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2022 Holiday Prep Begins Now!

We are just two weeks away from one of America’s favorite holidays, and the prep has already begun — at least in our heads where the menus have begun to take shape if nothing else.

But, my guess is that most seasoned cooks have already started “writing it all down” so that no detail is left undone. 

Thanksgiving is a day when many families congregate for a traditional meal together, followed by an afternoon of football, whether in the yard to burn the excess calories just consumed, or on the couch to coach a favorite team to victory. And maybe a nap gets thrown in for good measure somewhere in between. 

It will be here before we know it, and in the meantime Lovin’ Spoonful will try to help fill the void with ideas for appetizers, sides and desserts, especially. Here’s hoping the coming weeks will be filled with lots of good food and fellowship for you and your family.

And, as always, let’s not forget those families with an empty seat at the table this year. Nothing hurts much worse, after initial loss, to experience the holidays without loved ones. Let’s be mindful of those, especially who are facing the dreaded “firsts.”  If it doesn’t work to invite someone to join your gathering, make an effort to drop by with a gift in memory of the one they’ve lost. I promise you, it will make a difference. 

The countdown has begun – let’s get cooking!

Pumpkin Soup

2 lb. fresh pumpkin, peeled, cut into chunks, seeds removed

3 cups milk or half-and-half, scalded

1 Tbs. butter

2 tsp. maple syrup

1 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Steam fresh pumpkin until tender; mash or puree. Stir into  hot milk; stir in the remaining ingredients. Heat through and serve immediately. 

Pumpkin Pie Dip

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin

½ cup sour cream

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

½ tsp. ground ginger

Gingersnap cookies

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin, sour cream, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and ginger until blended. Serve with gingersnaps. Refrigerate leftovers. 

Frozen Cranberry Salad

1 can whole cranberry sauce

1 small can pineapple, drained

3 – 4 bananas, mashed

1 cup sugar

1 (8-oz.) container Cool Whip

1 cup chopped nuts

Combine with mixer, spread into square baking dish or pan and freeze until time to serve.  (Double as needed for larger crowd.)

Orange Creamsicle Cake

1 pkg. yellow cake mix

2 pkg. orange gelatin

1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding

1 cup 2% milk

2 Tsp. imitation vanilla

1 Tub whipped topping

Bake cake as directed in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Cool completely. Poke holes in cooled cake. Mix 1 pkg. orange gelatin dessert with 1 cup boiling water and 1 cup cold water. Pour over cake.

Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. Mix pudding mix with cold milk and the remaining package of orange gelatin and vanilla. Beat by hand with a whisk until thickened. Fold in whipped topping. Frost cake with pudding mixture. Keep refrigerated.

Simple Pecan Pie

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

¼ tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. melted butter or margarine

1 cup broken pecan meats

1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell

Beat eggs slightly; add sugar and beat well. Add syrup, vanilla, salt and melted butter or margarine. Spread pecans over bottom of pastry shell and pour egg mixture over them. Bake in moderate oven at 350 degrees, for 45 minutes or until done.