I'm the editor of Smart, a magazine for women in southcentral Pennsylvania. I said "I do" to my wonderful husband in 2002. We have two adorable children who have taught me much about life and love. With the birth of my second child, I bid farewell to my dreams of having a clean house, folded laundry and family dinners on weeknights.

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Don’t be scared into paying high prices for pumpkin this fall. Improvise instead.


The weather is finally starting to feel like fall and browsing through the coupons in this week’s Sunday paper warmed my soul. There are pictures of hearty soups, fruit crisps and fall squashes.

I love to leave a slow cooker of chili warming all day. When I come home, I pop a few biscuits in the oven, and we have a hearty and warm fall meal. A roast is easy to prepare with a few chopped vegetables and a packet of onion soup mix.

Autumn is my favorite food time of year, as well as the easiest to decorate for. I’ve already removed the summer centerpieces in my house and replaced them with gourds and squashes.

Speaking of squashes, pumpkin might be a staple on your fall menu. I know I love to make pumpkin roll for the fall as well as pumpkin whoopee pies with cream-cheese icing.

However, you might have heard that, thanks to the weather for the past two summers, canned pumpkin is hard to come by.

A good friend and I get together when we can to cook. We share the expense, making a large batch, and split the bounty. Last year, we made chicken and dumplings, a few casseroles and a pumpkin roll. She e-mailed me this weekend and let me know that she went to two different stores to find pumpkin, only to come up empty handed.

Thank goodness I am a hoarder of pantry items and I am sure I have at least a large can in my basement. I was curious to see if people were selling Libby’s canned pumpkin on eBay and they were. One seller is offering four cans for $36. Another is offering nine cans for $59. I understand the love of pumpkin, but come on. Pumpkin isn’t gone forever. It will be back when the weather straightens up and growers can get a good crop again.

And, heck, you can still use a gasp “real neck pumpkin.” Anyone who buys canned pumpkin on eBay is surely not a savvy shopper.

A savvy shopper improvises.

Read this story from LetsEatPA.com to see what The Food Substitutions Bible says you can substitute for canned pumpkin.

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