Uses for Pumpkin

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We spent the energy carting our little ones to the pumpkin patch (no matter how far), picking the perfect pumpkin, carving it and then displaying it. But then what? Seems like such a waste to discard it after all that effort.

As you know from my previous post, I’m a big fan of pumpkin recipes, so I say use up that pumpkin. There are so many nutritious and delicious recipes that can be made with leftover pumpkins.

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The most obvious use of your pumpkin is roasting the seeds. Its so simple and highly nutritious.

Once you have opened the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and rinse under cold water (removing all pumpkin strings). Then place in a large pot, add water and salt and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for approx 10 minutes.

Next take your drained pumpkin seeds and toss in a bowl with seasoning of choice. I prefer mine spicy so I coat with olive oil and add cayenne, chili powder, salt and pepper.

Place seeds on a greased baking dish and place in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees. Bake for approx 10 minutes, or until puffed.

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Another great idea for using your pumpkins is making your own pumpkin puree. Now I don’t suggest doing so on pumpkins you carved or large Jack O’ Lanterns, but small sugar pie pumpkins are perfect for making puree.

The quickest way to make puree is by cutting open the pumpkin, cutting into chunks (discarding the stringy pieces), peeling and placing in a large pot with enough water to cover. You then bring to a boil and cook until pumpkin is tender.

Once the pumpkin has cooled, blend or mash until smooth. You can then use for any recipe calling for pumpkin puree. The puree can also be stored in the freezer for up to six months (but I’m sure you’ll find a use for it before then, think Thanksgiving…).

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Lastly, you can make pumpkin flour (once again I advise using the smaller sugar pie pumpkins). Just remove the seeds and strings again, slice the pumpkin into chunks and peel. Then set out to dry. Once fully dried (may take more than 24 hours), process the slices in a food processor until you have a flour-like texture. Store in an air-tight jar and use for any recipe that calls for flour (muffins, homemade pancakes and breads are all great with pumpkin flour).

If this all seems like to much hassle, then simply bury it in your garden. Pumpkins make great fertilizer. Happy Pumpkin Making!



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“A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Berlin: Another failed attempt at the pumpkin patch. This attempt started off all well and good, until she fell face first onto the dirt. On the bright side, I caught this image mid-fall.

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity.

 

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Pumpkin Patch

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Sadly it was difficult to get any good photos of Berlin, not only does she dart around at lightening speed, but within the last couple of weeks, she has suddenly grown fearful of all things “unfamiliar,” Halloween decor being one of them. I have never seen as scared as I did when we walked into the party store with all the Halloween paraphernalia, she nearly lost her mind in crippling fear. So needless to say, Halloween trick or treating is going to be interesting-if it happens at all.




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“A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Berlin: The best part of the pumpkin patch was throwing hay in her hair. Beyond that, Berlin found everything to be “scary.” We are going through an intense phase at the moment…

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity.


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“A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Berlin: For the most part she hates when I take photos of her, but just sometimes she will comply, and this is the result.

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity.


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Vegan Pumpkin Banana Pancakes

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Fall is my favorite time of year for so many reasons; I love the weather (especially in San Francisco when we finally get some heat), I love the change of the seasonal colors, and I love that its my birthday season. But more importantly I love the  autumn vegetables that come with this time of year; squash, brussels sprouts, yam and pumpkins. I could sustain on these vegetables alone, especially pumpkin. There are so many mouth-watering and nutritious meals that can be made with pumpkin, everything from sweet to savory, the possibilities are endless. For children, preparing recipes with pumpkin is ideal, it gives the food an added sweetness (and we all know they love that!) and it provides them with a wealth of nutrients including, Vitamins A, C and E, while being rich in dietary fiber. How can you go wrong, really?

As you know from previous posts, I frequently make large batches of waffles and pancakes and freeze them for own-the-go breakfast meals and snacks. I make them so often, that I’m continually trying to mix up the recipes so Berlin doesn’t get bored, each time sneaking in various vegetables that she otherwise wouldn’t eat. For this pancake recipe I knew I wanted to add pumpkin (tis the season) and wanted it to be vegan, hence why it evolved into a pumpkin banana recipe. Bananas are a great alternative to eggs when baking, and most kids love bananas, so its a perfect choice. However if you are not vegan and don’t care for banana, then you can just use one egg instead.

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Vegan Pumpkin Banana Pancakes

3/4 whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons ground flax
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger & nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
3/4 cup organic pumpkin puree
1 ripe banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl (flours, baking powder, and spices).

Then blend wet ingredients in another bowl. Its best to mash the banana a bit, then blend with a hand blender for best results.

Next combine the wet and dry ingredients together, getting out all the lumps (feel free to add more milk if needed).

Next spoon batter onto a lightly greased, pre-heated pan, and cook for approx five minutes each. Then serve with toppings of choice.

I have found that the more banana in the batter, the longer it takes to cook through , so it may take longer than five minutes.

