This is the time of year when our markets are saturated with pumpkin spice everything. Pumpkin spice coffees, breads, creamers, butters, rolls, beers, liqueurs, cookies etc, etc. etc.

I enjoy pumpkin spice as much as the next person, but only natural pumpkin flavor, not artificially flavored pumpkin products. I’ve tried to like those products but if it just doesn’t taste like homemade pumpkin pie, I’m disappointed.

Last year as I mulled the lack of what I consider delicious pumpkin options, I broke down and bought something I rarely buy – a magazine from the checkout stand selections. 100 Best Pumpkin Recipes published by Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications called to my desire for pumpkin deliciousness.

I rarely buy these publications because they are usually very expensive and if I’m going to spend $10 or more on a cookbook; I prefer spending a bit more for a hardback book with more than 100 recipes.

However, this purchase was so worth the $9.99 I paid for it. I found several recipes I used last year and I was happy to get it out again when the weather got cooler and pumpkins showed up on our grocers’ shelves. I’ve been keeping fresh roasted pumpkin in my refrigerator and stocking up on cans of this vegetable as it goes on sale so I can keep making these treats.

The first recipe from this publication that I have enjoyed using is a homemade pumpkin spice creamer for your morning coffee. It is delicious. I have made this with whole milk, fat-free half-and-half and almond milk. All of them were really good and made my morning coffee a joy.

Pumpkin Waffles are the perfect breakfast for Thanksgiving weekend. They are a lovely color, full of vitamin A and fiber and a great way to start your day. I like them with real maple syrup instead of the maple-walnut cream suggested by the authors. The cream is delicious but so is maple syrup and it takes a lot less time.

The third recipe is one I love for breakfast all fall and winter – pumpkin pie in a mug. It is not from this book and it’s been in my recipe file for several years. I wish I could remember where I got it so I give the source credit. If I have a bit of pumpkin in my refrigerator this is the perfect mug of goodness and it has become one of my favorite breakfast treats.

Spiced Pumpkin Coffee Creamer

2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half or non-fat half-and-half or nondairy milk

1 can (14-ounces) sweetened condensed milk

3 tablespoons canned pumpkin

1 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla

^pIn a 1-quart canning jar, combine all of the ingredients; mix, shake or stir well until pumpkin is incorporated into the milk and is smooth. Add to your coffee and enjoy.

Pumpkin Waffles with Maple Walnut Cream

4 cups flour

1/4cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 ground ginger

1/2 ground nutmeg

4 eggs

3 cups milk

1 can (15-ounce) pumpkin (1 and 3/4 cups)

1/4cup butter, melted

Maple Walnut Cream

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^pIn a large bowl, stir together the first seven ingredients (through nutmeg). Make a well in the center of the mixture. In another large bowl¸ combine next four ingredients (through butter). Add all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be slightly lumpy). Prepare Maple Walnut Cream. Add 1 to 1 and one-fourth cups batter (or amount suggested in manufacturer’s directions) to a preheated, lightly greased waffle baker. Close lid quickly; do not open until done. Bake according to the manufacturer’s directions. When done, use a fork to lift waffle off grid. Keep warm in a 300-degree oven while preparing remaining waffles. Serve warm with Maple-Walnut Cream.

Maple Walnut Cream

^pIn a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add three-fourths cup coarsely chopped walnuts; cook and stir to 1 to 2 minutes or until toasted. Stir in 1 and one-half cups pure maple syrup and one-half cup heavy cream. Heat through.

Pumpkin Pie in a Mug

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 egg

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon half-and-half

1 teaspoon pumpkin spice

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

^pSpray a microwave safe cup with nonstick cooking spray. Mix all of ingredients thoroughly in the mug and heat in the microwave on high for 3 minutes. Eat as is or with a dollop of whipped cream. Recipe Note: I use artificial sweetener instead of sugar and almond milk instead of cream. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon is also delicious. Adjust the seasonings to suit your taste and remember you are eating a vegetable for breakfast. Yes!

Quote of the Week: Autumn – The year’s last, loveliest smile! — John Howard Byrant

Ellen Lund of Fremont is a freelance food columnist.

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