Friday, November 20, 2015

Food Friday - Family Favorites

from Kris B.

It is hard to believe that the holiday season is here!  It's that time of year where my life is made possible only by the many lists that have diligently created - lists of social obligations, Christmas gifts to buy, chores to be done, and of course, meal planning tasks.

Sometimes I wonder why planning Thanksgiving dinner is that difficult since it is a meal of tradition; everyone has their favorite dish and it is my job to make sure that all those favorites end up on the holiday table. In my family, we don't have generations of traditions by which to abide when it comes to our holiday meals, but I know many families that have had the same dishes as part of their Thanksgiving celebrations for years and years and years.  And often when they stop and think about it, they realize that some of the things that are still being served were a favorite of someone who is no longer living and no one now even likes "that" dish.  This scenario reminded me of a funny song that I sang with a chorus several years back, "Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise."  If you need a little bit of comic relief during these hectic days, click here.

We don't have any Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise at our house, but we do have some foods that are fast becoming holiday traditions.  One such food is pumpkin butter.  A former friend and I used to make it every year for our church's Christmas bazaar.  It quickly became a favorite of my then toddler second child.  Over the past twenty years, I have tweaked the recipe a little here and there to try and make it the best it can be and to add my own personal touch.  A jar of pumpkin butter used to be the standard holiday gift for my girls' teachers, as well as for many of my friends.

Because of the craziness in my life at the end of last year, I did not make any holiday pumpkin butter. in 2014  Though life still hectic this year as well, I managed to get the first batch of pumpkin butter made this week.  (Yes, Erin.  You may have a jar now.)  As I was making it, I was reminded of just how good pumpkin butter is.  I will definitely be making a few more batches over the coming weeks!


2 15oz. cans of pumpkin puree
1 1.75oz package of pectin
1 TBS pumpkin pie spice
3 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 TBS vanilla

Stir pumpkin puree and pectic together in a good sized heavy pot.  (You want a pot that is big enough so that once you add the sugar, the mixture will not boil over or "spit" hot pumpkin butter over the top.)  Continue to stir regularly while bringing this mixture to a boil.  Once boiling, add all of the sugar at once, the pumpkin pie spice, and the vanilla.  While stirring constantly, again bring the mixture to a boil.  Allow to boil for two minutes.  Remove from heat.

The pumpkin butter can be canned using standard canning procedures; or, it can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Pumpkin butter is fantastic on your morning toast or English muffin, on crackers as an after school snack, or as filling for your holiday thumbprint cookies.  And, as members of my family will tell you, it is also good on a spoon right out of the jar.

by Tracey G.

Thanksgiving has never been a time for sticking with tradition for me, I don't know why, but I've never felt obligated to one certain dish. I've always been very open-minded about my menu. I have made turkeys the majority of the time because I like the sides that go with it, lol. And I like to make turkey noodle soup with the left-overs! But I'm always willing to add in things, omit things and whatnot.

I've been looking for a recipe for the Thanksgiving morning, something simple that could maybe pave the way for a "tradition" of sorts and this recipe came along at the right time so I thought I'd give it a try. I mean seriously this sounded pretty straight-forward yummy, lol. And it is - it's really good. Harry loved it and will go perfect with coffee at any time of the day! I must thank Taste of Home for coming through for me once again!

Down East Blueberry Buckle

2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
3/4 c 2% milk
1/4 c butter, melted
2 c fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 c sugar
1/3 c flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 c  butter, softened

1) Preheat oven to 375° F. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk egg, milk and melted butter until blended. Add to flour mixture, stir just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Transfer to a greased 9-in. square baking pan.

2) For topping, in a small bowl, mix sugar, flour and cinnamon. Using a fork, stir in softened butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

3) Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (do not overbake) Cool in pan on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

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