Pumpkin patch

A few weeks ago, before we made a bunch of apple pies, my mom and I went out to the garden to pick some pumpkins. I always bring some to school so my students can carve them for Halloween. I also leave the dirt on them, so that when I explain that pumpkins grow in the garden and not the grocery store, it makes sense! They always tell me I’m lucky that I get to pick pumpkins. They’re right!

My parents’ house is right by the river. Morning light, along with fall colours made it a picture-taker’s paradise!

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I love the way the pumpkin patch looks after the leaves have frozen. You can see all the pumpkins. Also, it would be easier to spot a snake, if there was one. I’ve never actually seen a snake in the pumpkin patch, but i’m sure it happens. I don’t have a snake phobia, but really, who wants to reach down to pick a pumpkin and come up with a snake? Yeah, no one.

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I’m looking for a good pumpkin. Also, I’m checking to make sure there are no slimy bugs underneath.

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Found one! A pumpkin, not a bug.

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I’m checking the ingredients: 100% pumpkin. Ok, I’ll take it!

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I need more pumpkins. Lots more.

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Pumpkins and apples in my kitchen! When this photo was taken, there were six more pumpkins in my car waiting to be taken to school to be carved by my students. Sadly, one of those pumpkins did not make it to Halloween. I believe it suffered a deer bite and started to go bad as soon as it was taken indoors. It’s suffering came to an end in a collegue’s kitchen.

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My pumpkins before they were roasted into deliciousness! Here, too, one did not survive. It got all soft and icky so I put it outside. A squirrel chewed all the way around it and took off with the top. A few days later, I saw the top of a pumpkin in the street. Crazy squirrel.

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Roasting a pumpkin is pretty easy. Cut in half, scoop out gunk, roast, puree, eat!

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I ended up with about 12 cups of puree. Not bad for two small pumpkins. I wanted to can it, but I read all kinds of scary things online about the dangers of canning pumpkin puree, so I decided to freeze it instead.

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I’ve been baking pumpkin-everything for a few weeks now.

Gluten-free pumpkin muffins.

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Roasted pumpkin seeds.

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Pumpkin and carrot mac and cheese. I have to hide vegetables from myself so that I’ll eat them. Also, macaroni and cheese is not photogenic.

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I also made something called a pumpkin dream cake and it was very dreamy and orange and delicious!

Yesterday, for Halloween, the kids got to work cleaning out the pumpkins and decorating them. They were very original in their design ideas.

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I thought the hedgehog was angry, but apparently, he’s scary. Because, you know, it’s Halloween.

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I think that’s it for my pumpkin adventures this year. Well, except for the 8 cups of pumpkin still left in my freezer! November is the month for tea, books and hot yoga! (Every month is hot yoga month actually.)

Rabbit food

I like carrots, but only when they’re raw. Cooked carrots are just not my thing. However, I’ve noticed that if I add grated carrots to cooked food, like spaghetti sauce or soup, I’ll eat them. It’s kind of like hiding them from myself, because they’re so small and I can’t taste them.

In November, I decided to try going gluten-free. It was going really well for a while, until Christmas. Cookies, pie, quiche…there was no controlling myself. I don’t have an issue with gluten, so it wasn’t so bad. Going gluten-free was more of an “everything in moderation” thing. I still have Christmas cookies in my freezer, but other than that, I’m trying to cut out gluten as much as possible.

So, where am I going with gluten-free carrots? Simple. Gluten-free carrot macaroni and cheese. That’s right. Sooo good!

I bought this corn pasta to replace regular pasta, and it tastes the same. It’s a little yellow, but once cooked, it’s not so neon.

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Not the best company name, if you ask me. It’s too close to leper.

Grate a couple of carrots. If you’re super into carrots, feel free to add more.

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Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the carrots to the boiling water.

Drain the carrot/pasta mix and set aside.

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Mix your sauce any way you like. I used flour for my roux, since it was only a small amout, but you can thicken your sauce with cornstarch. I used 2 or 3 cups of milk. I like mild cheese, so I used mozzarella and cheddar, but you can use whatever you have. I used 2 or 3 cups, I think. I really have no idea. This is not a precise recipe, it’s more of an idea. I also added cream cheese.

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Mix everything together, then pour into a baking dish. Add more cheese, of course. I used rice cereal for the crispy topping.

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Put in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes, or the time it takes to clean the kitchen and check your e-mails. When it smells so delicious you can’t stand it, it’s ready.

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Enjoy!