Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Better Baker - Leader Enterprise - November 2009 - Being Thankful

It’s that time of year when we stop and think about our abundant blessings and spend more time pondering our ‘attitude of gratitude’.People who are grateful are happy people.Learning to be thankful reduces stress and helps you to be less susceptible to illness.

Robert Louis Stevenson once stated,”The person who has stopped being thankful has fallen asleep in life.” Have you stopped to count your many blessings today?

Think of some reasons to be thankful.If the only prayer you said your whole life was ‘thank you’ it would suffice. We often take for granted the very things that deserve our most gratitude.

I’m hitting the big “6-0” this week and I’m excited about it.I am in agreement with Mark Twain,who once said “Age is an issue of mind over matter.If you don’t mind,it doesn’t matter”.We can’t avoid birthdays,but they’re much better than the only other alternative.I’m planning a trip to the Caribbean in February and I’m taking along 4 girlfriends to enjoy a belated celebration.(After serving 3 tours in Vietnam,my hubby refuses to leave the good ole USA.)

I think we all need that special something to hope for.I recently read about an idea that we should use up each day,fill it to overflowing with good,and deliberately set out to enjoy life. It’s kinda like being inspired to have a ‘twinkle in our wrinkle.’ . Abraham Lincoln once said “It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.”

Our family is extra grateful this year for the many folks who have encouraged us along life’s journey with our grandson,Caden,who has leukemia.And we are still surprised by sweet gestures of care.The new Four Seasons Restaurant at Exit 2 will be open and serving holiday dinners on Thanksgiving Day,with all proceeds going to Caden and his family.It certainly makes us feel blessed beyond measure.

I’m excited to share some yummy recipes for you to try.

This pumpkin dip is easy to make and keeps well up to 2 weeks.It’s great for dipping gingersnaps,graham crackers or apple slices in.You can use reduced fat,or even fat free cream cheese,but I suggest not using fat free when you’re baking. It contains more water than regular,and you may end up with a runny or ruined dish.It shouldn’t be beaten well either-I suggest using a whisk when using ff cream cheese.

PUMPKIN DIP

1-8 ozs. Pkg. Cream cheese,softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1-15 ozs.Can solid pack pumpkin

1 Tb.Ground cinnamon

1 Tb.Pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp.Frozen orange juice concentrate,thawed

In medium bowl, blend cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.Gradually mix in the pumpkin.Stir in the cinnamon,pumpkin pie spice and orange juice concentrate until smooth and well blended.Allow to blend atleast an hour before serving.

This is a favorite cranberry salad that I’ve been making for several years.The topping is optional.It’s delicious without,but adds a special and yummy touch.I use sugar free jello.

CRANBERRY SALAD

2-4-serving boxes cherry jello

2 cups boiling water

1-15 ozs. Can whole cranberry sauce

½ (one half) cup crushed pineapple, drained

½ cup finely chopped celery

½ cup chopped nuts

Dissolve jello in hot water,add cranberry sauce and stir until mixed well.Cool to room temperature before adding pineapple,celery and nuts.Pour into a 2-qt.oblong dish-chill until set;cut into squares to serve.

Topping:(optional)Combine 1-8 ozs. Block of cream cheese,softened,with 2 Tb. Mayonnaise.Blend in remaining pineapple juice and spread over top after the jello is set. Sprinkle with nuts if desired.

Since my SugarFull hubby eats SugarFree, I’m sharing this delicious recipe that I make for him all year long, and always for the holidays.

Crustless Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie

1-15 ozs. Can solid pumpkin

1-12 ozs. Can evaporated skim milk

2 eggs (or equivalent in egg substitute)

2 egg whites

1 cup Splenda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp.allspice

1/4 tsp.ginger

1/8 tsp.Salt

½ cup(reduced-fat)graham cracker crumbs

Lite Whipped topping

In a mixing bowl,combine the pumpkin,milk,eggs,egg whites,and sweetener;beat until smooth.Add the spices and salt;beat until well mixed.Stir in graham cracker crumbs. Pour into a 9-in. Pie plate that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray.Bake at 325 for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.Cool.If desired,garnish with a dollop of whipped topping and sprinkling of cinnamon.Store in the refrigerator.Yield:8 servings-116 calories each(without topping).

Did you know you can bake squash whole in the microwave?It’s the only way I prepare it.Wash it,poke a knife in it several times to let the steam escape,place it on a microwavable plate and set the timer for about 10 minutes.Depending on the size of your squash,it can take up to 10-15 more minutes,but check it every 3 or 4 minutes.I let it stand for about 10 minutes to finish cooking through,then cut it open and let cool.Scoop out the seeds,and scrape out the pulp.It mashes easily-this is much easier than trying to peel it.

You can find my ‘famous’ Butternut Squash Bake recipe online at www.americanprofile/recipes-type in the name of the recipe at the search engine and you’ll have it.For more pumpkin recipes-my blog is www.thebetterbaker.wordpress.com

Enjoy a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving season.