Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’

in preparation

Friday, November 26th, 2010

The day before Thanksgiving is a happy happy day. A day filled with pie crusts and cereal.

With challah cubed for stuffing.

With sweetened flaked coconut rinsed and dried to become unsweetened flaked coconut.

With gingered cranberry fig chutney, bottled for the fridge.

Once all those preparations were out of the way, the girls and I went outside to enjoy the sunshine.

Which was gone. Allllll gone.

I don’t know what these are, do you? Are they edible? You’re not supposed to eat red berries, as far as I know. And even if I did know what they were I probably wouldn’t eat them. Still, I’m curious.

Then Crockett remembered something very important that I’d forgotten.

Wine Wednesday at The Empire. I always forget to write down the wine, but I happen to remember this one – Parducci Sustainable Red. I’ve had the white before and I like that they’re growing sustainably, although I don’t know that regular grape farmers are following a slash and burn approach.

I enjoyed my wine with a happy hour sized calamari salad. Because, really, why the hell wouldn’t you?

Crockett had himself some pulled pork sliders. These things are delicious. Were I the kind of person that could eat two meals, I would have had me some of these too.

Properly fortified, we headed back to Crockett’s to continue the Thanksgiving preparations. Two things – 1) I know it looks like my hair is touching the turkey; it isn’t. 2) Touching a turkey makes me laugh. Like, a lot.

Doubled bagged, soaking in brine.

This Thanksgiving was the second that I’ve hosted, but it was Crockett’s first. To celebrate that, he embraced another first – his first pumpkin pie. I brought over the crusts I made in the morning and then stood back and took pictures (while he wasn’t looking).

He was amusingly shocked by how much sugar went into the pies. “Do you always use that much sugar?” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that a batch of chocolate chip cookies uses twice as much.

He thought that the pumpkin and evaporated milk looked like a latte. He’s not wrong.

This is serious business.

And look! Smooth, perfect, speckled brown gorgeousness. He’s got a knack, I think.

The important part of Thanksgiving covered, we went to bed.

not guilty

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

There’s something to be said for setting yourself up for a bad day. Now, this only works every so often – I’m not advocating it as a lifestyle, ok? However, every once in awhile, if you think your day is going to suck, it’s ok to embrace it. That way, when it does (at least a little), you saw it coming and you’re good to go.

This is what I chose to fuel myself with. Except? This isn’t mine, it’s Crockett’s. Mine had cottage cheese instead of brown sugar and I made the executive decision to show the pretty one. Because it’s my blog and I can.

Finally, FINALLY, there was snow on the ground. What does that look like, about a quarter of an inch? Record breaking, I’m sure.

Stress makes one hungry, have you ever noticed that? I mean, uh.. has one ever noticed that? I don’t think either of those makes sense. Anyway, when I got to school I was starving and I ate lunch while walking to class. Chobani yogurt topped with homemade granola and just a smidge of honey – the Chobani was mad pricey and I just picked up another, cheaper brand to try when this one is gone. There is something to be said for the Greek style. Is ‘once you go Greek you never go back’ a thing? If not, can we make it one?

And grapes.

I got my dreaded project back. I had my dreaded meeting. I celebrated by going to the gym and running three slloowww miles and doing lotsa weights. I may not lift weights until next Monday, since I’m not really set up for it at home, so I figured it might as well be serious today.

My arms kind of hurt.

After my second class, I went by Whole Foods, because I’d suddenly developed a panic attack that there would be no turkeys left if I waited until tomorrow.

I got one. I’ve had a Diestel for the last three years, and they’re good. I feel like if you’re going to pick one day to really source your food, Thanksgiving should be that day. I have absolutely no evidence or reasoning to back that up, in case you’re wondering.

By the time I’d made it through the grocery store, I was starving. Again.

And you thought we were going to have a day without a smoothie.

I also had some of my sausage and bean soup. Because soup and a smoothie is the perfect combination.

Thanksgiving is only two days away, really. Did you realize that? Before leaving the house tonight, I made Gingered Cranberry Fig Chutney, tea cookie dough, and several pies worth of crust.

This is what your kitchen looks like the week before Thanksgiving, right?

Now?

Now?

Now I have seven hours of waiting to do. See y’all tomorrow.

Kissy face

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

SO many things to do, so little time.

