Fall Pumpkins… more than just Jack ‘O Lanterns

Last weekend we spent a day at the Farmers Market gathering up all of our favorite fall veggies.  Pumpkins are a particular favorite of mine in the fall, and not just for pie.

They are actually squash, and are a member of the Curcurbita family which includes cucumbers and zucchinis.  Although most people think of pumpkins a dessert, decoration or a seasonal drink at Starbucks, I like to think of pumpkins as a regular old fall veggie.  Here a few pumpkin recipes to help mix up your fall cooking and hopefully show you some new ways to enjoy this fall favorite!

Roasted Pumpkin Gratin from Angie’s Pangie’s

8 cups pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 flour
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil

Start out with a cute little pumpkin and cut it in half.  Remove the seeds and stringy stuff and discard.

Cut off the skin.  Now, I won’t lie to you here, my pumpkin was a complete pain in the butt to get to this point.  Not all pumpkins are created equal though, it depends alot on how “tough” the skin on your pumpkin is.  This one was stubborn.  Allow yourself some extra time to prep the pumpkin, if you get it done early – great, but at least you won’t be eating an hour late (like a certain blogger and her family who will rename nameless.)

Preheat the oven to 400 and grease a 13X9 baking dish.

Put the flour, salt and pepper in a bag.  Wash the pumpkin and drain it.  Add the pumpkin to the bag and shake.  Toss the excess flour and put the pumpkin in the prepared dish.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top and add extra salt and pepper, if you want to.

Add the minced garlic to the olive oil and stir well.  Then drizzle the oil all over the top of the pumpkin.

Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Because pumpkins can vary in texture your cooking time may vary.  My stubborn pumpkin took 40 full minutes to cook throughout.  Cutting your pumpkin in similar sizes and shapes will help it cook evenly.  The pumpkin should be soft with crispy cheese.  If the cheese begins to get too done before the pumpkin is soft, cover the pan with some foil.

Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Soup From Macheesmo


– 1 medium butternut squash
– 1/2 of a medium pumpkin
– 1 medium onion, diced
– 1 Cup carrots, chopped
– 3 Tablespoons butter
– 6 cups liquid (4 cups vegetable stock & two cups water.)
– 1/4 Teaspoon cayenne (adjust to your heat liking)
– 1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon (adjust to taste)
– Salt and pepper

Cube squash & pumpkin.

Get a large soup pan or sauce pan going over high heat and add your butter.  Saute your onions and carrots for 5 minutes until they start to soften, then add your squash and pumpkin.  Cook for another 5-10 minutes and then add your liquid!  The liquid should just cover all the veggies.

Bring everything to a boil and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until the veggies are very tender.  Then, using a blender or immersion blender, take everything for a spin.  I had to blend mine in three batches in my stand blender.  Don’t overfill your blender unless you want orange walls.

Then pour your blended soup back into your large pot and return it to medium heat.  Add all your spices and taste for salt and pepper.  It should be really smooth but have just a hint of spice to it.

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October 19, 2010 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Weekend Craft Fix: Spiderweb Decor

I found this tutorial not too long ago on womansday.com when trying to find some unique ideas for decorating my front porch.  I love how easy it is, and how cute the results look!

Materials: Black puff paint for fabric; nonstick baking sheet.

Directions:

1. Using paint, draw an L shape, with both sides the same length, on baking sheet.

2. Starting at corner, draw a series of lines, same length as first lines, radiating outward.

3. Draw scalloped lines across these lines to make spiderweb. Make sure all rows are touching.

4. Let dry for 24 hours before carefully peeling webs off sheet.

Note:  Turns out that if you’d like to make larger spider webs, this technique will work on any non-stick surface.  Just make sure to apply an appropriate amount of paint so that when you peel it off it does not stretch out of proportion or tear.

 

October 15, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

High Fashion Halloween

Vogue Paris put together this stunning spread for its October issue.  The images are were shot by the impeccable Mert & Marcus, and models Lara Stone, Freja Beha Erichsen & Mariacarla Boscono look gorgeous in front of the camera.  Enjoy, and get inspired!

Images Source: fashiongonerogue.com

Live Creatively!

October 14, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Buy Me: Ugly Baby

Let me start this post by saying that  Rosalie Gale, the mastermind behind Ugly Baby, is one my favorite people that I’ve never met.

