaks, and many more instances of lives that were ruined simply because of our stupidity, demagoguery, blindness, recklessness and pure uncaring attitudes about our fellow man is FINALLY out. And I say man, which encompasses ALL of mankind, so if you are offended(Cathy Areu) find a hobby...or something.
If you are truly subjective in your mind, if you want to learn about the past Witch Hunts so we can't be bound to repeat them or simply want something to think about, this is the book for you.


Find it on Amazon here...https://www.amazon.com/dp/1977785174

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Revolutionary Food Products.....

.....coming by summer of 2018 so stay tuned right here FIRST! You will find it first here before anywhere else for some great products soon to hit the markets for the first time. These are not found anywhere else, not even on the USDA database(which is why it is so hard to have the nutritional labels completed in short order). You will love them and especially the children, without worries about added sugars, corn syrups of any kind and LOADED with fruit and berries.

Our label



Saturday, January 6, 2018

BEANO!!

  I bet many of you remember shouting that word out during a childhood game of the same name, and to be rewarded with a kewpie doll. Well then again, maybe not. I remember the game but not the doll, as the name of the game now called Bingo. Beano was a popular board game for many years, starting in the first quarter of the 20th century in an undetermined Southern state. It was played basically the same way as Bingo is today, but one would place a dried bean on the number called and when they had completed a complete line of numbers either vertically, horizontally or diagonally, they would win. 


  The name Bingo was inadvertently shouted late one night instead of Beano, and there you have the rather dull beginnings of this time honored game. 

  Beans also are considered rather a dull protein-packed meal as well. They are also time-honored and for good reason. Beans were a lifesaver to our ancestors who came over to this new land in the 17th century. Many were given huge lots of land simply for coming over and settling. And beans, along with pumpkin and corn, were grown by everyone because they could grow in the rockiest of soils and were cheap. 

  Beans were more often than not the center of a Puritan meal, with meat as a side dish. So throughout the ages, beans of ever kind have held a true comforting appeal to many, as well as this chef.

  Find below 3 recipes that are not your usual take on the bean, but still a comforting taste whose protein quickly fills and warms you up.


Spicy Charro Beans 


  Literally meaning Cowboy, Charro is usually served as a soup, or with a soup-like consistency, but I find this recipe perfect the way it is. Charro beans are loved by all Mexican 'horsemen' and you will see why with one flavorful bite. 

1/4 pound bacon, diced
1/4 pound Chorizo sausage, diced
1/2 small onion, minced
2(15-ounce)cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1(7-ounce) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup your favorite salsa
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 cup whole kernel corn
4 cups hot cooked rice, if desired.

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add the bacon, chorizo and onion. Stir to combine and cook until the onion is softened and the bacon has cooked to your liking. Drain fat and add remainder of ingredients except rice. Continue to cook and stir until heated through. Serve hot as is or over rice.



Cheesy Italian Baked Beans 
A tasty Italian rendition to the Baked Beans we enjoy in New England, but taking a fraction of the time to prepare. Although the Native Americans in New England used corn as a support-base for growing the common bean(as part of the Three Sisters), in Italy the Romano bean was used in their version of the Three Sisters. This fiber-rich bean are most often found in Minestrone soups, fagioli dishes and poultry cooked in the style of all'uccelletto. It is one of the few hearty bean varieties that pair perfectly with pungent and bold Mediterranean spices, such as listed below.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic in oil
1/2 onion, minced
1(28-ounce)can diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1/2 teaspoon each dried rosemary, basil and oregano
3(16-ounce)cans Romano beans, drained well*
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded, smoked provolone cheese
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat until shimmering hot. Add garlic and stir well while cooking for 1 minute. Add onion, continuing to cook and stir until onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and herbs, stirring well. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium.
Cook 8-10 minutes, or until the liquid is starting to reduce and thicken. Add beans, half of both cheeses, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper, stirring to combine.
Transfer contents of pan to a 2-quart baking or casserole dish, top with remaining cheese and bake until all cheese is melted and the entire dish is bubbling. Remove from oven to serve hot.

* Or use cannellini beans if desired.  

