Tag Archives: pumpkin

DIY Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Scoop seeds and strings out of fresh pumpkin using a sturdy ice cream scoop.

Place what you just scooped out of the pumpkin into a strainer. Use running water to help rinse and separate seeds from stringy portion of pumpkin. (I used my right hand to pull the seeds and my left hand to discard the flesh. This was actually very easy with the running water! I used to think roasting pumpkin seeds wasn't worth it, but this took hardly any time at all. I will do this again!)

Rinse pumpkin seeds and discard or compost stringy portion of pumpkin. Let seeds drain in strainer or pat dry with paper towel.

Place in single layer on rimmed baking sheet with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce, and a generous sprinkling of garlic salt. Roast at 275F, stirring every 10 minutes or so. May take 20 minutes to an hour, depending on how well your seeds were dried. (You could also dry roast with just sea salt using the same method - no oil or sauce necessary. Or try it sweet with some brown sugar and cinnamon.)

Cool seeds on parchment or wax paper. Store in sealed container in a dry place. Enjoy!

Sunday Lunch and a Flower Arrangement

This morning after church, I stopped by Publix to grab some fresh flowers to add to the pumpkin that’s been on my front porch for the fall. I cut the top off the pumpkin and scooped out the seeds before adding water and the fresh blooms. Something about fresh flowers in my house makes me smile!

Lunch consisted of Potato and Leek Soup, a hearty slice of Five Grain Bread, and a Salad with Granny Smith Apple Slices, Dried Cranberries, Walnuts, Feta and a Balsamic Vinaigrette. It was delicious!

After lunch, I went over to my friend Jan’s house for a walk. Six miles later, we had pretty much caught up on the last month of life! Yes, I said six miles! I am definitely going to feel that in the morning! I came home, showered, and woke Bryan up in time for us to make it to church for a wonderful message from Ephesians 6.

Coming up this week: Homemade Pumpkin Puree, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, and Pumpkin Pie from Scratch!

Recipe: Raw Pumpkin Pie

Raw Pumpkin Pie: all photography in this post courtesy of Bryan McKinnon, http://www.shadowlight.smugmug.com.

My friend Catherine and her husband Greg were coming over for dinner Saturday night. She eats a mainly raw vegan diet, so I wanted to make a special treat that neither of us had tried before: Raw Pumpkin Pie. We followed the recipe by Veronica Bosgraaf in the Gluten-Free e-Cookbook I posted a link to a while back, and it turned out surprisingly well! I couldn’t believe how much the filling looked like a traditional pumpkin pie. I brought an extra slice to my friend Lonnette at work, and she raved about it on Facebook, asking for the recipe. So, here you go…

Ingredients for Crust: 2 c. almonds, 1 c. dates, 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon.

Pulse crust ingredients in food processor, then press into glass pie plate.

Next, take half of a small pie pumpkin (about 6" diameter), peel, pit, and cube. That's right folks, no cooking involved. Make sure you have a sturdy peeler or use a sharp knife.

Filling Ingredients: 2 c. pumpkin puree (this means you will need to pulse the pumpkin cubes before measuring this ingredient), 1 to 1 1/2 c. dates, 1/4 c. raisins, 1/2 c. cashews, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. each nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom, and a dash (1/8 tsp.) salt. We also added about 1/3 c. water to get the right consistency (add this slowly, 1 Tbsp. at a time, as each pumpkin may have a varying amount of moisture).

Pulse on low in food processor for several minutes. Ours took about 10-12 minutes and about 1/3 c. water to look right. Scrape into pie crust.

Spread evenly into crust and refrigerate for 2 hours, or till set.

The Finished Product: Raw Pumpkin Pie

I served mine with a dollop of whipped cream; Catherine had hers all natural.

Mel & Catherine (no, we did not plan to match)

Whirlwind Week Recap

I haven’t updated since last Friday and even before then, it’s been hit and miss for a while. This might be a bit random and stream-of-consciousness, but here goes…

Bryan’s job has been interesting, to say the least, over the last several months. They’re short-handed and still adding on more projects, which has made it virtually impossible for anyone on the team to meet deadlines, even when working 60 to 90 hours a week with no overtime compensation. So, we had a tough decision to make. After much prayer, seeking of counsel and deliberation, and a final discussion with his superiors, he handed in his resignation and his last day will be this Friday. In some ways, it’s scary; in another way, it’s a relief. I know it sounds crazy to leave a job in this economy and time of year without having something to fall back on, but I know he’ll work hard to do odd jobs and make ends meet. He’s definitely proven he’s a hard worker! (So, if you need odd jobs done, let us know!)

