I just realized this marks the second anniversary of this column. I remember when I pitched the idea it was for someone else to write it. I had people asking how I fed a family of five on a small budget. Lots of things have changed in the last two years, some haven’t. The community has been wonderful. I keep wondering when I’m going to run out of recipes or ideas, but not yet. I hope that my journey inspires and encourages you in yours.

This week most of us are probably buying pumpkins for jack o’lanterns. I hate letting pumpkins go to waste, but carving them is so much fun for the kids. So, when the kids are finished, we take pictures and I put the pumpkin up for the year. Pumpkin freezes well and has no preservatives or added ingredients; I have a year’s supply of pumpkin and don’t feel like I’m throwing food away. Everyone wins.

To put up your pumpkin, peel and slice the pumpkin into about 1-inch pieces. Put in a large pot to boil. Boil until soft. Pour into a colander to drain. Let it cool, then place into a food processor or blender and puree the pumpkin. Place two cups of pumpkin in quart-size freezer bags or containers and freeze them. The squash will last one year in the freezer. To use it in recipes, two cups of pumpkin is about the same as one large can of pumpkin.

I love pumpkin; it is easy to cook with and always makes me feel like I’m eating dessert. Maybe it’s the way I cook it. Pumpkin pie, cookies, bread – there are healthy ways to cook it like energy bars and oatmeal, but I still like the pies and breads the best. This year my goal is to learn to like it just as much in other ways like baked or mashed with some brown sugar. I feel some new recipes coming, but until then here is my favorite, I look forward to pumpkin season just for this one recipe. It freezes well too.

Corissa’s Pumpkin Bread

3 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

⅔ cup water

2 cups or 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

3½ cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

Grease or spray two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, eggs and water. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon and clove. Add flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder and blend until all ingredients are combined. Pour the batter into the loaf pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 1 hour or a bit more. Cool the loaves in the pans on a wire rack. Remove the bread by turning the loaf pans over when they are cool enough to handle, after about 20 minutes.

This week’s menu is based on the Treat’s ad on page A10

Pulled pork sandwiches

Carnitas

Sausage pasta with peppers and onions

Potato Broccoli Califlower bake

Fajitas

If you have questions or ideas I would love to hear from you contact me at corissa@calaverasenterprise.com.

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Corissa has been a resident of Calaveras for over 25 years. She is a mother of 4 who loves raising her kids in such a supportive community. Writing was never something she saw herself doing and it has been a wonderful new adventure.

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