Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice/Spiced Nuts Recipes by Taste of Home©

For a delicious spice to add to pumpkin pie, try this spice blend. The blend can also be added to spiced nut blends.—Mary Dixon, Catlin, Illinois

Makes 30 Servings

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

Photo by Taste of Home©

Yield: Approximately  2-1/2 tablespoons.

Ingredients:

  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

 

 

 

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place up to 6 months.
  2. Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice may be used as a substitute for store-bought pumpkin pie spice or to prepare the following recipe: Spiced Nuts.

 

Originally published as Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice in Country Woman November/December 1995

 

 

Spiced Nuts

Yield: 6 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 cans (12 ounces each) salted mixed nuts
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Homemade Pumpkin Spice (recipe above)

 

Directions: 

  1. In a small bowl, beat egg white until frothy. Add water; beat until soft peaks form. Stir in nuts; toss to coat. Combine sugar and spice; stir into nut mixture. Spread nuts evenly on a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan.
  2. Bake at 325° for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool on waxed paper.

 
Originally published as Spiced Nuts in Country Woman November/December 1995, p21

 

 

 

History of Thanksgiving in America

n 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

THANKSGIVING AT PLYMOUTH
In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.

Did You Know?
Lobster, seal and swans were on the Pilgrims’ menu.

Squanto

Squanto a.k.a. Tisquantum

Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.

THANKSGIVING BECOMES AN OFFICIAL HOLIDAY
Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well. During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.

In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS
In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday, may or may not have been on offer when the Pilgrims hosted the inaugural feast in 1621. Today, however, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird—whether roasted, baked or deep-fried—on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.

Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.

U.S. President Harry Truman "pardons" a turkey from Thanksgiving dinner

Pictured here on Nov. 16, 1949, President Harry Truman reportedly was the first U.S. President to “pardon” a turkey from Thanksgiving Dinner. (AP Photo)

Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.

THANKSGIVING CONTROVERSIES
For some scholars, the jury is still out on whether the feast at Plymouth really constituted the first Thanksgiving in the United States. Indeed, historians have recorded other ceremonies of thanks among European settlers in North America that predate the Pilgrims’ celebration. In 1565, for instance, the Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilé invited members of the local Timucua tribe to a dinner in St. Augustine, Florida, after holding a mass to thank God for his crew’s safe arrival. On December 4, 1619, when 38 British settlers reached a site known as Berkeley Hundred on the banks of Virginia’s James River, they read a proclamation designating the date as “a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

Some Native Americans and others take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, and especially to schoolchildren. In their view, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of millions. Since 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a “National Day of Mourning.” Similar events are held in other parts of the country.

National Day of Mourning plaque

Since Thanksgiving Day 1970, the town of Plymouth, MA has hosted this event where Native Americans demonstrate the events following the Pilgrim’s arrival.

THANKSGIVING’S ANCIENT ORIGINS
Although the American concept of Thanksgiving developed in the colonies of New England, its roots can be traced back to the other side of the Atlantic. Both the Separatists who came over on the Mayflower and the Puritans who arrived soon after brought with them a tradition of providential holidays—days of fasting during difficult or pivotal moments and days of feasting and celebration to thank God in times of plenty.

As an annual celebration of the harvest and its bounty, moreover, Thanksgiving falls under a category of festivals that spans cultures, continents and millennia. In ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the fall harvest. Thanksgiving also bears a resemblance to the ancient Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. Finally, historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores.

Marzetti© Creamy Potato Gratin

This creamy, cheesy potato dish pairs nicely with poultry or beef.

Yield: 8 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Marzetti® Ranch Dressing
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 large baking potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a microwave safe-bowl combine butter and onions. Microwave 3 minutes to soften onions.
  3. In a large bowl combine all ingredients except ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
  4. Lightly mist a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Arrange potatoes in pan. Sprinkle top with remaining Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

 

White Castle® Turkey Stuffing

Yield: Makes about 9 cups (enough for a 10-to-12-pound turkey).

White Castle® Turkey Stuffing
Find more recipes at white castle.com

Ingredients:

  • 10 to 12  White Castle® Sliders, no pickles
  • 1-1/2 cups  Celery, diced
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons Thyme, ground
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Sage, ground
  • 3/4 teaspoon Black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1/4 cup  Chicken broth

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, tear the Sliders into pieces and add diced celery and seasonings.
    Toss and add chicken broth. Toss well.
  2. Add ingredients to Casserole Dish, add an additional 3/4 cup of chicken broth and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
  3. Or stuff the ingredients into the cavity of the turkey before roasting and cook as you normally would.

Note:  Allow 1 Slider for each pound of turkey, which will be equal to 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound.

Thanksgiving Trivia

 

Sarah Josepha Hale petitioned for a national Thanksgiving holiday for close to 40 years, believing that “Thanksgiving, like the Fourth of July, should be considered a national festival and observed by all our people.”

