Monthly Archives: October 2009

Monster Pumpkin Pureed!

This is a re-post from last October with a few changes to make for better puree.

Back to this hugeness.

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“How in the world do you begin to attempt to cook such a thing…?”

Here is one way to do it. Worked well for me.

Begin by washing the pumpkin thoroughly.  Preheat your oven to 350.  Then lug the monster onto a flat surface with your cutting board centered underneath it.  Chop the sucker in half like so:

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It will then look like this:

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Then cut the halves in half like this:

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Scoop out the seeds from the center with a spoon and reserve them in order to make yummy roasted pumpkin seeds later.

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Grease four cookie sheets (if you have four, I only had two so I did this step in two batches).  Place the pumpkin flesh side down like this:

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Put the cookie sheets into the preheated oven.  I put a little water in the pan, but wait until they are already in the oven to do this otherwise you’ll have a mess.

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Roast for 45 min-1 hour or until the flesh is VERY fork tender and the skin has begun to bubble up.  TIP:  If after an hour the skin still has not bubbled, turn the broiler on for a few min and keep an eye on them, just as the skin begins to bubble up and brown turn it off and take ’em out.  Also check every 15-20 min or so to see if the pans need more water.

After cooked, take out, cool completely until cool enough to handle.  Using a spoon, scoop the pumpkin flesh out of the skin or shave/peel the skin away. Put the flesh in a large mixing bowl or soup pot to reserve while doing the next step.

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Cut the pumpkin into large chunks and place in the center of a clean dish cloth.  Wring out the excess liquid (reserving a cup or so to add as needed for pureeing). You will be left with a pretty dense ball of roasted pumpkin.

Break out your trusty blender and puree that pumpkin in batches as big as your blender can handle added the reserved pumpkin liquid as needed.  Puree until smooth.

I stored the pumpkin puree in a large plastic storage container so that I could freeze it in batches of 1/2 cup portioned size servings in my handy dandy silicone muffin tray.  I’m telling you if you do not have one of these add it to your Christmas wish list…it is the mother of all things freezing.  I put it on a metal baking sheet, fill up the cups, freeze it.  Pop out the portions with ease into a freezer bag and viola!  Perfectly portioned pumpkin for all my fall recipes.  And all for a few dollars…  and a good couple hours work.  Totally worth it in my book. (actually it only cost me the time because our good friends the Long’s bought it for us.  They’re so sweet 🙂

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Still with me?  I doubt many are…but that’s ok.  Maybe someday you’ll come back to this post because you yourself will want to purchase, roast, and puree your own monster of a pumpkin.  And we will join together in rejoicing amidst our delicious pumpkin baked goods all fall and winter long… 🙂

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Spinach Pesto Pasta

This pasta is one of the few ways I can get Little Man to joyfully eat something green. Hubby and I love it too. And I especially love that it uses spinach as a base for pesto instead of basil (as in a traditional pesto). Spinach is a “Super Food” so its a great alternative. You can also throw in some kale if you have some on hand…but really…who ever has that on hand?

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Honestly I almost always have the stuff I need to whip this up, just waiting to be used.

Ingredients:

1 box whole wheat spiral noodles

2 cups frozen spinach or half a bag of fresh (or any other greens you want), I prefer fresh greens

1/3 cup onion diced

3 tsp. minced garlic (or 2-3 fresh cloves minced)

1 tsp. garlic powder, onion powder

1/2 tsp. basil, parsley, and oregano

2 tsp. salt

2-4 tsp. olive oil

Pinch of red pepper flakes or 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

In a large pot bring water to boil and cook noodles according to package in salted water.  In a small sauce pan saute onions in little oil until translucent.  Add minced garlic and cook over med. heat for a min or two making sure not to burn.  If using frozen spinach add in greens and a few tbsp. water to get it cooking.  Cook over med heat for 5  min. adding water as needed to keep from burning (not too much though because this will be your pesto and pesto can not be watery and you don’t want to have to strain it and loose flavor).  At end of the 5 min. add in all spices and salt, stir, and cook another 1-2 min.  Remove from heat. Put spinach into blender and puree until smooth adding olive oil as it purees.

(If using fresh spinach, pack the raw leaves into your blender and pour in all spices and salt and cooked onion and garlic with a few tsp. water and olive oil.  I prefer to use fresh greens because you don’t have to cook them at all and you get tons more nutrients this way!)

Reserve a coffee mug full of the noodle water to add to pasta as needed if it gets dry as you add the cheese. Strain pasta and place back into large pot.  (At this point feel free to toss in any left over roasted or steamed veggies you may have on hand.  We like to add  sliced cherry tomatoes, roasted zucchini or yellow squash or sometimes I will throw in a few hand fulls of frozen peas into the cooking noodles.)  Add the pesto from the blender to the hot noodles and stir until all noodles are coated.  Add in Parmesan cheese, reserving any you would like to sprinkle over the top. Salt to taste. Add any of the reserved cooking liquid you need to receive the texture sauce that you’d like at that point.  Dish it and serve it!

There are LOTS of variations to this lil’ recipe of mine.  You could stir in some mozzarella cheese or cook the noodles to just before al dente and put it in a casserole dish, cover with cheese and bake it for a delicious pasta bake.  You could add grilled chicken, sprinkle bacon over the top, add any and all veggies till your hearts content…  Let me know if you try anything new with it that you enjoy!