She’s a great artist (just check out her stuff below), and a business mastermind.  Not only does she create cute and quirky shower art pieces- she’s also the brains behind Unanimous Craft, a directory of resources for indie craft businesses, (or as she says: It’s like Yelp for the crafty community) and she runs a site called bARTer sauce where people can trade art and odd objects.

Below are just a few of my favorite Ugly Baby pieces.  For more of Rosalie and all her awesomeness check out Etsy Shop or catch her on her blog!

Live Creatively!

October 12, 2010 at 8:00 am 1 comment

New Halloween Headband!

I just added this too cute headband in the shop.  The bow is made from a soft cotton fabric that is printed with neon green bats.  Did I mention that they GLOW-IN-THE-DARK!  How cool is that.  Check it out in the Etsy shop along with all the other awesomeness.  Don’t forget- Halloween is only a few weeks away… get your perfect party hat before its too late!

October 11, 2010 at 5:14 pm Leave a comment

Weekend Craft Fix: Construction Worker Pet Costume

Kids and adults aren’t the only ones getting dressed up this Halloween!  Pet costumes are becoming more and more popular every year.   Just check out these guys:

amazon.com

amazon.com

target.com

The store-bought costumes are great, but I wanted to find some costumes that were a bit more crafty, and maybe even a bit less pricey.  My favorite? This guy:

The construction worker bulldog.  Turns out the owner just bought a simple child’s construction worker toy set and a white tank top.  You have to admit, he’s super cute.  Check out omidog.com for more quick and easy pet costume ideas.

Live Creatively!

October 8, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Worldly Wednesdays: Halloween around the World

`”Halloween was originally a pagan holiday celebrated by Celtic people and born from the pagan holiday “Samhain”.

Samhain is a holiday that celebrates the dark season of the Celtic year.   Samhain was celebrated three days before and three days after November 1st although there were no carved pumpkins nor trick or treating. People had a lantern made out of a turnip. The celebration was strictly observed by the whole society and gave the opportunity to every barbarian to eat, drink and have fun.  Gallic people also celebrated this holiday; which was called “Samonios”. Samonios has been replaced in Gallic countries by Christian celebrations.

Over the centuries, continental Europe converted to Christianity and abandoned Samonios in favour of All Saints Day and Samhain became All Hallow’s Eve.  However, the Halloween that we currently celebrate has nothing in common with Samhain.

Halloween and All Saints Day are still interrelated because Halloween means “The Night Before the Feast of All Saints” and “All Hallow’s Day” is our Continental All Saints Day.  All Hallow’s Eve; which evolved during the Christianization of European populations, was imported in America by European colonists and the current Halloween holiday was created by the Irish emigrants.

Here are some countries which celebrate Halloween:
Belguim-  Belgian people celebrate Halloween since more than ten years but Gouy-Lez-Pieton refuses to adopt it, preferring to celebrate their own Samhain-style holiday. Even if Belgian people organize a Day Before Christmas dinner, they still offer gifts to children on December 6th and not on December 25th. So, I doubt that my country will replace All Saints Day by Halloween.

France- French people think that this holiday is too commercial and while this country finally adopted Halloween in the late 1990s, it is now less appreciated. There are very few children ringing at the doors and asking for sweets.

UK- English people celebrate the Guy Fawkes Day on November 5th and adopted many customs from Samhain. These festivities are marked by torchlight parades where children use masks made from beets and pumpkins.

Scotland- The Scots still practice their ancient pagan rites. Children wear costumes and cut scary faces into large rutabagas and place a candle inside them. They receive candy when they provide a nice entertainment to their neighbours.

Ireland- Trick or treating originated in Ireland, so as usual, Irish children in disguise will enjoy the Halloween festivities, they will carry lanterns cut into large rutabagas. Children will be received by their neighbours with sweets and Irish houses will be decorated with Halloween lights.

Spain- Spanish people enjoy the Halloween holiday. Their kids will enjoy receiving candies from their neighbours and adults will have the opportunity to have a Halloween party in each and every club. Spanish people also organize many Halloween parades.

Portugal- Portugal does not celebrate Halloween; Portuguese people celebrate the Day of the Dead by organizing feasts at the cemetery.

Italy- Some regions of Italy organize Halloween Events, but its a regional celebration.

USA- Of course, we here in the US love our Halloween.  How will you be celebrating this year?

Live Creatively!

Article Source: Associatedcontent.com

October 6, 2010 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

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