Tag Archives: pumpkin

Pureeing Pumpkin Is Easy!

After cleaning the seeds out of the pumpkins, we, of course, cooked and ate them! 😀  There are loads of wonderful recipes to try on the internet. And I didn’t want to waste all that delicious pumpkin, so I pureed it! It’s very easy and tastes sooo much better than canned puree.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line your pumpkin bits flesh side up on cookie sheets and cook for 45 minutes or until fork tender.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

45 minutes later, they're done. Now let them cool.

45 minutes later, they’re done. Now let them cool.

Now it’s time to separate the flesh from the skin.  If, like me, you’re pumpkins are older, you will be able to just peel them.  If they’re fresh pumpkins, they will still have a lot of moisture in them and might not peel easily.  If so, you will have to use a spoon or a knife to scrape the pumpkin from the skin.

Peeling pumpkins.

Peeling pumpkins.

Just like that.

Just like that.

Now you have a bowl full of pumpkin bits. So you can get out your mixer and have at them...

Now you have a bowl full of pumpkin bits. So you can get out your mixer and have at them…

Using a mixer will give you more of an apple sauce texture to the pumpkin.  You'll never notice it in muffins, but a pie will have a somewhat thicker texture.  The same with pumpkin butter.  The spices won't meld into all the chunkier bits and so there will be a definite note of pumpkin along with the spic

Using a mixer will give you more of an applesauce texture to the pumpkin. You’ll never notice it in muffins, but a pie will have a somewhat thicker rather than creamier texture. The same with pumpkin butter. Which is fine by me, BUT if you have family members that are sensitive to food texture then whip out your blender….

Now if your pumpkin is too dry to blend well, feel free to add some water or apple juice/cider to the blender to get things started.  But only a little bit!  You don't want watery pumpkin

Now if your pumpkin is too dry to blend well, feel free to add some water or apple juice/cider to the blender to get things started. But only a little bit! You don’t want watery pumpkin puree!  And remember to blend in small batches for better consistency. And for those of you with really fresh or less cured pumpkins that DO have watery pumpkin puree, pour your puree into a cheesecloth or flour towel lined colander and let it sit and drain for a couple of hours.  If you have a large, fine mesh strainer, that will work as well.  Some pumpkin will squeeze out, but not much.

Now freeze it however you will in freezer containers or freezer bags.  To make life easier on yourself, freeze it in cup amounts that match what you’ll use it for.  For example, I have a cranberry pumpkin muffin recipe I love that requires 2 cups of puree.  So I put two cups in a bag and freeze it.  The night before I want to use it I put it in the fridge to thaw.  But you could nuke it in the microwave on defrost in a pinch.  Just be careful not to burn it!

The puree will keep up to six months in a regular freezer.  But if you have access to a freezer chest and a FoodSaver, it’ll go a year easy.  Enjoy!

In Just Minutes, Clean The Seeds Out Of A Cooking Pumpkin

Time to get back to regular life.  I have been surprised at how difficult it has been to do things I enjoy. So a simple post to help get things rolling again.

Yes!  I said cooking pumpkin!  (My local farmer’s market is selling them for a dollar each.)  I don’t know if you could do the following with a Halloween pumpkin unless it was big enough to get your hand and the fork inside. Yup, fork! Besides the obvious, a knife, you need a salad type fork and spoon.  If you have a salad serving pair, that works even better.

Tools.

Tools.

Cut the head off your pumpkin.

Cut the head off your pumpkin.

Flip the pumpkin over and cut it in half. Once you're through the blossom spot you can usually wiggle the knife and pop the pumpkin in half.

Flip the pumpkin over and cut it in half. Once you’re through the blossom spot you can usually wiggle the knife and pop the pumpkin in half.

Drag the fork through the seeds.  They will start falling out with very little effort. You will leave behind nearly all the

Drag the fork through the seeds. They will start falling out with very little effort. You will leave behind nearly all the stringy stuff that is so hard to wash off.

This is what is will look like when you're done.

This is what is will look like when you’re done.

