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!

Crafting-DIY, Decorating, Holidays

Easy Thanksgiving Placemats

I love Butcher paper, white and brown. So seeing this on Pinterest was a quick “Pin It” for me. So easy  and inexpensive.

Be Thankful
Be Thankful

IMG_2648 IMG_2641 IMG_2644 IMG_2646 IMG_2647

These pretty much explain themselves and you could decorate them to make them your own. I took a placemat and traced it onto brown butcher paper. Outlined it in Black sharpie, wrote the words “Im Thankful For on some and Im Grateful” on others. Will put the sharpie out on Thanksgiving Day and let guests be creative.

Happy Thankfulness :

Holidays

Holiday Baking E-Book

Cookie Party

Holiday
Cookie eBook
“It’s begining to look
alot like SITSmas!”

I know another holiday baking book, but this is a cute free eBook with some easy and good holiday recipes. Click on the link below to take you to the eBook where you can look it over and then print out if you desire. Happy Baking.

www.thesitsgirls.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/cookieebook-8.pdf

Uncategorized

Burlap Wreath

October is right around the corner. That means I’ve started pulling out my Halloween & Thanksgiving decor. I like to mix the two starting the last week of September (which is now) and then November 1st, I pluck all the Halloween out and am left with the Fall/Thanksgiving decor. This is my favorite time of year so I want to be able to enjoy my decorations as long as I can. As with most of you we are done with summer heat and ready for all the changes that are starting to take place around us.

PINTEREST is my new bestie, we hang out A LOT, this is something my new friend has taught me.I guess you would call it Vintage/Victorian Halloween. I have started with this Burlap Wreath.There are a few different  ways you can make them, but super easy and not very pricey.Punch burlap wreaths into the search box in Pinterest and several will pop up.After searching a little you can find which one works for you. I then looked up “How to make a burlap wreath” into the internet and found a lot of DIY tutorials on how to make. I took ideas from different one’s and added some of my own. Don’t just stop with your first “How to Tutorial” because you will notice each tutorial is very different yet very similar so you need to find which one you connect with.

The fabric rosette’s on the wreath I learned how to make on Pinterest and they are very easy to make. I took an old sheet  and cut into strips, tea stained some of the strips for different shades. The one sheet made a lot of flowers(cheaper than purchasing material). I also found some scraps at the thrift store that only cost me change. So check what you have in your closet and then the local thrift shops and garage sales before you plop down more bucks at Hobby Lobby & Michael’s. Even though I want these store’s to be around forever we all need to save anyway we can.

I printed the words “Enter if you Dare” onto an old book page, added a photo of the flying witch and hot glued onto the wreath. Added the little scare crow and spider and this is what I ended up with.

It was fun crafting and adding a different touch to my Halloween Decor. I also made the “Book page wreath” that hangs on my mantle(pictured below) I think it has the same feel of Vintage/Victorian Halloween.This style of decor is very popular this year so you can find a lot of ideas on the internet.

Jones Design Company.com is where I learned to make the book page wreath. Check out her blog with DIY tutorials they are really cool. This is where I learned how to make the fabric rosettes.

I got my Halloween/Fall decorating done early this year “yeah” so now I have all month to hang out with my new friend and see what else I can come up with. I think Pinterest has so many ideas for you that no matter what level of crafter you are you can find something that you can make and fill your home with the things you love.

Happy Crafting! Ciao

Favs

I got some of my idea’s from this really cute blog:

http://adiamondinthestuff.blogspot.com

Things to do in Havasu

Turkey’s and Owl’s for Dessert

This guy is just too cute and easy to make. The kids could help!

♥ Golden Oreo Cookies

♥ Bite Size Nutter Butter Cookies

♥ Candy Corn, Red Gummi Bears, Can Squirt Frosting in Vanilla,mini chocolate chips

♥ Lollipop Sticks, cello bags, ribbon

I unscrewed the Golden Oreo and made a ring of icing on one half, then placed 6 or 7 candy corn for its feathers and the lollipop stick, placed a dab of frosting to hold other half of cookie on,placed cookie top back on. Put a dab of frosting on mini nutter butter and placed it on Oreo. Cut off piece of red gummy and the white tip-off a candy corn and glued them in place with frosting. Put two dots of the white frosting for eyes and top with a mini chocolate chip on both for pupils. You have to let them sit for a while so the icing can harden and hold it all together. Place in a cello bag and tie with ribbon. I thought they would be cute displayed in one of those styrofoam pumpkins, stick the lollipop sticks into the pumpkin to hold up and display before they eat them all.

