Pumpkins not limited to season

Pumpkins are most popular for carving out scary Halloween faces or using the pulp for Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, but it’s not just for those two seasons anymore.

Pumpkin has only 42 calories for a half cup serving and gives the same qualities as a full serving of vegetables -14 percent of your daily quota for fiber, about 380 percent of the recommended immunity-boosting vitamin A and healthy doses of vitamin C and potassium. I would rather have it in a pumpkin nog, pumpkin bread or pumpkin cookies than a vegetable, though.

These facts were passed on by the Everyday Foods magazine, noting that for health’s sake you need to grab a can of the “real deal” pumpkin, not the pie mix that has added sugar and more calories and sodium than stated above.

Some suggested ways to utilize pumpkin to get those vitamins and fiber are:

— Spread either Neufchatel or low-fat cream cheese that has been blended with pumpkin puree on whole-wheat toast. Top with toasted walnuts and drizzle with honey.

— Heat pumpkin puree with low-sodium chicken broth, ground cumin, cayenne pepper and a bit of brown sugar until thickened. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro leaves.

— Spread pumpkin puree on a pita, sprinkle with feta or Parmesan cheese and broil until browned in spots. Top with arugula.

— Whirl with low-fat vanilla yogurt, ice, grated peeled fresh ginger, a few Dromedary dates and a pinch of cinnamon.


This recipe is for a crisp waffle that is healthy with whole wheat flour and pumpkin puree. The syrup has a distinct cinnamon flavor as well.

Waffles with

Cinnamon Maple Syrup

1 cup pure maple syrup

1 cinnamon stick

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk

1 cup canned, packed pumpkin

4 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Heat waffle iron according to manufacturers directions. In a small lidded pot over medium heat, combine maple syrup and cinnamon stick. Cook uncovered until it steams. Do not boil. Turn off heat, cover and let stand 15 minutes. If not immediately serving, transfer to an airtight container with the cinnamon stick. Cool; refrigerate until ready to use.

Whisk together both flours, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, blend buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar and butter. Stir dry mixture into wet mixture until smooth. Coat waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray. Cook waffles according to manufacturers directions. If not immediately serving, cool and freeze the waffles in resealable bags in a single layer or stack with parchment paper in between waffles. To serve: Toast frozen waffles and reheat syrup. Makes 12 waffles with 270 calories per waffle with syrup.


Okay, this is quite a different recipe for black bean soup. It has pumpkin puree added to the ingredients. It was featured in a HomeMade Simple.com page. It costs $10 to make but serves five, making it only $2 per serving.

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

16-ounce can pumpkin puree

1/2 cup red onion chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups vegetable broth

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon each kosher salt, cinnamon and allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Baked pumpkin seeds for garnish

Place oil, red onion, garlic and seasonings into a large pot. Cook on low-medium heat until red onion and garlic get brown. Puree the beans and tomatoes with half of the vegetable broth. Add pureed ingredients, pumpkin and rest of broth to the pot. Simmer uncovered until thick, about 40-45 minutes. Before serving stir in balsamic vinegar. Garnish with baked pumpkin seeds.


This is a creamy punch with a taste of the actual pie. It is from Family Circle magazine.

Pumpkin Pie Nog

2 cups cooked, fresh sugar pumpkin puree or 15-ounce can pumpkin

46-ounce bottle peach-mango smoothie drink or peach or apricot nectar, 5 1/2 cups

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie

1 quart vanilla or pumpkin ice cream

If using cooked fresh pumpkin puree, add to a blender with 1 cup of the smoothie drink; cover and blend until smooth. In a 5- to 6-quart saucepan, combine remaining smoothie drink, the blended pumpkin mixture or canned pumpkin and pie spice. Heat about 10 minutes until very warm. Add about three-quarters of the ice cream by spoonfuls. Heat and stir 3 to 5 minutes more, until just melted. Pour into a punch bowl. Top with scoops of remaining ice cream. Serve immediately. Nog will be slightly warm. Makes 16 servings and is 142 calories a serving.


This is a slimmed-down quick bread using pumpkin. Thanks to egg whites, low-fat yogurt and canola oil, fat grams have been cut down. It is from Good Housekeeping magazine.

Pumpkin Bread

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large egg whites

1 cup pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix

1/4 cup canola oil

1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch metal loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour. In a large bowl, with wire whisk, combine brown sugar and egg whites. Add pumpkin, oil, yogurt and vanilla and stir to combine. In medium bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture; stir until just combined. Do not overmix. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert pumpkin bread onto wire rack; cool completely. Makes 16 servings, about 140 calories per slice.

Note: I made this bread and used 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour as I did not have whole wheat flour.


This is an easy and quick pie to make, and there is no baking.

Turtle Pumpkin Pie

Graham cracker pie crust

1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping, divided

1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, divided

2 packages, 3/4-ounces each, vanilla flavor instant pudding

1 cup cold milk

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

8-ounce whipped topping, thawed, divided

Pour 1/4 cup caramel topping into crust; sprinkle with 1/2 cup nuts. Beat pudding mixes, milk, pumpkin and spices with whisk until blended. Stir in 1 1/2 cup whipped topping and spoon into crust. Refrigerate 1 hour. Top with remaining whipped topping, caramel topping and nuts just before serving. Serves 10.


HomeMadeSimple.com provides this recipe for a pumpkin cookie to use as a place card at parties or Thanksgiving dinner. You put the initial, or two initials if there are some with the same initial, on the cookie in white decoration frosting, and that is where they are seated.

Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup shortening

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon each baking soda, baking powder and salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup canned pumpkin

Frosting in a pastry bag or plastic bag with a small slit cut at the bottom

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix sugar, egg, shortening and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir into the creamed mixture then stir in pumpkin. Drop by heaping teaspoons and flatten to a round with a glass. Bake for 12 minutes then cool. Write the first initial of each guest on a cookie with white frosting.


Cooked pudding pies are noted for having a baked egg meringue on top but this pumpkin pie breaks the rules and has one as well. This recipe is from a 1970s issue of TV Guide that I saved, planning to make the pie but never did. This might give me the inspiration to do so now.

Golden Pumpkin Meringue Pie

9-inch unbaked pastry shell

3 eggs, separated

16-ounce can pure pumpkin

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 2/3 cups evaporated milk

Dash of salt

7-ounce jar marshmallow creme

Beat egg yolks slightly. Add pumpkin, sugar, spice, salt and milk. Mix well. You might try adding the milk slowly as it is hard to get it smooth if you add the milk all at once. Pour into pastry shell. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted halfway into the center comes out clean. Cool. Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add marshmallow creme, beating until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue on pie, sealing to the edge of pie. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

(McCoy can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstaronline.com.)