Fi and I decided to carve up some Jack-O-Lanterns last night after dinner (which was some lemony halibut with raita (Indian salad: fat free yogurt with cucumbers and tomatoes) and a mushroom/brussel sprouts combo with spicy garlic sauce-Fi LOVES brussel sprouts. It's amazing!). Beth swung by for some "Dustin/Neesha" time since she was feeling a little nervous about her observation today by the Dean (which we have NO doubt she blew out of the water because she's such an excellent teacher!) and we tried to coax her into having her way with a pumpkin, too, but to no avail.
My less-than-practiced pumpkin-cleaning technique.
Dustin skillfully cleaning out his pumpkin.
So the competition was on. At first I thought I'd look up some designs online. Then I changed my mind since I thought it might be construed as cheating (ok-really the computer froze before I could find anything). Fi is super artistic and I've seen his Jack-O-Lantern completed projects (last year). Hello amazing pumpkin head! So I had to bring my A-game to the table.
Dustin seeking out the face of the pumpkin with hot apple cider in hand.
Bogey served as his counsel.
After much staring and thinking on both our parts, Beth got bored and left and we set to the task of carving. Fi was finished much faster than I and I had some real issues with my entire Jack-O face falling into the pumpkin which nearly thwarted my entire ability to compete. You may be wondering how I could possibly have competed without a face on my pumpkin, right? Well, my friends, you haven't thought up the many uses of toothpicks!
With much effort and creative toothpick usage, I finished and we displayed our pumpkins for a photo-op on the kitchen counter:
Can you guess whose is who's?
It seemed a shame to throw out the pumpkin pieces we carved out, so, instead, I threw them on a baking pan with some vegetable oil and put them in the oven for about a half hour at 350. Meanwhile, I threw various spices on the seeds (salt on some, cinnamon and sugar on another group, and sage and cumin on a third batch) and baked them alongside the pumpkin. I'm personally not a fan of pumpkin but Fi loves it. The roasted pumpkin came in handy today when I got home from school and wanted some lunch. Since it was super cold, it was the perfect opportunity to make some pumpkin soup! I chopped up the roasted pumpkin and tossed it in with some vegetable oil, then I cut up a sweet potato I baked yesterday and never ate and tossed that in, as well, added a few sage leaves from the garden (chopped), two cups of vegetable broth, a dash of chili pepper and a pinch of pumpkin pie spice. Once it all boiled and fully softened, I simmered it for about ten minutes, tossed it into the blender and voila! We had very tasty soup for lunch. If you decide you want to make something like this, I'd highly recommend more stock. We were pretty much out so ours had a consistency more like porridge than soup. Kinda thick, if you get what I'm saying, but still really good.
More to come later.