Stuffed Pumpkin

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I loved making this Stuffed Pumpkin. It was fun, it turned out nicely and it tasted good as well. Wow dont you love it when everything goes so well.The hardest part was cleaning out the pumpkin.

The 3-lb pumpkins are small and I found mine at CVS pharmacy for .99 cents each. At Safeway they were $2.99 each so check out your local CVS. I was inspired by Pinterest with this recipe and I followed it pretty much exactly and only changed a few things that I just had on hand. For the cheese I had some leftover Apricot & White Cheddar, Cranberry and Swiss. What a nice blend that was, but so would almost any cheese. I used dried thyme and about 1/8 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice just for the heck of it.

Now since I have made this once I can see how you can change this recipe up in SO many ways with a varity of ingredients. Different meats, spices, fruits etc. I am defiantly making this for Thanksgiving and just probably use the stuffing that my Dad makes. The pumpkin makes a awesome cooking vessel. It looks really cool when you take it out of the oven.Slicing it is easy if you let it cool a bit and set up. I have never eaten fresh pumpkin like that and I loved it.

I hope you enjoy this Stuffed Pumpkin as much as I did. I found that even the kids could help you with cleaning out the pumpkin and stuffing it. This pumpkin will be a hit at your Thanksgiving Dinner this year!

  • 1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2–4 garlic cloves (to taste), split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
  • About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (my addition)
  • About 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • You need to really salt the inside of the Pumpkin before you stuff it

preparation

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that’s just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so you’ll have to serve it from the pot—which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isn’t so easy. However, since I love the way the unencumbered pumpkin looks in the center of the table, I’ve always taken my chances with the baked-on-a-sheet method, and so far, I’ve been lucky.

Using a very sturdy knife—and caution—cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween Jack-o-Lantern). It’s easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.

Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper—you probably have enough salt from the bacon and cheese, but taste to be sure—and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled—you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little—you don’t want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (It’s hard to go wrong here.)

Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours—check after 90 minutes—or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.

When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully—it’s heavy, hot, and wobbly—bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you’ll bring to the table.

Serving
You have a choice—you can either spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful, or you can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up. I’m a fan of the pull-and-mix option. Served in hearty portions followed by a salad, the pumpkin is a perfect cold-weather main course; served in generous spoonfuls, it’s just right alongside the Thanksgiving turkey.

Storing
It’s really best to eat this as soon as it’s ready. However, if you’ve got leftovers, you can scoop them out of the pumpkin, mix them up, cover, and chill them; reheat them the next day.

Don’t forget to roast your pumpkin seeds :)

Banana Bites

Going light and healthy this week with these little snacks. They are easy to make, very flavorful and something the whole family will enjoy. They are moist, chewy and naturally sweet.
During the week it’s all about running out the door, no time for me at a sit down breakfast so these are easy to grab on the go.
Here is the Basic Banana Bite recipe then I’ll list add ins that I have tried that we like also.

Banana bites
Heat oven to 350
3 ripe bananas mashed
1/3 cup applesauce ( I use one of those single serving containers of applesauce so it could be a little more or a little less)
1/4 cup almond or coconut milk (could use regular milk also)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups old fashioned oats
Mix all ingredients together, it will be very moist. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. I use my mini meatball scooper to dollop out bite size morsels.

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Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Makes approx. 27 bites. I store them in a airtight container on the counter then after a couple days I move them to the refrigerator because they start getting a little soggy.

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Let bites cool for a few minutes before you move them from cookie sheet to cooling rack. They will be spongy little bites packed with flavor and nutrition. Great with coffee or tall glass of milk.

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Pack them in your kids lunch,pop a couple before heading to the gym or enjoy as a late night snack.
Chop up any other dried fruit to replace the raisins, (dried cranberries,crazins,prunes or apricots.
I have added Chia seeds for even more fiber,(a fiber rich diet aids in digestion which can support weight -loss efforts, lower blood cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes)
Try cutting down the cinnamon to 1/2 teaspoon and add 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie spice for a that time of year treat.
What’ would you add in to make it yours?

Shopping your own stuff

This is a little dark space by my coffee maker that I wanted to brighten up. So I went shopping out in my extra stuff shelves.IMG_0248-0

I have shelf’s where I keep my extra glass ware and nik-nacs, I have to much stuffIMG_0250

Shelf #2, ugggg. Love it and hate it at the same timeIMG_0249

Anyway in my search I found this picture that my Aunt Ruby had painted and TA DAIMG_0245.JPG

Tucked it back in the corner and I think it really cheered up the dead spot.IMG_0246.JPG

So my purpose of the story is to not run out and buy something, go shop your closets or garage for that something old turned to new.

Halloween Decor

I am up and running with my Halloween/Fall decor. I’m sharing it with you to help inspire you to go drag out those boxes from storage, dust off the witches and pumpkins and  bring them all to life again. I love the Halloween and Fall holidays, it brings out the “kid” in us and the warm feeling of family and the comfort of home.

This is the skeleton picture that my son drew for me last year, one of my favorite’s.IMG_0218.JPG

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Got the Candy on, the kids better hurry before Gramp’s and I eat it allIMG_0215.JPG

This spider picture was a idea from Pinterest. He is a real cutie. My son drew him for me and I colored him in with green chalk, black poster board from Hobby Lobby. Cheap, easy and one of a kind!IMG_0214.JPG

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Caught these guys trying to escape, they will be hanging around until Halloween is over or until my Mother comes over cause she gets creeped out.IMG_0225.JPG

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IMG_0227.JPGWhen Halloween is over I will pluck out the scary stuff and leave the fall thru Thanksgiving.

Happy Halloween, now go get your scary on!

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