Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Mysterious Disappearance...

Yes, y'all, I know I have been absent from blog world. But my reason is good. My photography "business" has taken off and is flying away! 14 photo shoots in 3 weeks...need I say more? I'm loving my Photoshop, and am so thankful for my wonderful camera and trusty lenses. Once I get through the edits of the session I'm working on right now, I'll post some of them for you.

I'm going to be taking somewhat of a break from the blog these next few weeks, due to all the photo edits I have to complete, and our trip to California. So until I return, Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for you!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall Feasting

One of my favorite things about fall is cooking fall recipes. And what better way to enjoy fall recipes than to cook with pumpkin! Not canned pumpkin, though! This year I tried my hand at cooking with the pie pumpkins we got at the pumpkin patch, and I will never go back to canned pumpkin! Never cooked pumpkin before? Good's easy, healthy, and so delicious! I recommend using pie pumpkins instead of the big pumpkins you carve into jack-o-lanterns.

1. Cut the top out of your pumpkin, cut the pumpkin in half, and remove the seeds and stringy pulp.
2. Cut the pumpkin into large pieces, about the size of your hand.
3. Lay the pumpkin pieces flesh down in a roasting pan and add 1 inch of water.
4. Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. When the pumpkin is easily pierced with a fork, it is done.
5. After the pumpkin has cooled, peel away the skin.
6. Puree the pumpkin until smooth.

A 5-pound pumpkin will yield 2-3 cups of pumpkin puree. Refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for up to 6 months.

Here are some favorite pumpkin recipes that we have already enjoyed together this fall.

Pumpkin Surprise

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9x13 baking dish.

2. Combine in a bowl:
       2 cups pumpkin puree (or one 15-ounce can of pumpkin)
       A 12-can unsweetened, evaporated milk
       3. eggs
       1 cup sugar
       4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

3. Mix well and pour into the pan

4. Sprinkle one package dry spice cake mix over the pumpkin

5. Drizzle the top with 3/4cup melted butter

6. (optional) Top with chopped walnuts or pecans

7. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, or until a knife inserted into the center of the dessert comes out clean.

Pumpkin Pancakes

1. In a bowl, mix together:
       1 1/2 cups milk
       1 cup pumpkin puree
       1 egg
       2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
       2 Tbsp. white vinegar

2. In another bowl, combine and mix well:
       2 cups flour
       1/4 cup brown sugar
       2 tsp. baking powder
       1 tsp. baking soda
       1 tsp. ground allspice
       2 tsp. cinnamon
       1/2 tsp. ground ginger
       1/2 tsp. salt

3. Add flour mixture to pumkin mixture, and stir just enough to combine

4. Cook on a lightly oiled, hot griddle, just as you would cook regular pancakes

5. Serve with real maple syrup and whipped cream

Pumpkin Bread

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 9x5 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, mix together:
       3 cups canned pumpkin puree

       1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
       4 cups white sugar
       6 eggs

3. In a separate bowl, combine:
       4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

       1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
       1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
       1 1/2 teaspoons salt
       1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
       1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
       1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

4. Stir into the pumpkin mixture until well blended. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The top of the loaf should spring back when lightly pressed.

And here's another fall favorite recipe that I must share, even though it does not contain pumpkin. Taya, this one's for you!

Old Fashioned Crock Pot Beef Stew

1. Place 1/4 cup flour in a ziploc bag.

2. Add 1 1/2 pound cubed stew meat, and shake to coat

3. In a large saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil. Add flour-coated meat, and lightly brown. Place meat in the bottom of a crock pot

4. On top of meat, layer:
       2 1/2 cups cubed potatoes, not peeled
       1 cup frozen, whole kernel corn
       1 cup sliced carrots
       1 cup chopped celery

5. In a bowl, combine:
       6 ounces tomato sauce
       12 ounces water
       12 ounces beef broth
       1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
       1 tsp. instant beef bouillon granules
       1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
       1 tsp. dried marjoram
       2 tsp. dried oregano
       2 bay leaves
       1 tsp. salt

6. Pour over meat and vegetables

7. Cook on low for 10 hours, or on high for 5 hours, until meat and vegetables are tender

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Princess and The Lion

I love getting my kids dressed up in cute costumes! This year Snapper bought her own costume with her birthday money. She bought it at Cracker Barrel 6 weeks ago and has had it carefully saved in her closet. Now that Halloween is over, I anticipate I'll see her wearing it quite frequently! Pepper had planned on being Spiderman (I know, big surprise, right?), but changed his mind at the last minute. His words to me: "I'm Spiderman every day, Mom! I want to be something else for Halloween!" Then he saw a picture of himself wearing his lion costume from last year--which, incidentally, was also Snapper's costume when she was 2. Yes, I made it, back when I actually had time to sit down and sew a costume by hand. It was a tad short for him this year, but he still looked cute as a bug...or cute as a lion! For more cute kids in costumes, visit Musings of A Housewife. Lots of others are linking in to show off their kids!