Sunday, October 30, 2011

The GREAT Pumpkin Pie Debate!

Hello Everyone!  I've decided to write a different post today about pumpkins.   I grew some sugar pumpkins in our garden this summer.    So, I thought it would be fun to make homemade pumpkin pie with pumpkins from our garden.

It was fairly easy to make.  To make, preheat your oven to about 425 and then, cut the stems off.  Then, halve the pumpkins and scoop out the seeds and the stringy flesh.   Then, place pumpkins on a rimmed cookie sheet and add about 1 to 2 cups of water to the pan.  Bake for about 60 to 90 minutes until tender.  Finally, I would let the pumpkins cool a bit before you scoop out the pumpkin.  You don't use the skin just the inside part.  Sadly, I did not take picutres of this part.  Anyways, scoop out the flesh into a food processor and process for about 2 to 3 minutes until smooth.   The hard part was straining the pumpkin puree.  I just put the pumpkin in colander lined with paper towels over a bowl.  I strained about 4 cups of water out of the pumpkin puree in about 1 hour.  It is important that you do this otherwise your pumpkin will be too watery.   Viola, you have homemade pumpkin puree.  

After making my pumpkin puree I thought it tasted really bitter and wasn't sure if I did this correctly.  I was about to throw my efforts away.   But then, I opened a can of canned pumpkin and decided that they both tasted about the same.  So, then, I decided why not bake two pies.  One using fresh pumpkin and the other using canned pumpkin so, we can debate on which one was the better pie.   Here's a picture of the pumpkin puree. 

See how much lighter the fresh pumpkin puree looks compared to the canned version.  I did check the can and there is nothing added just 100% pumpkin so they must use different pumpkins especially one with more orange in it. 

My goal is always to make things from scratch including pie crust.   I don't know what it is about store bought crust but it just has a funny taste to me.  Here are my ingredients for my pie dough and yes, I use vodka in my pie dough.

After making the pie dough and putting it in the refrigerator for 45 minutes, I made the pie filling.  I used one of my trusted Martha Stewart recipes.  She uses heavy cream (not that evaporated milk stuff) and honey and brown sugar in her pumpkin pie filling recipe.   It is my favorite pumpkin recipe.  Here's the pie filling after I mixed in all the ingredients:

As you can still see the blue bowl is obviously made with the fresh pumpkin as it is still lighter than the canned variety used in the green bowl.  

So, you'll have to wait and see what the verdict is!  Who will win the canned or fresh pumpkin?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Updated post about last week and start of next week's menu planning

Here's what I ended up planning for the rest of the week:

Meal #4:  Leftovers and/or my frozen fish stash from Costco.  I have salmon, shrimp, tilapia, beer batter hailbut in the freezer for a quick meal.

Meal #5: Quick Chicken tacos... this is a really easy meal.  I just take strips of cut chicken breast (raw) and sprinkle with the desired amount of taco season and pan fry in a non stick pan sprayed with oil.  Once cooked I add about half cup of water to meat and cook until the water is reduced.   We eat this as tacos or sometimes I make nachos with it. 

Meal #6: Pizza night is usually on Friday night.  We had caesar salad and homemade pizza.

Meal #7:  I made Roasted Red Bell Pepper soup with (red bell peppers from our garden) and I also made Cheeseburger Sliders from The Pioneer Woman on Hawaiian Sweet bread and also served carrots with hummus.

I also made Slow-Cooker Pumpkin Oatmeal from Weight Watchers  but I used sweet potato instead of pumpkin.  I also made Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins from Frugal Girl where I used mini chocolate chips instead of regular sized chips and I used only 1/4 oil and then, used 3/4 cup yogurt.

It was nice as we didn't eat out once this week.  All of our meals were made at home.


Meal #1:  Swedish Meatballs from Cooking Light Magazine with egg noodles and roasted zucchini

Still working on the rest of the week.