Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fun with Pumpkin

The day before Halloween I went to the grocery store to buy a pumpkin to carve and couldn't find one except the giant display one.  I asked the produce manager, and he said, "We're all out.  But I'll sell you the display one for $10."  So that is how we ended up with a 50 lb pumpkin.

I was afraid to take on the mammoth task of carving it, so Clint just painted a goofy Jack-o-lantern face on it with non-toxic paints from his face-painting kit.  I usually take the seeds out of our Jack-lanterns when we carve them and we roast pumpkin seeds, and once in a while I will use the meat for a pumpkin pie, but this year I did not want to let all of that pumpkin go to waste.  So this weekend Clint dragged Big Bertha inside for me and I proceeded to make pumpkin puree.

I actually had to use a tree pruning saw to cut it open it was so tough (yes, that is me looking none-too-glamorous in my sweats, tee, and favorite baseball cap).  When I saw how thick the walls of the pumpkin were, I was very glad we had painted it rather than tried to carve it, since it was about three inches thick!

I cut the pumpkin into good-sized chunks and steamed it on the stove until it was tender and then removed the skin.

Next I pureed the pumpkin with a potato masher.  I went ahead and froze some for later (good for pumpkin pies).

I made some pumpkin soup, which turned out to taste sort of like creamed corn.  I also decided I would try making pumpkin bread, since I like other fruit and veggie breads (banana, zucchini, applesauce...)  I used the recipe for the pumpkin bread that Bobby Flay uses in his pumpkin bread pudding.  I did add some pecans to it as well (I just love pecans!)

So not a bad weekend's work.  However, I have to confess that that big old 50 pounder got the best of me---I ended up throwing over 3/4 of it away.  Still glad some of it went to use, though!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Pork Roast with Herbs and White Wine

Gotta love parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme!  Can also throw in potatoes to roast.  We like this as an alternative to turkey or ham at the holidays, but it's also great in the summer when you have a surplus of rosemary in the garden.

3-4 lb pork roast
1 carton plus one can of chicken broth
1/2 bottle chardonnay
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp parsley
1 Tbsp rosemary
1 tsp sage
1 tsp thyme
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients in roasting pan and cook in 350 degree oven for 2-3 hours.  When done, remove roast from pan.  Strain herbs out of drippings and pour into a sauce pan to make gravy over medium heat, adding 2 Tbsp butter and 3 Tbsp flour to thicken slightly.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tortilla Soup

On Saturday I made tortilla soup.  This is easy-peasy and really good---although a warning that it is on the spicy side.

1 can Mexican corn, drained
1 can black beans with jalepenos, drained
1 can diced tomatoes with chiles
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 teaspoons Maggi chicken caldo mix
1 lb chicken, cubed
lime juice to taste
Simmer for 2-3 hours, then serve with sliced avocado, tortilla chips, and sour cream and cheese garnish.

This is how sweet my little man is.  Here he is sitting on the couch reading his Bible and holding hands with his dad. I took a picture so I could remember this in a few years when he's an impossible teenager!

Update:  Low sodium version - instead of 2 cups chicken broth, 2 cups water, and 2 tsps Maggi caldo mix, use 4 cups low sodium chicken broth, 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp oregano, and 1/2 tsp onion powder.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cunning crafts

Today it was a beautiful, sunny day in the mid-60's.  We went for a long walk and enjoyed the weather after all the bitter cold days we have had lately.  I've been thinking about needing to start in on my yard and gardening tasks for the spring, and decided to take on a little spring-related project.

I got this wooden bunny basket at the local Goodwill a few years ago.  I loved the shape of it, but the dark brown wood with murky blue painted stripes was icky to say the least.


I kept ruminating about what color I wanted to paint it and about a week ago I decided I wanted to do it white with some kind of French typography in black.  So, first I painted it white with a cheap white acrylic craft paint.  I did a sloppy job, because I wanted it to look rustic (yeah, that's why, not because I'm lazy or anything!)  Already it looked better than before...

I have some pretty-looking fonts that I have downloaded off the internet, and I got the idea that instead of using vintage graphics, I would just use the text of French poems about rabbits in fancy fonts.  So, I found a couple of poems online (helps if you know that rabbit is le lapin in French), and put them in nice fonts.  Then I printed them onto transparency sheets in mirror image and used an old credit card to scrape them onto the wood (see for a tutorial).

I think I am going to put this in the kitchen and plant some herbs in the mason jars.

One funny side note:  I realized while I was transferring one of the poems and actually got a chance to read it long enough to translate it that I forgot the fact that the old French word for rabbit is no longer really used because it is also a code-word for lady parts. So in case anybody speaks French, I haven't shown you a close-up of the eyebrow-raising double-entendre poem about "the valley of the country of Tenderness"---doh!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lemon-glazed donut holes

This weekend I tried making this recipe from Sweet C Designs:

The donut holes turned out great, but Sweet C and her family must like cinnamon *way* more than we do!  One of the things I loved about this recipe was that it called for lemon extract as well as vanilla (both of which I make myself), so the donut holes had a delicious light lemony taste.  My son loves anything lemon flavored, so I decided to put a lemon glaze on the donut holes instead of cinnamon, and it was awesome!  Here is the lemon glaze I used:

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Mix the ingredients well, and then pipe onto the hot donut holes.  Yum!