75 Pounds

That, friends, is the weight of the pumpkin our family won from a local orchard.  75.5 lbs to be exact.

My husband and I both tend to have scientific minds, and can be good estimates of weights, lengths, etc.  So I really shouldn’t be surprised that we won this giant pumpkin.

But somehow getting the phone call to pick up our prize, that by the way weighs more than both of our children combine, made this whole scenario very real.

I will have to upload a picture or two that we have taken with the pumpkin, but not until I can give you all the comparison I have in mind.

You see, a lot of people asked what I would do with a 75.5 pound pumpkin.  What would I do with it?

Bake it.  Duh.

And make a ton of pumpkin puree.

I am about 1/4 of the way through the pumpkin and will have to continue my puree project tomorrow.

But for today I wanted to share that I am thankful for free food, in any shape or form.  Free pumpkin is wonderful, and so are the free sweet potatoes we received from friends who had a bumper crop this year.

We are eating a lot of orange foods around here.  At least my babies will have great eye sight with all of that beta carotene. 😉

 

And for yesterday:  I was thankful for my church.  We invited a neighbor to our church yesterday, and he had been nervous about being judged or looked upon differently for somethings in his past.  I love that my husband and I could honestly and whole-heartedly say that he would not be judged in our church.  And that our worship music is awesome, by the way.

A New Favorite Recipe

Friends, I love when I concoct a ridiculous recipe that comes out tasty.

What makes that experience even better?

When I am also using something that may or may not go bad in the refrigerator soon.

I bought some local veggies this week, including a fabulously large spaghetti squash.  I understand that not everyone loves spaghetti squash like I do.  I could really just eat the stuff plain with a little butter and black pepper.

FABULOUS!

Alas, this was a mighty large squash, and I knew realistically I had to enlist my husband and children to help me eat it.  Which means I had to get creative with how I prepare it.

I looked up several recipes online and found some pleasant ideas about making a faux lasagna.  That sounded tasty enough, so I concocted this lovely meal:

Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” Bake

1 spaghetti squash

1-2 cups tomato sauce

several cloves of garlic

1 tbsp dried basil

1.5 cups ricotta cheese

3 eggs

16 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained

fresh parsley

2 cups shredded mozzarella

1/4 – 1/2 cup grated parmesan

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Poke holes in the spaghetti squash with a fork and bake for 60 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool a little.

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, remove and discard seeds, then scrap squash flesh with a fork.  Place squash in a bowl, then add garlic, tomato sauce, basil, and salt to taste.  Combine.

Lower oven to 375 degrees.

In a separate bowl, combine ricotta cheese, spinach, parsley, eggs, and salt to taste.  Place ricotta mixture in a 9×13 baking dish and spread evenly.  Sprinkle the top with half of both the mozzarella and the parmesan.  Then add the squash mixture on top.  Top with the remaining cheese.  Cover with foil and bake about 30 minutes.

This meal was a hit with my girls, whose philosophy on life is “Add cheese and it makes everything taste good”.

After having used up the mozzarella I was left with no food waste this week, for the win.

FoodWasteFriday

 

 

Who Cares What the Packaging Says..?

If you trust your child, let them eat it:

100_2405(The red and yellow box on the bottom says:  Choking Hazard:  Do not feed nuts to children under six.  Clearnly, Bitsy Girl is not six, but she can tear through some almonds like nobody’s business.)

In other news, today is Food Waste Friday.  Cleaning out my refrigerator I found only one container of gross items, but I did forget to snap a picture.  For any of you who make your own broths, you know the usual suspects that get thrown into a broth:  onions, carrots, celery, peppercorns, bay leaf, etc.  Well, after the broth is made, I always have a hard time throwing out that much food, so I put the leftover, mushy, broth-sucked-out-of vegetables in a container in the fridge.  I made broth two weeks ago.

Enough said.

Oh well, it’s a new week and I have a clean fridge!

FoodWasteFriday

For a Chilly Evening

The last few nights have been very chilly around here.  And what makes a chilly evening warm and cozy?

Well, according to Bitsy Girl a blanket (or a “bacon”, as she calls it).  Honestly, both make a chilly evening more pleasant.

But I digress.  I was thinking more along the lines of chicken soup.  🙂

Chicken Soup

1 chicken carcass, preferably already roasted and meat cut off

3 quarts of cold water

8 cloves of garlic, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 ribs of celery, chopped

4-5 peppercorns

1 bay leaf

shredded chicken (however much you like in your soup)

about 2 cups of cooked rice

 

Combine all but the last two ingredients in a large pot and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 90 minutes.  Carefully remove the chicken carcass and place it on a plate to cool.  Make sure you remove all the bones, but feel free to leave the veggies and herbs in the pot.  Put the pot of now chicken broth in the fridge.

Once the carcass has cooled, remove any remaining meat with your fingers.  Discard the bones, skin, and other not-so-tasty bits.

When the chicken broth has cooled, the fat will form a solid layer on the top of the liquid.  Remove this solid mass of fat.

Because it is gross.

Finally, combine the chicken broth, the meat from the chicken carcass, plus any extra if desired, and the rice.  Heat over medium heat until all ingredients are good and hot.

Enjoy on the couch under a blanket.  Or some bacon. 😉

Just Some Extra Business

Hello there readers. Today is Friday, or Thursday, as I like to call it around here.
Beard works on Saturdays, so Fridays hardly make me want to say TGIF.
Anyway, I don’t have much new to blog about today, though I would like to post you my 15 minutes worth of decluttering in the spare bedroom:
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I decided to attack that bookshelf because it is terrifying. There isn’t much to donate or throw away on there, so I knew it would simply be a project of reorganization and straightening. I got the bottom three shelves done. 🙂
I do have to confess that there definitely are some things shoved (neatly, of course) in the closet and in the shed that will need to be donated or trashed. Some of these things I cannot declutter without Beard, because, as he likes to say, without his supervision I would throw away everything we own that isn’t clothes, food, or kitchen tools. 🙂

Speaking of kitchen, here is my food waste to report:
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First, I should apologize for even having eggnog past Christmas. Beard is an avid lover of the stuff, and I only buy it once a year; I’m surprised there was any left. I had made pumpkin spice muffins with a cup of it, and I still had to toss about half a cup of the stuff. Eww.
The small container has cream from the top of our non-homogenized milk. Our grocery store sells local milk from an organic farm (in awesome glass bottles, might I add), and if they run out of homogenized whole milk I go for the non-homo. And inevitably end up wasting the cream.
There is a small bag of baby carrots there, and I am not sure when they are from, so into the trash they go. One of the bigger ziplock bags has a turkey carcass from Christmas Eve. The meat was picked off of it, and I had big intentions of making turkey soup. Not any more. Finally, the last big ziplock has one lonely slice of ham, also from Christmas Eve.
Phew! That was a lot of waste, but I sure am glad it is out of my fridge.

Simply Being Mum

Oh, and just for fun, here is my blogging buddy today:
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Squish didn’t want to nap, so she hung out with me.