Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I love pumpkins. 
The plant is pretty

they are fun to decorate with

and yummy to eat

I have always used the canned pumpkins for baking. It's what I grew up with and it's easy. This year our local farmer's market is selling little pie pumpkins that weigh about 3-4 pounds each and cost a dollar per pound. I figured I would give it a try and bought one. Here is what I did with it.

Wash the pumpkin and remove the stem.

Cut in half and remove seeds.

Lightly oil a cookie sheet, place the pumpkin halves face down, and bake at 350 degrees until fork tender.

Remove from oven and turn over to help the halves cool faster. Watch out for the steam. Once they are cool enough to handle get a large spoon and scoop out all the pulp.

I use an immersion blender to puree the pulp, but a food processor or even a potato masher will do the trick.

That one little 3 pound pumpkin made over 3 cups of puree. You can use it right away, put it in the fridge, or save it in the freezer for later. Today I turned about a cup of it into pumpkin muffins. 

Pumpkin Spice Muffins (adapted from this recipe)
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1-1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons Butter, melted
1 cup (heaping) Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup Milk
1 whole Egg
1-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin tins. I used liners and I do not recommend it. They stuck.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. (I never do a separate bowl and it works fine. Less dishes that way) Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Fold gently until mixture is just combined.
Pour into a greased muffin pan—batter hardly ever fills all twelve unless you keep it down to 1/2 full. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg mixture over the top of each unbaked muffin.
Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.

Check back tomorrow to see what I'm doing with the seeds :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

this morning's project

I made some kitchen hand scrub this morning. It's a lovely shade of yellow, scrubs great, and leaves my hands smelling lemony. I'll have to test it out after lunch to see if it gets the smell of garlic off. I found the easy recipe here. I don't have lemon extract so mine has a mild fragrance.

1 1/2 c sugar
1/3 c kosher salt
zest of 1 extra large lemon (or other citrus)
1 c olive oil
1/4 tsp pure lemon extract, optional


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. If you would like a slightly stronger fragrance, add the extract. Spoon into a pretty jar, tighten the lid. Wipe any spills or drips from the outside of the jar. Alternatively, you can use orange or lime zest for a different fresh citrus smell. For an extra touch, tie a pretty bow around the jar if you plan to gift this scrub. This makes enough for a 1 pint canning jar.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall decorating

With a little bit of supplies from Goodwill, the Dollar General, and Walmart we know have a cute front patio :)

Oktoberfest 2011

We didn't make it to our local Oktoberfest last year. Partly because we knew it would be a letdown from our previous experience in Munich. This year we got all dressed up and gave it a try. There was an American vs. German soccer game first so we went to that and cheered on Eric's coworker. Americans lost, of course. Then we changed into our Oktoberfest clothes and joined the party. They do a good job of decorating and bringing in an authentic band and I guess the beer and food was good. New Mexico is not Germany though. We were baking in our dirndls and lederhosen. The lines were all very long, but Eric and the girls got to dance a little and we had some food and Eric drank his beer and mine. Everyone under 21 was kicked out at 8pm (when the temps were getting reasonable) so we all headed home at that time.