Recipe

Stuffed Pumpkin

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I loved making this Stuffed Pumpkin. It was fun, it turned out nicely and it tasted good as well. Wow dont you love it when everything goes so well.The hardest part was cleaning out the pumpkin.

The 3-lb pumpkins are small and I found mine at CVS pharmacy for .99 cents each. At Safeway they were $2.99 each so check out your local CVS. I was inspired by Pinterest with this recipe and I followed it pretty much exactly and only changed a few things that I just had on hand. For the cheese I had some leftover Apricot & White Cheddar, Cranberry and Swiss. What a nice blend that was, but so would almost any cheese. I used dried thyme and about 1/8 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice just for the heck of it.

Now since I have made this once I can see how you can change this recipe up in SO many ways with a varity of ingredients. Different meats, spices, fruits etc. I am defiantly making this for Thanksgiving and just probably use the stuffing that my Dad makes. The pumpkin makes a awesome cooking vessel. It looks really cool when you take it out of the oven.Slicing it is easy if you let it cool a bit and set up. I have never eaten fresh pumpkin like that and I loved it.

I hope you enjoy this Stuffed Pumpkin as much as I did. I found that even the kids could help you with cleaning out the pumpkin and stuffing it. This pumpkin will be a hit at your Thanksgiving Dinner this year!

  • 1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2–4 garlic cloves (to taste), split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
  • About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (my addition)
  • About 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • You need to really salt the inside of the Pumpkin before you stuff it

preparation

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that’s just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so you’ll have to serve it from the pot—which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isn’t so easy. However, since I love the way the unencumbered pumpkin looks in the center of the table, I’ve always taken my chances with the baked-on-a-sheet method, and so far, I’ve been lucky.

Using a very sturdy knife—and caution—cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween Jack-o-Lantern). It’s easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.

Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper—you probably have enough salt from the bacon and cheese, but taste to be sure—and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled—you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little—you don’t want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (It’s hard to go wrong here.)

Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours—check after 90 minutes—or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.

When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully—it’s heavy, hot, and wobbly—bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you’ll bring to the table.

Serving
You have a choice—you can either spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful, or you can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up. I’m a fan of the pull-and-mix option. Served in hearty portions followed by a salad, the pumpkin is a perfect cold-weather main course; served in generous spoonfuls, it’s just right alongside the Thanksgiving turkey.

Storing
It’s really best to eat this as soon as it’s ready. However, if you’ve got leftovers, you can scoop them out of the pumpkin, mix them up, cover, and chill them; reheat them the next day.

Don’t forget to roast your pumpkin seeds 🙂

Decorating, Holidays

Fall Mantle’s 2013

Fall Mantle 2013

I went simple and rustic with my mantle this year. I used my frame from the “Halloween Mantle”IMG_2549

Remember the skull picture my son drew, love it. Anyway I flipped it over and drew a pumpkin with a black sharpie and some chalk. Kinda looks like a tomato but its a “White Pumpkin” thank-you.Getting a lot of use out of my frame this year.Just kinda plucked out the Halloween goodies and traded them for Fall goodies.

This is my BFF’s fall mantle, its so cute. She went light and bright and whimsical.

Aline's Mantle

Aline did a awesome job. She hand decorated all the pumpkins that are in the fireplace,loving the clock and the cute little Owls, they make me smile. What I really admire about her is I know how much she enjoys decorating and crafting and it really shows, appreciate her sharing it with us.

Here is the link to her printable banner:party.catchmyparty.com/files/thanksgiving/thanksgiving-give-thanks-banner-by-threelittlemonkeysstudio.pdf

Happy mantle decorating!

Recipe

Pumpkin Butter

LOVE LOVE LOVE Pumpkin Goodies!

Now is a good time to make this pumpkin butter. It will last you all month and its  a great homemade treat to have on hand for “emergency gifts”. I made my batch today and im putting it in these small pint size jars and storing in the frig to have when needed.

Wrap it up along side of fresh made zucchini or banana bread. I have a great french toast recipe that this is an ingredient in that I will share later.  You can mix in oatmeal or spread on your morning toast. This is super easy to make and much cheaper than store-bought. I have purchased from Williams and Sonoma and Trader Joes and I think this tops both in price and flavor.

November keeps us busy with preparing for the holiday season and I think this pumpkin butter will enhance your holiday baking and gift giving. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Pumpkin Butter

This is where I got my recipe and a tweaks I did to it to make it my own.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree, approx. 3 1/2 cups or fresh
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2-1.5 teaspoons ground ginger (optional, sometimes I omit)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup Sucanat (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice

I did not add the ginger for my first time but I think I  will try it the next time. I get my cinnamon from Dr.Sweet (how appropriate) local doctor here in Havasu. Its organic and really seems like the real stuff. He is a homeopathic Doctor and gives it to me since I’m a patient of his 🙂 Also I used Spiced Apple Cyder instead of Apple juice cause that is what I had. I am a firm believer of using what ever you have as long as its close cause you never know it might be better and sometimes it just does not matter. I’m thinking of trying a batch with 1/4 teaspoon or less of cayenne pepper. What do you think? Bam that will put a kick in it.

Makes 3.5 cups and stores well for up to 3 weeks so you are good to go thru Thanksgiving if you start now. Pumpkin Butter is super easy to make and smells like fresh-baked pumpkin pie as its cooking. If you love pumpkin goodies you will love this.

