Grateful attitude promotes happiness all year

Article Published: Nov. 21, 2012 | Modified: Nov. 21, 2012
Grateful attitude promotes happiness all year

The super nutritional value of pumpkin makes pumpkin pie one of the healthiest desserts.

Photo submitted

Back in 1623, when William Bradford proclaimed the first Thanksgiving, pilgrims had much less than most of us currently do to be thankful for.

Basically, they were thankful to have enough food to eat, be spared from pestilence and disease, and to have freedom of religion. While diseases are still a large concern for us, most of us expect plenty of food, and freedom of religion is a basic right in our great country. Sometimes, when we have so much to be thankful for, human nature kicks in. We may develop expectations for our lives, and, in the process, a sense of entitlement.

Living with a grateful attitude requires effort for most people. Giving thanks in prayer form is an important part of the day for many individuals and families. This may be all that is needed. But I recall as a child listening to or saying similar prayers over and over, and not really internalizing what I was thankful for. So, now, every evening before dinner, each family member says specifically what they are thankful for. I have found this practice to be very beneficial, reminding me how fortunate I am to have so many blessings in life.

Thanksgiving is an obvious day to say what we are thankful for. But saying it every day, in whatever form feels comfortable, is what leads to a deep sense of contentment.

Right now, I am thankful for pumpkin pie season. Not only does this pie taste delicious, the super nutritional value of pumpkin makes it one of the healthiest desserts. Susanne Winebarger, N.C. Cooperative Extension administrative assistant, shared this easy-to-prepare recipe found on

Streusel-topped Pumpkin Pie

1 (15 oz.) can or 2 cups freshly pureed pumpkin
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (Use the fat-free version to save calories)
1 large egg
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (6 oz.) prepared graham cracker pie crust
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cold butter
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Whipped cream

Heat oven to 425°F.
Whisk together pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, egg, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in large bowl.
Pour into crust.
Bake 15 minutes.
While pie is baking, combine brown sugar, flour and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in small bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Stir in nuts.
Remove pie from oven; reduce oven to 350°F.
Sprinkle streusel mixture over pie.
Bake 40 minutes or until set.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. For more information, email, or call (828) 264-3061.

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