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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Fall is in the Air and Pumpkins are Everywhere!!

By Sherrie Norris

With leaves beginning to turn from green to gold, the air becoming a little crisper and roadside stands filled with pumpkins, there is little doubt that Autumn has arrived in the High Country. It’s a favorite time or year for many of us as we try to get in those last outdoor opportunities for fun, knowing that very soon, we’ll be forced indoors for warmth and comfort. Usually, these mid-October days are absolutely breath-taking as nature puts on quite a show for us all to enjoy. 

This column is also making its annual transition to the comfort foods of fall, and soon we will begin thinking about the festive foods of the holidays. 

This year has been a fast one, despite ongoing pandemic concerns, political unrest and all the problems facing our country and world. Many of us — and our loved ones — have suffered unexpected illness, loss and disappointment that is not easily discussed, but if you’re reading this, and while I’m writing these words, I want you to realize, just as I do, that we are here for a reason. I implore each of us to just be still for a little while and revel in the beauty of creation, count our blessings and start to make each day count for something good. The opportunity is ours for the taking.

Then, get the family off the couch, away from the TV and phones, and go outdoors, head to the nearest corn maze or pumpkin patch.  Let’s learn to have fun again and not take another day — or person — for granted. 

No-Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie

2 cups canned pumpkin

½ cup sugar

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 (8-oz.) containers  whipped topping

1 Tbs. cinnamon

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 (3.4-ounce) box instant vanilla or cheesecake pudding

1 cup milk

2 pre-made 9-inch graham cracker crusts

In large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and one container of the whipped topping. Fill crusts with this layer, dividing equally between the two. Mix pudding and milk until thick. Add in the pumpkin and spices, mixing well.  Top cream cheese layer with the pudding and pumpkin mixture. For top layer, cover with the second container of whipped topping. May sprinkle a little bit of nutmeg and cinnamon to the top, if desired. Refrigerate at least a couple of hours or longer before serving, allowing to set up.

Pumpkin Crisp

1 can or about 1 qt. cooked pumpkin

1 can evaporated milk

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup sugar

½ tsp. cinnamon

1 yellow cake mix

1 cup chopped nuts

2 sticks melted margarine or butter

Place first 5 ingredients in bowl and mix well. Pour into 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle chopped nuts evenly over cake mix. Spoon melted butter over nuts and cake mix. Bake in 350-degree oven about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Toothpick will come out clean when done.

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

5 Tbsp. butter

1 1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup pure pumpkin

Heat pan or griddle over low heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix together dry ingredients and set aside.

Melt butter. Then gradually stir together melted butter, milk, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin. Slowly add in dry ingredients, but do not over mix.

Pour about 1/2  cup of batter onto hot griddle. Cook for 1-2 minutes until batter begins to bubble up. Then flip and cook for 1-2 more minutes until slightly browned and done in the middle.

Repeat until all of the batter is used.

Serve warm topped with butter and syrup. Left-overs can be refrigerated or even frozen for later use.

Pumpkin Roll 

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. salt

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup canned pumpkin 

1/2 tsp. vanilla


4 Tbsp. butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Place parchment paper, sprayed well, or a silicone baking mat inside your jelly roll pan. Set aside.

Whisk together eggs, sugar and ½ tsp. vanilla. Add pumpkin and slowly incorporate into mixture. In a separate bowl, mix together all dry ingredients, flour through salt.

Slowly add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture. Stir until just blended. Do not over mix.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until center of cake springs back when touched.

Lay out a clean kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle well with powdered sugar. Place cooked cake on top of prepared towel. Starting on the small end, roll up the cake inside the towel. You do this just to get the cake to cool in the final shape. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.

To make filling. With electric mixer, blend together butter, 1 tsp. vanilla and cream cheese. Slowly mix in powdered sugar.

Unroll cake. Spread the cream cheese filling over the top side of the cake. Roll the cake back up. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Slice and serve.