Country Cook News – October 24, 2014

Hi Everyone!


Is pumpkin a fruit or a vegetable? Send your answer to

7,500 known varieties of apples are cultivated around the world. Peggy Reinhardt of Humble, Texas, came in with the first correct answer. She has chosen a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. This week I’ll put a signed copy of The Dog Did What? in the mail to her. Congrats, Peggy!

Answer the CONTEST QUESTION OF THE MONTH and win a signed copy of any one of my books. Here’s a link to my Books page to see which books you can win (scroll down to see the complete selection).



apple-pumpkin-pieThis month’s Recipe of the Month combines the familiar taste of cinnamon, spice and everything nice with crisp fall apples and thick, rich pumpkin to create an unusual and delicious all-in-one pie. For a crunchy twist, I’ve added a sweet and buttery “Dutch Crunch” topping.

Apple Pumpkin Pie (pictured) is sure to satisfy those who have been waiting all year to sink their teeth into the two all-time traditional favorites. This recipe comes straight from the pages of SWEET APPLE TEMPTATIONS so we know every tender bite will say, “The holidays are just around the corner!”



pumpkin-fluffCombine 1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin (NOT Pumpkin Pie Filling), 1-teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and 1-cup milk. Add pumpkin mixture to 1 small package Sugar Free Fat Free instant vanilla pudding mix; beat by hand for 2 minutes. Fold in 1-cup fat free non-dairy whipped topping. Divide into 4 individual size pudding dishes; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Serve with additional non-dairy topping and sprinkled with a few chopped pecans, if desired. Serves 4



A kitchen staple during the fall months, pumpkin is actually a fruit with seeds that are also enjoyable. Explore pumpkin’s fruit properties in desserts such as Pumpkin Cake with Dried Cranberries.



It’s that time of year when we could all use A Dash of Sanity. If we don’t need it now, certainly we’ll be longing for it once the crazies of the holiday season start to set in. Sandra, owner of A Dash of Sanity, can help us all get through the holidays with her party and entertaining ideas along with easy-to-prepare recipes from tantalizing Appetizers to savory fare from the Slow Cooker and everything in-between.

One of the first things you’ll see on Sandra’s blog is that she’s mighty partial to pumpkin, hence part of the reason I’ve chosen her as Blog of the Month.

The day begins with scrumptious looking Pumpkin Focaccia Bread or Chocolate Pumpkin Cake Donuts. To prepare our taste buds for lunch, we can enjoy Blinis with Smoked Sockeye Salmon and Dill Infused Creme Fraiche while we’re waiting for the Zucchini Enchiladas with Roasted Green Chile Sauce to come out of the oven. Dinner brings BLT Caprese Insalata to start and ends with Chicken Fettuccine Bake. For dessert, let’s go with Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Cake and a square of Pumpkin Spice Turtle Fudge on the side with a big cup of steaming hot coffee or tea.

As you surf through this site, you’ll find more pumpkin surprises as Halloween and Thanksgiving grow nearer.



I fell for Adagio Tea when I tasted their fall specialty, Pumpkin Spice. It is pure “pumpkin spice” heaven to sip on a clear fall afternoon (while someone else is racking the leaves). This season they offer Candy Apple, Candy Cane, Chestnut and Cranberry teas (just to name a few) in loose or in bags. So much goodness to choose from; I can’t wait to try them all.



O’ pumpkin pie, your time has come ’round again and I am autumnrifically happy! ~ Terri Guillemets



Remove coarse strings from fresh cooked pumpkin by beating it with an electric mixer. The strings will adhere to the fast twirling beaters and leave your pumpkin smooth and string-free.




Last month, Amy Newmark, the new publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, invited 24 Chicken Soup contributors to Hotel ZaZa in downtown Houston for a contributor luncheon.

Just like inside the Chicken Soup books, everyone had a new and different story to tell. We chatted the afternoon away mostly exchanging our first time publishing experience with the popular series. It was a lovely afternoon, and a rare one for all of us who don’t get many opportunities to chat with fellow authors.

Pictured above is Amy Newmark on the left with yours truly.



Most of us have seen pumpkin butter selling in specialty shops for exorbitant prices. Well, it’s not that difficult to make, and shows us on her site how easy it is to make Pumpkin Butter at home. This has holiday gift giving plastered all over it!



Go to Mom’s Madhouse for an impressive selection of pumpkin dessert, snack or gift giving recipes. The list begins with Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and closes with homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer with 23 more ways to indulge with the deliciousness of pumpkin. Enjoy, all you Pumpkin Eaters!


ASK CYNTHIA A QUESTION – October 24, 2014

Brea asked:  How can I tell which pumpkin(s) are suitable for cooking?

My answer: To quote the heading of one site ‘There’s the Carving Kind, Then There’s the Eating Kind’. Pumpkins aren’t created equal, and rule-of-thumb is to use the smaller pumpkins in cooking, especially for pies.

All pumpkins are edible, the bigger varieties used for carving make poor cooking choices because they contain low sugar, have thin walls, and are stringy. You can always puree the meat of the large pumpkins to make soup or pumpkin bread, but most pumpkin recipes, especially for pie, need the smaller and sweeter varieties that weigh 3 to 6 pounds.

At a farmers’ market, the farmer can point you toward the “cooking” pumpkins. A supermarket will usually label the cooking pumpkins as “Sugar Pumpkin” or they’ll be priced by “each” rather than sold by the pound as are carving pumpkins.

Whichever variety you select, make sure it does not have bruises or soft spots. If the pumpkin is greenish when you purchase it, don’t worry, it will turn orange as it ripens. Thank you Brea for you question, and Happy Harvest!

We’ll meet again when it’s closer to Thanksgiving.
Happy Halloween!

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