Today's pumpkin projects are dedicated to one of the sweetest ladies I have ever know - Sherry R. She has been such a kind lady and a huge inspiration to me over the past few years that I have known her - she has a bubbling personality that she freely extends to everyone with whom she comes in contact. She will make you feel like you are one of the the greatest, most talented people in the world. She will immediately become one of your friends and when you call her with a quick question, she will answer your question and then talk to you for another hour about anything else that comes to mind, and you won't even realize that an hour has flown by. Your heart will break when you find out she has been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that has metastacized into her bones. You will pray for her recovery and hope for the best. And she is so incredible she will fight hard against the cancer and she will still plant a garden. And in the fall, when she has fought hard and is still fighting, she will give you one of the fruits of her labors and you will name it the Miracle Pumpkin. And you will keep it where you can see it clearly everyday and try to figure out a way to have it bronzed, so that you can always be reminded of this wonderful story and this incredible lady.
Thank You Sister R - you are an inspiration.
Now, on to a few pumpkin projects to keep you busy!
1. Dinner in a Pumpkin - or - Monster Mash (we renamed it after looking at it)
My friend Amber posted this on her blog and it sounded GREAT! And since I was so eager to give it a try, I used what I had on hand and not exactly what her recipe called for and it still turned out just fine.
I used some leftover ground beef and black beans, 2 cups of cooked whole grain rice, some chopped onion and red pepper, a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of corn. After scooping out all the insides parts, I put in the mash and then put it in the oven just like Amber described.
The aroma in the house of the cooking pumpkin was actually quite nice - and when it came time to eat, it had a gorgeous dark orange color to it. We ate the mash as well as the inside of the pumpkin - it was a fun dinner. I think I'll try it Amber's way next time - not sure if I really liked the red pepper on the pumpkin - this is one we will have fun with each year. Thanks Amber!
2. Then I got a little ambitious and tried these:
Pumpkin Pretzel Sticks
Why some pictures post sideways, I'll never know! Anyhow, these treats looked quite tasty and I haven't really delved into the whole candy thing - so why not now?
I melted some white chocolate and used Wilton food coloring to make a little bit green and the rest orange. Then I generously coated the mold using a paintbrush. I did the green first, put it in the freezer for a minute or two, then added the orange. Put that in the freezer for a few more minutes and then it was time to fill them.
I melted some chocolate and put it in a parchment bag with a big, round decorating tip and and put a big stripe in each mold, then I put in the pretzel stick and rolled it around, then I filled in the gaps with a little more chocolate. I let them cool in the fridge for a while and ended up with:
The colors ar ea little crazy - I apologize - but that is my first candy attempt - I have a lot to learn, but it was definitely fun and quite tasty! Next time I'll try to figure out how to coat the pretzel with caramel or peanut butter before putting it in the chocolate mold. I suggest buying at least two molds (they should go on sale soon so you can pick a up few for next year) so that you can make more than 6 at a time!
3. And Finally - Paper Pumpkin Ornaments
I saw something like this on Martha Stewart and made it my own.
I started with:
I punched pin size holes in the ends of each paper strip, put them together in one stack and stuck an orange brad in one end and a brown brad, through the green "flower", then the paper on the other side.
Then I pulled the strips apart from each other (carefully) and
ended up with something like this (I glued on a little twig to the top for fun)
Now, tie a little string on the stem and hang them in the front window.