Pumpkin Time!

Vitamin A-Rich Pumpkin Basis for So Many Delicious Autumn Dishes

One of my favorite things about fall is that it’s pumpkin season! I never really feel like it’s truly fall until I have my first spiced pumpkin-flavored coffee drink.

Of course, pumpkin is the featured ingredient in a host of autumn dishes, from the perennial favorite, pumpkin pie, to a variety of breads, cookies—even soups and pastas. Below, we’ve included recipes for a pumpkin-based dump cake, cookies and bread shared by local residents, plus a healthful pumpkin-based recipe for Fido!

While this Thanksgiving is likely to look much different than in years past, it’s hoped our readers will still be able to enjoy time with family and friends and find much for which to be thankful.

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Mitzi Blackmon often gets requests from family and friends to bake this Pumpkin Dump Cake, which she’s been making for 25 years! She also shared another family/friend favorite recipe: Gluten-free Pumpkin Cookies.

Noting that she found out she was gluten-intolerant in 2008, Mitzi has adapted many of her recipes accordingly over the years. She encourages bakers to use quality ingredients for the best outcomes, whether you’re following the original recipe or substituting some to accommodate dietary needs. For example, Mitzi often replaces regular butter with Earth Balance, which comes in several types, including a soy-free one. You can also, she says, substitute regular cake mix for one that is gluten-free.

Sharon Bourbeau also generously shared a recipe for a pumpkin bread inspired by her grandmother. She notes:

“My grandmother clipped this pumpkin bread recipe from a magazine many, many years ago. it’s getting hard to read because it has pumpkin splatters on it and is well- worn and yellowed with age. She also had some scribbles on there because she dearly loved cinnamon and she always increased the cinnamon in her recipes. One of my early childhood memories is making this with my grandmother. It’s easy to make, and, in about an hour, you’ll have a house smelling of sweet autumn spices and two yummy loaves that transport you to ‘fall.’”

As a bonus, Sharon, who raises and shows Maltese dogs, also shared a wholesome pumpkin-based recipe for Fido! With all of the recalls in the dog food industry, Sharon, along with some of her friends, worked with a doggy nutritionist to create a wholesome, home-cooked food with human-grade ingredients. Sharon, who raises and shows prize-winning Maltese dogs, has yet to find a pooch that doesn’t love at least one variation of this dish, which includes vitamin A-rich pumpkin.

Mitzi’s Pumpkin Dump Cake

(Makes 12 servings)


4 eggs

1 15-oz can evaporated milk

2 tsp. cinnamon*                                                     

1/4 tsp. cloves*

½ tsp. ginger*

1 tsp. salt

1 2-layer package yellow cake mix

1-2 sticks butter (sliced)

½ to 1 ½ cup chopped walnuts, depending on preference **


Combine eggs, pumpkin, sugar, spices and evaporated milk in a large bowl; mix well. Pour into 9x13” pan. Sprinkle with cake mix and then completely cover the top with pats of butter. Sprinkle walnuts. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 1.5 hours.

* You may substitute these for 2 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice

** If you don’t like nuts or are allergic, coconut is a nice alternative

Mitzi’s Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies


1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup oil

15 oz. can pumpkin

2 eggs

1 Tbs. vanilla

3 1/3 cups gluten-free flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

2 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice


Mix all ingredients together. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 11-13 minutes. Optional: Mitzi likes to make a butter cream icing for these cookies, using butter, powdered sugar and vanilla to taste. She recommends using a small ice cream scoop; alternatively, you can use a small teaspoon, roll into a ball and flatten.

Sharon’s Pumpkin Bread


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cloves

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

3/4 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 15-oz. can pumpkin


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and set the oven rack to the middle position. Generously grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans and dust with flour. Mix salt and spices together. Mix remaining ingredients together, then add spice mix. If you like, you can add chopped nuts and/or a handful of raisins. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.

Sharon's Wholesome Doggie Meatloaf


3 lbs. ground meat (turkey, chicken or beef, or a combination of these)

1 can salmon (drained)

3 eggs (beaten)

1 cup frozen or canned (unsalted) veggies such as green beans or peas or peas and carrots

1/2 can pumpkin (may also use a baked sweet potato)

Handful of blueberries (optional)

1 cup dry oatmeal

1 cup cooked brown rice

Dash of garlic powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together all of the ingredients in a large bowl, folding in the blueberries last, if using. Spray a 9x12” pan with a cooking spray and spread the ingredients evenly in the pan. Bake in your preheated oven for one hour. Remove and cool.

You may cut this into squares and freeze it and pull out as needed. Stays fresh in refrigerator for three-five days, so by cutting it into squares and removing just what you need, it will maintain its freshness longer.

This recipe is very adaptable. If your dog does not like or cannot have salmon, you can leave it out. You can also substitute other vegetables to your dog’s taste. I have also left out the oatmeal and used 2 cups of rice instead. I’ve also substituted white rice for the brown rice.

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