Friday, November 26, 2010


I froze my fresh pumpkin in order to use it in my Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, which I made yesterday.  I noticed a few differences in the resultant pie - the color was a little brighter, it tasted sweeter and the texture was softer, which I did not like.  It reminded me of the texture of mashed sweet potatoes.  I liked mashed sweet potatoes as a savory dish, but not dessert.

This leads me to wonder what is pumpkin pie "supposed" to taste like?  I assume that the pie that is made with fresh pumpkin is how the pie was intended to taste, but I don't like it.  However, maybe I do not like it because I'm used to pie made with canned pumpkin and my taste buds don't know what the good stuff tastes like?  Or if I had only been offered pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin would I have decided I did not like it?

I do know this, I tried sweet potato pie once and no, I didn't like it which leads me to believe I wouldn't have become the pumpkin pie lover that I am today had I been exposed to fresh pumpkin containing pies as a kid.  Next year I'm back to using canned.

We made one other change in our Thanksgiving menu this year.  We opted to use fresh green beans in a dish that didn't include mushroom soup.  They were delicious and I will absolutely make them again.  Here is the recipe:

Garlicky Green Beans with Mushrooms

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cooked Pumpkin

I've come to the conclusion that there is no good reason to buy a pie pumpkin (or sugar pumpkin) and cook it yourself so that you can collect the cooked pumpkin for another use such as pie or bread.

I was lured into giving it a try because the smaller pie pumpkins were on sale for $1.50 each.  I Googled and found three ways to cook them; bake, boil or microwave.  I didn't feel like baking them for over an hour and using so much engery for such a small item,  boiling always makes me think about the vitamins leaching out into the boiling water so I opted to microwave.  Each pumpkin weighed 2 3/4 lb so I microwaved them for 7 minutes per pound.  After cooling I scraped off the cooked pumpkin; it was largely stringly, although I had thoroughly scraped out the seeds and guts pre-cooking.  The first pumpkin yielded roughly 1 1/2 cup of cooked pumpkin, the second a bit more.

I checked the label on a 15 oz can of Libby's canned, pureed pumpkin from my pantry; it yields 3 1/2 half-cup servings which is about the same amount that my first pumpkin produced.  The sodium was the other concern I had; the canned option contained 5 mg per serving, really nothing.  The cost for the canned pumpkin was $1.69 not even 25 cents more than my whole pumpkin cost.

So, other than the seeds I saved for roasting I'm pretty disappointed at how labor intensive this experiment was.  Unless I somehow end up growing my own pie pumpkins in the future I won't be doing this again.

I did just taste the toasted pumpkin seeds and they were delicious!  Here is my recipe:

Remove any stringly bits of pumpkin from seeds and rinse thoroughly.  Please the seeds in a small saucepan; add water to cover seeds.  Add 1 T sea salt to water and stir.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  The seeds will look gray when they are done.  Pour cooked seeds into a strainer and rinse.  Drain thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 325.  Place drained seeds on a jelly roll pan.  Drizzle 1 T of olive oil over the seed; distribute the oil throughout the seeds with your hand and flatten the seeds into one layer.  Sprinkle 1 t of sea salt on the seeds and place pan in the oven.

Bake for 45 or longer, until browned.  Watch closely at the end of baking time to avoid burning the seeds.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Angry and Germy

What goes around comes around.

My daughter had a boy named Jeremy in her class last year.  For the whole school year she insisted his name was "Germy".  She said it in a matter-of-fact way;  she wasn't making fun of him, she honestly believed his name was Germy.  I tried to explain that Jeremy sounds like Germy but he name is pronounced Jeremy.  It all fell on deaf ears. 

This year Germy is in another classroom but she has a new girl friend named Avery.  She doesn't have any problem with this name but her little brother does.  He insists her name is Angry.  It's another case of that's just how it sounds to him and he refuses to listen to anyone who tells him different.  It makes his sister crazy and his mommy laugh. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Last night my daughter spelled her first word all by herself; it was "samin". Sound it out - can you guess what it was?

Her homework instructions were to draw a picture of a food that started with "s" and then write the letters based on how the word sounded to her. First she drew a sort of rough square and told me that was "salmon". I realized that she had drawn it like she sees it on her plate so I suggested instead of drawing it as a serving size maybe draw a fish instead. So she did, complete with whiskers (or eyelashes, I'm not sure) and slowly sounded it out, writing down a letter at a time. When she was done and I was actually able to read what she wrote I thought I might cry.  She is learning to write! 

Her reading is also coming along and she is picking out the words "the", "to", "go" in newspapers, books, billboards - it's really exciting to see how much she is learning and noticing these lessons in her real life surroundings.