In celebration of fall – and because I had 3.5 baking pumpkins on my counter/in my fridge, and also in honor of a new cousin, Brooklyn, I made pumpkin cookies today. What mama-again (what do you call second time mothers? Don’t they need some pampering too, even if they have a bit of experience?) wouldn’t require a seasonal sweet when bringing home baby? Friends offered rave reviews on these cookies last season, so I decided to dust off the recipe.

As I was putting it together, I noticed that it called for 1 1/2 cups sugar and only 1 cup pumpkin. To me, that seems a bit off. I mean, who’s leading this parade? The whole point of the coming together of these ingredients is the pumpkin! So I decided to divide ways from my recipe, if ever so slightly.

We went with just 1/2 cup of brown sugar (because, and I’m not sure why, I believe in the supremacy of brown sugar in all things baking related if it has a seasonal fruit/vegetable involved. Banana bread, apple baking, zucchini bread – you get the idea). And after putting in the required cup of pumpkin, I just kept shoveling in the heaping tablespoons – I would guess another 3/4 cup. I added the other spices as required, and the 2 eggs and 1/2 cup butter (mmmm, butter). I just pulled one of these warm goodies out and sampled. Delish! It’s like fall is having a festival in your mouth. Because that’s what fall hosts – festivals, rather than parties.

By decreasing the sugar the pumpkin was able to shine. She took center stage and got a standing ovation. It made me think (as things usually do). Just because we think something is good, we tend to shovel it in by the barrel. Sugar is sweet and pleasant, so dump, dump, dump it in! But what if it’s covering up the beauty of so many other things?

I think this could be true of so many of the activities for which we sign up our kids (or perhaps even ourselves?). Baseball is fun, right? Why not have them play 3 nights a week? And if a little bit of studying and reading is nice, then let’s load up on the homework. But soon that which is just supposed to sweeten has instead masked the flavor of what life is really about. Something that was simply supposed to add to the mix has instead taken center stage. And too much of it causes a tummy ache.

Oh, balance, where are you in my life? I’d like to take the “just 1/2 cup” approach to our life – not deplete it of sugar completely, but I want a cookie that I can feel good to offer my kid, one that has more vegetable in it but is still a yummy treat. And the same goes for all the stuff, all the activity with which we fill our time.

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