Monday, November 26, 2012

Don't forget about pumpkin - it's not just for holidays!

It's not just for Halloween....
When I was little, my sense of adventure did not include food.  Tried and true foods were my staples, with pasta being a highlight.  Holidays brought a bit of stress as they also brought different, more traditional (though not in my mind) foods to the table, and I found myself frequently refusing to eat them.

Pumpkin was one of those foods.  In my mind, pumpkins were meant for carving, not eating.  Slices of creamy Pumpkin Pie were left untouched and untasted, and it wasn't until I reached my 30's that I discovered what I was missing.  Today, I can't get enough pumpkin, and it's not just for fall anymore.

During this fall holiday season I stock up on the canned version, and we pull out cans year round for pumpkin treats.  When my kids were little, pumpkin was a staple in pancakes and muffins, adding a nice dose of Vitamin A as well as fiber while keeping calories low.

We've had Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls for July birthdays, Pumpkin Chocolate Cake for August Jazz in the Park, and a lovely Pumpkin Gorgonzola Pasta for the first day of Spring.  That being said, I do enjoy the plethora of pumpkin recipes and lore that come with this fall holiday season, and I found myself captured recently by a story from friend of a friend a few weeks ago.

As Leslie told me about Vi, her face lit up with the glow of happy memories.  She reminisced about the days when she was a little girl, and also about a Pumpkin Pie that only Vi could make taste so good.   Vi promised the "secret recipe", and you'll have to read the story to be in on the secret...

by Leslie L.

Yes Viola, or Vi as we called her, would come each Thursday to help my mom around the house with ironing and light cleaning. As soon as Vi arrived all five of the Laurer kids would sit at the kitchen table and wait for the weekly ritual of Vi making peanut butter toast for breakfast. It wasn’t the toast we anticipated but rather watching our dad frantically search in every cupboard looking for his jar of peanut butter. Little did he know that Viola had hidden it in the oven on purpose.  I don’t know to this day if dad was on to her or just played through the scenario for the delight of his kids.

Viola was married to Ernie, who was a cobbler. And that is what he called himself, a cobbler. Vi and Ernie lived in a little, lavender house in the center of Baltimore City. Lavendar was my favorite color and I remember thinking that I had never seen such a pretty house in my life. 

Viola was a wonderful cook. After school we would come home knowing that Viola had made a special pie. With the remains from the pie crust she would bake triangles smeared with butter and cinnamon. It was a little bit of heaven to pop them into our mouths! She made an amazing beef stew too, but her specialty was Viola’s Pumpkin Pie. We used to say, “Vi … how come your pie tastes so good?” She would just smile and say, “One day when the angels come to take me away, I will leave you my secret recipe.” 

Viola and Ernie eventually sold that darling, little lavender house which was now ensconced by skyscrapers for a great sum of money. They contributed to their church, got on a bus and toured the United States for the remainder of their lives.

When Viola passed away she was true to her word… and left her most precious Pumpkin Pie recipe to my sisters. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have over the past 49 years!

The recipe comes from the pumpkin pie filling can.  One large can makes 2 pies.
Viola’s secret ingredient?  One cup of Kentucky Bourbon and ½ teaspoon of maple syrup!
Remember liquor evaporates a little while cooking so we always add a little more...


I would love to have known Vi, and I'd be willing to bet she had some fabulous story to tell... many thanks to Leslie and her family for sharing Vi's story with us.  What an incredible woman who deserves to be remembered.

As I don't see pumpkin season really coming to an end, I thought we'd bring you some of our favorites from this year as well as years past... Don't forget to stock up on a few extra cans of pumpkin so you can enjoy the heart healthy ingredient year round with us!

Jeanette's Healthy Living

Lemons and Anchovies



  1. I also didn't like pumpkin as a child and didn't know what I was missing! Although I'm guilty of not bringing out the pumpkin recipes until the fall, it really is a terrific way to add vitamins and fiber and I sneak it into all kinds of things. :) The cinnamon rolls looks so damn good!

  2. I've always loved pumpkin. The simple pie version is my absolutely favorite. That being said, I'm heading over to print the scone recipe. I might just make those today. :)

  3. Fab round-up, thanks so much for including me. I didn't get a taste for pumpkin till I was older too. I stocked up too and I'm thinking I need to try one of these recipes. Vi sounds like a doll, only a cup, lol. Hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Hoping I can finally get back in the swing of things.

  4. Hi, Kim...I'm Annie, new here. Came over (I think) from Northwest Edibles? Anyway...thanks for posting these pumpkin recipes. I just finished canning 14 quarts of pumpkin and freezing 10 quarts ! Always looking for something to use them in--got them for almost nothing at my little local market at the end of the season.
    I love to cook as well, and have a neglected cooking blog as well as this one at Elegant Blessings.
    I'll be back soon--great blog!

  5. Viola's secret ingredient is wonderful! As are all these pumpkin recipes, Kim. You've certainly made up for not liking it as a child. True, seems in the US you're all pumpkin mad. Wish we were in Paris. Speaking of bourbon, we'll just have to use Scots Whisky ;-) Cheers!

  6. Ooh nice pumpkin roundup Kim. I particularly like that granola. Which reminds me I haven't made in awhile and it's way overdue. Love having a jar full to snack on.


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