Fall Blog Posts

Celebrate Fall Traditions–Pumpkin Recipes

It’s that time of year where everything pumpkin shows up.  I found this delicious recipe for pumpkin pie in a glass with this Pumpkin Pie Nog at http://www.recipe.com/pumpkin-pie-nog/.  I also think the pumpkin “bowl” is such a creative touch.

Hope this inspires you to celebrate the season by enjoying the harvest.

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
~ An old Irish blessing
Marian McCoy Boveri

Seasons–Autumn Leaves are on Their Way!

Autumn leaves are on their way!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Harper's Weekly Vol II, 27 Nov 1858, p. 760

Thanksgiving Day–Arrival at the Old Home Harper’s Weekly Vol II, 27 Nov 1858, p. 760


I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

– from Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving, October 3, 1863

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in the U.S.A. and Canada.  The U.S.A. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.  It originates in the practice of making proclamations that set aside a day to give thanks to God for His provision.  thanksgiving Day as we celebrate it is actually an expression of being thankful to God for the blessings of the harvest.  Many equate the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and Indians sitting down together to share a meal while giving thanks for an especially bountiful harvest in 1621 in Plymouth (Massachusetss).  There are other claims for the first thanksgiving in America including one as early as 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida.

Thanksgiving as we know it today has more in common with the New England tradition of declaring days of Thanksgiving acknowledging God’s provision.  Declaring a day of Thanksgiving in November in recognition of the provision of the harvest emerged as a regular occurrence in the 1660s. As New Englanders spread out into the growing country they brought along with them this tradition. The first official declaration of a day of Thanksgiving in November was in 1777 and others were declared from time-to-time until 1815. At that time it fell out of favor and reverted back to a regional observance to emerge once again in the 1850s.  

In 1863 there were two days of national Thanksgiving declared by President Abraham Lincoln. The first on August 6 to celebrate the victory at Gettysburg and the other for the last Thursday in November in thanksgiving for the harvest. A proclamation had to be made each year to declare Thanksgiving’s observance until it was made a national holiday in 1941. In 1931 there were two Thanksgivings. Believing that moving the annual Thanksgiving observance one week earlier would give retailers more shopping days before Christmas, President Roosevelt issued a proclamation that Thanksgiving would be on the fourth Thursday instead of the last. It was actually this that caused Congress to finally set the national holiday.

Families gather together in thanksgiving with a feast commonly consisting of turkey as the main dish surrounded by stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables, etc. Pumpkin pie is a common dessert. It is common for families to have their own special dish that is served.  It is a true time of tradition and remembering the past.  

In the end Thanksgiving is indeed based on celebrating the harvest and as a time to gather the family together from near and far.  It was promoted especially by Sarah Josepha Hale, the long-time editor of  Godey’s Ladies Book (1837-1877), as a time to for the entire nation to express gratitude for its many blessings.   

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish blessing


Thanksgiving Traditions–A Harvest Celebration of Gratitude

Thanksgiving, as we have come to know it, is a day set aside during November in which to express gratitude for the blessings received in relation to the harvest.  It comes at the end of November when the harvest season has finished and the many tasks of preserving the harvest have been completed.  As with all traditions, it is also a time of remembrance and a way of connecting the present to the past as well as to the days to come.

Harvest season was traditionally a time of preparation for the long winter ahead when food was scarce and surviving the winter was indeed a challenge.  So many of us today are disconnected from the struggles that the winter season brought to just survive.  It is through the traditions of taking time out to be thankful for all we have received and been given that we remain connected to those that went before us.

Thanksgiving Blessings

As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year be mindful of the traditions of the day–both old and new.  It is these very things that keep us connected to all generations.  Sometimes it is the simplest of things that create our special memories.  Be conscious of these traditions–both large and small–this year.  Take time to treasure your family through the traditions of the day.

Thanksgiving is also a great time to take stock and reflect upon the fields we have sown into during the past year and assess the yield they have brought in harvest.  What have the harvests of your fields produced?  Did you sow into a field and then cultivate it so that the harvest was abundant?  Did you sow into a field and then have the seeds eaten by the birds (oh and they will come) or did your field become choked with weeds?  Were you a good steward of all that has been given to you?  These are the things to reflect upon in our gratitude in order to have a chance to secure a better harvest in the future.

So I invite you this Thanksgiving to celebrate the harvest of all the fields of your life.  Count your blessings not only in abundance but in lessons learned.  Take time to reflect upon your fields.  Ready the soil of the coming year through the reflection of your blessings and even your lessons.  There is always something to be grateful for and it is through thanksgiving that we cultivate our fields for future blessings.

Wishing you and your family a most blessed and Happy Thanksgiving! stock-graphics-vintage-thanksgiving-postcard-0006

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing

Fall Harvest Traditions: Jack-O’-Lantern and Sugar Pumpkins–Carve or Cook?

Did you know that most of the pumpkins we see these days are cultivated for carving and not for eating?

