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Pumpkins can make sweet treats

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
OK are sick of reading about pumpkins, yet? No? Well, good. Yes? Umm, well, umm, just bear with me then.
I have some great pumpkin recipes to share with you, but first I wanted to share some other stuff I learned about pumpkins last week. Did you know that pumpkins were once thought to eliminate freckles? I wonder if they had to eat it or wear it? I would bet it was wearing it. Eww! Pumpkins have also been used to treat snakebites. I have to wonder who came up with that idea? Today (supposedly) some anti-wrinkle creams include pumpkin. In reality, pumpkins are good for you-as a food. They have no cholesterol, low in salt, and have beta carotene, which helps reduce the risks of some types of cancer and lowers the risk of heart disease.
So pumpkin is actually good for you, but I really don't like it unless it's in something. I prefer something sweet. For example, my dad introduced me to this wonderful dessert called a pumpkin roll. A lady he works with made it for him and he brought it to Christmas dinner. I have this strange feeling by the time I add all the stuff to pumpkin, I've negated the health benefits of it. Oh well, at least I can sort of justify eating it anyway.
Pumpkin roll
2/3 cup canned pumpkin; 1 cup sugar; 3 eggs; 1 cup flour; 1 tsp each of lemon juice and baking powder and ginger; 2 tsp cinnamon; 1/2 tsp nutmeg; 1/3 tsp salt; 1 Tbsp powdered sugar.
Beat eggs on high for four to five minutes, while gradually adding the sugar. Stir in at medium or low speed pumpkin, and lemon juice. Mix together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and spices. Fold dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread cake mix into a 15x10x1 jelly roll pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and loosen edges with spatula. Sprinkle powdered sugar onto a cheesecloth and turn cake onto the cheesecloth. Roll warm cake, starting at narrow end into a roll with the cheesecloth. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Filling: 6 ounces cream cheese; 1 cup powdered sugar; 4 Tbsp butter or margarine; 2/3 tsp vanilla.
In a mixing bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth. Unroll cake and remove cheesecloth. Spread filling onto the cake. Re-roll the cake. Chill for several hours or overnight. Before serving sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate.
This is so good. I can hardly wait to make it. There are many other pumpkin recipes that are probably better for you -nutrition wise anyway. For example, there are pumpkin soups, muffins, stuffed pumpkins, pumpkin dip, pumpkin flour, pumpkin drinks and many others. I love the internet. I just searched for "pumpkin recipes" and came out overloaded with them.
Another really cool pumpkin recipe (literally) I wanted to share with you is the "Harry Potter Milkshake." If you've never read the Harry Potter books then let me explain this one a bit. In the books one of the favorite drinks at Hogwart's School of Magic is a pumpkin drink. This recipe is supposed to mimic it. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm going to surprise my kids with it as an after-school treat.
Here's the ingredient list: 1 peeled frozen banana cut into chucks, 3 Tbsp orange juice concentrate; 3 Tbsp pumpkin puree; 1 scoop vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt; 1/3 cup water; whipped cream and cinnamon. Put banana, orange juice, pumpkin, ice cream, and water into blender and blend until smooth, garnish with whipped cream and dash of cinnamon.
Last, but not least, I wanted to share with you how to make your own pumpkin puree. I think most of us buy it now, but from time to time I like to make my own. The easiest way I've found is to bake it.
I wash the pumpkin very well and clean out the inside. Next, I cut the pumpkin into quarters and place it in a pan lined with aluminum foil, rind side down. I usually bake it at 375 degrees for about 1-2 hours, depending on the size of the pumpkin. Just a note, I like smaller pumpkins. It seems to me the larger ones don't have as nice a flavor and the texture isn't as smooth.
When the pulp or meat of the pumpkin is tender, I remove it from the oven and scrape it from the rind using a spoon. I usually have to hold the pumpkin with a thick oven mitt.
When it has cooled some, I put it in the blender and blend until smooth. If you need a really thick puree, you can squeeze out the excess liquid using a cheesecloth.
Ok, I think I'm done with pumpkins, now. If you have a question, suggestion, or tip to share with Mom's Corner, please send it to: Mom's Corner; P.O. Box 1496; Hartselle, AL 35640 or e-mail: moms-corner@juno.com.

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