Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Perfect "ONE"...

Yesterday was Pumpkin Pie time....

The weather here in PA has taken a sudden turn
into Fall...
We still had high Summer like temperatures which I can
honestly say, I was enjoying with each and every
extended day of the sunny warmth...

I am a big fan of Fall,
However, I am not a fan of what follows....

So, I got the itch and my mood changed just as
quickly as the temperatures did...

Friday evening I went on search for the "ONE"...
My Mother has instilled in me her corky
little tricks and "this is what you look for OR this is how you do it"

(This is the Lady who would travel on the plane
with her favorite 5 pound bag of flour to make "her" Pot Pie while visiting my brother and his family in Texas..!!)

With that said,
Mother always went on the hunt every Fall for that
perfect Neck Pumpkin..
The "Neck" of the Pumpkin had to be one
of much thickness, very straight(as much as possible)
and the largest and longest in the pile..

The Neck of the pumpkin is where you get the most
Pumpkin from. There are no seeds in the neck.

If you haven't noticed...
This year the Pumpkins are very plentiful and Huge!

I immediately found the "ONE"

It weighted in at 17.81 pounds..!
Mother would be so proud:))

At check out, the sweet and oh so young gentlemen
questioned what one does with such a pumpkin
other than have them for decorations.
I think all my other "baking" items among the
groceries tipped him off that this particular pumpkin
was not being purchased for "decorations"
Well....this youngin got quite the education on
Neck Pumpkins and their importance of use...!

Final product...

Pumpkin Pie

The Recipe I use every year is also credited to my
Mother and Grandmother...
Its a very simple and oh so good recipe..
The pie has very little spices in the ingredients.
I am not a fan of the Pumpkin Pie that is so
filled with spices, your not able to taste the Pumpkin..

Here is the "ONE"
It's so large, I did not have a baking sheet strong enough that
was also large enough for it to entirely fit.
However, we managed..

Barely fit in the oven:))

I now pre-bake my pumpkin rather than
cut into pieces and cook on the stove top like my
Mother. I have found baking the pumpkin keeps all
the natural juices intact and keeps the flavor of the pumpkin.
Cooking the pumpkin stove top leaves the pumpkin
tasteless and so much extra water content that requires the pumpkin
to be drained for hours before your able to use in a recipe.

After baking, let the pumpkin cool..
When your able to handle without burning your fingers,
peel the skin away, which by the way removes very easily.
You can also use the "ball" of the pumpkin,
in this area you will find the seeds.
Carefully scoop or scrape away the seeds, the pumpkin
in this area is good to use as well.
(You can save the seeds and bake them for a treat.)

Place your pumpkin in a glass container for further cooling.
You'll want to mash the pumpkin before measuring, so your amounts are needed are accurate according to your recipe and also for storage if your freezing some.

Pumpkin freezes very well.
You may have to drain frozen pumpkin in a colander
before using in your favorite recipe.
Freezing adds extra moisture in the pumpkin,
when baking or cooking with pumpkin you do not want that extra
moisture/liquid added to your recipe and have your master piece flop...

I was able to make 5 pies with this one batch of
pumpkin I used...

I froze about 20 cups of the remainder of pumpkin and refrigerated
some for cookies and bread to be made
in the up coming week...
All of which freeze very well after baked.

Fresh pumpkin after cooked/baked before used in a recipe
can be stored in an air tight container and refrigerated
up to three days.

I think I'll go have me some pie:/

Have a fantastic week....!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Yesterday Hubs and I spent part of the day in my favorite County...
Lancaster County, PA

We attended the Annual
Whoppie Pie Festival at the Hershey Farm.

World's Largest Whoppie Pie on Record....

After our wondering of the festival grounds,
we found our way to the very popular and busy Hershey Farm Restaurant.
Here you will find the traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Food, Lancaster County
is well know for. Let me say, the buffet lives up to the standards...!!
I have gotten away from cooking the traditional foods I grew up on,
only making them on rare occasions. So, when the opportunity presents itself, I take full advantage. Only problem is, my eyes and taste buds are
always way too big for my appetite....
But, I give it my best shot..!!
This was my one and only plate of Fried Chicken,
Two different types of baked corn, green beans, broccoli, Mac n Cheese,
stuffing and mashed potatoes...
Did I finish my plate....
However, I did taste and enjoy every item I chose.
Not one disappointing bite...!!