The most reasonable course of action was not to spend the whole morning cooking. But I did anyway.

I think I may be developing a caffeine problem. My clue is that today, I poured a glass of diet coke while I waited for my coffee to finish dripping.

When it came to breakfast time, all of my bowls were in the dishwasher, and the dishwasher was running. What’s a girl to do?

What on earth could be in these cups?

Who can tell? (If you’re guessing radioactive cranberries right now, I can’t blame you.)

Coffee and pumpkin oatmeal with cranberry sauce. Today I skipped both the banana and the yogurt in the oatmeal, and it was sooo much tastier. I don’t know what I was thinking yesterday.

While eating breakfast, I got the beans that had been soaking overnight cooking. While Rancho Gorda claims that there’s no reason to drain the soaking liquid, I did it anyway, and started them in a pot of fresh water. (I didn’t actually buy the beans from Rancho Gorda, I bought them from the supermarket, but  oh how I would like to order some from them.)

Then I mixed up my very first batch of granola. Since I’m working on this whole low fat low sugar thing, making my own seems more sensible right now. This is half a cup of honey (not no sugar, y’all, just low sugar), half a cup of pumpkin, half a cup of rinsed flaked coconut, half a cup of pumpkin seeds, and six cups of oats. Oh, and salt, cinnamon, powdered ginger, and cloves.

It made a sticky, mushy uncooked granola, and it took about 45 minutes to dry out in a 350 degree oven.

The crunchy version is tasty though. The addition of oil definitely changes the texture, doesn’t it? When I get through this batch, I’m doing one with WAY more coconut. I guess that’s no surprise, since if I were a Roman goddess and people brought me tributes, I would request at least 90% of them to be coconut.

The beans were done at about the same time as the granola. I changed the water again (again for probably no good reason) and added boullion paste. I cooked up some Canino’s spicy italian  sausage (local, woman owned, low-fat (for sausage), and damn delicious) and added it to the beans. Two sage leaves and ten handfuls of spinach, lid back on, and boom. Lunch simmering away.

The girls and I went for a walk.

Don’t trees like this make you want to climb up and sit there with a book?

Now, I’m back in my nest:

and soup is on.

Later, dudes.

wonderwall

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Oh, yesterday. Ok, there’s this phenomenon wherein you’re not particularly busy on the outside, but your brain is all ‘zoom zoom zoom’, and it wears you out. And by you I mean me, because I don’t know if anyone else experiences this. (Do you?) Yesterday was one of those days.

Hurro smoothie. Don’t you look delicious, and not at all like baby vomit.

This smoothie did a MUCH better job of filling me up than my Tuesday version. I have no idea why, but I made it at 8, had my 12 o’clock class and my 1 o’clock meeting, and still wasn’t hungry. The only difference was that I added yogurt. Oh, and ground flax and some pumkpin pie spices. I wonder if it was the flax?

I did eat several handfuls that look like this while on campus. Because, cashews? Basically the nuts that god would eat, were god a nut eater.

Also?

Just reminding you that you’re in the presence of genius. (I hope my project partners aren’t reading this. Guys, if you are, your genius contributed too. Obviously. If you’re not reading this… wait, then who am I talking to?)

Doesn’t it seem like 100% is more than a ‘good job’?

My prof for my 3 PM class got sick, so I came home early and ate some mushrooms and half a chicken breast. Straight out of the fridge with a fork. This south beach thing is making me into a strange eater, y’all.

On the way out of school, I saw this.

I don’t know if this is a band or what, but I love it.

Not that my bumper stickers aren’t cool too.

Then? Can I get a wine wednesday please? All together now. (It was Crockett’s idea, otherwise I would have forgotten. This is why I love him.)

Yes, I am wearing full on ragamuffin gloves. Yes, I do think they look fantastic.

We camped out at the bar, as per usual. Bread, butter, and bourbon (all for Crockett – not on my diet. Sad.) Cell phone providing updates on the Sabres game.

I have a usual, at The Empire. Calamari salad. Last night, though, we branched out.

I know, I was surprised too.

We split two specials. This was a brussels sprouts salad. It had sliced raw brussels sprouts, frisee (my hands down favorite green), shaved pecorino, and walnuts. It was dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

Crockett hates brussels sprouts, but he ate (ahem more than ahem) half of this without complaint. I dug it, but I think I prefer my sprouts lightly cooked.

