This week has been a fresh reminder of why I love this time of year. Growing up, it would be leaves turning color, maybe a few snow showers and crisp air.
Well, living in Arizona, that is not the case. Instead, I have to add my own colored leaves outside (plastic), no way is there EVER a chance of snow in the Valley of the Sun in October (the Sun Devils-GO ASU! will only host night games until the very end of October and it is not because of the temperatures being too cold--try too hot) and the air is still not crisp.
So then why do I like it?
Pumpkins and Spiced Apple Cider are available in stores again!
Growing up my Mom would always have hot apple cider for us, especially after trick-or-treating. But it was not just the apple cider that you pour from the jug. She would take half orange juice and half apple cider pour it in the crock pot and put it on low with a few cinnamon sticks in it. This would simmer all afternoon and would smell so wonderful.
The other thing is pumpkins! Last year I discovered the love of pumpkin puree! My dear hubby told me that they had some pumpkins at their store, so we went down and picked up two bowling ball sized pumpkins. NOT TO CARVE, But to make pumpkin puree. Which I did and it made 18 CUPS!!!! Then I get to make all sorts of yummy pumpkin foods, along with seeds, for the next year. I have found two family favorites.
The first is for pumpkin bread. I found a favorite recipe here. Yes, it makes THREE loaves, but why not share it with others. It is great for the neighbors and any mom group you may be part of. I have made it in the little bread pans as gifts also. I think the key is to make FRESH puree.
To make fresh puree is super easy. Preheat oven to 400. Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds (save the seeds for my next favorite). Place pumpkins in a baking dish that is large enough to fit it and put enough water in the bottom to cover about 1/2 inch of the bottom edge. Cook until it is soft. Then let it cool til you can handle it and scoop out the flesh. Place in blender or food processor and continue to chop it til it is smooth. I then get sandwich size Ziploc and divide the puree up into 1 cup portions and freeze.
Now the seeds! I again found it on allrecipes.com but have totally modified it. They are called Cinnasweet Pumpkin Seeds. However, like I said, I have modified it. First, if you do not have a stone that you cook these on, TURN YOUR OVEN DOWN TO 275! Next, change the margarine to butter and cut it in half! Finally, I added some curry and some cayenne to my mixture. I love the sweet, salty and the after bit that the curry and cayenne give it. I also do not follow the proper measurements for the spices (sugars yes, but cinnamon NO)! So I also recommend doing the spices to taste.
Yes, we are still pushing the 90's in the afternoon, but we are able to open the house up in the evenings! Yes, we did get to see the AWESOME AND AMAZING Harvest Moon, but it we are still playing in the water. Even if we don't get the rest of the countries beauties and fells of fall, at least we can have the taste of fall.