Makes 4(1 1/2-cup) servings



Savory Pork Stew with Sweet Potatoes

So thick you can actually eat this winter time bowl of goodness with a fork. White potatoes or even that leftover pie pumpkin works easily here as well. I don't pretend this is a gourmet meal, nor do I tout this simple recipe as something that will garner accolades around the globe. But it is a comforting dish of piping hot, warm your belly kind of meal that the kids will enjoy as well.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless pork loin, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small onion, minced
1 small bell pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
1(28-ounce can) diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups diced, raw sweet potato
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
Juice from 1 orange and 2 teaspoons grated rind
4 cups cooked pasta or noodles of your choice, kept warm


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. When hot, add pork, onion and bell peppers, stirring well. Cook and stir until pork is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add remainder of ingredients, stirring well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, uncovered, or until potato is tender and  pork is cooked through. Stir a few times. This will make a very thick stew so for thinner, simply cover before simmering.
Makes about 4 good-sized servings

Thursday, December 14, 2017

3 Fools

Dessert Fools have been around so long that it is difficult to pin down the origin date. Here is a recipe from 1658, straight from The Compleat Cook. 

"Take your Gooseberries, and put them in a Silver or Earthen Pot, and set it in a Skillet of boyling Water, and when they are coddled enough strain them, then make them hot again, when they are scalding hot, beat them very well with a good piece of fresh butter, Rose-water and Sugar, and put in the yolke of two or three Eggs; you may put Rose-water into them, and so stir it altogether, and serve it to the Table when it is cold."

Over time, using any sweetened custard for this superb "pudding" has been omitted for the simpler whipped cream. In fact, most of today's Fool recipes are simply mashed berries that have been mixed with whipped cream. To me, that may make for a quick fix in the summer, but to truly enjoy this classic takes just a tad extra effort, especially during the Holidays when people put their best, and most creative, foot forward to please themselves and others around them.
I am giving you 3 distinctly different Fool recipes. Notice I refrain from using entirely whipped cream in these recipes. I opt, instead, to give it a little "kick in the pants". If desired, substitute more whipped cream to any of these recipes. 


Tart Raspberry Fool


You are going to be very pleasantly surprised at the sweet tartness this Holiday dessert provides. All the flavors balance out perfectly and I have a funny feeling you will be doubling, tripling or even quadrupling this recipe to feed the masses this year as they gather around your table.


1(12-ounce)bag frozen raspberries(2 1/2 cups)
1 cup frozen, white grapefruit juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
1(1-ounce)envelope unflavored gelatin
1(8-ounce)container plain yogurt, whisked and divided
3 cups whipped topping, divided


Combine raspberries, grapefruit juice concentrate and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, bringing to a boil. Once boiling, and with a potato masher or sturdy fork, mash raspberries just a couple times, leaving them chunky. Sprinkle gelatin over the top and continue cooking without stirring for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and transfer to bowl to chill in refrigerator, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
When ready, whisk half the yogurt with half the whipped topping until well combined in a large bowl. Fold in cooled(it will still be warm)raspberry mixture, folding until desired streaks are visible or fold in entirely.

Divide among 4 serving dishes, loosely cover with film wrap and chill at least 3 hours. When ready to serve, blend the remainder of yogurt with remainder of whipped topping and ladle over individual servings of Fool.




Sweet and Tangy Blueberry Fool

Mousse-like but much softer. An original recipe for this New England dessert goes all the way back to 15th century England, when it was made with crushed berries mixed with eggs and a sweetener, creating a berry-laden custard. It was made in this way even well into 19th century New England before being altered using whipped cream instead of custard. I think you will find this version less sweet and eggy, but "super delicious" as my kids say! Refer to note at the end for 2 other Fool recipes, one of which is the classic preparation.



1(12-ounce)bag frozen blueberries(2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch dried ginger or allspice
1(1-ounce)envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2(8-ounce)container creme fraiche
1 1/2 cups whipped topping
Crushed gingersnaps or your favorite crisp Holiday cookies


Make blueberry filling by combining frozen blueberries, corn syrup, lemon juice and spices in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil until blueberries are thawed. Once boiling, and with a potato masher or sturdy fork, mash the blueberries just a couple times, leaving them very chunky. Sprinkle gelatin over the top and continue cooking without stirring for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and transfer to bowl to chill in refrigerator, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

When ready, whisk creme fraiche and whipped topping until well combined in a large bowl. Fold in cooled(it will still be warm)blueberry mixture, folding until desired streaks are visible or fold in entirely.

Divide among 4 serving dishes, loosely cover with film wrap and chill at least 3 hours before serving with crushed cookies over the top.

NOTE: Follow this link for a great Raspberry Fool and to prepare this old time dessert the way it was intended, follow this link, English Cranberry Fool with Baked Meringue.


