Archive | October 2015

HOW TO PROCESS PUMPKIN

In my experience, most people know how to “process” a pumpkin by cutting a lid in the top, scooping out the insides, carving it and setting it on their  porches with some sort of light in it….but wait!

There is another, better way to process this wonderful cultivar of the squash plant:
First, there are many kinds of pumpkins.  I grow sugar babies, which are small in size with fine-grained, sweet fruit.

Baby-Pam-Sugar-Pie-Pumpkin

If you buy one at your local market or produce stand, look for one that isn’t too big.  In this case, smaller is better.

To tell if a pumpkin is ripe, check three things:
1.  The shell is hard.  Winter squashes, which includes pumpkin, harden on the outside as they ripen.
2.  Note the color.  A ripe pumpkin should be deep yellow or orange with no green on it.
3.  The stem should be dry and break off easily.  Okay, vendors might not like you breaking stems off, so save that one until you are sure you want to buy a particular pumpkin.

If you don’t like the looks of any of the pumpkins and you still want a really fresh pie or goody, go for the acorn squash:  It’s a fabulous substitute, which can be cooked in the same way.

Now that you are home with your acquisition, wash the outside thoroughly.
Then, cut the pumpkin in half.  Be careful:  They’re tough little buggers; don’t cut yourself.
Scoop out the seeds and the stringy stuff in the middle.  If you want, save the seeds.  They can be roasted for a healthy snack.

how-to-cook-a-pumpkin_1
Now you are ready to cook your pumpkin.  There are three good ways to do this.  My favorite is to turn them upside down in the crockpot.  Cook the halves on high for 2-3 hours, or until they are tender.
If you prefer, you can cut the pumpkin into fourths, put a little water in the bottom of a large stockpot and boil them until they’re tender.  This takes less time.
OR
You can put them upside down on a cookie sheet and bake them at 350 for about an hour.  I’ve done this and it works well.
Okay, there’s one more way, but I don’t like it:  Cook them in the microwave.
Regardless of how you cook your pumpkin, let it cool thoroughly.

photo4       pumpkin_8

Next, peel it and put the pumpkin in a blender.  You might need to add about 1/2 cup water to get a nice consistency.
Blend until the pumpkin is completely pureed and smooth.

Now you can either make your favorite recipe or freeze the pumpkin.  I measure 2 cups into a freezer bag, flatten it as I seal, so that I can stack the bags; then into the freezer it goes.

When you thaw pumpkin, set it in the refrigerator.  I find that it separates and gets a real weird texture if thawed too quickly.

There you have it.

Next time, I’ll tell you how to roast the seeds.  Meanwhile, clean all the stringy stuff off, rinse them and lay them out on a paper towel or plastic lid to dry.  Once all of the moisture is off the outside, put them in a container or bag in the fridge.

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PUMPKIN CAKE

I often create recipes, mostly because I can’t find things made the way I like them.
This week, it’s pumpkin cake.
My goal was to have something healthy that tastes good.
So, here it is:

List #1
2 cups pumpkin (I grow and process my own.)
1 cup yogurt  (Plain or honey works well; fruit yogurt wouldn’t be too bad.)
1/2 cup water
2 eggs

List #2
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup honey (I get raw honey from a local natural foods store)
1/4 cup molasses (also purchased where I know the quality is good.)

List #3
2/3 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour (I made my own by putting oatmeal in a grinder.)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt

Oven:  350 degrees

Directions
1.  Put list #1 in the food processor.  Blend it until all of the pumpkin is pureed and everything is well combined.
2.  Put list #2 in a saucepan over low heat.  Warm and stir them until everything is combined.  Take the pan off the heat, but don’t let it sit long enough to cool.
3.  Put list #3 in a mixing bowl.  Stir with a fork
4.  Ad list #1 to list #2.  Stir until all ingredients are well incorporated.  This will cool the oils and sugars, but they’ll be blended by then.
5.  Add all of that to the dry ingredients.  Mix well.
6.  Pour into a lightly greased cake pan. (I used my 9x9in one.)
7.  Bake for 40 minutes or until done.
8.  Set on a rack to cool.

I decided this needed a little something on it, so I made…
Walnut-crunch Topping

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp butter
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup nuts of your choice (I used walnuts this time, but think cashews would be good.)

Directions:
Melt the coconut oil and butter together in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add the brown sugar, stirring constantly.
When the sugar is almost completely melted, add the nuts.
Stir until nuts are thoroughly coated.
Sprinkle on the top of the cake; let cool and set.

I took my cake over to some friends’ house.  WE put some vanilla yogurt on it.  That was good.  A little pour cream would also work…or just

eat it as it is.

I am thinking this would be good as a gluten free recipe, with coconut flour and maybe oat flour.  I haven’t done enough gluten free cooking to know what I’m doing, so I welcome any ideas.
Try, enjoy; share variations and improvements.

SIMPLY BREATHE

I am often intrigued and delighted by the simple things we can do to feel better and live well.  None  of them have anything to do with prescriptions or OTC’s; every last one is immediately available and easy to do.

 

Walking or some other form of moderate exercise is one example.  Numerous studies show that one half hour of moderate physical activity will cure depression and prevent relapse as effectively as antidepressants.

 

Another study I once read indicated that five minutes of moderate exercise lowers the frequency and intensity of migraines.  Similar research found that people with Fibromyalgia experience significant improvement in their quality of sleep and how they feel with five to fifteen minutes of moderate activity.

 

There are all sorts of foods and herbs that have incredible properties of healing and pain relief, too numerous to list here.  I do have a couple of favorites:  Ginger relieves nausea and stomach pain.  It is safe enough to give to infants and nursing mothers.  Garlic is an all-round good antimicrobial.  I know people who eat a raw clove of this power-gem every day as a preventative measure.

 

Now for one of my absolute favorites:

There is a wonderful tool that each of us has at his or her disposal, anywhere, anytime.

 

It will stop an anxiety attack, reduce pain, lower blood pressure help to induce sleep and increase energy.

 

It’s true!  Simply breathing will do all of these and more.
Here’s how it works:
Breathe in through your nose;
Then exhale through your mouth.

Repeat this process, taking slower and deeper breaths each time, until you get the desired results.

 

“Yeah, sure,” you say.

My clients used to have the same reaction, until I guided them through the process and their pain or panic attack went away.

 

So simple and available; absolutely powerful…with no negative side effects.

 

Try it; then come back and share the results with us.

International friendship blogging forum

Good idea, Ngobesing Romanus, This could be a lot of fun and very powerful.

Success Inspirers World

Hello! Do you like to belong to an International Friendship Blogging Forum?

It is true that we who belong to this blogging community are friends but some of us are closer to each other than others. We meet and chat more often and really feel bonded together. It is normal. Even in one family some brothers or sisters feel closer to to each other than to others.

I really like to identify those who like to be special friends in the blogging community regardless of country who like that we come together and work as a team. I think we can do many things together if we agree to work as a team and be each other’s keeper.

We shall all work out how to do things together in a way that we all benefit and the world benefits too. I trust the great minds that I find here in…

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SWEET EXPRESSIONS

Flower-Bouquet

I remembered to send you flowers,
With colors bright and bold;
A touch of cheer and splendor,
To express feelings untold.

 

Whispers and sweet expressions of life
That call us deeper still,
Until we know the secrets
Hidden in heart, mind and will.

 

Such precious gifts of inspiration
To kindle fresh desire;
To awaken dreams and promise;
To intensify hope’s fire.

 

Red can be the color for passion;
Yellow for joyful days;
Pink and orange will cheer the heart;
Purple for courage always.