Save money and time, with make-ahead breakfasts.
hat tip: The Raising Arrows Facebook page
I finally got around to cutting up and cooking up the pumpkins I got harvested before the hard frost. Inspired by cartons full of mashed pumpkin, I decided to try making a pie (I’m not a seasoned pie maker). Gathering some old cookbooks for inspiration, and not having on hand the ingredients to make any one of the recipes as written, I winged it. Since it turned out pretty good, I’m trying to recall what I put in it. I think the filling went something like this:
1 and 1/2 cups cooked pumpkin
2/3 cup brown sugar (Some recipes call for white sugar, some for brown. I had dried up brown sugar I wanted to use up.)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (One of the recipes I was looking at called for 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, but that sounded like too much for me, so I went with a less spicy recipe.)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (Two of the recipes called for ginger in the same amount as the cinnamon, but I didn’t have ginger, and cinnamon and nutmeg go well together, and I generally use half as much nutmeg as cinnamon when I’m using both.)
1/2 teaspoon salt, I think (The recipes were all over the board on how much salt to use, ranging from 1/8 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon. I think I went with 1/2 teaspoon, as something of a compromise.)
A little over a cup of milk (I used what was on hand: 2 percent milk.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice (I think I used a tablespoon. I might have used a different amount. Didn’t use much, in any case.)
A small handful of walnut pieces, broken into quarters or smaller. (One of the recipes suggested 3/4 cup walnuts, but I went with what was left of the walnuts in a half-full jar of mixed nuts. I’m not sure I’d want a whole lot of nuts anyway. Some recipes call for pecans instead of walnuts. Some put the nuts in the filling, others put them on top after the pie is baked. I put these in the filling.)
Two eggs, slightly beaten. (I don’t have any fancy equipment. I used a fork to beat them.)
I think that was it for the filling. I made a pie crust dough, rolled it out, and put it into a ceramic pie pan, put the filling in, put the pie into an oven that had been preheated to 450, baked for somewhere between 12 and 15 minutes at that temp for the sake of the crust, then lowered the heat to 325 for the sake of the filling, and baked until it was supposed to be done, then lowered the temp again to keep cooking it until some of the excess moisture came out. I have no idea how long I cooked it. I just looked now and then through the oven door’s window at it, and when it looked done, I quit. It took a lot longer than the cookbooks predicted, is all I can tell you.
I have enough pumpkin in the freezer for six more pies. I only planted two hills of pumpkin, I got them in late, and therefore didn’t have many to harvest – but after giving some away, I still have enough for six more pies. The seed packet cost me a dollar. I didn’t use all the seed. Yay, gardening.
P.S. For the pie crust, I used a very simple recipe. Mix one cup all-purpose flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cut in 1/3 cup vegetable oil. (You can use shortening instead, if you’d like.) Sprinkle in 3 to 4 tablespoons water, tossing lightly with a fork. (When the dough holds together, stop adding water.) Roll out. It didn’t seem like enough dough for the pie pan I was using – I wound up with very thin crust. But it worked.
1. What do you do when you accidentally don’t get all the pockets emptied in a load of laundry and wind up with bits of soggy facial tissue all over everything? Seriously, what works? This week my husband and I both have the punies (as we say around here when you’re sick, but not sick enough to classify it as, say, the flu), but yesterday I felt up to doing laundry, but somehow missed a tissue. I took out the laundry piece by piece, peeling off bits of paper one by one, until I hit on the happy expedient of shaking each piece of laundry to get flakes off. It only took some of the flakes off, but that seemed good enough under the circumstances. We use a drying rack instead of a tumbler, and so I shook and hung each item, cleaned paper out of the washer, and returned the laundry, shaking it again on the way into the washer, where I washed everything a second time, with soap and everything, to get rid of the most stubborn remnants of tissue. It worked, but it was awfully labor intensive, especially for somebody with the punies.
2. It worked, but I was left with quite a lot of flaky litter on the floor of the laundry room. Having the punies, I stood there telling myself how easy it would be to grab the vacuum and vacuum it up. The vacuum seemed too heavy to even think of using (and, besides, couldn’t you gum it up vacuuming up damp tissue?), so then I told myself how easy it would be to sweep the paper into a dustpan. Bending over to use the dustpan seemed inadvisable, since I had the sort of punies that is long on digestive upsets. I left the tissue bits where they were. They didn’t stay there, of course. One of the mysteries of homemaking is how stuff can scatter easier than it can stay put.
3. Otherwise, in good news, yesterday was in the mid-60s, and so I had the windows wide open for several hours. Yay, fresh air.