Ye Olde Cranberry Fool
Here is a Fool recipe that is truly classic....well, for the most part. I use the classic preparation for the overall texture, but Yanked it using canned cranberry sauce. For those of you who wish to prepare it using fresh cranberries, simply see asterisk. Regardless of how you make it, it is delightfully different and perfect for your table this season.

1(14-ounce)can whole-berry cranberry sauce *
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon allspice or cinnamon
1 cup sugar, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
Nonstick cooking spray


Empty cranberry sauce into a bowl and stir until it is well broken up. Strain any liquid from it and discard, set aside cranberry sauce. Place milk, egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and allspice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to scalding while almost continuously stirring with a rubber spatula to prevent scorching. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, or until it has thickened to the consistency of thin gravy.

Remove from heat and stir in bowl of cranberry sauce and vanilla until well incorporated. Evenly divide among 3-4 serving dishes, loosely cover with film wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled and set, about 3 hours. You can also simply pour into a large bowl to cool, scooping out portions when ready to serve.

Meanwhile, make meringue toppings. Beat egg whites using an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Slowly add remaining sugar while beating to stiff peaks.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray. Pipe chocolate kiss-like mounds(or rosettes) to desired sizes onto parchment paper, leaving an inch between mounds. (This amount of meringue will make about 14-15 good-sized meringues, so use only half the whites if desired.

Place in oven for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat, leaving the meringues in oven for at least one hour to dry out.

When ready to serve, add as many meringues on top of each serving as desired.

* Want to make your own chunky cranberry sauce? You will need to give yourself some time. Simply place 1(12-ounce)bag fresh cranberries in a medium saucepan with 1 cup frozen orange juice concentrate(thawed)and 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue boiling for about 8 minutes, or until most, if not all, the cranberries have popped open. Remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl, cool to room temperature and cover with film wrap. Refrigerate until completely chilled. It will thicken substantially when cooling. Use in place of the canned cranberry sauce above. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Punkin' Time


I am not even going to attempt to tell you just how important pumpkin was, and is, the New Englanders. Let me just begin by giving you just a smidgen of the pumpkin recipes I have in my library for you to look over for your next gathering. Let's begin!


Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Rolls

These cinnamon roll-like treats create a type of caramelized glaze both on top and on bottom with a sweet crunch in the middle of every bite. When combined with the great flavor of a pumpkin streusel pie I think this will quickly replace the classic cinnamon rolls so often loved. Want to serve this up on your Holiday morning? Simply coat the top of each roll that has been placed in the muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray, loosely cover with film wrap and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, crank the oven and bake!

Dough:
1/2 cup warm milk
3 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup sugar(see NOTE)
1(.25-ounce)pkg. dry yeast
3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups flour
Nonstick cooking spray
Streusel:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2-2 1/2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup your favorite maple syrup
Glaze:(For thinner glaze, add additional water)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add milk, molasses and sugar to a large mixing bowl, whisking until well combined. Sprinkle yeast over the top and let sit for 10 minutes, or until frothing. Add pumpkin, butter, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, beating until smooth. Add flour all at once and continue beating, on low speed, until all the flour has been incorporated. (Unlike regular bread dough, this dough will not leave the sides of the bowl, it should be very soft).
Cover and let sit on the counter in a warm spot of your kitchen until about double in bulk.
Liberally grease a 6-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. You can also use a mini muffin pan as well, just cut each roll half the thickness as described below.
In a bowl, combine streusel ingredients(except maple syrup) and mix with a fork until even in color and texture.
Liberally flour a work surface and empty out bowl of dough. Knead dough, bringing up the sides and folding it into itself for about 2 minutes, until it is no longer sticky. Add more flour as you knead and use a dough knife if needed as well.
Roll out dough to about 16-inches in length to 10-inches wide. Spread maple syrup to within an inch of all sides. Sprinkle streusel evenly over the top, to within an inch of the sides. Start rolling tightly from the long end in front of you, ending with the seam-side down. Cut into 6 equal-sized slices and place each into greased cups of muffin tin.
Set aside to rise once again to about 50% larger in volume. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F and bake rolls for 25 minutes, or until when pressed toward the center, it bounces back and the top is crisp.
While rolls are baking, prepare glaze by mixing powdered sugar, water and vanilla together until smooth; set aside.
Remove from oven to cool slightly before running a knife around the edges to loosen. Lift each out to glaze while hot and serve.


NOTE: If you don't have molasses, simply substitute 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed.



