Monday, October 12, 2015

Theme cooking; Pumpkin Edition

Every now and again I find myself with some free time.  Some random weekend where a hockey practice was cancelled or game postponed.

That was today. Thanksgiving Monday. We had stayed in the city because Logan is in a hockey tournament, but it turned out that he didn't have any games today.

After a leisurely morning of decadent sleeping in, I finally ventured downstairs.  Sleeping in aside, I have trouble being idle. Whether it be conversations where no one is saying anything or a morning with nothing to do, it just makes me uncomfortable.

So looking around I knew I was going to be baking. Generally when these days happen there is a theme like IronChef with the chosen ingredient for the day. I've done apples before and recently in the summer I went on a pear kick. Today, given it being a cool fall day, I opted for Pumpkin.

I love pumpkin as long as it isn't in the spiced pumpkin latte form. I don't understand, I love pumpkin, love coffee, but together... Nope.  Every year when the PSLs come out I am always drawn to them, buy one and remember how terrible they are. Incidentally, the toasted graham latte the came out with this year is WAY better than the PSL.  Just thought I'd throw that in. Ok.. Back to the story at hand. 

I haven't gone grocery shopping so the breakfast options this morning were slim. But I had enough baking ingredients to make pumpkin spice muffins.  Used coconut oil  instead of butter or margarine. Delicious.

The muffins didn't use up all the purée I had, so I decided to make pumpkin soup. It took a bit of time to find a recipe that didn't call for cream, coconut milk or yogurt (see previous discussion on lack of groceries).  Finally found one that called for milk and chicken broth.   But the recipe also called for maple syrup, and while I am certain it would have been delicious; I just couldn't get my head around it. Instead I added some bay leaves and cumin.   Turned out really well.

If you follow my blog at all you'd know I'm a big fan of fruit butter. Apple, pear... You name it. If you've never had it, the name is quite misleading.  It's not butter at all, but a thick sort of jam.

You can probably guess where I am going with this... pumpkin butter. I learned my lesson from my apple butter debacle a few weeks back. I had used a new recipe that called for apple cider vinegar instead of apple juice.   The end result was closer in taste to mince meat than Apple butter.  I cannot stand mincemeat so I will not be making the apple cider vinegar mistake again.

Making any sort of fruit butter requires that you are standing and stiring for really long time. I had been in the kitchen for awhile at this point and the desire to stir a pot for another hour or so was every so slightly unappealing, so I opted for the slow cooker. My pumpkin butter is now bubbling away effortlessly and filling my house with a delicious scent of cinnamon and cloves.

Given it being Thanksgiving, a family dinner is in order. We had a nice turkey dinner with my brother and sister in law yesterday, so I thought I'd make something different.

I opted for a chicken pot pie (from scratch! No cheating with a Campbell soup or pre made frozen pastry).

At the request of my boys (Brad included) I also made a Devils food cake. I was feeling a little lazy and didn't want to make a layer cake so I just baked it in a casserole dish and smothered that bad boy in buttercream. It reminded me of the McCains deep and delicious frozen cakes you can buy.

So while my day hasn't been very exciting, it's been relaxing. Baking, drinking spiced rum and reminding myself how grateful I am for this life, especially these two;

Cause after all, they might be a handful, but they're my handful you know? 


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