Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Carving and Fall Feast

We did our pumpkin patch visit and carving party last night! Drove down to Auburn to pick pumpkins at Mosby Farms. They were a pretty good patch; not super busy (like the Spooner Farms in Orting that held us up in traffic for 20 minutes and made us late to Laura and Mike's wedding the day before), nice variety of carving pumpkins, ghost pumpkins, sugar pumpkins (going to try my hand at pies this year!), and lots of other gourds. I bought an assortment to take home and try.

For dinner, I wanted to make a very fall harvest-focused meal. So, main course was a 5 lb chuck roast from Bill the Butcher. I love them because 1) how cool is it to buy meat from an actual butcher shop? 2) they only sell natural meat. No hormones, antibiotics, or GMO's. I know it's high quality. 3) They source locally. 4) They have a huge variety! Beef, pork, chicken, duck, turkey, bacon, sausage, roast, loin, steaks, burgers, stir fry, jerky...5) plus it's really inviting inside. 6) They know their stuff.

Threw that in the crock pot with potatoes and carrots (had to cut it in half first because it was so big!) and added a can of root beer, water covering most of the fixings, and this amazing herb mix meant for Beer Can Chicken put out by Weber, a little Liquid Smoke, and salt and pepper. I cooked it on high because I was afraid it wouldn't cook in time, and ended up overcooking it. Oh well. Good with all the au jus.

Next, I cut an acorn squash in half and roasted it, flesh-up, for 30 minutes. Took that out, added a pad of butter to each half and a bunch of brown sugar, taking care to scar the flesh to allow the butter to soak in. This turned out pretty tasty for never having eaten it before! I took a chance with roasting the seeds in the acorn squash in the same pan as the squash itself, for the same amount of time. Just seasoned with cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, and a little bit of olive oil. They were delicious! And not as chewy as pumpkin seeds. I recommend this instead of throwing them away!

I wanted to make butternut squash latkes. Sandy was over and kindly took charge of this experiment. The frying method was not so successful, but the results of baking them were pretty good. Definitely required some sort of dipping sauce (yogurt sauce was recommended but I didn't remember to buy any ingredients; ranch worked nicely as a substitute). These were made per a recipe, with the gratings of a whole butternut squach, one and a half minced onions, 3 eggs, and seasoning to taste. When it was apparent that I had no way to remove the high moisture content (probably part of the issue with frying), I added about a cup of coconut flour (was trying to keep this gluten-free for one of the dinner attendees). That pretty much did the trick to at least keep them from falling apart in the oven (still not enough for frying though).

I also made baked apples by cutting out the cores of 4 apples, filling the cores with cinnamon, brown and cane sugar, then baking in an 8x8 pan for 30-40 minutes with a cup of water in the bottom of the pan. Turned out quite tasty (and a good gluten-free dessert option). Those of us who could eat wheat also had ghiradelli box brownies to enjoy.

Friends brought a spinach/goat cheese/apple/almond salad (yummy!) with homemade vinaigrette, and we topped it all off with sweet white wine, hard cider, and Martinelli's.

Now we have 6 pumpkins-worth of seeds to roast tonight :) It was great to pick pumpkins with friends and watch episodes of Are You Afraid Of The Dark? and Hocus Pocus with them while we carved and ate. After they all left, we also watched Children of the Corn. I'd never seen it; it wasn't that scary!

Happy Halloween and Fall Festivus!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Well, blog, it's been about 7 months...

I'm sorry I neglected this blog for so long. I guess blogging and I had a falling out. However, I am back at the keyboard and co-authoring a new blog, No Goddamn Dancing, a blog focusing on local music. It has been a fun adventure. We are about ready to break 1,000 pageviews! We just had our first stranger (note: not a friend or family member) comment on a blog post! The best part is that I get to write it with my handsome, talented boyfriend. It's really nice to have something that we can work on together. He's really the major driving force of NGD, and I'm really proud of what we've been able to put out together. Plus, hello, we go to concerts all the time. Fun!

In other news:
* I'm doing STP again in 2013, but this time around I am also volunteering as an Associate Ride Leader during the Training Series. We had out first ride last week, and I'm happy to say that I am not totally out of shape. Woohoo! I also have a college friend doing it with me this year, so yay for having a buddy. About 8 of my friends from training last year are joining me for Chilly Hilly this year, which is THIS sunday. Wowie!

* Going to Oahu, HI at the end of March with Tyler, his brother and bro's gf. Really looking forward to a week in paradise, and I think it will be really fun to travel with them all.

* My brother got engaged this past fall. They've set the date for October 3, 2014. Looking forward to having a sister-in-law!

* Bought tickets to see Postal Service in Portland in July. Stoked!

* Going to volunteer with the Moisture Festival this year. Birthday plans are starting to formulate. I expect Moisture Festival will be part of them.

* Doing a lot with the charity Water For People. So far I have been involved in two major fundraisers, one of which I am working on my 4th one. I am now on the King County chapter board for the American Waterworks Association and working on several Water For People committees, and will be taking on some duties with the Young Professionals committee.

* Thinking about doing a road trip across the south in the fall...

Will try hard to post in here more often. But check out NGD (we're on twitter and facebook, too! twitter: @ngdseattle) if you miss hearing from me :)