Directions:

1. Combine pumpkin, apple juice, spices, and sugar in a large saucepan and stir well. Bring mixture to a boil, covered with lid ajar (I prop it with a wooden spoon). Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer, covered with lid ajar, for 35-45 minutes, stirring frequently. Be careful as the mixture bubbles and pops!

2. Remove from heat and let it sit for a few minutes before removing lid. Adjust spices to taste. Stir in lemon juice. Once cool, pumpkin butter can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Makes enough to fill one large mason jar or about 3.5 cups.

Get your super cute Mason jar and set aside…I packed my Pumpkin Butter in small Mason Jars for give aways.

Happy Pumpkin Butter Making.

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Uncategorized

Address Pumpkins

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This is a easy, fun decoration that you could whip out in minutes. I used smaller Pumpkins to fit my wall. Print out the numbers off your computer with the correct size and put your favorite font to it. Cut and paste. Instant decoration with flare.

 

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October 1, 2013 Let the fun begin!

Pumpkin Lineup

Yay, It’s 10.1.2013. I think this is my favorite month.Partly due to where I live, out in the Desert where when October hits we finally get a break in the weather and because I love fall and all it brings with it. Holidays, football, fall food and the decorating with pumpkins. So by the way, do you know where your decorations are?

If you’re a early bird they are up and your family is already enjoying them, if not you have time if you act now!

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Let’s start the month off with “Pumpkin Buying Tips”: They  say “buy early and locally”. Well that’s a good tip if you live where this is available. For me I rely on the Grocery stores and Wal-Mart. Here are some good tips that I found on the Internet that will be helpful to us all:

Select a pumpkin that is completely orange. Partially green pumpkins might not ripen any further.

Size is an important factor. Medium pumpkins are best for pumpkin carving. Small pumpkins are better for cooking.

Does the shade of orange matter? If so, there are hundreds of varieties, with many different shades of orange.

Selecting the shape is a matter of personal preference. Some like ’em tall. Others, like ’em round.

Often, people select shapes to fit the carving patterns they will use. Pick your pattern before you go.

Do not lift or carry a pumpkin by its stem. The stem will likely break. The stem gives it character.

A ripe pumpkin has a hard shell that does not dent or scratch easily, when pressing on it with a thumbnail. Do this on the back or bottom of the fruit…….never on the face.

Examine the entire pumpkin carefully for soft spots. If you find even one soft spot, go on to the next pumpkin.

Check for cracks and splits. If you find one, examine it to be sure it is not turning into a soft spot or has mold inside of the crack.

Look for bugs and insects. Specifically, look for holes in the pumpkin, which are indicative of insect problems.

Pumpkin Patch Picking Tips:

Bring a small wagon with you. It’s easier to haul tired kids and pumpkins.

Wear boots or old sneakers. It could be wet and muddy in the pumpkin patch.

Pick a pumpkin that you can carry back with you.

If smaller children are carrying pumpkin, pick smaller pumpkins. Remember those little arms will probably get tired before reaching the car.

Bring a sharp knife or pruner.

Cut the vine on either side of the stem. After you get it home, you can trim off the remaining pieces of vine, and cut the stem at the perfect spot.

I have already purchased 8 pumpkins and that is only the beginning for me due to so many varieties being brought into our stores.

On this pumpkin I wrote a Pumpkin Pie recipe and displayed it in my kitchen. I think this is a cute idea that I got off Pinterest. 🙂

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This site has some cute ideas and FREE printables, check it out.

 www.bhg.com/halloween/crafts/free-halloween-printables-projects/?sssdmh=dm17.692599&esrc=nwdc091813#page=26

Happy Pumpkin Picking!


Things to do in Havasu

Labor Day Weekend Pumpkin Project

These are two pumpkins I made that we’re super easy and fast. They are my book page pumpkins and below are the links where I got the basics to make them. I added my own flair with the items that I glued to the stems.

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These links will help you on how to do the book page pumpkins, super easy and fun. I also went to Thrift Store and bought an old music sheet book and used the sheet music pages to decoupage some other pumpkins. I gave those away before I took a picture so I must make some more.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEot7Scaags

This is a great tutorial on how to make the “Book Pumpkins”. I then decorated the pumpkin stems differently with buttons,tulle, homemade flowers,ribbon etc… This is where you can make it your own.

I love these pumpkins and they go so well with all different types of decor,depending on what you add to them, be it whimsical, scary, modern or vintage.Hope you enjoy as much as I did and Thank-you to the women I got the links from.

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It’s Halloween Eve

I have waited all year for this evening, with excitement and anticipation. I will grab my biggest knife in my sweaty palm, I feel my heart beat, the blood is pulsing fast thru my veins as I raise the knife I take a  breath and plunge the knife into the flesh of my PUMPKIN…yea!!! Will I do scary, funny, traditional? So many choices.

I love all the new carvings they do to the Great Pumpkin these days, they look like the President to your Pet Dog, but I still think my favorite is the traditional Pumpkin Face. It is what I grew up with and I find it comforting among all those new Pumpkin Face’s. There’s the one with the happy face and the one with a scary face with missing teeth.

I usually just cut one pumpkin and leave the rest to enjoy thru the Thanksgiving season.

So grab the Butcher Knife and your little Pumpkin Friend, cut his head open, stab out his eyes and poke him a new nose.

Happy Halloween!

Click on this for some Halloween Fun 🙂

Groovie Goolies Monster Mash Music Video

Ciao!