Seafood stew. Mussels, squid, mahi mahi, scallops…

…octopus, and chickpeas.

Chickpeas. I don’t know why they were in there, but it totally worked.

I was thisclose to licking the bowl

That wine book is there because I’m trying to talk Crockett into going to wine country with me during Christmas break.

We could basically live here.

bringing avoidance to a new art

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

I have three programs to write today. In Java.

I hate Java. It’s a stupid language.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I may or may not be practicing heavy avoidance.

Since I remembered to pick up silken tofu at the store yesterday, I had an option for breakfast that didn’t involve zucchini cakes. Pumpkin smoothie: silken tofu, milk, canned pumpkin, almonds, vanilla, and Splenda. (I think the pumpkin may be against the South Beach rules, but because I don’t want to know, I’m not going to check. Done and done.)

Crockett thinks it looks like something he had to clean off his niece the other day.

Wait, now you’re thinking that too, aren’t you. Shoot. That wasn’t the point.

Oh well.

After I ate, we watched this music video that this DJ made by composing the music on her iPad and shooting video with her iPhone. It’s charming – she gets a boyfriend by ordering a man in the mail who has an interchangable iPad face.

Wow, it sounds less charming when you type it out that way.

Crockett and I decided that doing homework would be ridiculous when we had a handy iPad available!

Scared?

How about now?

You MUST be scared now. If you’re not, you have no soul.

Then I stuck beer stickers all over my new Cisco waterbottle.

At this point, I got nothing.

I guess I have to do homework.

I can’t hack, but I can knit

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Me, being well behaved. More zucchini cakes with yogurt on top.

At what point do we have to stop calling this ‘unseasonably warm’ and just start calling it ‘freak of nature weather’? It was warm again. I ran (passing several hot air ballooners – who are these people? Are they working or playing?) and was all sweaty when I stopped by Crockett’s to say hi. Not that I sweat. Because, ick.

My raspberry bushes are really enjoying the FON weather. Not that they’re giving me raspberries – more that they’re healthy and happy.

I saw my sweetheart neighbor and her adorable little puppy Maggie. Maggie is insane in a way that makes Maida seem sane, which you know I appreciate. It’s nice when the misbehavior of others justifies your own. Or your dog’s. Whichever.

I got my run in just in time, because we had this horrible rainy windy ickiness immediately following.

Then? THEN? Ladies lunch.

My Ignite girlfriends arrived. Several months ago now, I spoke at an event called Ignite Boulder. Ignite is a brainf**k for the speakers. You propose a topic, and the proposals are voted on by the community. If you’re chosen, you prepare a 5 minute speech with twenty slides that advance automatically every 15 seconds. (My slides are here, if you’re interested. Word on the street was that before that night, no one had created a presentation with nothing but drawings. I’m a trendsetter, me.) Several amazing women also spoke that night, and I’ve become friends with three of them.

We ate like queens. We had a roasted vegetable soup and (SHOCKER) apple cheddar scones from me, salad with candied walnuts and dried cranberries and apple cider from Steph, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from Danya, and apple crisp and mimosas from Mary.

How can you not love women who bring that kind of food and smile like this when you point your camera at them?

Maida wasted no time enthusiastically declaring her dominance over all of us.

Pumpkin cookies. Soft and spicy and full of the yum.

We took a break from the eating to partake in crafts. Danya is knitting a (quite intimidating) sweater. Mary is working on felt coffee cup holders for her as yet unopened Etsy shop – she’s making me a bracelet version that I can’t wait to start wearing every single day. Steph and I brushed up on our knitting skills – don’t we look like we know exactly what’s going on?

What? Crafts are hunger inducing.

(South Beach starts tomorrow. For reals this time.)

What crafts are you good at? Are they the same ones that you enjoy doing?

big days, y’all. big days.

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Yes, it’s Friday night, and I’m talking about Wednesday. The last couple of days have been a thrilling gigantic pain in the ass. (Betcha didn’t know such a thing was possible.)

The Kitch’n had this post recently on hot breakfasts, and they mentioned Cream of Wheat. I ate a lot of cream of wheat when I was younger, but my tastes have matured.

Now I eat Malt O’ Meal.