Remember these are perfect for freezing, so if you like to have a bunch on-hand I would suggest doubling the recipe. Enjoy.

 


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Twenty-Six Months

Growing / Her feet seem to grow the quickest of her little body. I swear she outgrows her shoes monthly. Her waist is still teeny tiny, but now she has a little pudgy belly. She has the longest fingers I ever did see on a child, and her fingernails grow like weeds.

Eating / She is a real tyrant in the food department lately. All things she once enjoyed (or shall I say, all healthy things) she no longer likes. I feel like a short order cook, constantly trying to find something that will please her. She is obsessed with yogurt packs (which I’ve recently banned) and is back to drinking kefir at bedtime. She insists on always having the whole piece of anything, for instance, she must have an entire Cliff bar (and out of the wrapper). If I dare break off a piece and hand it to her, she has a meltdown, same with leaving it half wrapped in the wrapper.

Speaking / Her speech never ceases to amaze me. She literally pops up from bed when she wakes and starts telling me stories, either about what she did the day before or what she would like to do that day. She enjoys telling me what she “likes” and what she “loves.” “I like this song mama,” or “I love bunny.”

Learning / She is working on walking up and down stairs. She can do so if there is a handle to hold onto, if not she will resort to crawling instead. She is learning to put on her shoes and take on and off her pants. She has become very good at putting away her own clothes and shoes (sometimes not in the right bins, but close), and she is learning to put away her toys (this skill however, is less desirable to her).

Mastering / She has mastered getting into the pantry and retrieving her own food. She knows where we keep all the goodies and helps herself to a treat (mostly crackers or raisins ). She is sadly mastering the art of tantrums. She is definitely evolving into her terrible two’s and has sudden meltdowns over the slightest things (I believe the behavior is mostly due to extreme tiredness though, the girl won’t nap!).

Loving / She is in love with her blankie, it used to be a plush owl blankie and now its a pink monkey blankie. When she asks for her blankie, paci and bunny, we know its time for bed. She thoroughly loves shutting all the doors in the house and turning on all the lamps.

Loathing / She is terribly afraid of the dark suddenly, she now sleeps with a nightlight that stays on throughout the night and a turtle that illuminates stars on the ceiling. She also requests the hall light to be on and the door left open when she goes to sleep at night. She is still loathing nap time. I put her down every afternoon, and at best, she sleeps 2-3 times each week.

Laughing / Rough housing really gets her going, she loves being thrown on the bed or up in the air, or playing horse on Far’s back. She also finds it quite funny when Ryan and I kiss. She giggles each time we lay one on each other, its really quite cute.

Playing / She loves singing lullabies and dancing around the room. She sings her alphabet frequently and does a mash up of all the lullabies into one (its pretty inventive I must say). She enjoys playing with Playdough and making animal shapes with cookie cutters, and playing with watercolor and paints. She loves doing toddler yoga, we have a great book entitled “Toddler Moves” that she just loves following along with.

Ok, so I missed a month, but I landed this one on her twenty-sixth birthday. That must count for something. :)


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40/52

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“A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Berlin: We have begun the process of potty training. While our attempt is to make Berlin actually go pee pee in the potty, thus far potty training has involved a lot of running around the house naked (occasionally peeing on the floor) and sitting on the potty reading.

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity.

 


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A Woodland Nursery

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Now that the kitchen remodel is behind us, its time to finally decorate the other six rooms in the house. I’ve slowly been chipping away at each room, but feeling as if one room is never fully complete.

For Berlin’s room I’m attempting to create a modern, rustic, cozy vibe. I’m obsessed with all creatures and anything furry, and my obsession is not contained to Berlin’s room. Before I know it, we are going to have a furry forest in our home!

Here is just a handful of things I’m coveting for her room at the moment,. And for those of you that are not familiar with Dot & Bo, I strongly suggest checking out their website. A mass amount of fun product, and incredibly well curated.

One- Porcelain Deer Wall Mount // Two- Multi Animal Coat Rack // Three- Fox Print Bedding // Four- Bunny Ear Alarm Clock // Five- Furry Fox Rug // Six- Faux Fur Beanbag // Seven- Bunny Mirror // Eight- Horse Storage Basket // Nine- Bear Throw Pillow // Ten- Fur Throw.




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Mini Getaway

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My dad has been visiting from Colorado for the past week and we had the pleasure of showing him around the bay. It was a wonderful excuse for us to get out of our rut and go explore the beauty that is Northern California. In all my years living in the bay area, I had yet to see the famous lighthouse at Point Reyes National Seashore. If you are ever in the bay area I highly recommend you explore this area. The drive to the lighthouse entails miles of endless scenery, with twisting, winding roads through redwood trees, farmland and views of the coastline for as far as the eye can see. Its a bit of a hike to the base of the lighthouse, with over 300 steps, but well worth the exercise. If you do make the trek, make sure to stop by Point Reyes Station for an awesome farm to table lunch and drop by the Farmers Market to stock up on the most fresh, best tasting local produce.



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