Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pumpkin Overdose

I'll admit it, I do get excited when basically everything becomes pumpkin-flavored in the fall.  But, I always get excited for seasonal/ holiday food - hot apple cider around Thanksgiving, egg nog for Christmas, Reese's eggs in the spring (those totally count), and corn on the cob in the summer!!!

I did have my first pumpkin spice latte of the year while it was still warm out, but mostly I was excited to try out some new recipes.

First I made Mama Peas' pumpkin streusel swirl loaf.

It was delicious!!  I highly recommend it.

I used canned pumpkin for that recipe, but then I roasted a sugar pumpkin I got in my second CSA share.

And I roasted the butternut squash, too, following Angela's tutorial.

Lookin' gooooood.

I saved the seeds from the pumpkin and the squash so that I could roast them and make a delicious, iron-filled snack.  Once again, I followed another tutorial by Angela.

I just realized that it looks like I'm hiding an egg in this picture, haha, but it's really just a hard-boiled egg that I was trying to prevent from rolling off the counter.  
I coated the seeds in about a tablespoon of coconut oil (melted), about a tablespoon of brown sugar, and a hefty sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice

Oh yum.

Come in a little closer to see that gorgeous, crunchy coating.

They taste even better when eaten from an orange dish.

Once I roasted the pumpkin, I scooped out the flesh and put it in my food processor to make a puree.  Easy peasy.  Then I used the puree to make 3 more recipes.  I was on a roll!  First up - pumpkin granola.  It's got a great ingredient list and is very healthy.  It even contains quinoa, which I had never thought to include in granola before.  The quionoa gives it some extra protein, and a great nutty flavor.  (I know quinoa is a seed, but "seedy flavor" does not sound too appealing!)

By the way, old pasta sauce jars make great storage containers!
 I've been eating it with unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  I'm in love.

I also made Kath's baked pumpkin oatmeal.  (And I think my oven must be slanted, judging by the slope of the oatmeal in this dish.)

I'm a huge fan of having breakfast ready to go in the morning, so I baked this on Sunday and had breakfast ready and waiting for me the rest of the week.

In the mornings I just scooped out a section of oatmeal, put it in a bowl with some unsweetened vanilla almond milk (a current favorite of mine, if you couldn't tell), and heated it up in the microwave for about a minute.  Perfection.

Finally, I tried out a savory dish - crock pot turkey white bean chili.  It might sound a little strange, but it was absolutely delicious, and easy to make.  And I just love using my crock pot - so convenient!

I could have eaten this for another week straight.

Sadly, I ran out of homemade pumpkin puree at that point.  But I think I put it to pretty good use.

Oh, and I bought some pumpkin soup from Trader Joe's, too.

It. Was. Incredible.  I first had pumpkin soup in France when I was studying abroad, and I absolutely loved it.  I searched everywhere for something comparable in the States, but the closest I could get was sweet potato and squash soups.  I tried making my own pumpkin soup one time from scratch, but it was an absolute disaster and completely discouraged me from making another attempt.  Luckily, after 5 years, I finally found what I was looking for.  Sadly, I only got one container.  I'll be counting down the days until it comes out again next year!

So is that enough pumpkin for ya?  I wonder what my next seasonal food fixation will be... gingerbread?  Cranberries?  Something peppermint?  Hmm, we shall see.

Song of the day:

"The Story" by Brandi Carlile.  I really love this song because it's such a good mix of pretty and raw vocals.  And it's fun to sing along to (but not fun to hear me singing along to!).

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Belated Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!  Wait, it's November already?  Oops.

My grandma spoils me.  Look at this amazing care package she gave me.  She even included a pumpkin, and a kit to decorate it!

And basically all of my favorite things - homemade sour cream cookies (so.good.), Reese's, peanut butter crackers, Milky Way bars, a HUGE Hershey's bar, hot chocolate, Goldfish, a super cute owl card, awesome socks, and some festive napkins!  So amazing.

I had some friends over in early October, so of course it was the perfect excuse to get some of my favorite Halloween candy.  Luckily not much was left at the end of the night, because I just can't resist it!

I love decorating for any holiday.

Ooh, scary!

I made this when I was really little, and my mom sent it to me in a care package when I was in undergrad.  He manages to still make an appearance once in awhile.

After not dressing up the past 2 years, last weekend I got to dress up in a couple of different costumes.  On Friday I was a "Southern belle" - I wore a dress that my mom wore as a bridesmaid in the 70s :)  I didn't wear the huge crinoline petticoat that would make it even poofier, though.

My friend Josh was a super scary vampire.  Seriously, he was creeping me out!  Pardon my red eyes - I tried to get rid of them in Photoshop but, 1) I don't know how to use Photoshop, and 2) I have perpetual red eyes that seem to just turn gray when they're "corrected."  Josh's glowing eyes work well with his costume, though!

Saturday I went down to Columbus with a group of friends.  I dressed up as "Bad Sandy" from Grease, and my friend Chris was Danny Zuko.  I stayed up pretty late after the party on Friday night to put curlers in my hair in an attempt to make it super curly for an authentic Bad Sandy look.

And I got to sleep in them.  Lucky me!

Buuuut my hair didn't dry by the time I had to take the curlers out the next day, so I was a less authentic Sandy.  Ohhh well.  (Check out my super cool "Academic" high school letter pinned on "Danny's" sweater, haha.)

I'm terrible at taking pictures - this is my attempt at capturing High Ball (a street festival we went to).

I snapped a picture of this scary monster thing.  And that was the extent of my picture-taking!

I also got to eat at one of my favorite places while we were down in Columbus - Northstar Cafe!  I got the Buddha Bowl with roasted chicken, brown rice, peanut sauce, and veggies.  It was really, really delicious.  I failed at using my chopsticks, though :/  Maybe I should try to develop that skill...

Although this pumpkin made a cute decoration, it was even better after it was roasted :)  Stay tuned for my next post, which will be totally pumpkin themed!  (Very original, I know.)

Song of the day:

"Tightrope" by Walk the Moon.  Very upbeat and fun!