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October 24, 2003
Issue #002

*******Table of Contents:*******

1. Pumpkin Time
2. What's For Breakfast?
3. Bake a Cake - Jack-o-Lantern Cake
4. Cooking Tip - Puree Your Own Pumpkin


1. It's Pumpkin Time

Only one week left until Halloween and one month until Thanksgiving -
and there are pumpkins all around us. I recently took my kids to the local Pumpkin Patch to buy a few pumpkins. What is it about pumpkins that makes kids love them so much? Is it their vibrant orange color...their unusual shapes and sizes..their sweet taste?

I did a little research on pumpkins and found that:

*Pumpkins are extremely good for you. Pumpkins contain the antioxidant, beta-carotene. They're rich in vitamin A and potassium and high in fiber.

*The word pumpkin originated from the Greek word "pepon" that means large melon.

*Pumpkins originated in Central America. Native Americans roasted pumpkin strips to eat, used pumpkin for medicine, and wove dried pumpkin strips to make mats.

*Pumpkins are a fruit and are part of the cucurbita family that includes squash.

*The largest pumpkin ever grown was over 1,000 pounds!

*American colonials hollowed out pumpkins and filled them with milk or cream, sugar or honey, and spices, then baked them (sort of the first pumpkin pies).

Try these pumpkin recipes and serving ideas:

Pumpkin Pie

8 small pumpkins (each the size of a softball)
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups (1 16 ounce can) pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grown cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Carve the small pumpkins, hollow out center, and remove all seeds. Wash pumpkins thoroughly with warm water and pat dry. Set aside the lid. Lightly salt the pumpkin and cover with oil.

Mix pie filling ingredients together in a large bowl. Place pumpkins and lids on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour filling into each small pumpkin. Bake in a 325F degree oven for 1 hour or until knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Make sure you don't overcook the pie or the pumpkin shell will not hold. Cool slightly and serve one little pie per person. Kids will love having their own little pumpkin pie.


Never leave pumpkin pie out on the kitchen counter overnight. Pumpkin pie has plenty of sugar, eggs, and milk so always refrigerate your pumpkin pie to avoid getting ill.

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Soup

4 small pumpkins (each the size of a softball)

1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablspoon flour
1 cup evaporated milk
1 can chicken broth
2 cups pumpkin

Carve the small pumpkins, hollow out center, and remove all seeds. Wash pumpkins thoroughly with warm water and pat dry. Set aside the lid. Lightly salt the pumpkin and cover with oil. Place pumpkins and lids on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 325F degree oven for 1 hour making sure the pumpkin shell is not too soft. Let cool.

In a saucepan add oil, nutmeg, and a dash of salt and pepper. Add milk and cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Add pumpkin and chicken broth. Cook for 2 minutes more until thoroughly heated (do not boil).

With a ladel, spoon soup into baked pumpkins. Serve with lid on or off.

Click here for more pumpkin recipes, some apple recipes, and fun Halloween recipes.

2. What's for Breakfast?

We've always been told, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." For kids (and for all of us) this is so true. Often, though, kids miss out on breakfast or they don't start the day by eating the right food.

If at all possible, try to stay away from the mostly sugar cereals, but do encourage your kid to eat cereal and grains first thing in the morning. You can even make granola recipes and fill a baggie with granola, or any dried cereal, for your kid to take to school to munch on during the day.

A healthy breakfast bar or healthy sandwich can be quick and easy to eat on the go before school. Even a piece of fruit can do the trick. Just make sure your kid gets nutrition to the brain first thing in the morning.

You can save the more time-consuming breakfasts for weekends and special times. When you're not rushed you can let your kid do some of the cooking by learning to flip the pancakes, scramble the eggs, experiment with different omlete recipes, and come up with unique and creative cooking ideas.

Here's a pumpkin breakfast recipe:

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
2 cups pumpkin
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

Mix together dry inredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and add oil, milk, and pumpkin. Then add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir just enough to get rid of most of the lumps. Add a little extra milk if batter is too thick. Stir in nuts.

Pour a large spoonful per pancake onto a greased griddle or skillet. Cook until pancakes get bubbles on top and edges are slightly browned, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Then flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown.

Check out the new easy breakfast recipes and recipes for breakfast casseroles.

3. Make Your Kid's Birthday Party a Hit With a Cool Birthday Cake

When you have kids you're always looking for recipes for a kid birthday cake and fun cake decorating ideas. I've recently added a page on selecting the right cake pan for your kid's birthday cake and I'll be adding some tips on cake decorating soon.

Click here for birthday cake recipes.
Click here for birthday cake pans.

I'll begin to feature a cake recipe for a holiday cake or kid birthday party cake every month. If you have a great cake recipe and/or decorating idea, please send it in.

Jack-O-Latern Cake

2 boxes devil's food cake mix
chocolate chips

Orange Frosting:

1 cup shortening
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
4 tablespoons milk
orange food coloring

Beat together shortening and vanilla for 30 seconds medium speed with an electric mixer. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar a bit at a time while beating. Then add 2 tablespoons milk. Slowly add in the rest of the powdered sugar and the rest of the milk until you get the right thickness for your frosting.


Follow cake mix directions. Pour mixture into two greased oven-safe bowls (1 1/2 quart). Bake according to directions.

Cool and remove from bowls. Place flat sides of cakes together to make a ball. Ice with orange frosting. Take a spatula and make pumpkin-like grooves. Use chocolate chips to make jack-o-latern eyes, nose, and mouth. Top with a green candle for the stem.

4. Cooking Tip - Puree Your Own Pumpkin

To make your own pumpkin puree, first wash the pumpkin. Then carve and hollow the pumpkin removing all the stringy stuff and seeds. Cut into chunks. Boil until soft. Drain and cool. Remove the skin (it's easy to do because it is so soft). Put in a blender and blend for 2 minutes. 2 cups of pumpkin are equal to 1 16-ounce can of pumpkin.

Please send me your feedback, requests, and your easy recipes and cooking ideas.

Happy Kid Cooking!

Clarissa, mom chef
Easy Kids Recipes

P.S. Next time I'll have some recipes for making delicous meals with your leftover turkey.