The Great Pumpkin

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It’s finally fall(ish) and our first pumpkin of the season went into the oven. I haven’t used gross canned pumpkin in many years. I had once figured fresh was a pain, or wouldn’t taste right or would be expensive. Not only is that just not true (one good-sized pie pumpkin can bake three-four pies) but fresh just tastes better and isn’t artificially orange. (fresh pumpkin bakes up brown, an orange pie or other baked good is a surefire canned giveaway)

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Baked Elements has instructions for making pumpkin puree from a fresh pumpkin, but I didn’t use directions since I have done it lots of times before. I just poke holes (or employ two stabby 8 year to do the job) and put the pumpkin on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake on 225 and go do other things.

This time I started in the evening and by the time it was done (a fork will pierce the skin very easily) it was bedtime so I turned the oven off and left the pumpkin to hang out in there overnight.

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The next day I cut off the stem, reached inside and scooped out most of the guts/seeds (the fun part) then cut it into quarters. Using a fork, I gently scraped off the rest of the stringy bits and seeds Those went into a colander to be cleaned later. Using a large spoon I scooped out the flesh and scraped the skins clean.

The pumpkin chunks went into a large bowl with a lid (there are about 4-5 cups) and when I am about to use the pumpkin in a recipe I will toss a cup or so into a strainer and drain any liquid off before putting it into the food processor to blend until smooth.

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I almost always roast my seeds but this time I used the Baked Elements book and made the Toasted Pumpkin Seed Brittle.

Brittle is so so so easy, and I’m happy most people would assume it was difficult: it makes great gifts when tucked into a cute tin. This recipe is salty and sweet and cinnamon-y and makes me (and all my guys) very happy.

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What side are you on? Team Canned or Team Fresh?

Piñata Cake!

I am finally making a piñata cake for my boys. I wasn’t paying attention the first time I read the recipe and didn’t realize I didn’t need special pans for it, you just bake the cakes in heat-safe bowls. Genius!!

My big littles will be home tomorrow afternoon and on Friday I promised them the cake would be ready upon their return.

The original recipe calls for white cake mix, which I’m sure you know I believe is an abomination so I borrowed a recipe from my friend, L who has already made the cake.

*L’s Easter Piñata Cake:

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The white cake was easy enough to make, it used a slightly different technique than I’m used to for most cakes, but the batter was light and fluffy and tasted yummy when I licked cleaned the spatula.

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The only thing I’m a little nervous about is baking in bowls, since I’ve never done it before. The cakes are in the oven so I guess we’ll see! I hope I can get them out cleanly, but I’ll keep you posted!!

Are you doing any baking this weekend?

EasterPalooza

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We had a great time celebrating Easter this weekend. We dyed eggs (we had 4 casualties during the boiling but…those became baked goods) and left out carrots for the Easter Bunny.

Moomers wrote a cute note for him and they went off to bed excited at what the not-at-all-creepy bunny might bring them. Baby G was too young to get it. He received some toys for his backyard sand box and thought searching for eggs was hilarious but aside from that he didn’t really understand.

The big littles were stoked to find Pokemon cards, Legos, and art supplies in their basket along with the requisite chocolate bunny and Pez dispensers. They played with their cards all day and had their Lego set built in five minutes flat.

I wasn’t left out of the fun:

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Did the Easter Bunny visit your house?