Sitting up on the hill behind the Farm,
is the Sight and Sound Theater.
This theater is one of the most amazing theaters, which shows live biblical
plays, interactions with the audience and live animals.
If your in the area visiting, this theater is a "must do" to add to your list..!!

History of Whoopie Pies

Whoopie PieWhoopie pies are considered a New England phenomenon and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition. They're one of Maine's best known and most loved comfort foods. Mainers will even claim that they were weaned on whoopie pies. In Maine, these treats are more like a cake than a pie or a cookie, as they are very generously sized (about hamburger size). they're so hug that you'll want to share one with a friend. A big glass of milk is almost mandatory when eating a whoopie pie.

A whoopie pie is like a sandwich, but made with two soft cookies with a fluffy white filling. Traditional whoopies pies are made with vegetable shortening, not butter. The original and most commonly made whoopie pie is chocolate. but cooks like to experiment, and today pumpkin whoopie pies are a favorite seasonal variation.

The recipe for whoopie pies has its origins with the Amish, and in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, it is not uncommon to find roadside farm stands offering these desserts. Amish cooking is about old recipes that have fed families for generations, with no trendy or cross-cultural fusions or mixtures. These cake-like whoopie pies were considered a special treat because they were originally made from leftover batter. According to Amish legend, when children would find these treats in their lunch bags, they would shout "Whoopie!"

The question of how the Amish dessert got to be so popular in New England probably is addressed in a 1930s cookbook called Yummy Book by the Durkee Mower Company, the manufacturer of Marshmallow Fluff. In this New England cookbook, a recipe for Amish Whoopie Pie was featured using Marshmallow Fluff in the filling.


Whoopie Pie Recipe -

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Whoopie Pie Filling (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets.

In a large bowl, cream together shortening, sugar, and egg. In another bowl, combine cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a small bowl, stir the vanilla extract into the milk. Add the dry ingredients to the shortening mixture, alternating with the milk mixture; beating until smooth.

Drop batter by the 1/4 cup (to make 18 cakes) onto prepared baking sheets. With the back of a spoon spread batter into 4-inch circles, leaving approximately 2 inches between each cake. Bake 15 minutes or until they are firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Make Whoopie Pie Filling. When the cakes are completely cool, spread the flat side (bottom) of one chocolate cake with a generous amount of filling. Top with another cake, pressing down gently to distribute the filling evenly. Repeat with all cookies to make 9 pies. Wrap whoopie pies individually in plastic wrap, or place them in a single layer on a platter (do not stack them, as they tend to stick).

To freeze, wrap each whoopie pie in plastic wrap. Loosely pack them in a plastic freezer container and cover. To serve, defrost the wrapped whoopie pies in the refrigerator.

Makes 9 large whoopie pies.

Whoopie Pie Filling:
1 cup solid vegetable shortening*
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups Marshmallow Fluff**
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

* Butter may be substituted for all or part of the vegetable shortening, although traditional Whoopie Pies are made with vegetable shortening only

** Marshmallow Creme may be substituted.

In a medium bow, beat together shortening, sugar, and Marshmallow fluff; stir in vanilla extract until well blended.

Have a fantastic week...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.....

I just had to share this card I received from my
Dear and Bestest Friend, Kathy....

We both are card givers and in my mail yesterday
I received this singing card playing the old familiar tune of
Cyndi Lauper's,
"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"

I played the tune over and over yesterday so much so,
my hubs made comments he wanted to
hear "that" song when "that" song was not playing....
After a while, I had him singing the tune...!!!

You may be familiar with my friendship with Kathy..
I have shared many good times with Kathy and her family.
Many think we sisters...
We most definitely are sisters at heart..!
Our friendship goes back many years
and continues to grow with more admiration,
respect and silliness as we grow into this
adult stage of our lives....

Yes, many days I ask myself..
How did this happen..?
I'm now at the age my Mother was once at
when I considered her

This roller coaster ride of adulthood has been so sweetened
by the wonderful person I am so proud to call my friend..!!

Thanks for your many years of friendship,

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