Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013 and Forward

2013 has been a year of "hurry up and wait" followed by whirl wind changes.

After four years in a rented duplex in the historic Hudson's Bay neighborhood of Vancouver USA we moved house and garden to a 10th acre in a quiet neighborhood a bit to the north. Less train, airport and freeway noise.

Thanksgiving day we awoke to raccoon damage to our roof. Our amazing friends were there in a flash to patch the hole. We are incredibly blessed to have wonderful, skilled and generous friends.

We survived the yearly "Winter Holiday Music Party" (recital) with 65 people in attendance. They ate all the Spelt Snicker Doodles and Pumpkin Oatmeal cookies, played and sang beautifully and had a good time. Now I have to plan for the spring 2014 event.

My husband, Eric Tworivers is working at the Oregon Soap Company. Eric is truly a renaissance man. Master photographer, professional multi instrumental musician, singer/songwriter, and master food preserver, now learning about and creating an array of wonderful, organic products. He really makes my heart sing and is my reason for waking up every morning.

We were bitten by someone in our lives who is less than truthful and does not have our best interests at heart but we are heading into the New Year with hope.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. Have a very Happy and Productive New Year!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Free at the time of posting

This kindle book is free at the time of posting. Be certain that you check the price before you click as it does change, sometimes without warning.

Part of seasonal living is preserving the best of your harvest. This is a very handy book to help you get started.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Knitting today

What are you knitting today?
I'm working to complete Christmas projects and a couple of "just because" things like this adorable Torti Cat. Just right for little hands, the kittie can be made of scrap yarn from other projects. I found the pattern and complete instructions at I just realized I still have to make their tails!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Story of a Pumpkin

In September we bought this lovely TurksTurban Pumpkin at Bi-Zi Farms outside Vancouver, WA. My husband, Master Food Preserver Eric Tworivers taught an "Intro To Food Preservation" class that morning and we had time to shop and enjoy the farm store afterwards.  

I had planned to roast it and save the seeds to plant next season but almost immediately we found that life had other plans for us.

Shortly after the purchase we received news that we would have to leave our home and garden of five years. Imagine our surprise to find ourselves in what is so close to our dream home less than 2 months later.  

The pumpkin survived the short journey and change of scene and now is back on schedule just before the November Thanksgiving holiday.

At 2 ½ pounds this is not a big pumpkin but I have read that smaller pumpkins are sweeter. It is destined to become a sweet, savory “Pumpkin Soup with Sage and Bacon” or Pumpkin pie. 

What is it about pumpkins? They can take over our summer gardens with their verdant vines and symbolize the abundance of fall. Where do they come from? How many kinds are there? What are they all good for?

The origin of the pumpkin.
Pumpkins, from the genus Curcurbita are native to North America. The name, Pumpkin, is from the Greek “pepon” meaning large melon.

There are many kinds of Pumpkins some of which are:

American Tonda
Amish Pie
Baby Bear
Baby Boo
Baby Pam Sugar Pie
Big Rock
Big Max
Cotton Candy
Cushaw Green
Cushaw Gold
Full Moon
Halloweeen in Paris
Howden Biggie
Iron Man
La Estrella
Lil' Pumpkemon
Long Island Cheese
Marina de Chioggia
Musque de Provence
New England Pie
Old Zebs
One Too Many
Orange Smoothie
Queensland Blue
Red Warty Thing
Rock Star
Rouge Vif D'Etampes
Snack Jack
Turks Turban

The Turks Turban Pumpkin is thought to be one of the oldest pumpkin variety's available. It's light colored, orange flesh, is dense, slightly dry, with a mild, rich flavor that lends itself to many different uses. Ours became a rich, creamy custard pie. The main comment was “it really tastes like pumpkin” which I took to mean it was good. Our basic recipe:

Fresh Pumpkin Pie

1 medium pie pumpkin - 2 cups for pie, reserve the rest in the freezer
Pastry for single-crust pie
2 large eggs
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh, finely chopped ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 can sweetened, condensed milk  

 In large bowl mash pumpkin.  Add eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and nutmeg; beat until smooth. Gradually beat in milk. Pour into crust.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees; bake 40-45 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

How long will a pumpkin last?
Kept in a cool (55 degrees F), dry place and out of sunlight a pumpkin might last for 8 – 12 weeks

Save Your Seeds
If it was a good, flavourful pumpkin you might want to try growing them yourself. After careful cleaning, I laid the seeds to dry in hopes of more pumpkin goodness for next year. Putting them on waxed paper at first keeps them from sticking to things. Then I transferred them to paper towel and put to rest in our chilly garage for 30 days after which we will sort out any moldy bits and store the rest.

I must confess, I didn't toast any of the Turks Turban seeds because we saved them all for next year. Toasted Pumpkin seeds are a healthy, crunchy treat either plain, or sweet or savory.

Enjoy the diverse, tasty and healthy world of pumpkins in breads, puddings, cakes, soup and so much more.

What are your favorite ways to prepare pumpkin or winter squash?