Daily Tidbits

"I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." - Anne Shirley

Monday, October 20, 2014

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Cut your pumpkin in half and toss the stem section and stringy pulp. Save the seeds to dry and roast if that's your thing.

If your pumpkin is small to medium, place the two halves face down in a shallow baking dish, add some water to keep it all moist and cover with foil.  If your pumpkin is larger, cut it in half and then cut it into smaller pieces to place on your baking sheet.

Bake at 375 about 1½ hours for a medium-sized pumpkin, or until tender.  Mine was almost translucent and some parts were almost caramelized when I turned them over so they could cool.  Smaller pieces cook better and get a deeper color.

Once the baked pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh and puree or mash it.  Put it in freezer bags and store flat, in the freezer.

Holly's Note:
I have used jelly roll pans, but my glass baking dishes work better.  They're deeper and the water doesn't evaporate as quickly. Covering them with foil is optional.

Once the pumpkins are cool enough to handle, I scrape out the puree and put it in my mixer.  It doesn't always get smooth enough, so then I put it in my blender, a little at a time to puree it.  (I really need to get a food processor.)

I strain it all to get more water out.  I put ~2 cups of puree in each freezer bag and just lay them flat in the freezer.

This is a bit labor intensive and messy, but it is worth it.  I love knowing that I use our bounty, rather than just throwing it all away after Halloween.

I've seen a lot online about using sugar or pie pumpkins, rather than "jack-o-lantern" pumpkins.  I always just have regular pumpkins from my aunt's garden, so I have no idea what kind they actually are.  We never actually get around to carving them. However, they are just fine for pumpkin bread. I don't like pumpkin pie, but I really like pumpkin bread.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Пятница Ponderings: My Loves and Hates of Motherhood

Ponder: to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate 
Пятница (PYAHT-nee-tsuh): Friday in Russian
Like you, I often have thoughts I ponder over and that mull about in my head. They ruminate and sometimes coalesce into something concrete. I thought that I might occasionally post those thoughts and Friday here on the blog seemed to be good place to do that. I don't speak a foreign language, but I did take Russian classes in college (not that I remember a lot of it) and since Friday in Russian is Пятница and starts with a P like ponder, it worked. Perhaps Пятница Ponderings could be come a regular thing here. Who knows?

There are many things about motherhood that I love and a few that I hate. I think that's normal.

I love child snuggles.
I hate homework. It was horrible when I was in school, but it's truly heinous to deal with as a grown woman.
I love watching my children grow and mature.
I hate the life lessons they need to learn that cause them pain, but I know those lessons are necessary.
I love family dinners when everyone is around the table.
I didn't love pregnancy because I was sick for the entire 9 months each time and on bed rest with The Brother. But, I loved feeling my babies move and I loved it when my boys finally arrived.
I hate the worry that accompanies parenthood.
I love seeing my boys laugh together.
I hate the doubts and feelings of failure and inadequacy.
I love teenage hugs.

And the list goes on...

I wasn't sure how I would deal with teenagers. But, honestly? This is my favorite stage. I love my teenagers. Oh, they have their moments. Definitely. There is teenage attitude and a lot of eye rolling and mood swings that sway like a pendulum. The big brother likes to annoy and pester the little brother. The little brother then laments that sometimes he wishes he didn't have a brother. But, 15 minutes later, they will be playing a game together and I hear the laughter and cooperation as they each sit at a computer on opposite sides of the living room.

Oh, and I hate the word, "Fine!".  I get that a lot.

But, I also get great conversations. I love it when the boys get home from school and they want to tell me about their days. I love seeing their personalities develop. I love the independence they start gaining. I love the spontaneous hugs I get in the middle of the kitchen from a teenage boy who now towers over me. I love watching the boys with their dad. They laugh a lot together and they share the same sense of humor. I just have to shake my head sometimes at the three of them, but I love that they have such a good relationship with their dad. I love that they are relentless in trying to convince me that we need a puppy.

I love the conversations we have where skills are taught and knowledge shared and difficult topics discussed. I love that they are developing their own thought processes and opinions. I love that they will ask questions. I love that The Boy looks out for his brother and when The Brother had a recent bullying issue at school, The Boy gave him some good counsel to help with the still fluid situation (while Mom called the teacher). I love that they talked it all over with their dad when he got home.

One of my new favorite loves?  Texts.

I managed most of my life without a cell phone. Largely because they didn't exist. We made very conscious decisions when we gave our boys cell phones. They don't have smart phones or data. Just basic talk and text.

And I love it. I can know where they are without hovering. I can tell them dinner is ready and to come home. I can remind. I can tease.

I love the random texts I receive. I always get one from The Brother saying, "On the bus. Love you. Bye!" I get a lot from The Boy saying, "Fine!". I also get random texts during the day from The Boy asking what's for dinner or telling me something funny that happened at school. I can send a quick text to tell The Brother if I'm going to be a minute late picking him up or he can send me one if he's staying after school to work on something.

I have a love/hate relationship with technology most of the time, but texts?  I love texts. I love the boys who send them to me. I love that they want to share things with me.

My loves about motherhood far outweigh the hates.

What about you?

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Homemade with Love

Who doesn't lick the spoon?  I dare you to say, "I don't"!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Cookbooks and Recipes

I have two shelves of cookbooks on the baker's rack in my kitchen.  I have another shelf in my living room bookcase that has cookbooks which are not used as often, but I just can't get rid of all of them.

I've received cookbooks for review, I've purchased some on my own.  I have church cookbooks and family cookbooks. I have had food magazine subscriptions and I have a couple of recipe boxes, one of which has well used recipes and one of which hold recipes I'd like to try.

I have a browser full of cooking bookmarks and Pinterest files full of recipes.

What about you?  Do you have lots of cookbooks that you use regularly use or don't use?  Where do you find new recipes to try?