Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

As promised, here is how to make pumpkin pie minus the can. First you need to take a trip to your local pumpkin farm. You can see ours here. Then you need to pick out a couple of sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins. Their flesh is not stringy and purees beautifully. It is also sweeter.

Bring your pumpkins home and cut them in half. Have the kids scoop out the seeds and stuff. They seem to enjoy this while I think it is just slimy. Save the seeds to roast. Roasted pumpkin seeds are such a yummy snack.

Next you want to roast your pumpkin. I place mine cut side down in a pan of water. (Hint: pour the water in after you have placed you pan on the rack in the oven, otherwise water may splash everywhere.) Roast in the oven for about an hour or so. The oven temp can be anywhere from 350-400. You can pierce the pumpkin with a fork to judge the doneness. It needs to be soft.

Here is our beautifully roasted pumpkin. Let it cool and then scrape the meat out of the skin. Next puree the meat. I did this with my food processor, but you could do it by hand, in the blender or with a stick blender. Your choice. That's it.

Our three pumpkins gave us eight cups of puree, enough for four pies! We made one pie and froze the rest in two cup portions. How wonderful it will be to have pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin coffee cake pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin pancakes this winter. Oh wait, I don't have enough pumpkin in the freezer for all that. Back to the farm.

Now you are ready to make your pie. You can use your favorite pumpkin pie recipe, just substitute your homemade pumpkin puree for the canned stuff. Here is the recipe we made. Boy was it yummy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pigs, Squash and Pumpkins!

Have I told you all how much I LOVE autumn? Even the rain couldn't put a damper on our trip to Tibbits' Farm - the local squash and pumpkin farm. Quite a few of us braved the weather and were blessed greatly by Mrs. Tibbits herself. She showed us all around the farm. We met the turkeys, chickens, and pigs. I love pigs, always have. I think it was reading Charlotte's Web as a child. Rebekah thought the pigs were the best too. She squealed like a pig when they let her pet them.
Then they even put on a show for us. They pranced, they ran, they even picked up a stick and played a little game of tug-o-war. They were just too cute. I wonder if I could talk my darling husband into a pig for my birthday?
It stared to rain, so the pictures of the fields aren't great. However, the kids did have a wonderful time digging up potatoes, HUGE potatoes. The kids managed to dig up quite a few potatoes, then Mrs. Tibbits showed the kids the old potato picker they use. Old farm machinery is so cool!

The it was back to the farm stand for apple juice and cookies for the children. While the kids ate their snack I got to pick out some beautiful squash and sugar pumpkins to bring home for supper. Oh squash is so yummy and so good for you. And it really is a very frugal dish. Fresh pumpkin pie tutorial coming soon.

Each of the children was blessed to pick out a small pumpkin to take home. Rebekah was so proud of her pumpkin. The girls also picked out a few gourds to decorate our dining table.

What a fun day at the farm. We will need to make another visit for more pumpkin and squash. What is your favorite squash? I'd love for you to share your recipes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Day at the Alpaca Farm

This weekend was National Alpaca Farm Day. We are lucky enough to have a new alpaca farm not even ten minutes down the road. The girls were so excited to go visit the alpacas. The farm is small and just getting started, but another a local alpaca farmer brought quite a few of their alpacas down to visit.

I don't know much about alpacas, but boy were these guys cute and friendly. They did look a little silly with their hair cuts. And a few of them did spit.

This little baby was only about a week old. He was happy to stay with his mama. Rebekah thought it was funny that he wore a purple coat.

We were able to feed the alpacas, but Rebekah wasn't too sure about this furry face.

She much preferred this little brown one. He was smaller than her and oh so friendly. I could have taken him home. I can just imagine the wonderful yarn one could spin from his fleece and all the wonderful knitting that would follow.

And this guy just made me smile. You just have to love that face.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Autumn Leaves Garland

This simple craft is a beautiful addition to your nature table or just to bring a little of the autumn colors inside.

You'll need:

  • felt in autumn colors - red, yellow, orange, brown (we really love wool felt)
  • embroidery floss in similar colors
  • leaf templates - maple, oak, dogwood (we used clip art images)
  • pins
  • fabric scissors
  • embroidery needle

First, pin the template to the felt and carefully cut out the leaf. Make as many leaves as you would like. We cut out 12 leaves., three of each shape and color.

Next select a coordinating color of embroidery floss and stitch the veins of the leaf.

When all the leaves have been embroidered tie them to a length of embroidery floss or yarn appropriate for the size of your leaves.

Hang your leaf garland and enjoy.

Looking for more crafty ideas? Hop on over to Crafty Friday and Natural Suburbia's Creative Friday to see what everyone else is up to.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Autumn

I love autumn! It is my favorite season. The air turns crisp. The reds, oranges, yellows and brown explode across the mountains. The apples are sweet. The wood stove smells so lovely. The woods are full of activity as the little animals prepare for the long winter around the corner.

This first day of autumn we all set out early in the morning. Off to collect items for our nature table. The dew was heavy on the grass and the air had a slight chill. Everyone grabbed a sweater, wool of course. Oh how I love sweater weather.

Baskets in hand, we headed out. The leaves rustling under our feet. The search was on.

The first acorn found! It didn't take long to fill our baskets with acorns, pinecones, leaves and small twigs. A bowl full of acorns and a few pinecones now adorn our autumn nature table. I wonder what the next treasure will be.

The girls and I enjoyed making the fall leaves garland. I'll post a tutorial soon.
So good to be back. Many thanks to all of you contacted me during our absence and for your prayers. Life is getting back to normal, or at least normal for us.