Scrape out the stringy stuff.

Scrape out the stringy stuff.

Now you get to use your imaginations!  

You know, make a picture in your head!

(In other words, I forgot to take a picture of the next step.)

Fill the bowl full of seeds with water and stir. The water will be orange, the seeds will float, and any chunky stuff will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Reach in there and scoop out the stuff on the bottom and dump the seeds into a colander for a final rinse.

There may or may not be a couple of orange bits still stuck to the seeds.  Your choice to remove them or not.  I'm not overly picky unless they're big enough to burn.

There may or may not be a couple of orange bits still stuck to the seeds. Your choice to remove them or not.  I took out those two pieces in the middle and ran the seeds under the faucet.

Now choose a drying method! Paper towels or real towels and dump the seeds out to pat them dry.

I like to dry mine on flour towels.  A spatula will take care of those sticky ones!

I like to dry mine on flour towels. A spatula will take care of those sticky ones!

Now pick your favorite pumpkin seed recipe, cook those seeds and enjoy!

Mercury Is In Retrograde (YUK) and A Wee Critter Is Found

Random Thoughts

So Mercury went retrograde on Oct. 21 and has been slapping me around ever since.  Remember how much trouble I had posting that day?  A sign of things to come.  Me and the internet and this computer having been having at it ever since. Internet for 5 minutes then no internet then internet then no internet, ARGH!  The Husband did a shutdown and reboot(?) of all things computer and internet related that has given me back internet for now. The question is will it last?  Retrograde doesn’t end until November 10.  So no starting new things, no signing contracts, no buying new cars, expect delays in travel, expect anything to do with communications to fritz out, got the picture?  I am told that revisiting old projects, sorting paperwork, cleaning out clutter, organizing, and regrouping are good ideas till everything settles.

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Another bit of ‘fun’ was an intestinal virus that came to visit last weekend.  I still feel like all my ‘go juice’ got drained away.  When I can sleep, I’m hitting 10 – 11 hours at a clip.  *sigh*

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” It takes both the sun and the rain to make a beautiful rainbow.” — Attributed as Unknown or Proverb

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“Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished.” — Lao Tzu

Life At Our House

Not much to tell.  It’s been a whole lot of nothingness this week.  I did, however, get in the mood for food.

Fresh sourdough bread and Cranberry Pumpkin muffins.

Fresh sourdough bread and Cranberry Pumpkin muffins.

Out In The Yard

When The Husband grabbed a couple of hours to mow, he found a wee surprise under one of the flower pots.

I did not handle this wee fellow who was maybe all of 3 inches long.  Just gently scooped him on to a leaf and moved him.  So by process of elimination on what lives around here and what my yard has to offer, I believe he is a lead phased, Eastern Red-Backed Salamander.

I did not handle this wee fellow who was maybe all of 3 inches long. Just gently scooped him on to a leaf and moved him. So by process of elimination on what lives around here and what my yard has to offer, I believe he is a lead phased, Eastern Red-Backed Salamander. (Normally they have a red back.)  They eat all kinds of wee crawlies that live in the leaf litter and soil.

These guys have no lungs.  If their skin drys out they will suffocate to death.  They also do not require a water source for their eggs.  There are no intermediate stages, so eggs are laid in leaf litter or under logs and the young that hatch are fully developed baby salamanders about an inch long.

These guys have no lungs, they breathe through their skin.  They must live where it is moist, for if their skin dries out they will suffocate to death. They also do not require a water source for their eggs. There are no intermediate stages, so eggs are laid in leaf litter or under logs.  The young that hatch are fully developed baby salamanders about an inch long.

It was such a nice surprise to know my yard is safe enough for these guys to live in it.  I rarely, rarely use anything poisonous in my yard.  (My big exception is getting rid of fire ant colonies. I refuse to be constantly attacked in my own yard.)

Our header today is Bee Balm or more properly, Monarda.  Everything loves this stuff.

So pretty.  It is a member of the mint family and can be used for tea or to spice up dishes.

