Holiday Scents & Mom’s Empanadas de Calabaza

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #GladeHolidayMood #CollectiveBias

I don’t know about you, but I can easily be transported to another place by two things, music and yummy scents.  A recent trip to HEB proved no different. As I went down the holiday aisle in search of ways to dress up my home, as I host my first Thanksgiving ever, I found the Glade® Winter Collection.  The scents, colors and fun packaging sparked excitement for the holiday season and prompted me to start thinking about what decorations, sides and desserts needed to grace our holiday table.  As I took it all in and began to go through their holiday scents, I was sent on a quick trip down memory lane, being greeted by the sweet smells, sights and sounds of the holidays at my parent’s house.   In particular, Apple Cinnamon Cheer™ and Frosted Cookie Party™, took me straight to my Mom’s empanadas de calabaza (squash) and fond memories of enjoying them during many a holiday gathering.

Holiday Scents and Empanadas De Calabaza recipe- hashtag

Isn’t it funny how scents can bring on a flood of memories & nostalgia because we tend to link them to events, people, places, and/or emotions?  I find it fascinating and was happily surprised that the Glade® Winter Collection took me back to fond memories of spending the holidays surrounded by familia (family).  It not only helped spur me on to take on the task of recreating my Mother’s empanadas de calabaza, but it also sparked a genuine desire to continue our holiday traditions.

Glade Winter
So once I had my fill of inspiration, I continued my shopping trip by calling my Mom to find out what else I needed to pick up to fill the craving sparked by all the yummy scents and allow myself some practice before our big Thanksgiving feast.  

Pumpkin Empanada Ingredients

For the calabaza (squash) filling:
1 Kabocha squash or your favorite
1-2 piloncillos – made from pure, unrefined sugar that is pressed into a cone shape – if you don’t have access to one you may substitute 1 cup of dark brown sugar and 1 tablespoon molasses for each cone.

For the empanada breading:
5 cups flour
3/4 cups of sugar
a pinch of baking powder
3/4 cup of vegetable shortening
1 cup of milk

So off I went shopping and went home to start on the filling.  Here are the filling instructions.

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How to Cook the Empanada Filling

Cut up the squash into manageable pieces for your pot and scoop out the seeds and strings.


Add a cup of water, cover the pot and bring it to a boil on high.


Then cut it back to medium heat and allow it to simmer for an hour to an hour and a half, until the squash becomes soft.


Remove the rind and add the steamed squash back to the pot.

Squash Y

Then add in 1 crumbled piloncillo.  (My Mom tends to add 1 1/2 to 2 piloncillos, but that’s too sweet for me.  You know your tastes, so add in as many as you want accordingly.)

Allow the squash and piloncillo to simmer in low heat, stirring accordingly, until the piloncillo melts into the squash.


Your filling is now complete.  I realize this is a long process, so don’t feel bad if you just want to put that in the fridge until your ready to build the empanadas.  I totally did. 

How to Make the Empanadas

Combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl.


Mix in the shortening throughout until it begins to bind (the dough should stick together in your hand).


Now warm up the cup of milk and add it little by little until the dough is completely combined and set it aside so you can lightly grease a baking sheet and set your oven to 350 °F.

Now divide the dough into tablespoon sized balls, on a floured board or table and roll them out with a rolling pin.


Don’t worry if you don’t end up with pretty circles.  Just make sure they are large enough to fill with a tablespoon of calabaza filling.


Now fold one side over and press down the edges and seal with a simple finger crimp. (Check out this quick video to see how.)

Place the empanadas on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.

This recipe makes about 20-25 empanadas.  Enjoy!

Empanadas inspired by

So as the holidays approach and you begin working toward creating the best backdrop for this year’s memories, head on out to your local HEB and check out what the latest scents from the Glade® Winter Collection inspire in your life.

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HEB Glade Holiday

FYI – 12/7/14 most Sunday newspapers and will be offering coupons for savings on Glade® products.  Don’t miss out!

Which Glade® scents remind you of holidays spent surrounded by family?

EMPANADAS DE CALABAZA - Pumpkin Empanadas -

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something via those links Your Sassy Self receives a small percentage of the profits. Thanks for your support!

Rocio Chavez
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  1. My Great – Grandmother made these for me when I was a little Mousey, before I started school she took care of me and she would put them in this apple cookie jar. I would climb the chair to reach on top of the table to get them. I need to make these to bring memories of her. I always buy them, but it’s not the same as having the fresh baked.

    • Awe Lisa, what a sweet memory to have of your Grandmother. Yes, you totally need to give them a try and see what new memories you can create with those you share them with. 😉

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