Why This is Not A Cooking Blog

If it is still a blog at all with my pitiful lack of posting.

I hate when bloggers go into a long drawn out explanation about why they have not blogged so here is my short and sweet version.

A baby.  13 weeks of maternity leave over. 

I have tons of stuff to blog about which is the first step…now just finding time to write coherently about it. 

Or at least semi-coherently since some babble could be excused due to sleep deprivation.

Anyway, I was excited for this recipe for a couple of reasons.  1) I love pumpkin dips 2) It was super quick and easy 3) It meant we were actually going to a social function that required us to bring something (remember the whole three month old thing).

The name if the recipe is Pumpkin Fluff and I found it on Allrecipes.com.  I am not going to post the entire recipe, but here is the short and sweet version.

Pumpkin Fluff

1. Get the ingredients- Cool Whip, canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, instant vanilla pudding, and graham crackers.

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2. Realize you are an idiot for not reading the sizes of said ingredients on the original recipe.  Meaning you have too little cool whip and pudding.  Which you figured out after you took the picture thinking “oh I am so going to blog about this”. Way to be with it.

3. Decide to cut the recipe in half.

4. Realize you have left over cool whip in the fridge. 

5.  Put somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 of the amount of ingredients the recipe calls for in the mixing bowl.

6. Mix.

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7. Serve.

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8. When you serve it make sure you put a little sign by it indicating what it is or make a big announcement.  Or your friends will assume you are a weirdo serving hummus with graham crackers and no one will touch it. Until you tell them and then everyone will love it.

Just don’t mention that you messed up the ingredients.  And then don’t blog about it so they don’t figure it out.

Oooops.

Flower Power

In honor of our first frost, I did some last minute flower cutting from the garden before they get zapped.  Which is very sad.

But to help me not come to grips with the fact that winter is coming very quickly, I spread some vases of prettiness around the house to help me pretend it is still summer.  Or at least early fall.  Happy thoughts.

This is not usually something I would blog about, because really flowers in a vase is not riveting. 

Being the non-flower designer I am, I usually cut some flowers and stick them in vase and call it good. But since all my plants even the non-flowering ones are on borrowed time right now, I added them to the mix.

And I could not believe what a variety of leaves did for my scrawny flowers. Hence why it gets a blog post.

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They actually looked like I put some thought into it….

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So now I can think summery thoughts while I at the computer…

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Or washing dishes…..

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How are you hanging onto summer?  Or are you telling winter to bring it on?

Pumpkin Yumminess

Fall decorating has been a major fail at our house this season.  Other than the wreath I busted out of the basement to stick on the front door, fall has stayed in the box.

Is is not that I don’t love fall or am not inspired this year.  Because I do and I am.

I think it has more to do with working on other projects ( like the should be done in a single night and yet never ending dining room ceiling project) and the flu getting the best of me. 

But my fall decorating difficulties have not banished pumpkin from the kitchen (before I got sick of course….no germ infested baked goods here).

First up was a pumpkin gingerbread quick bread.

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It was super easy and oh so good.  And double bonus….it froze incredibly well.  So a couple of weeks later we were able to enjoy it all over again.

Here is the recipe (from allrecipes.com)

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Ingredients
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice cinnamon, and clove.
  3. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.

 

And the pumpkin did not stop there.

I also whipped up a pumpkin cream cheese dip. 

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Again more yumminess.  And by whipped up I threw it together in 7 minutes as I was running out the door to an work thing I had to bring something to.  And I forgot about it until that evening. 

But I don’t think it was obvious I threw it together.  And it was the perfect fall appetizer.

Ingredients
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon frozen orange juice concentrate
Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gradually mix in the pumpkin. Stir in the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and orange juice until smooth and well blended. Chill until serving.

Again from allrecipes.com.

Any other great pumpkin recipes out there?  Something has to feel like fall around here.

Thanksgiving DIY Wreath

When I read the first week's theme of the NewlyWoodwards blog party-Dare to: Be Thankful- I will admit that I was totally stumped. Sure, I had tons of great ideas for future weeks but for this one I had nothing.

