Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Sounds, Tastes and Smells of Christmas

 
 
When I think about the holiday season, I "think" with my senses. At the top of my sensory favorites is the tall, fragrant, Frazier fur holding court in our family room. I believe the scent of pine is the most basic of Christmas smells, associated with so many sweet memories. Of course there is a bit of fear, too, that our  male Lab, Lambeau, will attempt  to mark his territory around the 10 foot tall tree, like he did two years ago.


Let's be honest, as adults, the tastes and smells are right up there in importance with Christmas presents and parties. Nothing beats the cinnamon and nutmeg smell  of my pumpkin pie with a jazzed up spiced nut crust; a recipe I found in the newspaper about 30 years ago. Even people who are luke warm about pumpkin love this pie!


The second fan favorite at my house is my cousin Elizabeth's pumpkin bread. It's pumpkin rich and so moist it really melts in your mouth like pumpkin candy. On occassion, I have literally had to pull a loaf out of a guest's hand as they were departing after Christmas dinner. My cousin's pumpkin bread is really that addictive.


I'm sharing both recipes with you. Cooking is not my passion; eating is. So I've had to learn to cook and for the most part, I stick with simple, tried and true. Trust me, I have made this pie and pumpkin bread  at least 50 times, with only positive results. If you are a rank beginner, or a non-cooking enthusiast, these recipes are for you.



Recipe for Pumpkin Pie with Spice Nut Crust

Crust: 
1/2 cup butter                                       1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour                                            1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Melt butter; add other ingredients. Pat into pie pan, bottom and sides.
 
Filling:
1-16 oz.can pumpkin                            1- 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs                                                    1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger                                        1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
 
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.
 

Cousin Elizabeth's Pumpkin Bread (3 regular size loaves)

Sift together:
3 cups flour                                              1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups white sugar                                  1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp. baking soda                                   1 1/2 tsp salt


 
Mix together:
beat 4 eggs (set at room temp)                2/3 cup water
1 tsp vanilla                                               2 cups pumpkin 
 
Add wet ingredients to dry. Stir in 1 cup of vegetable oil. Bake in 3 greased and lightly floured loaf pans at 350 for 50 minutes. Can be frozen.


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