Happy Pumpkin Day!

31 Oct

For the past week I’ve been trying to remember the last year I went trick-or-treating, but I can’t. I know that I was in high school; I’ve always looked young for my age, so I didn’t feel awkward trick-or-treating through some of the more questionable years. I’m sure that during the last year I didn’t think it was anything special, that it would just be a new costume and the same candy in twelve short months, but suddenly no one was trick-or-treating anymore. They were going to parties, and I was handing out boxes of raisins to the next generation, resentfully eyeing pillowcases full of fun size Butterfingers and tubes of mini-M&Ms.

Halloween has officially reached a minimum of importance this year. As expected, no trick-or-treaters can to my apartment. There’s no stoop to display a pumpkin. I bought a small one from the farmer’s market a few weeks ago and was debating carving it to display on my window-sill, but it would surly be smash by a certain furry vandal:

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Also, as per primal decree, no candy. I can’t guarantee that I will remain so steadfast, since I am a sucker for discounts (and those Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins). I did attempt, and fail magnificently, at creating primal truffles using coconut oil. They are edible, and very nearly delicious, but have the constancy of a freezer-burned fudgsicle.

Still, a few vestiges of this holiday remain, besides the sadistic urge to dress my cat up like a Jack-o-Lantern: the desire to watch scary movies with the lights off, and an insatiable hunger for pumpkin. I’ve espoused my love for pumpkin previously, and I will continue to do so until the last cans of Libby’s disappear from the shelves.

Canned pumpkin has previously been my go-to-squash, but I’ve been spoiled as of late by my proximity to farmer’s market and some ridiculous sales (2 lbs of hard squash for $1? Yes, please!). I’ve been keeping a steady rotation of acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squashes, but I had yet to carve into my little pumpkin, at least until today. It just looked so cute, nestled up next to the carnival squash. It was waiting for the right day, and the right recipe. Well, what better day than Halloween?

In honor of this delectable orange squash, the near soul survivor of my sinking holiday spirit, here are a crap-ton of pumpkin recipes. On a completely different note, and since I’d hate to leave my imaginary readers wondering, we had the highest bid on that house. Unfortunately, I’ve since discovered just how many unknowns need to me factored into this whole house equation. Winning the bid was just one tiny step, but a step nevertheless. Who knows, maybe I will have a stoop next year, and a yard I could transform into a zombie graveyard, and trick-or-treaters. Maybe Halloween will start feeling a bit more Halloween-y, but for now, it’s lights off and “The Devil’s Backbone.”

Primal Pumpkin Porridge

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Adapted from this recipe
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup pumpkin
1 tbsp flax meal
1 tbsp almond meal
Add ins (my current favorite is frozen cranberries, but I’ve used dried fruits, frozen blueberries, frozen bananas. They’re all delicious)
Spices (pumpkin pie spice for me!)
Sweetener to taste (I’ve used apple butter, honey, maple syrup, or brown suger. It’s also delicious without anything though, especially with bananas or frozen fruit)
Chopped nuts
Something creamy (milk, half and half, greek yogurt)

Mix first seven ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to keep it from burning. Transfer to bowl and top with nuts and cream. This super versatile (and pumpkin-ful) recipe is the only thing keeping me from devouring steel-cut oatmeal every morning, especially now that my apartment is freezing in the AM.

Primal Pumpkin Muffins

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Adapted from this recipe
4 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/3 cup honey
4 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
Muffin liners
For the topping:
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 square unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped

Mix everything except coconut flour using an electric beater. Sift the coconut flour into the mixture and mix until combined. Spoon into lined muffin tin, filling each cup halfway (the recipe made 12 small muffins using my tin). Top with the pecan/cranberry/chocolate mixture. Bake for 25 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean. These were absolutely delicious—super moist and almost custard-like in texture. I might actually put in less honey next time (and there will be a next time), and mix the topping into the batter. That way I may be slightly less inclined to grab chunks off the tops of all the muffins…

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chili

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Adapted from this recipe
1 lb ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 jalepeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 15 oz. can diced tomatos
1 cup water
1 cup pumpkin
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp chipolte Tabasco
1.5 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp coriander
2 tsp salt
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 bay leaves
Garnish (sour cream, yogurt, cheese, chives, whatevs!)

Cook turkey with onion and jalepeno. When it is cooked, add tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, Tabasco, water, and pumpkin. Mix thoroughly. Once it is boiling, add the spices and simmer until you are hungry (I think I waited like…two minutes).

Pumpkin Beef Stew…in a Pumpkin!

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Very loosely adapted from this recipe

The night before, roast some root veggies. I used:
1 sweet potato
2 carrots
2 parsnips
Peel and chop to uniform, bite size pieces. Toss with olive oil and spices (I used salt, pepper, pumpkin pie spice, and a pinch of cayenne) and roast at 400 until tender, around 40 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. Now try not to eat them all before making the stew!

A number small pumpkins, for serving.
Butter, salt, pepper, pumpkin pie spice

1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1.5 pounds of beef chunks
1 cup frozen cranberries
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 tsp rosemary
3/4 tsp marjoram
1/2-3/4 cup pumpkin
Roasted root veggies
Salt, pepper to taste

Begin my cooking the pepper, onion, and garlic in some olive oil until onion is translucent. Season the beef with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Once the meat is browned, add the frozen cranberries, broth, marjoram and rosemary. Simmer until the meat is cooked, adding more broth if it looks like it’s drying out (this is a good time to cook the pumpkin bowls if you are going that route). Then add the pumpkin to thicken the stew, roasted root veggies, and salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, cut lid off of pumpkin and clean out the innards. If you are wise, clean the seeds and set aside for roasting deliciousness. Rub the inside with butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and pumpkin pie spice. Place in baking dish and cover opening with aluminum foil. Cook at 300 for 30 minutes (it should be just starting to get tender). Remove, fill with stew, cover again and return to the oven for another 20 minutes. Remove, eat, and feel quite classy.

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3 Responses to “Happy Pumpkin Day!”

  1. BellaBallestra November 4, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    So, all 5 food distribution establishments in my town and the substantially larger neighboring one are entirely useless. The most exciting points in my search/survey were when one of the shelf stockers knew what quinoa was and when I stumbled upon some flax seeds. Not a grain of garbanzo bean or coconut flour in site. I also finally found a store that sells both tofu and morning star products though….big novelty there. When I asked one lady if she knew if the store might carry burrata (I know i know, its pretentious and uber pricey….but I wanna try it at least once!), she very happily directed me to the hispanic food section, which contained a few bags of beans and home taco kits. Note that every single one of these places offered at least a dozen different kinds of scapple. There’s apparently a Whole Foods up by Baltimore…think a 2.5 hour drive is over the top for grocery shopping?

    • achelseamorning November 4, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

      There’s no such thing as too far for delicious groceries! 😛 I’m probably not the right person to opine on the subject, since my lack of car means that every food shopping excursion takes at least 3 hours. I have definitely spent an entire day making the trip to a Whole Foods that is technically 5 miles away.

      I’m gonna be looking online pretty soon for coconut and almond flours. Cold weather + stress= me baking ALL THE TIME. If I don’t find a bargain somewhere soon I will bake myself out of potential-house and home. I will keep you posted on my flour search, but in the meantime you really ought to just move to St. Louis. Even the Schnucks’s are fairly well stocked (no unsweetened coconut flakes though…). Plus they are called Schnucks! How cool is that?

  2. Healthy Teen on a Mission January 3, 2011 at 12:57 am #

    I almost died when I saw this page! I LOVE pumpkin!

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