Food & Drink

‘Pumpkin it Up’ has recipes for year round

Pumpkins are not just for fall. Thanks to canned pumpkin we can use it all year and Cross’ book, Pumpkin It Up offers a multitude of tasty ways to incorporate this healthy yummy treat into our diet.

Her little volume offers pumpkin appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and of course, fabulous cakes, cookies, pies, biscuits, breads and other such delights.

The pumpkin is an American vegetable, all the more reason to celebrate by eating it year round.

No need to wait until these golden globes (or other tasty varieties)reach maturity in our gardens. Canned pumpkin puree works well in most of the recipes Cross offers. Besides being very tasty, pumpkin is a low calorie, high vitamin food. According to the USDA National Nutrient database, one cup of pumpkin, cooked, boiled, drained and without salt contains 49 calories, 1.76 grams of protein, 0.17 grams of fat, 0 grams of cholesterol and 12 grams of carbohydrate (including 2.7 grams of fiber and 5.1 grams of sugar). One cup will provide 100 percent of your daily needs for vitamin A, 20 percent of vitamin C, 10 percent vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese and at least 5 percent for thiamin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium,and phosphorus.

As a confirmed lover of this veggie, I often look for new ways to enjoy pumpkin. Thanks to Cross, I don’t need to search through my various books (where IS that recipe?) or the internet when I crave pumpkin. I merely need to pull this one book down and peruse my many options.

That southern specialty, “mac and cheese” gets a veggie boost from Cross by adding pumpkin and it sounds yummy! Pumpkin ravioli, slow-cooked pumpkin chili, a “comforting” pumpkin chicken soup join recipes for pumpkin oatmeal cookies, pumpkin cream puffs, classic pumpkin pie and more as tempting ways to pack more of this orange powerhouse into your meal lineup.

The recipes are matched by hunger inducing luscious photographs by photographer, Susan Barnson Hayward-. Cross uses these to help readers with difficult (for me, anyway) recipe tactics, for example, rolling a pumpkin roll.

The opening pages of her book cover the basics of purchasing fresh pumpkins, how many ounces of pumpkin are in a can of pumpkin puree and more. She also explains how to how to select a pumpkin for cooking, puree your own pumpkins once they are available, and tells how to roast pumpkin seeds, a healthy and tasty low calories snack.

This little volume is available for pre-order now (through Amazon) and will be in bookstores by Aug. 9, giving you plenty of time to try out the recipes with canned pumpkin before you start pureeing your own orange globes this fall.


Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

From Pumpkin It Up by Eliza Cross, Recipe reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith.

Makes 6 servings


1 pound uncooked elbow macaroni

¼ cup butter or margarine

¼ cup flour

2 cups milk

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 cup canned or cooked pumpkin puree

2 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese, divided (2 cups, one and ½ cup)


In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the macaroni according to package directions.

While the macaroni is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and whisk for one minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the milk. Return the pan to heat and continue cooking until the mixture thickens and starts to simmer. Add the salt, pepper, mustard and pumpkin, stirring until combined. Add two cups of cheese and stir until melted.

Drain the macaroni and add to the cheese sauce, stirring to coat. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Sprinkle the remaining one half cup of cheese on top and serve.

At A Glance

Title | Pumpkin It Up

Author | Eliza Cross; Photography by Susan Barnson Hayward

Publisher | Gibbs Smith (August 9, 2016 release date)

Price | $16.99