Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween!

Halloween this year was a lot of fun, once again. Our costumes were awesome, for the fourth year in a row. So awesome, that I took too many pictures and then couldn't decide between them, so I posted almost all of them. Plus, I've been practicing my photography skills.

Hopefully you can figure out who we were from the pictures.




















I designed and made Graham's Peter Pan costume from head to toe. I made patterns for the tights, cap, and shoes. The feather was tricky to attach into his little cap, but I figured it out!

Also, I apologize for going overboard with pictures of Graham. I just couldn't help it. He's the most precious baby boy I've ever seen! (Plus, I'm his mom... I'm supposed to go picture-crazy, right?)










My Tinkerbell costume was fun to wear. I thrifted the shoes (and glued the puff-balls onto them) and bought the wings. I made the dress by reworking two t-shirts and then using elastic and strips of tulle to make a tutu to go underneath it.






Bob made quite a fabulous and very handsome Captain Hook. Seriously, I'm so happy with how his costume came out. It was borrowed, bought, thrifted, and made by me and Bob.







How was your Halloween? What were your costumes?


Monday, October 29, 2012

Fall Photos

Back in September, we went to visit some friends and family members in Utah. It was a fun little trip, jam packed with visits to many people we care about. We drove Bob's car and made it from San Diego to Orem, Utah on a single tank of fuel! Yes, that's 800 miles between stops for diesel. That car was such a great investment, even if it was a complete headache to purchase initially.

Anyway, while up there, we went for a short hike with my sister-in-law and her kids. Utah is gorgeous in autumn. So I snapped some photos of my favorite scenes during the quick hike.


I love the gentle fading from green to orange at the tips of the branches.


The trees were turning such stunning colors!





I love the juxtaposition of the bright, soft and fluffy flower with the spiky, thorn-riddled stem.

A close-up of a big rock with some really cool lichens growing on it.


Did I mention that it was really windy that day?


I (and Bob) also took a few pictures of my fun little niece and nephews and my awesome sister-in-law.





Thanks, Ashley, for the fun visit last month!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Food on Friday: Pumpkin Stew

One thing I love about fall is the seasonal produce that comes in, namely pumpkins!

Pumpkins are a really diverse food. You carve them for Halloween decorations, you put pureed pumpkin pulp into pies and decadent desserts, you bake and eat their seeds, and--one of my favorite things to do with them--make pumpkin stew.

This is so much fun to cook and eat, because the pumpkin is the pot and you get to eat it too.


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Pumpkin Stew
4-6 servings, depending on size of pumpkin.

1 small pumpkin
1 lb stewing beef (or ground beef)
2-3 large potatoes, chopped into small cubes
1 cup chopped carrots
2-3 gloves of garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1-2 bullion cubes
2-4 cups water
2-3 tsp salt (use more or less to taste)
1 tbsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Cut the top off of your pumpkin so that you can replace it for cooking. Remove seeds and guts from inside the pumpkin.

In a pan, cook onion, garlic, and beef until meat is brown and cooked all the way through. In a small pot, bring water to a boil, and dissolve bullion cube into it; remove from heat once dissolved.

Combine all ingredients inside the pumpkin. Place lid on the pumpkin, place the pumpkin on a cookie sheet, and bake in the oven for 2 - 2.5 hours.

When serving, scoop out both the stew as well as the flesh of the pumpkin.

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Some tips and suggestions:

  • When you're getting a pumpkin to cook this in, make sure it's not too tall. It'll need to fit in your oven, so please think about that ahead of time.





  • When cutting the top and making a lid for your pumpkin, I like to leave a little notch or something so that it's easy to see how to replace the lid so that it seals and cooks well.





  • When chopping and slicing your vegetables, make sure the potatoes and carrots are cut quite small, otherwise they won't cook through. I should have cut mine smaller--my potatoes were cooked, but still firm and the carrots were the same. If you prefer them softer for the soup, be sure they're in small pieces.


  • The amounts may vary a little, depending on the size of your pumpkin. Don't over-fill it!





  • You can also throw pretty much anything you want into this stew. Instead of potatoes, try chickpeas or kidney beans. Try adding in corn or peas. If you don't have bell peppers, leave them out and add more onion. Feel free to clean out your fridge a little with this meal! If you want it to be soupier, add more water and bullion cubes, or less potatoes, meat, and carrots.
  • The pumpkin will be heavy with the stew inside of it, so be careful when putting it in and removing it from the oven! Use a sturdy baking sheet and hold it from the bottom, where all the weight is at.
  • You may need to re-cut the lid after the pumpkin is cooked, because the lid may seal while baking and the stem may rip out if it's pulled too hard since the pumpkin will be soft..
  • When scooping the stew out and scraping the pumpkin out too, be careful not to puncture the outside of the pumpkin while it's still full of stew, otherwise the broth will leak out and get everywhere... Believe me.




Enjoy this delicious meal on a chilly autumn evening or for lunch on a crisp day. It's sure to keep you in the festive mood as well as keep you warm as the weather gets colder.



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