Lets see WHO is next:

Hoot Owl Smores:

These little guys are really easy also, Here is what you need:
♥ Graham Crackers

♥ Big marshmallows

♥ Yellow Melt Aways (you can get them at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby)

♥ Candy Corn, Chocolate Chips

♥ Can of squirt frosting in Vanilla

Break the cracker in two, cut marshmallows in half and set them on the cracker cut side up, place a yellow melt away in each marshmallow and microwave anywhere from 5-10 seconds, until the marshmallow starts to puff up and the melt away will become soft. I had to play around with this step cause kind of tricky, but you will figure it out. Then I put a dab of frosting on back side of chocolate chip and placed on the melt away for the pupil and a dab of frosting on back side of candy corn and placed in the middle for the nose. Then let them sit awhile so every body part is glued together and you can then bag them and place some ribbon. You and the kids can have fun making these also.

I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Ciao

Herbs

Thanksgiving Hostess Gifts

What did your Momma teach you? Never go emptied handed! So here is my list of Hostess Gifts that I’m making and taking:

CRANBERRY CHUTNEY:

Servings: Makes 8 cups, about 4 pint-size jars
Ingredients
4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries , picked over and stemmed
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 whole cloves
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. salt
2 (6-ounce) Granny Smith apples , peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 (6-ounce) firm Bosc or Anjou pears , peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 small (5-ounce) yellow onion , diced
1 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup diced crystallized ginger
Directions
In a deep 6-quart saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, 1 1/4 cups water, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar. Cook until berries begin to pop open, 10 to 12 minutes. Adjust heat so mixture barely simmers. Stir in apples, pears, onion, raisins, and ginger. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until thick, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Discard visible cinnamon sticks and cloves.

Refrigerate in tightly sealed jars for up to 2 months. Attach a ribbon and gift tag with suggested serving ideas (for instance, “Serve with Christmas turkey or ham, or spread on turkey sandwiches”).

*I added 1 chopped jalapeno the same time as the onion & fruit mixture cause I like a little bite to mine.

BASIL MAYONAISE:

Ingredients
1 cup good mayonnaise
10 to 15 basil leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Directions:Add ingredients to a food processor and blend. Or you could whisk all ingredients together.

HERBED BUTTER:

Read my post from May 18, 2011 and it will give you all details:)

 

 

 

CUP’O PESTO:

Basic Pesto
(makes enough for 4 servings of pasta)

2 cups basil leaves, clean and very dry
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
1-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, grated
1/4 cup pine nuts

You can pound the ingredients together in mortar with a pestle, but you can also make this easily in a blender or food processor. Add the garlic first and chop it up with about 1/2 of the basil. When blended add the rest of the basil and the olive oil. Blend the cheese and pine nuts last. Don’t over blend or the garlic has a tendency to overpower. Store in the fridge with a thin layer of olive oil on top, wrap tightly with plastic wrap to help prevent discoloration.

FLAVORED OLIVE OIL:

Ingredients:

Favorite herbs and/or spices
Sunflower, safflower, or extra-virgin olive oil
Preparation:

It is easy to make herb and/or spice infused olive oils at home. They make wonderful gifts for all occasions.

Wash and dry your choice of herb branches and lightly bruise them to release flavor. Place them in a clean decorative glass container, cover with warmed oil, and seal tightly. Leave in a cool, dark place to infuse about two weeks. Taste. If not strong enough, add more fresh herbs and let stand another week. You can either strain the oil or leave the herbs in. If you do not strain the herbs out, the flavor will become stronger as it stands, so keep that in mind.

Less strongly flavored oils like sunflower oil and safflower oil work best to give a more prominent herb flavor. However, extra-virgin olive oil is also a good choice.

If you begin with a monounsaturated oil such as olive oil or peanut oil, the infused oils should be refrigerated. These are highly perishable and can turn rancid quickly.

You can also add garlic, but remove the garlic cloves after a couple of days so as to not overpower the flavor of the herbs. If you choose to leave the garlic cloves in the oil, be sure to refrigerate the oil to avoid the threat of botulism.

Use your favorite combinations. Use the oils within two months. Use infused oils in salad dressings and marinades to enjoy full flavor.

Herb Suggestions: rosemary, thyme, basil, tarragon, summer savory, oregano, cilantro, marjoram, chervil, chives, dill, mint, parsley, bay leaf.

*I used just Rosemary

Use your cutest saved jars, add ribbon, labels, recipes,family pictures what ever your touch is and I’m SURE your Hostess will think YOUR the Mostess.

