From the Diary of a Kitchen Goddess: Holiday Spiced Pumpkin Rice Pudding
Warming hearts and tummies ~
A Kitchen Goddess Holiday Gathering ~
Prologue: December 1, 2012 ~ Early Morning Inspiration
Esperanza and I were up early this morning, sipping pumpkin spice coffee with a caramel-flavored creamer. We held our mugs snugly with both hands. The steam kept us warm while we watched the sun rise above the mist that hovered over the fields beyond the woods at the back of the cottage. There was a gentle dusting of snow on the fields, which sparkled like diamonds as the sun ascended the dome of the sky. This reminded me that the homes in our neighborhood would soon be trimmed with lights and I could already hear the distant echo of the carolers' cheerful serenades.
The Holiday Spirit is Afoot
The cheerful thought of holiday lights trimming homes and singing in the early evening inspired me to host my own holiday dinner party for my neighbors on the evening of the Winter Solstice. Esperanza and I planned the dinner, dessert, warm drinks and entertainment. Paper bag puppets representing regional furry foragers was the planned craft. Turkey would be the main entrée, with side dishes to warm the heart of old Ebeneezer Scrooge himself. In addition to apple pie topped with fresh whipped cream, there would be pumpkin spice rice pudding. Mulled spiced cider, claret, and cocoa would be there to warm the carolers before and after their stroll around town.
Gathering the Guests
Esperanza was eager to begin creating the invitations. She glued paper mosaics of smiling chipmunks holding acorns in one hand and a cup of cider in the other. The words on the front were written with a fancy script in gold ink. After she created and address them, she set about making a sample chipmunk paper bag puppet. After our second cup of coffee, we began decorating the room and table to begin welcoming the holiday spirit to our home.
Esperanza and I knocked on doors all afternoon, delivering invitations to our feast. The sun was setting as we made our way home. Lights on houses warmed our hearts as we walked, practicing our carol singing with harmonies. Passersby waved to us as we meandered through the center of our village.
Feeding our furry and feathered friends ~
December 21, 2012 ~ A Celebration of Light
When I woke this morning, I was delighted to see that snow was gently falling. I stepped outside at 6:10 a.m. to lick up some flakes, welcome the solstice, and wait for the sun to rise. The air was crisp and full of energy. My heart was happy and full of peace.
When I stepped back inside, I put a quiet Christmas album in our CD player and began preparing the turkey for roasting. Esperanza joined me in the kitchen just in time to dress the turkey and put her in the oven. While the bird roasted slowly, we prepared the baked apples, spiced pumpkin rice pudding, and whipped cream. When the first wave of kitchen work was done, we sat down to make solstice garlands of fruit for our furry and feathered friends to eat. We placed several of them on tree branches and bushes at the far end of our back yard. The sun shone softly through the branches and our hearts were light.
Esperanza set up the serving table with decorations and place cards. She also set the craft table with paper bags, glue, and accessories. Her final project was setting up a puppet theatre in one corner of the room, for their guests to have fun with their puppets after they finished creating them.
A Feast Full of Light and Warmth
After lunch, Esperanza and I pulled on our winter coats and snow pants to sculpt snow in our front yard. Some of our neighbors engaged us in a snowball fight. We made snow angels facing the sidewalk. When the holiday lights were turned on, they created halos above the angels' heads.
At around 4pm, our guests began to arrive. Esperanza lit the pillar candle in the middle of our large, round serving table, then opened the door to give our neighbors a warm welcome. She took their coats and side dishes, and encouraged them to start making paper bag puppets.
Fun and Food on the Longest Night of the Year
When she was not welcoming guests, she helped put out the food and beverages. She served our guests, then began a puppet show with her chipmunk puppet at the theatre. Filled with cocoa and covered in glitter, the children soon joined her. The adults sat and watched as they sipped their claret.
When all the guests had gathered and the food placed on the table, each neighbor was invited to light the votive candle at their place from the pillar candle in the middle of the table. The adults helped the children. When all the candles were lit, I recited a benediction of our food and guests, and we all began to eat.
Spreading Love and Peace
Everyone finished their meal at about 6:30 p.m., satisfied and jolly, When conversations quieted down, we gathered the leftovers to bring to some of our elderly neighbors. Everyone bundled up, took their candles, and sang their way home. They put their candles on their own tables as we made our way around the village. As their homes filled with light, they returned to the group to continue caroling all the way to the nursing home. Esperanza held the final candle to give us light. We sang Adeste Fidelis, Angels We Have Heard on High, O Little Town of Bethlehem, and Silent Night, among others. Our finale was Joy to the World.
Happy Holidays of Light to all of you. May you enjoy happy, healthy, and prosperous years ahead!
Holiday party entertainment ~
Create an atmosphere of magic from the middle ages with this music CD.
A heart-warming winter treat ~
Rate this recipe ~
- 5 Cups Brown Rice, cooked
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- 18.9 oz. Arrowhead Mills Pour N Bake Pumpkin Pie Filling
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Flakes
- 1 Tspn Vanilla extract
- 1 Handful Shelled Walnuts, chopped (optional)
- 1 Tblspn Ground Cinnamon, sprinkled on top
- 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar, sprinkled on top
Putting it all together ~
- Cook the rice with a little salt and butter.
- Preheat Oven to 350°F.
- Grease a 9 inch glass pie dish with butter or shortening.
- Mix together the rice, milk, pumpkin pie filling, coconut flakes, vanilla, and walnuts (optional), and a pinch of nutmeg if you'd like..
- Sprinkle on the brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Bake in the oven for half an hour.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Nurtition in Holiday Spiced Pumpkin Rice Pudding ~
|Serving size: 1 cup of pudding|
|Calories from Fat||225|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 25 g||38%|
|Saturated fat 5 g||25%|
|Unsaturated fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 30 g||10%|
|Sugar 27 g|
|Fiber 5 g||20%|
|Protein 6 g||12%|
|Cholesterol 13 mg||4%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
© 2012 Karen Szklany Gault