The month of October is totally gone, and now we get to begin the holiday season. After a couple of trips to Victoria with a friend several weeks ago, I realized exactly how early the merchants were getting ready for Christmas. It wasn’t even Halloween and already several aisles were dedicated to Christmas. The next trip, the first couple of aisles were set up with Thanksgiving items, and all holiday décor was already on sale at 40% markdown. This was unbelievable. Of course, since we were shopping for some new decorations for our Auxiliary tree, it worked fine for us. Each year, the Museum here in Yoakum has a ”Christmas Tree Forest”, with schools, businesses, and the various organizations decorating a tree and it stays on display in one of the many different rooms in the museum, from the Saturday before Thanksgiving until the first part of January. This year our theme is angels and we had some on hand, purchased some more and some of our members will allow us to use some of theirs, so it should be a beautiful tree. We had a meeting on the 5th, so by the time y’all read this, hopefully it is done and out of the way! Some years, I feel as if I am being dragged into the holiday season, kicking and screaming; “No, no, I don’t want to do this yet”, it’s not even Thanksgiving”. But, that’s how it is in our world today. When my Mother first moved to this area, they used real trees and the scent of those trees was awesome, and the decorations were spectacular, just as they are today with artificial trees.
Monday, November 11, is Veteran’s Day. This is the day we honor the veterans of all the wars. It is a day not only honoring those who lost their lives, but also honoring the living veterans. When I went online to find out information about Veteran’s Day, there were over 52,000,000 sites to choose from. I chose the first two. The first is from the United States Department of Veteran Affairs (History of Veterans Day – Public and Intergovernmental Affairs), and the second is from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Veteran’s Day had its beginnings at the end of World War I. This was known as the war to end all wars. It officially ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the German officials signed the Armistice, which was a temporary suspension of hostilities by the agreement of Germany and the Allies. In actual fact, the war officially ended on June 28, 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. It has been known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world.
According to Wikipedia the commemoration of Armistice Day was recognized in the United States by a proclamation from President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, with the words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
An Act approved May 13, 1938, made November 11th of each year a legal holiday. This was a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be celebrated and known as “Armistice Day”. It was primarily set aside to honor veterans of World War I, however, in 1954, after World War II, and after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans”. Then President Eisenhower signed this on June 1, 1954.
Veteran’s Day almost fell prey to a change of date, being moved to the fourth Monday of October by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968. This is the law that moved Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day and Columbus Day. Due to protests by veterans groups, it was moved back to November 11th in 1978. It is a federal and state holiday in most states.
It’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving! As you know, we only have three more weeks before it is upon us. Since dessert is always an important part of any Thanksgiving celebration, we are going to start early with recipes for desserts! These recipes all use pumpkin and may give you a little different take on what to have instead of (or as well as) pumpkin pie.
The following recipe came across my desk several years ago from Pioneer Mills. They are simple and easy!
Pumpkin-Pecan Muffins with Oatmeal Streusel
½ cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup Pioneer Buttermilk Biscuit and Baking Mix
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
In small bowl, stir together streusel ingredients until crumbly. Set aside.
3 cups Pioneer Buttermilk Biscuit and Baking Mix
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs, beaten
1 can (15-oz) pumpkin
½ cup low-fat buttermilk or plain yogurt
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
In large bowl, combine 3 cups biscuit and baking mix, 1 cup brown sugar, ½ cup pecans, cinnamon and cloves. In medium bowl, stir together eggs, pumpkin, buttermilk and oil. Gently stir pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon ¼ cup batter into each of 24 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle streusel mixture over batter. Bake at 375ºF for 20 to 24 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Makes 24 muffins.
Praline Pumpkin Cake
1 package yellow cake mix (without added pudding)
½ cup oil
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup canned pumpkin
¼ cup water
Praline Mixture (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine cake mix, oil, sugar, spices, pumpkin and water. Beat well to blend. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Pour half of mixture into greased and floured Bundt pan. Top with Praline Mixture, fill pan with remaining batter. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until cake tests done with toothpick. Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes; remove to plate to finish cooling. When cool, frost and sprinkle with chopped pecans.
½ cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup softened butter or margarine
1/3 cup flour
Blend ingredients together until crumbly and use as directed.
More recipes next week to help with your Thanksgiving dinner!