This version had pumpkin butter stirred in and some homemade cranberry sauce (add sugar and orange juice to cranberries – cook – taste – add more sugar and a pinch of salt – taste – add more sugar (or not) – cook)).

After lunch I took the chicas for a nice walk and then got down to studying, as I had an exam yesterday. On Wednesday, yesterday was tomorrow. Got that?

Something was going on outside that fascinated Cloey. I think it may have been the garbage truck.

Silly dog.

This, darlings, is what became of the onions from Tuesday. I left them in the slow cooker alone for several hours, and then added a can of pumpkin, two cups of vegetable stock, a can of navy beans, a can of white kidney beans, a bay leaf, two sage leaves, and some chili powder. Another 4 hours in the slow cooker and I blended it all up and stuck it in the fridge. The original concept was vegetarian pumpkin chili, but it ended up being more of a thick bean soup. Either way, tasty, and a perfect compliment to my apple cheddar scones.

I wore my favorite earrings.

No, that has nothing to do with anything. They’re just my favorite.

At school I had a couple of bad meetings, but I did get a 40 minute run in. I figure if you add that to the thirty minute run I did on Tuesday, I only ended up being ten minutes short of my 80 minute goal. (Wednesday was supposed to be a rest day. Also, I am aware that the 80 minutes is to get you used to running for that long. But whatever.)

After school I stole Crockett away from work and made him go out with me to my favorite restaurant for my favorite food in the whole world.

Oh, you’d like to know what you’re looking at? Why, Calamari Salad from The Empire, of course.

We ate at the bar (our MO), and chatted with our favorite local opera singer.

No, really. He’s an opera singer. He sang for Crockett on his birthday and in a few weeks he’s moving to San Diego to be a part of the opera company there.

I mostly just wanted to get this in there so that when he’s all famous I can point to this for proof.

Then? Homework.

With the occasional break to use permanent marker to write my name on Crockett. (This is his foot.) What? He’s mine now. That’s what permanent markers are for.

bourbon and bacon

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

A big thing happened yesterday. Before I became a student, I was a product manager for a telecommunications company (please hold while I fondly recall the paychecks that came with that role…. ok, I’m good). After going back to school, I was doing some temporary work for that same company in the form of a 20 hour a week internship.

Yesterday, I quit. The 20 hours of interning and the 20 hours of working on my graduate research and the full class load piled on top of the fact that I don’t, in fact, know how to program (hELLo computer science masters) was truly ridiculous. Something had to go.

So I quit. Here’s what my week looks like now: Real Saturday,Sunday,Friday,Saturday,Friday,Saturday,Real Friday.

See what I did there? Every day I don’t have classes is now considered a Saturday, and every day BEFORE on of those days is a Friday.

I’m basically living one long weekend.

I’m so happy right now.

I geared up for the quitting with a gigantic bowl of pumpkin oatmeal. Rather than stir in pumpkin puree, as I’ve seen some other bloggers do, I used the pumpkin butter I made yesterday. Even though the pumpkin butter is sweet, it didn’t sweeten up the oatmeal enough for me, so I added Splenda too.

I have something of a Splenda problem. I buy it from Costco.

For lunch I had one of my apple-cheddar-fall-in-a-pastry scones and a big old goat cheese honey mustard pumpkin seed salad. Oh, and? That thing in the background?

Homemade pumpkin latte.

I’d already made coffee, so I used brewed in this case. I mixed it with two tablespoons pumpkin butter, a pinch of salt, and a cup of lowfat milk, and heated it all up.

Then I added Splenda.

It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than no pumpkin latte. Today I’m going to try with the espresso machine, so I get the frothed milk and all, and I’m going to add maybe a half teaspoon of vanilla.


Before I left for work I took the girls for a walk through our local completely fake haunted graveyard.

We did, in fact, manage to leave.

But not before I scared the crap out of myself walking under a tree with a plastic snake hanging down from it.

While at school, I supplemented my scone and salad with the always handy dark-chocolate-nut mix. The original bag only included plain almonds, chocolate covered almonds, and cranberries, but I’ve since added every spare nut that’s crossed my desk. There are definitely cashews and peanuts now.

Ha. Spare nut.

Sorry.

How classy is the wood ”wood” of my desk at school?

After school, my man decided it was BLAT time.