All these items will work great on your left over Turkey Paneni Sandwiches 🙂

Here is an idea if you’re not into cooking but want to take something different: A vintage Pie Server. Tie a ribbon on it, give it your flare and I think this would be something cool and different. I found one on e-bay and a couple at a Thrift Store. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Ciao

Things to do in Havasu

Thanksgiving Themed Bunco

My favorite time of year is Fall and the Holiday of Thanksgiving, and go figure I live in the Desert where there is no changing of leaves and all that fall color. So I bring it indoors. Decorate with all the fall colors and smells and enjoy to my heart’s content until Christmas.

As you know my “crew” and I have our monthly Bunco game and this month was MINE 🙂 I could make everyone endure all the pleasures of fall. I themed it”Thanksgiving Bunco” and had my friends start their ovens and begin baking.They had to bring a favorite holiday baked good with the recipe,enough so everyone could get one to sample.Everyone out did their selves and I think it was a fun addition to our party nite.

We all love to eat so we started the evening with some homemade croutons w/mariana dipping sauce. Sugar & Nut Glazed Brie w/Apple slices & buttery crackers, Spiced Cider & selected spirit’s, we mingled,munched and enjoyed each others company until the game began. Wanting to follow with the “Theme” I made Mini Turkey Pot Pies for our intermission snack. As we played I could smell the Pie’s and the scent of the Cider and I was so happy to be here at this moment with all my girlfriends,surrounded by my favorite fall colors & smells, laughing and enjoying each others company, I thought ” this is a part of what Thanksgiving is about”

I picked gifts that I would love to receive and wrapped them in fall wrappings and passed them out to the lucky winners. 

I had a wonderful evening with my girlfriends and am truly blessed to have them all in my life, so this holiday season they are all in my prayers and I am Thankful to have them as my Crew.

Party Recipes:

Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Prep Time:10 minInactive Prep Time: -- Cook Time:8 min
Level:
Easy
Serves:
16 to 20 servings

Ingredients
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans
1 tablespoon brandy
1 (14-ounce) round brie
Apple wedges, for serving
Pear wedges, for serving
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
Crackers, for serving
Directions
In a small bowl stir together the sugar, nuts, and brandy. Cover and chill for at least 24 hours or up to 1 week.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Place the brie on a ovenproof platter or pie plate. Bake for 4 or 5 minutes or until the brie is slightly softened. Spread the sugar mixture in an even layer on top of the warm brie and bake for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the sugar melts. Brush the fruit wedges with lemon juice and arrange them around 1 side of the brie. Place crackers around the other side.
*I doubled the amount of the Nut Mixture because it really added alot to this recipe and the amount they had just was not enough.

Mini Turkey Pot Pies:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of cooked turkey breast, cut into cubes
  • 2 sheets of pie crust
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, cleaned, and thinly diced
  • 2 carrots, cleaned, skinned, and thinly diced
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten, for brushing on top of the pie crust
  • Ramekins

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Gently roll out the pie crust and lightly flour them. Take a ramekin, and press into the dough, gently cutting into it. Repeat this process with both sheets of dough until you have 12 dough circles for your 6 ramekins. Lightly butter the inside of each ramekin, and take a dough circle, and place inside of each ramekin, pressing inside to form the shape of the ramekin.Reserve the remaining 6 dough circles.

Mini Turkey Pot Pies

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet, and place in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove them after the eight minutes.  Let them cool.

Now for the filling. To a large pot, add the butter, and slowly melt. Next, add in your onions, celery, and carrot and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring on occasion. Add in your flour, and stir, cooking for another couple of minutes. Whisk in your milk and continue to whisk until smooth. Stir in the chicken stock, and sherry. Bring the heat to low, and cook down for another 10 minutes. You will notice the sauce begin to thicken. This is what you are going after. Next, stir in the thyme, parsley, peas, turkey, and season with salt and pepper. You will want to taste this a couple of times, getting your salt and pepper right on point before adding the mixture into the ramekins.

Fill each ramekin to the top with the mixture. Top each ramekin with a dough circle, making sure it is just a bit longer than the top of each ramekin. Seal the top of each ramekin by gently pinching around the edges. Brush the beaten egg onto the top of each ramekin, and sprinkle with kosher salt.(I also sprinkled some fresh Rosemary on mine)

Place these back in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until they are a nice golden brown.

*I made my own crust this time because I wanted to do something special and I only put on the top crust. But usually I just use the pre-made pie crust cause it is truly just as good and much easier.MB

Ciao!