So pretty. It is a member of the mint family and can be used for tea or to spice up dishes.

Mugs

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Yes, another old favorite.  Have I mentioned before that this is one of my favorite sets?  I leave it up on my mug rack all year round.

It’s now 11:14.  So time to go.  Fingers crossed this posts the first time around!

Back From “The Pit”

Random Thoughts

So the past two months are a blur.  I just couldn’t get motivated, had more than usual trouble with sleeping, and was just doing enough to get by.  I even got behind on reading my favorite blogs several times because I couldn’t muster up the interest.

It started with finding out my dog had cancer. (More down in the pet section.)  That really upset me.  He’s only 8 years old and we’ve never had health issues with him.  It is so not fair.  My last dog got cancer, but she was 15 at the time.  I tried to snap out of it, this isn’t the first animal I’ve lost.  But it just got worse until I was just dragging myself through the days.  Then one day I was lying in bed grousing because the sun was shining in the window and all I wanted to do was pull the blankets up over my head and sleep.  Yes, you read correctly.  Robin the lizard, the sun worshipper, bitched at the sun for shining.

As I was snuggling in the covers I realized what I had just done.  I woke up some more thinking about it.  Me not wanting sun?  That’s kinda like saying I don’t need air to breathe.  So I sat up in bed thinking about that and my glance fell on my dresser.  And sitting there among the junk was my light box.  Well, shit.  AARGH!!  The mental lights came on and I realized SAD had snuck up on me two months early this year. (Seasonal Affective Disorder, for those of you who don’t know.*)  The constant cloudiness on top of being depressed about my dog just whammied me.  It didn’t help that I was trying to ignore how I felt and just keep plodding on.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  All by itself the fact that I wasn’t reading for fun should have been a major red flag.  Depression sucks.

The only way out of this is through it.  There will be regular light sessions and noise (music, TV) to help keep me focused.  I’m still not back 100%, but bringing my daughter home for Thanksgiving and all the busyness and having to get up early most days helped quite a bit.  I’m caught up with my computer reading and have been rereading some books and I’m working wee bits on the house for the holidays.  Now it’s time to get back to blogging.  And I’m also going to make a list of things that need done in real life so that it pokes at me to scratch them off.  I am beyond behind on caring for all my critters.  (I took a gallon ice cream bucket of Java Moss out of one fish tank and there are mushrooms growing in my crab tank.  Ugh.)  Onward, Ho!

*(For the tags I first typed in Seasonal Defective Disorder! 🙂 )

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In that vein, I would like to thank all my lurkers who stuck around and checked in when I wasn’t writing.  I would occasionally check in to clear out spam* and there were always a few people checking the blog.  It helped cheer me up to know that there were people still looking even though I hadn’t written anything in so long.  Also some guilt, but more cheer.  Thanks.

*Oh, spam.  You wouldn’t believe all the costume companies posting to tell me things like how ‘timely and accurate’ my blog was.  Seriously?

 Life At Our House

Roughly a month ago (?) during a brief couple of warmish days, I managed to get the bed out on the laundry lines for one last line dry.

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The real fun this week was when I went to the Laundromat.  My washing machine has multiple problems (more on that in another post), one of which is it will not let hot water in.  So really dirty things must be taken to where there is warm water.  While I was talking to the lady who works there, I noticed something on the ceiling.  Suddenly I realized what it was and said, “That looks like a bat.”  The lady looked up, shrieked, jumped up from her chair so hard it fell over, and ran.  She started OMGing and saying she had to call someone.  I told her not to bother; I would catch it for her.  “Are you sure?  Are you sure?,” she kept asking.  She couldn’t believe I wasn’t afraid.  I found the right size small trash can and some cardboard to cover it.  As I was dragging a chair over to the bat, a large man came in with laundry.  Upon finding out I was going to grab a bat, he decided to head back out the front door.  Yes, I did find all this fuss over a wee bat not even as long as my finger humorous.

