Holiday variations with pumpkin

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In 1621 the Plymouth colonialists from England and the Native American Wampanoag people shared an autumn feast, celebrating a successful harvest. That feast is remembered today as the First Thanksgiving.

When we lived in Vermont, in addition to giving thanks for food and family, Thanksgiving was a celebration of work well-done. Firewood was cut and stacked, ditches were cleared, and the land was prepared for winter’s imminent arrival. Our race with Mother Nature now over, we brought a hearty appetite to the holiday table.

My family looks forward to certain traditional dishes and so I keep experimentation to a minimum—marshmallows always top the sweet potato casserole, and so on. However pumpkin pie is not my husband’s favorite, so I’ve come up with variations to keep pumpkin on the menu.

Whether you stick to old favorites or try something new, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin chocolate chip bread

½ cup softened unsalted butter

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1½ cups canned unsweetened pumpkin

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ cup chocolate chips

¼ cup chopped walnuts

Glaze: 1 Tablespoon heavy cream, ½ cup confectioner’s sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.

• Grease a 4½ x 8 or 5 x 8 loaf pan, or individual 3½ x 5½ pans.

• Preheat oven to 350°.

• Cream butter and gradually add sugar, eggs and pumpkin.

• Combine dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture blend together.

• Stir in chips and nuts.

• Bake at 350° for 45 to 50 minutes for loaf pan, 35 minutes for smaller pans (check after 30 minutes).

• Stir together glaze ingredients and drizzle on cooled bread.