BLAT = Bacon (obviously), Lettuce (subbed for spinach in this case), Avocado, and Tomato

A BLAT and an Old Fashioned is Crockett’s favorite meal.

My sandwich was put together as an actual, you know, sandwich.

Crockett put his together with more of a Cat in the Hat method.

That second piece of bread stayed on the bottom, and he ate it with a knife and fork.

I love him, but I’m not sure I understand him.

We had a single piece of bacon left…. whatever could we do with it?

Perfect.

How was YOUR Monday?

theme song

Monday, October 25th, 2010

I need a theme song.

I LOVE theme songs. I know this because last night, Crockett pointed out that I sing along with the lyrics to the theme song of every show we watch (as long as the song has lyrics, that is – if it doesn’t, clearly it sucks and doesn’t deserve my glorious singing).

This weekend, my theme song would have been something about simplicity and … boredom. Oh, and homework. With the occasional burst of awesome.

Is there such a song?

Fall obviously means pumpkin, but guess what I found the other day? Fresh cranberries, yo.

Here, they’ve been reduced to sauce with just a little sugar, and smooshed on no-knead half whole wheat bread and homemade ricotta, with the omnipresent apples. Saturday started off right.

Crockett was off bike shopping with my dad (isn’t it nice when they bond?) and I had roughly ten hours of homework, so I did the thing I do best when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

I went for a 3 mile run. In the fall deliciousness. I’m sure the fact that I stopped to take pictures of fake witches on trees did wonders for my heart rate. Refueling took place in the form of that flatbread that I’m seriously getting kind of tired of and the falafel that I will NEVER get tired of.

I guess that’s what happens when you’re a woman who lives alone who shops at Costco. It is pretty when it cooks though, eh?

Then, you guys, I totally focused on homework. Specifically, actually, NOT homework. I focused on my National Science Foundation graduate fellowship application that’s due in three weeks. It’s exactly as awesome as it sounds, y’all.

In seriousness, it would be damn cool. I would be funded for three full years, with the ability to focus on my own research. The application itself is a bitch, though. Essays and declarations of intent and recommendations and possibly a promise of my first born – I haven’t gotten that far down yet.

Fortunately Crockett came and saved me from myself at about 10. He took me out to show me his fire guitar skills – what girl could resist?

Today was more of the same, with one new addition to our little family.

A shiny new bicycle! His, not mine. I do not ride bicycles, if I can help it. I prefer my butt unsore. Personal preference, I guess.

I fueled his bike work with barbecue chicken and egg breakfast soft tacos. And apples. Shockingly.

Cloey found the whole bike thing fascinating.

Then, of course, work work work.

With a pumpkin butter interlude.

When I was at the grocery store, I saw some Dickinson’s Pumpkin Butter on sale for $2.50, and I was all over that sh.. izzz. (Family friendly, Emma, family friendly.) Then I realized that I could buy 15 oz of pumpkin for $2.19, add my own personal spices, and end up with twice as much butter for the same amount of scrilla.

You should have seen the back patting that went on between me and myself, there in the store.

Not pictured: brown sugar.

I found this allrecipes.com recipe I was going to use, but I was irritated by the white sugar. Why would you put white sugar in pumpkin, unless you were unaware that brown sugar existed at all? Turns out, Deb totally agrees with me, so I busted out her version instead – cept I added more cloves, cause yum with the spice, and more apple juice because it was so thick it was doing that exploding bubble thing all over my stove top. That latter was probably a bad idea, because the apple is actually competing with the pumpkin in my batch, but whatevs. It’s delicious.

Pumpkins = Halloween = gothic photography. Obviously. (Those are roasted pumpkin seeds in the little jar in the middle. They’re from the pumpkin that you shall see pictures of tomorrow. Probably.)

I had to try it, right? While I was making my real dinner, I had some sourdough from my freezer toasted with ricotta and the still warm pumpkin butter. If I hadn’t already added the pasta to the water, I probably would have had ten more pieces of this and called it good.

However, pesto? Totally acceptable as well.

If you’re wondering if that pesto is in the shape of an ice cube, the answer is yes. There is a very good reason for that. It’s frozen, and that freezing happened in an ice cube tray. Pesto freezes really really well, so a bounty of basil can be utilized to its full advantage.

Brain food.

That was my weekend. How was yours?