Dare to DIY

I have fall decorations out but really none of them are DIY and nothing is really spectacular. But lucky for me Martha came to the rescue with this easy and pretty wreath. I am loving the finished product and it completes my dining room decor. Just in time for Thanksgiving....

Best of all it was super cheap-under $7. I would write out the how-to step by step but Martha does such a fine job that I will direct you to read it here.

Of course I did not follow her directions exactly. Instead of all craft and gold paper I used a couple of colors. Some were metallic cardstock and others were scrapbook paper. Here are my colors (in addition to the craft paper) cut into squares:
In addition to the partial roll of craft paper, I used about 8 pieces of colored paper.

Also Michaels does not carry the 2 wire wreath form, so I bought this and it worked great-

Finally, Martha tells you to attach the leaves with a stapler. I started this way and it could be because my wreath form had more wire in it, but I was struggling to get the staples to close. So I would have to staple a leaf on and then flip the wreath over to manually close the staple. This was not fun and I kept stabbing myself. So I switched over to hot glue (so then I could burn myself) and this method was a lot easier as well as allowing me a lot more flexibility in leaf placement.

After I started, I compared my partial wreath with Martha's and realized that my leaves were too far apart.
It was so easy with the hot glue to go back and fill it in.


I love the finished product and how it looks hanging on the simple orange ribbon in our dining room. I am also to happy to report that is very sturdy as it got dropped twice during the hanging process and still looks great. Thanks for the invitation to the party and come back for next week's theme-Dare To: Entertain. I can't wait to see everyone's projects!

Also linked to It's So Very Creative @ It's So Very Cheri
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Brrrrr and Basil

It is officially fall. We were this close to having a hard freeze this past weekend. The beginning of October is early for a freeze in our area and I could not believe that when were shopping at an outdoor mall that I wished I had a scarf.....and maybe a hat.

I finally could run again this weekend now that I am eight weeks past the stress fracture. Of course it is my luck that my first running morning it was 33 degrees. Oh well, at least I could start again. And by start again I mean from the beginning since I have not run for 8 weeks and I felt every step....and are still feeling it today every time I walk up the stairs.

Another positive weather related note-we are not going to see the sun for at least a week so I will spending a lot of time indoors and wishing it was May. Sigh.....

But enough with the complaining, I do love fall (but usually I am a bigger fan of the period of the mid fifties and not the mid thirties) and since I am not spending all my time outside working in the garden I am newly re-energized when it comes to house projects. I think I am even ready to make some goals with...gasp...timelines. Stay tuned...

Since the freeze is right around the corner I set out to preserve as much as the garden as possible. I already did tomatoes, but next was the basil.

And since I had no idea what I was doing, I set it up like a science experiment.

First I started with a lot of basil (since it is an official "experiment" I made sure to use precise terms like "a lot")

Then I washed half of it, tore off the leaves, and put it in the food processor. I then added a swirl of olive oil and chopped away.

Then I portioned out the mixture into "basil cubes" which I hope will be the perfect size to use in recipes all winter.

At this point I came to the first issue. Should I add water to make sure I can get them out of the tray...or would that make it mushy when I defrosted the perfect portion for a recipe?? Decisions decisions. Since I was experimenting I decided to do it both ways and see which worked the best (in my head I could hear my high school science teacher saying "the addition of water is one independent variable while the one with just oil is the other, and the dependent variable blah blah blah....").

But this science experiment was not completed. I also read that you can just stick basil in a bag, push out all the air and shove it in the freezer. That method was a lot faster and less messy than the previous one so I also gave it a try.
So now the beer fridge is filled with pasta sauce, frozen tomatoes, basil cubes and bags of basil. Every time you open it to get a beer, it smells like an Italian kitchen. We will see which independent variable had the best outcome on the dependent variable. Don't worry I will take lots of data (scientific of course) and come back and report. I think I might have just found our future children's first science project .......