Pumpkin Palooza

This year the release of the PSL (pumpkin spice latte—a new acronym I learned this week—) was August 24. As I sat writing in Starbucks, I wondered how we went from my childhood of pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread around the holidays to the pumpkin/pumpkin spice frenzy of today. That made me curious about the history of pumpkins, and to the internet I went.

To my surprise, pumpkins are fruit. (Sidebar, so are all squash, eggplants, avocados, and cucumbers. And, so you can answer the why question, it’s because those plant have seeds and the items we eat develop from the flower-producing part of the plant. Botanically that makes them fruit.) Archaeologists believe pumpkins originated in Central America 7,500 years ago, but unlike todays, those were small and had a bitter taste. (Which again makes me wonder how they caught on for food!)

Despite that beginning, a recipe for a side dish with diced pumpkin was published in New-England’s Rarities Discovered, in America in the 1670s. After that, women developed more pumpkin recipes. Serving sweet pumpkin dishes during the holidays didn’t start until the 1800s. However, the first pies were scooped out pumpkins filled with a ginger-spiced milk, then roasted by the fire. Hmmm, an early PSL?

Fun pumpkin facts:

  • Antarctica is the only content where pumpkins aren’t grown.
  • Pumpkin seeds (each pumpkin has around 500) can be roasted, then salted and eaten. The flowers are also edible.
  • Pumpkin, which are 90% water, contains carotenoids which are good for eyes and neutralizes free radicals that can attack cells.
  • Pumpkins are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin which could reduce cataract formation and risk of macular degeneration. They also contain potassium, vitamin A, iron, zinc, and fiber.
  • Irish immigrant brought the tradition of Jack-O’-Lanterns to the U.S., but instead of using turnips or potatoes, they used the American pumpkins.
  • In the United States, the heaviest pumpkin was grown in New Hampshire (2018) and weighed 2,528 pounds.
  • In 2010 a pumpkin pie was baked in Ohio weighing 3,699 pounds and over 20 feet in diameter.
  • Early American settlers cut pumpkin shells into strips, dried them, and wove them into mats.
  • Morton, Illinois is called the ‘Pumpkin Capital of the World’ and the home to Libby’s pumpkin industry. Illinois also grows the most pumpkins.
  • Pumpkins were once a remedy for freckles and snakebites.
Large pumpkins are usually used for feed for livestock.

Yesterday my Pinterest feed was filled with pumpkin recipes. My research didn’t really explain how we went from the first pumpkins to the craze we see today. But maybe the answer has something to do with the following Pilgrim verse, circa 1633.

For pottage and puddings and custards and pies
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies,
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
If it were not for pumpkins we should be undoon.”

I may not have satisfied my original curiosity, but at least now you can astound and stun your friend and family with your amazing pumpkin knowledge this Thanksgiving!

To be entered in today’s random drawing for Howdy Fall T-shirt, tell me what’s your favorite pumpkin recipe or what fun fact surprised you the most. Happy (almost) Fall, Y’all!

Thanksgiving Giveaway

It has been a hard year for all of us, and this holiday season will be like no other. Restrictions may mean fewer people at your Thanksgiving table, and fewer hugs all around, but this day can still be special. That’s because restrictions can only go so far. No one can restrict our ability to spread love, laughter, and kindness. No restriction can limit how much faith, hope, and gratitude fills our hearts. Nor can any restriction stop our ability to create new traditions and make new memories.

Thanks to the miracle of technology, restrictions also can’t keep us from reaching out to each other and, for that, I’m especially grateful. It allows me to tell you how much we fillies appreciate your staying with us during this difficult time. Your continued support has truly been a blessing. To show our gratitude, I’m giving away three ten-dollar Amazon gift cards today.

To enter the drawing, tell us how your Thanksgiving will be different this year? What new traditions do you have planned? What is your hope for the season?

Christmas stories on sale now for only 99 cents. 

It was just his luck to run into a trigger-happy damsel

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Is their love strong enough to overcome their differences?

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Watch for this exciting new contest starting November 30

My Blessings and a Cover Reveal!

As Thanksgiving approaches this year, I find myself with a long list of blessings. I’ll share a few with you.

I’m thankful for my good health and those who’ve made it possible. I’m grateful for my family, particularly my boys who have grown into young men I’m incredibly proud of. I’m ecstatic the universe sent Kim, my partner in crime as my dear husband calls her, into our lives. I’m grateful beyond measure for meeting Jinger Cahill when I wandered into her shop, Maxine’s Uptown Boutique in Glassboro, New Jersey. Jinger’s wisdom and insight has changed my outlook on life in ways I never imagined. She might even make an optimist out of me! (Check back in January 8, 2020. I think sharing what Jinger’s taught me will make a perfect New Year blog!) I’m thankful to two dear friends, Lori Halligan and Jennifer Jacobson, who continue to be there for me through life’s ups and downs. Everyone should be so blessed to have two such caring, beautiful women in their lives. I’m beholden to the staff at Starbucks, Custer and 15th and their steadfast support that the words will in fact come. Lastly, but certain=ly not least, ’m thankful for my loyal readers who’ve been with me on this crazy writing journey, and I’m pleased to share the cover and release date for the next book in my Wishing Texas Series.                                                                          

To Tame A Texas Cowboy coming January 9, 2020!

Click here to pre-order.

Here’s the back cover copy.

They want different things, but they just might need each other

Dennis’s beloved service dog, Penny Lane,

Barrel racer Cheyenne Whitten returns to Wishing, Texas, after an injury, determined to recuperate and return to the rodeo circuit. But living with her over-protective mother only adds to Cheyenne’s problems. Desperate to move out and reclaim her independence, Cheyenne believes a service dog is the answer. That is, until she learns the waiting list for one is up to five years.

Having lost his fiancée two years ago, Cooper Abbott wants to run his veterinarian clinic and rebuild his life. A calm, stable, uneventful life. Then Cheyenne shows up asking for help getting a service dog, and Cooper finds he can’t refuse the feisty redhead.

Cheyenne and Cooper insist a relationship is the last thing they want. Cheyenne is focused on her health and returning to the rodeo. Cooper’s heart is still raw from loss. But it could be they’re exactly what each other needs.

Every book I write is a labor of love and a book of my heart. If they weren’t, I couldn’t write them, but the labor for To Tame A Texas Cowboy was more difficult than most. Because of that, receiving the cover and a release date has been doubly sweet. Another thing that makes this book extra poignant for me is the fact that while I was writing it, Dennis Pisarski who helped inspire the idea, lost his dear Penny Lane. I hope looking down from heaven she’s honored by the character I created. 

As we all prepare for our Thanksgiving feast, leave a comment about your favorite Thanksgiving food (other than turkey!) to be entered in the random drawing for a signed copy of
To Catch A Texas Cowboy, the holiday wine glass and snowman/stocking ornament. Thank you again for being part of my thankful list and stopping by to chat. May your Thanksgiving be full of blessings.

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