4. The only election item we had around here this election was an attempted recall of the county judge. (Around here, county judges aren’t judges, but head the county court, which isn’t a court, but an administrative body.) There are legitimate reasons to issue calls for recall, but the petitioners in this case were tossing out a laundry list of complaints, all of which seemed to translate into “We don’t like the judge or his policies, either.” Well, sir, that’s the sort of thing to be handled in a regular election. It made people mad that the recall process was being used this way, and it didn’t help much when it came to light that a union was tossing money and weight around to push for the recall, apparently simply because they don’t like the judge or his policies either. The recall effort was trounced.
5. Here in Oregon, all elections are by absentee vote, if you want to put it that way. At any rate, all ballots are mailed out ahead of the election, and then you vote at your leisure, put the ballot in a secrecy envelope, put the secrecy envelope in an envelope that is marked with your name and other info about you, sign the outer envelope so that your signature can be checked, and then mail the ballot in or take it to a ballot box at a designated site. This election, I was mailed two ballots but no secrecy envelope. So I drove to the county courthouse, went to the appropriate office, and told the lady in charge that I had a glitch. When I showed her that I had two ballots and no secrecy envelope she turned a ghastly color and staggered a bit. I don’t know about you, but from where I stand, knowing that your head elections official nearly has a heart attack at the thought of one irregular ballot is rather reassuring. From the set of her jaw once she recovered enough to set her jaw, I’ll bet the place got torn apart after I was gone, in an effort to figure out how this sort of mistake could have happened.
6. This year, the insects and deer won the garden wars, and my total harvest from what I tended with tender, loving care was one string bean. However, the plum trees, which were left to fend for themselves in a part of the property that I didn’t even water very much, turned out a bumper crop of gorgeous plums. Faced with too much to eat fresh, I went looking for recipes for plum sauce. A recipe I found called for some fancy, storebought ‘color preserver’ and it also seemed somehow too complicated. Phooey, says I. If you want to keep apples from browning, you use lemon juice, and if you want to make applesauce or cranberry sauce you just simmer the fruit in water with however much sugar you want. So I cut the plums in half, took out the pits, and simmered the fruit in what amounted to light-on-lemon lemonade for a while, stirring now and then. It worked great.
7. Various and sundry mule deer spend time in our backyard, including one magnificent buck. The first time I saw this buck, I ran to get my husband to show him. But the other day, when a postal carrier was stopped in her tracks at the sight of him, and was flagging down passersby to point him out to everyone, and everyone else was reduced to awe and pointing at him, I started to shrug, and say, “Oh, yeah. He camps in our back yard a lot.” As if it was no big deal, because I was used to him? As if me being used to him had anything to do with what he is? Yikes. Francis Chan argues (in the Chapter One video) that people who are Christians for a long time can slide into this sort of attitude toward God: that since He has become familiar to us, He becomes common to us. As if how accustomed we are, changes what He is? (Not a chance of it, Chan and I agree.) (hat tip: Kelly Antonczak)
For more Quick Takes, visit this week’s host post at Conversion Diary. In one of her quick takes the hostess, Jennifer, recommends the book Four Witnesses by Rod Bennett. It looks like one I should add to my to-read list.
I like rice and beans, but I haven’t tried it Jennifer F’s way, yet (see Quick Take #7). But it sounds good. (And easy. Yay easy.)
We eat a lot of oatmeal, but I haven’t tried baked oatmeal yet. But it sounds good. And we’re having cold weather (again, or do I mean still?), so I’m happy to find an excuse to use the oven to warm up that part of the house. (hat tip: Veronica on the Verge)
I found the following recipe in the remains of a church cookbook somebody brought to our bookstore. Amongst the missing parts of the cookbook is the part that would tell me where the cookbook is from and when it was printed, but from adding clues from here and there together, it seems to be some church called St. Andrews, and it seems to be in the Portland, Oregon area, and I’d peg it from anywhere between twenty and forty years ago, at a wild guess. (It’s from when we were all taught to double space after a sentence, if that helps any…) At any rate, there is a recipe in there for Amazingly Fast Cookies, submitted by a Karen Davis, and the subtitle is “No, there isn’t any flour!” I couldn’t resist trying them, to see what cookies without flour come out like. To my surprise, if you’d handed me the cookies and had me sample some, and hadn’t told me that there wasn’t flour in them, I wouldn’t have guessed. They’re a bit too rich for me, but if you’re feeling like experimenting, or have wheat allergies, or are having a cookie attack without flour in the house, here goes: 1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy), 1 cup brown sugar, 1 egg. Cream everything together. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees about 10 minutes… Yields 30 to 40 cookies.
Added: This post has a link to a recipe for a pureed zucchini soup made with chicken stock, olive oil, and nutmeg.
Added: This (go to number 10) doesn’t sound like what I think of when I think Apple Pancake, but it sure sounds good.
In case you don’t know, it’s not all that hard to make English muffins from scratch.
One of my biggest problems is that I never seem to remember between batches how low the burner should be set. The right temperature doesn’t seem high enough to cook bread, but it is. I scorched a few muffins this week before I got my act together. You’d think I’d learn…