Pumpkin Corn Pudding
I know...right?! Seems odd that summer and fall are almost behind us and now we are thinking of the Holidays. These would make the perfect side dish for your big ol' turkey this year and these mini pumpkins are ready now in stores and orchards and road-side stands everywhere.



6 mini pumpkins(about 8 ounces each)
1 chipotle or other hot pepper
1 small onion, minced
1/2(10-ounce)pkg. frozen corn, thawed
1/2(10-ounce)pkg. frozen sliced carrots, thawed
3-4 ounces spicy ham, such as pancetta
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed or rubbed sage
1 1/2 cups milk
4 eggs
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cut the top from each pumpkin and scoop out all seeds and membranes with a spoon. Add a couple tablespoons water in each, place the lids back on and microwave, separately, for 1 minute. Test by pressing against the sides. If you need more time before they are just tender enough to give, microwave 30 seconds at a time until done. Let each cool enough to handle before continuing.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. In a bowl, whisk together milk and eggs, setting aside. Cut in half, remove stem, deseed and mince hot pepper; set aside. Dice carrots small. In a large skillet, mix onion, corn, carrots, butter, minced hot pepper, sage, salt and pepper together well. Over medium high heat, cook until everything is starting to brown while stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.
Place hollowed out pumpkins on a very lightly greased baking pan and evenly divide corn mixture into each pumpkin, leaving 1 cup aside. Place tops of each pumpkin alongside each filled pumpkin and bake about 20-30 minutes, or until each pumpkin is soft but not starting to cave in or droop. Remove from oven and serve, with the additional corn mixture evenly topping each, reheating if needed. Serve with pumpkin tops.


Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Cream Bread
This truly is the most moist sweet bread recipe around. The added touch of cinnamon/maple swirl in the center just sends the taste off the edge. After eating this entire loaf among me and the kids, honest to goodness nobody had one single crumb on their plates.

Nonstick cooking spray
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup your favorite eggnog
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin(not spiced)
3 tablespoons cinnamon, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup



Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl and using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on high speed until well combined. It may not be smooth because I cut back on the butter, but if it resembles crumbs, that is perfect.
Add eggs and beat well. Add eggnog, pumpkin, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, baking soda and nutmeg. Continue beating, on low speed, until everything is evenly blended. Add flour all at once and beat until it just comes together.
In a separate, smaller bowl, mix together granulated sugar, remainder of cinnamon with maple syrup until well blended.
Pour half the bread batter into prepared pan. Drizzle maple mixture right down the center(it will be think) and add remaining batter over the top. Lift up a couple inches from the counter and drop a couple times to remove air bubbles. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until when touched in the center, it bounces back. Make sure you put a larger sheet pan underneath the loaf pan to catch any maple mixture that may bubble up over the sides.
Remove from oven, loosen the sides with a butter knife and let cool enough to transfer to a platter.

Harvest Time Pumpkin Cornbread

A great cornbread that truly showcases the flavors of our grandparents and far beyond. This recipe reminds me so much of Baked Indian Pudding, but with the classic texture of brittle(but not too brittle)corn bread. This is one of those rare bread recipes that you can substitute gluten free flour to without negatively affecting the texture. This is a keeper.


Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup Golden eggnog *
1 cup pure pumpkin
1/2 cup molasses

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F. Grease a 9-10-inch oven safe skillet(cast iron is, of course, the best) with a liberal amount of nonstick cooking spray; set aside.


In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add eggnog, pumpkin and molasses, stirring very well. It does not need to be lump free.
Pour into prepared skillet and back 44-46 minutes, or until cracked on top and when pressed in the center, it pops back up. Remove from oven to cool slightly before cutting into wedges to serve warm.
* Vanilla eggnog is excellent here as well, or even try caramel flavored eggnog.





Punkin' Custard 'Pie' with Apple-Pecan Crunch

Not quite a pie, not quite a custard. This deliciously moist dessert is light, airy and bursting with that warm, 'cuddly' taste, if that makes sense. There is just something about the smell of pumpkin cooking that instantly puts a smile on your face, and this treat will put a smile on even that one relative that is a little hard to crack.
4 mini pumpkins
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon apple jelly
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped, dry roasted nuts of your choice
1 cup solid pack pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Cut off the stem end of each pumpkin, about a quarter of the way down. With a spoon, scoop out stringy flesh and seeds; set aside. In a small bowl, add apple jelly and microwave for 15 seconds, or until hot. Remove, add lemon juice and whisk smooth. Scoop out 1 tablespoon of jelly to another small bowl and stir in the chopped nuts, mixing well; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk pumpkin, remainder of melted apple jelly, eggs and pumpkin pie spice. Evenly divide among the hollowed out pumpkins. Place on a pan and gently sprinkle prepared nuts on top of each so that they don't immediately sink into batter. It is fine if some do, they will rise back up as they are in the oven. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until the filling has puffed up and is firm to the touch.
Remove from oven to cool 5 minutes before serving. Or if desired, refrigerate completely before serving.