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Monster Pumpkin

On our trip to the pumpkin patch I decided to be extra courageous and attempt what has yet to be attempted on my own…purchasing, roasting and pureeing my very own pumpkin to then be used in many a delicious baked good this Fall.

The lucky winner?  A HUGE Candy Roaster Pumpkin.  Looks like a giant orange cucumber.  Don’t believe me?  Well take a lil’ looksy  at this.

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And just in case you can’t get the whole concept of the massiveness of this thing here’s another…

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Yes, I laid him down next to it and yes, I asked him to hug it…what?  Like that’s weird??

Now I am sure you are asking yourself…how in the world did you tackle this thing?  And since you asked for it…I will tell you this Friday!  On You Asked For It Friday.  If our blog had theme music I would insert it here.  🙂  (Like Wheel of Fortune or something similar…)

Hope you all are having a great week!

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Pumpkin’s Everywhere

At the pumpkin patch us mom’s decided that there is just something about kids and pumpkins that is too adorable.  Hopefully this will justify the obscene number of pictures I am about to post of Little Man and these orange vegetables.

IMG_3699“Mom!  Look what I found!”

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“What IS this thing???”

IMG_3698“Wonder if I can pick it up??”

IMG_3725 cropped 2Trapped in a sea of pumpkins…

And just for old times sake…remember this??

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How does he compare there with this one?

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Pretty sure he wouldn’t fit in one of those this year…

Okay, Okay, enough pumpkins for the day!  Hope you have a good one!

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Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Last weekend we took a trip to the pumpkin patch with some new sweet friends. It was so much fun for Little Man as well and hubby and I. There was all kinds of activities for the kids including a hay maze, a HUGE corn-box (like a sand box but with corn), petting zoo, a pumpkin picking hay ride, and lots of opportunity for Little Man to get nice and dirty…

I had a hard time choosing which pictures to post but here are a few of my favorites.

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A little too close for comfort…?

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Hubby, Little Man, and his baby pumpkin.

IMG_3705 croppedAll in all, a super fun weekend!  Our little boy is no longer a baby…what a little toddler he has become.

And we are enjoying every second of it 🙂

More pictures of Little Man and pumpkins tomorrow!

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Green Chicken Curry

For this You Asked For It Friday, our families newest favorite-est recipe.

Green Chicken Curry

During our families time in Australia we fell in love with Thai food. The curry, coconut milk, and tasty fragrant rice, we just couldn’t get enough! I vowed to learn how to cook it as soon as we got back to the states.  After glancing through several Thai Cooking books and reading dozens of recipes, I came up with this one that both hubby and I, as well as the ladies who visited last weekend, really love.

This is definitely a trip overseas as far as flavors go but not TOO out there in weirdness to the point that picky eaters won’t like it.  And FYI just in case:  Curry is actually a spice.  It can be found in most grocery stores in the spice isle or international section.  (Cookevillian’s you will have to go to Kroger for this one, Walmart doesn’t have it.)  And the thing that makes it green curry in my recipe is the tons of green veggies that you add.

Interested in trying it yourself?  Well here’s the recipe.

Green Chicken Curry

Ingredients:

1 cup jasmin rice (long grain fragrant rice is best but if you can’t find it any long grain white rice will do)

1 cup cooked diced chicken

1 cup frozen peas

1 onion thinly sliced

1 zucchini halved length wise and sliced (Keep in mind that any of the veggies can be subbed for just about anything you like)

2 jalapenos de-seeded and minced

1 head broccoli chopped into ‘trees’

1 tbsp. fresh ginger grated (I buy a whole piece from the produce section in the market and freeze it in a ziplock bag to use when needed)

1 tsp. minced garlic

2 cans coconut milk

1 cup chicken stock

1tbsp. cornstarch

1 tbsp. lime juice

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (can sprinkle more on top for spiciness like hubby and I:-)

1 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1 handful cilantro roughly chopped for garnishing (optional)

Directions:

Cook Rice according to package.  Chop veggies. In a large skillet or soup pot, saute onion over med. heat  for 2-3 min. with a few splashes of cooking oil.  Then add in broccoli, garlic, jalapeno, zucchini, and ginger. Saute until veggies are tender. (about 5-7 min)  While veggies cook, combine curry, chili powder, salt, and 1 tbsp. oil.  Toss in cubed cooked chicken…

(I always used pre-cooked chicken since I cook a whole chicken in a crock pot and use the meat in recipes throughout the week.  If using chicken breast, you could marinate uncooked chicken in the spice mix, cook, dice, and use as recipe directs.)

…In separate bowl combine coconut milk, chicken stock and corn starch until smooth.  Add this liquid mixture to the pot with veggies when the veggies are tender.  Add red pepper flakes, lime, cooked chicken, and peas.  Allow to simmer, stirring over med. low heat for 2-3 min. to thicken.  Serve over rice.  Garnish with cilantro for extra fresh flavor.  Salt and red pepper to taste.

Sorry no picture…we ate it all up before I could grab one.  Next time I make it I will snap one and add it.

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A change in our blogging style

So hubby and I have recently decided that since this site is pretty much available for the whole world to see, we are going to make a few changes. You will notice that from now on, my husband will be known as ‘Hubby’, our first born child will be know as ‘Little Man’ and I will be known as ‘Wifey’. Since I do not often refer to myself in 3rd person…and I am typically the one typing these…you will not often hear that last term. You can thank me later.

Much love to you our friends who take time out of your days to read our silly, silly randomness. We LOVE you!

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