About two weeks ago, we put the house on the market and sold one of our vehicles. The one-car-household thing may be a slight challenge with Bryan looking for a job, but it should be okay. We praise God that we are debt-free, except for the house. This helped with our decision. We’ve limited our expenses and will be shopping at Aldi and the Farmer’s Market more regularly, and we’re committed to living simply. My long-term goal is for him to be in a job that he loves, something like photography, carpenter-type projects, or be able to learn graphic design and/or web design. So, if any of you need a photographer for your holiday card this year or hear of someone looking for a wedding photographer, let us know! Meanwhile, there are still items for sale on the Sale page of this blog! (hint hint)

I’m praying that the house sells quickly and that my job remains stable until it does, or at least until Bryan finds something else. Whatever happens, we know God is our Jehovah Jireh (the Lord will provide) and our El Shaddai (God Almighty). We’ve been studying names of God in Sunday School with our fourth graders for the past year and a half. It’s been a great study and we’re thankful for the continual reminders.

Here are some snapshots to capture the past bit:

Jan and I went to the Saturday Morning Market downtown. Check out all the beautiful peppers! And this wasn't even half of them! Who knew there were that many different types of peppers! I didn't buy any of these, but I did get a ton of mustard greens, turnips and turnip greens, beets and beet greens, butternut and yellow squash, green onions, West End Coffee Mistletoe Java blend and Great Harvest Bread! All for about $30 (and $12.50 of that was the bread)! It was Jan's first visit to the market; we'll definitely be coming back!

I had an amazing workout with Judy at the gym last night, followed by a dinner of a turkey/ham sandwich on wheat bun with lettuce and mustard, organic carrots, and a giant Fuji apple. Bryan also made apple pie, but there's none left for a picture.

I had lunch with some friends/coworkers at Sushi Murasaki downtown today. It was amazing! We had miso soup, seaweed salad, and two huge plates of sushi. My favorite is the Genji roll, but they serve a special on Tuesdays that came in a close second: all I remember is that it had the word "sexy" in the title (notice the roll that's missing a few pieces; it was warm and tasted like it had cheese on top). Everything was delicious! I even liked the BBQ Eel this time! I wish I could take pictures of food for a living! Maybe someday...along with my other million and one dreams.

Dessert was bite sized fried cheesecake (pomegranate on the left, mango on the right). Yum! And just the right size!

Tonight I made a pumpkin smoothie (aka milkshake) for dinner before our 8PM volleyball semi-finals (which we won - yeah!-so we'll be in the final game next week). The "smoothie" had 2 cups of prepared pumpkin, 2 scoops vanilla ice cream, and 1 cup milk, plus cinnamon, fresh ginger, cloves and nutmeg blended together; then I topped it with my most recent trail mix. It could have used a little more liquid and maybe a few dates for some added sweetness. I think next time I'll try fat free yogurt or a frozen banana instead of ice cream or plus the dates. The trail mix went very well with it.

Fresh Ginger in the shape of the Eiffel Tower.

There’s more going on, but I’ll spare you the details tonight. God is good all the time! And I can be calm and joyful as a result! He’s been so good to bring songs and scripture passages to mind. Isaiah 26:3 has been a good one, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Another good reminder is in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The Philippians passage has been a strong tower for me this week.

Someone said, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.” Who holds my future? Thankfully, not me. The Creator God, who knew my goings and my comings, my thoughts and my steps, before the foundation of the world–He holds my future! And so, we wait and trust, knowing that God is our loving creator, gracious Redeemer, friend and defender, provider and keeper to the uttermost.

Healthy Pumpkin

Here are some possibilities for healthy pumpkin pies:

This one uses skim milk, Splenda and egg whites with a graham cracker crust:  http://www.food.com/recipe/healthy-pumpkin-pie-48131.

This one is a homemade whole grain crust that uses egg whites and half and half. http://chefinyou.com/2009/10/pumpkin-pie-recipe/.

This one uses tofu with a graham cracker crust: http://www.fitsugar.com/Low-Calorie-Healthy-Pumpkin-Pie-Recipe-2509951.

This one looks like it’s the most diabetic friendly, as it uses Fiber One cereal and Splenda in the crust and sugar free and fat free ingredients in the filling: http://munchercruncher.blogspot.com/2009/10/healthy-pumpkin-pie-recipe.html.

This one is organic, uses a real pumpkin and a homemade whole wheat crust: http://www.organic-gardening-and-homesteading.com/healthy-pumpkin-pie-recipes.html.

And here is a recipe for some healthy pumpkin brownies: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=399550.

I bet this low-fat pumpkin cream cheese would taste good on top of a low-fat brownie mix: http://www.laaloosh.com/2010/10/07/pumpkin-cream-cheese-recipe/. One trick for brownies is to bake them in mini muffin tins. The hard part is limiting yourself to one. 🙂

Have fun! Make a plan for the holidays and stick with it. Maybe even challenge your friends and family to join in. Enjoy the people around the holidays and don’t let yourself fall off the wagon. Don’t overeat, but do allow yourself a treat here and there. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your calories. One day of a few hundred extra calories won’t throw you. But a few days in a row of that might. 🙂 You can do it!! After all, you don’t want to look like a pumpkin after the holidays, now, do you!?