Connecticut Field Pumpkin

Connecticut Field Pumpkin image from website

Most of us are familiar with the large pumpkins primarily used for carving that are commonly found in the stores around this time of year.  These pumpkins are either Connecticut Field Pumpkins or Howdens and both weigh in between 10 and 20 pounds.  The Connecticut Field Pumpkin is actually an heirloom pumpkin of the Native American Indians and colonists and is the perfect image of a pumpkin as we know them.  Their taste is more plain and bland, not sweet, and their texture is stringy and somewhat watery for pie.  They have thin walls, a large seed pocket, and relatively small proportion of flesh compared to the size.

Howden Pumpkin

Howden Pumpkin image from website

Howdens were developed in the 1970s by of John Howden of Massachusetts for the primary purpose of carving.  They are actually very similar to the Connecticut Field pumpkin but have more uniform ridges, a thicker wall and sturdy stem.  These are the pumpkins primarily found at supermarkets and roadside farm stands.  They were developed primarily for look and suitability for carving.  Since the 1970s these are the pumpkins that we have come to more commonly know.  Oftentimes these pumpkins are cooked and the resulting dish is disappointing as these pumpkins were developed for looks and carving as opposed to taste.

Sugar Pumpkins are Smaller than Carving Pumpkins

Sugar Pumpkins are Smaller than Carving

One of the better pumpkins for cooking is the sugar pumpkin oftentimes referred to as the pie pumpkin.  This pumpkin is a cousin of the Connecticut Field pumpkin but smaller as can been seen in the picture above.  These pumpkins have a thicker wall and are sweeter and drier than the carving pumpkins and are less grainy.  One pumpkin will typically yield the amount of puree as a 15-16 oz. of canned puree.

Have you ever tried cooking a carving pumpkin and been disappointed?





Fall Harvest: So Pretty in Pink–The Pumpkin That Is!

Porcelain Doll

Porcelain Doll

Yes!  It really is a pink pumpkin.  Pink pumpkins were discovered by an Arizona farmer when a white Cinderella pumpkin and a red Cinderella pumpkin accidentally cross pollinated.  He worked on perfecting the pumpkin for 5 years and the result is the Porcelain Doll pumpkin for which seeds widely became available for the first time in 2012.  These pumpkins even launched a Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation created in that same year to help raise money for breast cancer research.  This year they have launched a nationwide campaign called “Pink is In–Are You?” in which proceeds of the purchase of a pink pumpkin will be donated to the foundation for distribution.

Pink Pumpkins Large

Pink Pumpkins Large

Not only are these pumpkins pretty to look at–but they are also edible!  They have a deep orange flesh that is sweet and perfect for cooking.  You can use them in whatever you would regularly use pumpkin in–soups, pies, breads and gourmet culinary cooking.  The pumpkins are large (20-24 lbs) and therefore produce a good amount of puree.  They are ready for harvest in 110 days or when the stem has gotten corky for full pink effect.

Decorating in Pink

Decorating in Pink


Here’s a link to a blog that has a list of where these pumpkins will be available for purchase this year by store and state.  Pink is In–Are You?  Among some of the stores listed are:  Home Depot; Kroger; Meijer; Safeway; Whole Foods to name a few as well as many local pumpkin farms.

What do you think of a pink pumpkin?

images from:





Fall Harvest Traditions: Pumpkins Anyone?



Another fall and autumn tradition that rings in the harvest is the squash that is commonly referred to as pumpkin. Pumpkins are considered winter squash as they are harvested when their skins have hardened as opposed to summer squash which are harvested when the skins are still soft (like a zucchini). Believe it or not, pumpkins are actually botanically considered a fruit as the seeds are on the inside. Yet, in culinary terms they are referred to as a vegetable.

Three Sisters

Three Sisters

Pumpkins are native to North America and one of the Native American Indian’s “Three Sisters” agricultural crops. Maize (corn), beans, and pumpkins were grown together and benefited from each other. The cornstalk provided support for the beans. The beans provided nitrogen and the squash provided ground covering thereby keeping weeds down and conserving soil moisture. (To learn more about the method of growing Three Sisters click here.) The Native Americans used dried strips of pumpkin to weave mats for their homes. Long pumpkin strips were also roasted and then eaten. The original pumpkin pie was created when the colonists stripped out the seeds from the interior of the pumpkin and filled it with milk, spices, and honey and “baked” it in the ashes of the fire.

Pumpkins in the U.S. are primarily grown in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California producing over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins annually. 95% of the pumpkin crop intended for processing is grown in Illinois. (source Wikipedia). Pumpkins are planted in July and harvested in October with a growing time of 85 to 125 days depending on the variety. Most parts of the pumpkin is edible including the flowers, fleshy shell, seeds, and even the leaves. Its bright orange color is evidence of beta-carotene. It is also loaded with vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. The seeds themselves are a great source of zinc, iron, and omega-3 fats. Pumpkins can be boiled, baked, steamed, or roasted. Mashed pumpkin is a common way of serving this as a harvest food. Pumpkin is oftentimes pureed to be used in various recipes including pumpkin pie.

At this time of year pumpkin flavored and scented products show up everywhere! Here’s a basic recipe on how to cook a pumpkin: A 5-lb pumpkin will yield two 9″ pies.

Cook a Pumpkin

Cook a Pumpkin


Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe?  Please share if you do!

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