the great pumpkin(s)

Jon had to work this morning cleaning up from the conference that was here this weekend and when I got home from church he had two pumpkins sitting on our kitchen counter (leftovers from decorations).

You would have thought he gave me the moon.

I have really been wanting to try cooking and pureeing and freezing my own pumpkin to use for pies and baking, etc. but an extra pumpkin or two just wasn’t in the food budget lately. So today was my chance!

This is what I did:

1. Cut the pumpkins in half.

2. Scooped out the goop and seeds and rinsed and saved the seeds (they are drying for 48 hours and then we’re going to make this with them).

3. Placed one half of the pumpkin cut side down on a cookie sheet and baked at 350 for 1 hour. And yes there were two pumpkins, which means 4 half pumpkins, which means I cooked pumpkin for four hours straight… STRIKE 1.

4. After cooking I scooped out the good stuff and beat it with my mixer. Then I strained the liquid through a cloth so it wasn’t too watery… that was REALLY a mess. STRIKE 2.

5. Next I measured out 1 and 3/4 cups of pumpkin into freezer bags. (apparently that’s how much is in a can of pumpkin) I also did a few bags with 1 cup in them because that’s how much a pumpkin pancake recipe calls for!

All in all we got about 8 cans of pumpkin… that’s it. STRIKE 3.

We won’t be buying pumpkins to make our own puree anytime soon. BUT if free pumpkins find their way to us like they did today, it was a fun experimetn!

parmesan garlic bread…yum

So this is a great thing… I mix up all the ingredients, set it on the counter, and by dinner time the butter is softened and it can be mixed and spread on your choice of bread. The recipe calls for a loaf of French bread, but I’ve used it on leftover hoagie rolls, hamburger buns, plain bread, etc. Also, since there’s just two of us I have mixed up some and kept it in the fridge for a few days and used it to make individual toast at several different meals. So… without further ado…

  • 1/3 c. softened margarine or butter
  • 1/4 c. parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (I’ve also used garlic powder)
  • 1 t. dried basil
  • Loaf of French bread, halved lengthwise

Mix first four ingredients well. Spread on bread. Lay open face on a baking sheet and broil until browned to your liking.  Super easy and good!

works for me wednesday: my favorite smoothie

I heart smoothies. Seriously, I think I could live off of them… except in the winter. But it’s the perfect time of year for smoothies now and when I want one, I want it quick. No cutting up different fruits, no trying to add the right amount of ice, no no, takes way too long.

My latest favorite is the “Fiesta,” named such because it is made with Aldi’s Fit n’ Active brand of frozen fruit called the “Fiesta Blend”… so not so creative on my part. Anyway, this bag of frozen fruitiness has mango, papaya, strawberries, and pineapple. Chunk some in the blender add some OJ and ta-da, smoothie is served! It’s quick and oh so delicious. Then of course I usually end up leaving the blender sitting in the sink because cleaning it is the not so quick or delicious part. If anyone has tips on how how to easily and quickly clean the blender please send that my way. (and I must shamefully admit that I have tried the leave it in the sink until “someone else” gets to it approach)

 

dry milk and the best coffee ever

Frugal FridaySo I’m finally joining in the fun over on Biblibal Womanhood for Frugal Fridays. It may not be news to other folks but my latest frugal happy is DRY MILK POWDER!  My mom and sisters all grimaced when I told them this but it really is a miracle for us and is helping to stretch our milk MUCH further! I have loved this website which gives great instructions and ideas for powdered milk usage.

Jon was ecstatic when he realized we can even make sweetened condensed milk with powdered milk, so excited was he that he jumped in and made the first batch, why? So that we could make my aunt’s fabulous coffee drink that he is addicted to greatly enjoys!  Basically it’s… 8-10 cups fresh, strong coffee, one can of sweetened condensed milk (or make your own!), a few squirts of chocolate. Mix well, refrigerate and serve over ice. It is the perfect summertime coffee splurge… or wintertime, or whenever the fancy strikes.  No more pricey Starbucks for us!

Create Your Own Casserole

I found this in volume 3 of the Tightwad Gazette by Amy D. and love it! It is a GREAT way to use leftovers.

1 c. main ingredient
1 c. second ingredient
1-2 c. starchy ingredient
1 1/2 c. binder
1/4 c. “goodie”
Seasoning
Topping
 
They give examples…..
Main: tuna, chicken, turkey, ham, seafood
2nd: celery, mushrooms, peas, hardboiled eggs
Starchy: thinly sliced potatoes, cooked noodles, cooked rice
Binder: cream sauce, sour cream, can of soup
“Goodie”: pimiento, almonds, water chestnuts
Topping: potato chips, cheese, bread crumbs