Pumpkin Parfait Cups

This week, I am writing about my pre-Thanksgiving meal that controls my cravings for the ultimate feast that is weeks away. That first blog covered the main dish: turkey meatballs! Turkey is the premier entre for Thanksgiving but it’s the side dishes that crowd the plate. It is hard to leave any of our favorites out of the feast, but our tables are only so big! That is the best part of a pre-Thanksgiving meal … make some of those sides that didn’t make the cut for the final menu.

Or, maybe you are ready for a new line-up and just need some good recommendations.

The second post this week featured a simple and healthy side-dish, Parsley-Mustard Glazed Carrots, and the third supplied the fruit, Fried Apples.


No Thanksgiving meal, early or on the day, can be without dessert. Pumpkin pie is as traditional as the roast turkey. When making my pre-Thanksgiving meal, I just couldn’t bring myself to make the pie. Not because it’s hard but because I really did not want to dampen the anticipation of pie on Thanksgiving.

We had been to a dinner at my brother’s house a few weeks ago, and the wife of the nephew of my sister-in-law (I love extended family) brought a pumpkin fluff dip with vanilla wafers. It was so light and full of fall flavors, I had to ask her to send me the recipe. She blushed a little and said, can you remember four things?

Sometimes …

when it’s important …

… like making a pre-Thanksgiving meal!

As I was mixing it up, I thought how pretty it would be layered in a glass cup. Instead of vanilla wafers, I had graham crackers on hand so I ground them up for an additional layer in the cup. And, like any fall-loving-kid-at-heart, I had some candy pumpkins on hand for the final touch.

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Pumpkin Parfait Cups

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 box (4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, defrosted
1 teaspoon cinnamon (see note below)
2 cups graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs

Combine pumpkin, pudding mix, half of the whipping topping, and cinnamon in a bowl; mix well. 

Spoon a layer of crumbs into the bottom of serving cups, followed by a layer of pumpkin mixture and then a layer of whipped topping. Repeat all layers. Sprinkle with a little more graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs. Add a candy pumpkin or a graham cracker rectangle or vanilla wafer on top.

This recipe will make 6-8 servings as pictured. Amount will vary depending on the size of the cup used and the thickness of the layers.

NOTE: You can use all cinnamon or you can use 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon cloves, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg.

This no-bake parfait in individual cups was the perfect ending to our simple menu. It’s getting popular now to host “Friendsgiving” dinners or small-plate parties. Making these in small cups that everyone can take and eat as they mingle would surely please a crowd.

Or, like us, a crowd of two.


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Anita Hinkeldey McVey

From the farm in Alta ... to college in Ames ... to the suburbs of Des Moines in Waukee ... I am an Iowa girl through and through. I married the cute, but quiet, guy who made me laugh out loud in Statistics class and we have two awesome, but terribly sarcastic, boys. In 1999, I quit my research job to be home with those active boys. Staying home allowed me to spend more time preparing meals, trying new recipes and striving to serve healthier options for my family. Now that my boys are men ... well, "adults" anyway ... and my husband still appreciates what I accomplish at home, I have time to explore my creative side and knock "writing a blog" off my bucket list. I love trying new things, traveling, gardening, reading and clean countertops. I love baseball (watching, not playing) and concession stands. Choosing a favorite food is impossible but if I was forced to pick just one, it would be pie! I thank God that He has led me to this place. Here's to a new adventure and hopes that others will be able to use what I post to discover the benefits of family meals and living a picnic life.

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