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If you use whole, uncarved pumpkins for your Halloween and/or Thanksgiving  event decorations, consider this:  If you use pie pumpkins, Cinderella pumpkins, or sugar pie pumpkins as your decorations, you can get more bang for your buck by “recycling” them into tasty, nutritious dishes.

Bear’s Super-easy Pumpkin Custard

8 ounces of light coconut milk OR whole cow’s milk OR almond milk OR unsweetened condensed milk
2 cups of cooked pumpkin OR one 15 ounce can of pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup of granulated OR brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 eggs
Nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger to taste.

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix everything together and pour into a pie plate, uncovered casserole dish, or ramekins. Bake for ~50 minutes for a pie plate, longer for a casserole, shorter for ramekins. Basically, until it’s set and a knife put in the middle comes out clean.

Cream of Pumpkin Soup

makes 6 servings

3 tablespoons margarine, softened
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 slices whole wheat bread
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F(200 degrees C). Combine butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Spread butter mixture evenly over one side of each bread slice. Place bread, buttered side up, on a baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until bread is crisp and topping is bubbly. Cut each slice of bread into 8 small triangles or squares.
Saute onion in butter in a medium saucepan until tender. Add 1 can chicken broth; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
Transfer broth mixture into the container of a blender or processor. Process until smooth.
Return mixture to saucepan. Add remaining can of broth, pumpkin, salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground pepper; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in whipping cream and heat through. Do not boil. Ladle into individual soup bowls. Top each serving with Cinnamon Croutons.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Yield: approx 24 pancakes

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 tablespoons applesauce
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

Combine flour, baking soda, baking power, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
Add buttermilk, egg, pumpkin and applesauce.
Mix until batter is moistened, but still lumpy.
Cook on a buttered griddle on medium heat.

The Best Pumpkin Muffins

Makes 1 dozen muffins

Variation: Fold in a cup of either chopped fresh cranberries or chopped walnuts, or a mixture of the two.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup pureed pumpkin (Fresh or from a can; do not use pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons molasses

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a twelve-muffin tin.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, soy milk, oil, and molasses. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix.

Fill the muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

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