Sarah Josepha Hale
Sarah Josepha Hale

Sarah Josepha Hale, the enormously influential magazine editor and author who waged a tireless campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday in the mid-19th century, was also the author of the classic nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

Margaret Cusack's Thanksgiving design on U.S. Postage

Margaret Cusack’s Thanksgiving design on U.S. Postage

 

 

 

 

 

In 2001, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative Thanksgiving stamp. Designed by the artist Margaret Cusack in a style resembling traditional folk-art needlework, it depicted a cornucopia overflowing with fruits and vegetables, under the phrase “We Give Thanks.”

 

THANKSGIVING ON THE ROADS

The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimated that 42.2 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2010.

 

THANKSGIVING ON THE TABLE

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Minnesota is the top turkey-producing state in America, with a planned production total of 46.5 million in 2011. Six states—Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, and Indinia—account for nearly two-thirds of the 248 million turkeys that will be raised in the U.S. this year.
  • The National Turkey Federation estimated that 46 million turkeys—one fifth of the annual total of 235 million consumed in the United States—were eaten at Thanksgiving.
  • In a survey conducted by the National Turkey Federation, nearly 88 percent of Americans said they eat turkey at Thanksgiving. The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 15 pounds, which means some 690 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the U.S. during Thanksgiving in 2007.
  • Cranberry production in the U.S. is expected to reach 750 million pounds in 2011. Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington are the top cranberry growing states.
  • Illinois, California, Pennsylvania and New York are the major pumpkin growing states, together they produced 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkin in 2010. Total U.S. production was over 1.5 billion pounds.
  • The sweet potato is most plentifully produced in North Carolina, which grew 972 million pounds of the popular Thanksgiving side dish vegetable in 2010. Other sweet potato powerhouses included California and Mississippi, and the top producing states together generated over 2.4 billion pounds of the tubers.
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 2,020 pounds and measured just over 12 feet long. It was baked on October 8, 2005 by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers in Ohio, and included 900 pounds of pumpkin, 62 gallons of evaporated milk, 155 dozen eggs, 300 pounds of sugar, 3.5 pounds of salt, 7 pounds of cinnamon, 2 pounds of pumpkin spice and 250 pounds of crust.
  • Lobster, seal and swans were on the Pilgrims’ menu.

    The heaviest pumpkin weighs 1,054.01 kg (2,323.70 lb) when it was presented by Beni Meier (Switzerland) at the European Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off in Ludwigsburg, Germany, on 12 October 2014.  Beni Meier grew a total of three record-breaking pumpkins in one season!

    The heaviest pumpkin weighs 1,054.01 kg (2,323.70 lb) when it was presented by Beni Meier (Switzerland) at the European Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off in Ludwigsburg, Germany, on 12 October 2014.  Beni Meier grew a total of three record-breaking pumpkins in one season!  Click HERE to find more at the Guinness World Records website.

THANKSGIVING AROUND THE COUNTRY

  • Three towns in the U.S. take their name from the traditional Thanksgiving bird, including Turkey, Texas (pop. 465); Turkey Creek, Louisiana (pop. 363); and Turkey, North Carolina (pop. 270).
  • Originally known as Macy’s Christmas Parade—to signify the launch of the Christmas shopping season—the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in New York City in 1924. It was launched by Macy’s employees and featured animals from the Central Park Zoo. Today, some 3 million people attend the annual parade and another 44 million watch it on television.
  • Tony Sarg, a children’s book illustrator and puppeteer, designed the first giant hot air balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927. He later created the elaborate mechanically animated window displays that grace the façade of the New York store from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
  • Snoopy from the Peanuts cartoon has appeared as a giant balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade more times than any other character in history. As the Flying Ace, Snoopy made his sixth appearance in the 2006 parade.

    Snoopy the balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade

    While a Kilgore, Texas, band struts its stuff, the character with the most balloons in history follows behind. Seven different versions of the Snoopy character have appeared in the parade, the first being Aviator Snoopy in 1968. Astronaut Snoopy appeared in 1972 (a tribute to Apollo 11), Skating Snoopy in 1987, Snoopy with Woodstock in 1988, Millennium Snoopy in 1999, Flying Ace Snoopy in 2006, and the seventh one will appear in the 2013 parade. He not only has the most balloons in history, he also has appeared in 32 parades, more than any other character.

  • The first time the Detroit Lions played football on Thanksgiving Day was in 1934, when they hosted the Chicago Bears at the University of Detroit stadium, in front of 26,000 fans. The NBC radio network broadcast the game on 94 stations across the country–the first national Thanksgiving football broadcast. Since that time, the Lions have played a game every Thanksgiving (except between 1939 and 1944); in 1956, fans watched the game on television for the first time.

 

For more on Thanksgiving… Click here: History.com