Spicy Pumpkin Chili   

Not too spicy, not too mild. The sweet taste of pumpkin works well to tone down any heat, but if it is fire that you want, simply mince a couple hot peppers and cook along with the onions and bell peppers. Dollop some sour cream on top and sprinkle shredded Monterey Jack cheese if desired.

2 teaspoons oil
1 small onion, peeled and minced
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and minced
1 pound ground chicken or turkey
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1(15-ounce)can white beans, drained
1 cup whole kernel corn
1(15-ounce)can diced tomatoes in juice
1(15-ounce)can tomato sauce or puree
1(15-ounce)can packed pumpkin
Salt and black pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add oil. When oil is hot, add onion and bell pepper, cooking until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add chicken, continuing to cook until chicken is thoroughly cooked through, stirring frequently to break up. Add remainder of ingredients, stir to combine and reduce heat to low. Partially cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Serve hot. 
About 5 good sized servings



Doodle Pop Cake 

Anyone remember the childrens show Doodle Bops? My children loved it! So this cake is now a standard in my home not only in title but because the flavor is reminiscent of a Snickerdoodle cookie as well, of which every child loves. A softly scented cake that can just be grabbed by a childs hands and eaten.....of course you may want to follow them with a vacuum.

Butter-flavored, nonstick cooking spray
1/2 stick(1/4-cup) butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup pumpkin
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Topping:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Grease a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. With an electric mixer, beat butter  with brown sugar until blended well. Add applesauce, pumpkin, egg and vanilla, continuing to beat until thoroughly mixed.
In a separate bowl, blend flour, spices and baking soda. Slowly add to batter, beating well.
Pour into prepared pan and bake 26-28 minutes, or until it springs back when touched in the center. Remove from oven and set aside while in pan.
Spray the top of the cake lightly with cooking spray while hot. In a small bowl, blend sugar and cinnamon for the topping and evenly sprinkle over the cake. Let cake cool to serve.





New England-Style Waldorf Salad
Ordinarily, and classically, Waldorf Salad would have grapes but I think the tang of cranberries that have been plumped up with grape juice brings this recipe to a whole new level. And when lemon curd is added and this perfect Holiday side dish and presented in a mini pumpkin, you will be handing out this recipe to everyone who asks......or will you just keep it in the family?


3 mini pumpkins
1/2 cup 100% grape juice
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 apples
1/2 cup lemon curd
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
2 tablespoons minced celery
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, pecans or slivered almonds
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Cut the stem ends of each pumpkin off. With a spoon, dig out stringy flesh and seeds; set aside. Place grape juice, cranberries and raisins in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes.
When ready, peel, core and dice apple to equal about 2 cups total; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon curd, mayonnaise and Chinese 5-spice powder; set aside. Strain cranberries and raisins if all the liquid has not been absorbed and discard any remaining liquid. Add to a bowl with apple, celery, walnuts and mayonnaise mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before evenly dividing among the prepared pumpkins and serving cold.


The Best Jefferson Davis Pie 

Jefferson Davis has been punked......with 'punkin, that is! Want a great, timeless Southern pie with a Yankee influence that tastes exactly like a "punkin' chip cookie? Both North and South are equally represented here in a dessert that is outrageously good. Classically, Jefferson Davis Pie is made with egg yolks but replacing them with egg substitute works equally as well. Go ahead and use 4 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs if desired.

Shortbread Crust:
2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs or crushed vanilla waters
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Filling:
1/2 stick(1/4 cup)butter or margarine, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup egg substitute
4 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips *
3/4 cup canned pumpkin

Preheat oven to 325-degrees F. In a bowl, combine cookie crumbs with melted butter. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan and press against the bottom and up the sides; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until smooth and creamy. Add egg substitute, pumpkin and vanilla, continuing to beat on high until well incorporated. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Using a spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the raisins and chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pie shell and bake 32-34 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch. Remove from oven to cool slightly before serving. This pie is even better cold.


* To stay as close to original as possible, substitute the chocolate chips for chopped, dried apricots, chopped dates or even some candied fruit for the Holidays.