I caught the bat, which was not happy about being woken up in broad daylight, and took it outside to let it go.  I walked to the edge of the parking lot and shook the bat out between the building and the house below.  I figured it would fly out of the space into the trees behind the building.  Um, no.  It fluttered to the ground, still not awake enough to fly.  The house below had two cats I didn’t see until they ran to the edge of the porch to look down at the bat. Well, crap.  The street runs along a hill at this point.  The building where I was, was built up to the road.  The house next to it was not and sits down off the street with a long series of steps down to it.  I ran out to the road and around the poles to the steps and in my clogs I cloppity clopped down the stairs.  The cats decided I was scarier than the bat was interesting and bailed.  I went through the yard to scoop up one seriously pissed off bat who was now awake enough to screech at me and show me allll his teeth.  And let me tell you, they have a lot of teeth.

I went back up to the Laundromat and said I would take the bat to my house and I’d be back with the trash can.  The large man was back and when he realized I had the bat he scooted backwards about ten feet shaking his head, “Those things give me the creeps.”  The lady proclaimed me her savior.  I took the bat home and put him on my huge burn pile where I felt he would be safe from the neighbor’s cats.  It was only then that I thought of the camera and by the time I got back he had moved and folded his wings up.  So you only get to see him smooshed together.  By the time I got back from returning the trash can to the Laundromat, he was gone.

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When I got back to the Laundromat, the lady gave me a card.  On it was written, “Bat Lady, $2.00 off your next load.”  🙂

 Fur Babies and Other Friends

Our dog Jake has bladder cancer.  It started out as blood in his urine.  We went the antibiotic route and the blood went away for a while.  Then it came back.  More antibiotics.  It went away and came back faster.  We played around with it for a while and then started running tests.  Lab work on his urine said maybe stones.  But it wasn’t really conclusive.  Our vet sent us to another vet who has an ultrasound and that was how we found the tumor.  Transitional Cell Carcinoma.  There is no cure for it.  Just treatments to extend life.

My vet isn’t real big on going to extremes just to keep an animal alive longer.  I like that about him.  It’s not that he won’t if that’s what you want to do; it’s just that he prefers quality of life over buying the animal a few miserable extra months.  So I asked him what he would do if the dog was his.  So on October 8, Jake underwent exploratory surgery to see if there was enough good bladder so the vet could take out the tumor and make him a small bladder and buy him some extra time.  He took a look and closed him up.  The tumor was too high up the neck of the bladder, too many nerves would be damaged, and the bladder was too involved.

Jake came home miserable as all get out.  He had trouble walking and we would have to lift his back-end up to get him back in the house.  He would lie down and not move, so when we made him get up to go out he would be so stiff he could barely stand.  It was awful.  It took him a couple of weeks to get ‘normal’ again.

And normal is what is making this so hard to deal with.  Other than pee problems, he doesn’t look or act sick.  It has really been hard to wrap my head around the fact that we are going to lose him.  He is currently on a human arthritis medication which they found blocks the enzymes the tumor needs to keep growing.  Some dogs my vet has treated with this have lived as long as 2 years after they were diagnosed.  In the articles I was reading a small percentage of dogs actually went into remission.  I took him in for a recheck and the vet says the tumor hasn’t grown anymore and is softer which is good.  So now we just take care of him and deal with things as they come.  I really hope he makes it to Christmas.  He loves all the tearing of the packages because he gets the wrapping paper to destroy.

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Home Caring

My kitchen table got lost again.

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Here it is after the clean up.  Yes, that’s Thanksgiving stuff.  There were no Thanksgiving decorations put up because I didn’t do it.  And I had some surviving gourds that hadn’t rotted away waiting to be put out.  So I grabbed some squash and a pie pumpkin and made my usual table decoration.  I’ll enjoy it for a couple of days and then I’ll swap it out for the Christmas stuff.

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Of course I had to spoil it somewhat by putting stuff I’m working on and the computer back on the table.

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 Mug of the Day

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Another thing I need to do is get to bed earlier!  It’s now 1:21 am and I still need to proof and post!  🙂  Night all…