Friday, October 28, 2011

Dinner in a Pumpkin

Where did October go? Halloween is in three days and I'm still working on September birthdays...sorry Chris! (I'm not such a good mother-in-law.) Not to mention Elizabeth turned 25 on the 7th and tomorrow Brittany turns 19. Levi turns 14 next week. I don't feel old enough to have children who are in their 30s, but I've noticed lately that my skin on my arms (sorry...tmi) is getting that loose, crepe-like appearance. That could be the weight loss though. As of today...I am finally down 35 pounds. (no thanks to my Wednesday night writing class!) Just 15 more to go (pounds, not writing classes...I need a life time of those!) and I'll reach my goal weight!

Oh...and Wednesday's class wasn't as over-the-top as last week. I did take a writing sample to be critiqued. And I took fresh chocolate chip cookies. Caleb told me to rewrite about a third of the essay, but also added that he liked more of it than he didn't like. Woohoo! I can see where his critique is spot on. He pointed out how many words I use to say so little. I've always had that problem, but he showed me why! At least two people cried this time, but one was tears of happiness because she earned Caleb's praises. Then there was a discussion about how women feel this huge pressure to be the perfect mom, housekeeper, cook, and look model gorgeous all at the same time. Caleb wasn't getting it. I declared that the day I realized that I wasn't going to burn in Hades because I buy frozen bread dough was one of the most liberating days of my life. We all had a good laugh and went back to our writing.  My favorite Caleb quote from Wednesday:

"It's a good thing you didn't write the Bible. We'd all be Muslims." ( had to be there...but it really was funny!)

With Halloween just around the corner, here is a super fun way to use your don't carve them! Paint them with nontoxic paints instead  and then eat them. (After you bake them of course!) It's really yummy! and super easy!!! The kids will get a kick out of it...and will at least give it a try. You can even "dress it up" for a grown up party. So far everyone in my family has enjoyed this meal.

Aren't these cute!!! Just right for generous single servings.
Dinner in a Pumpkin

1 medium pumpkin or 4 small sugar pumpkins
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbls. vegetable oil
2 pounds ground beef
2 Tbls soy sauce
2 Tbls brown sugar
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced (or use a 4 oz can)
1 15 oz can cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken or cream of celery)
2 cups cooked rice (brown is best, but white is great...whatever your family will eat!)
1 8oz can sliced water chestnuts ( or 1/2 - 1 cup chopped celery...again, whatever your family prefers)

1. Cut the tops out of the pumpkin(s) and clean out pulp and seeds. (save the seeds for roasting!)
2. Preheat oven to 350 deg.
3. Saute onions and garlic in the oil.
4. Add the hamburger and brown. Drain.
5. Add soy sauce, mushrooms, brown sugar and soup.
This really looks better in person...not a great picture...sorry!

6. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring every now and then.
7. Add cooked rice and water chestnuts.
8. Spoon mixture into the pumpkin(s) and put tops in place. Set on a baking sheet and place in oven.
9. Bake about 1 hour -- until the pumpkin flesh is tender
10. Remove from the oven, and place on a plate. Remove the lid and scoop out pumpkin with the rice and meat for a yummy casserole dish!

I double the recipe...and got leftover filling.

I like the versatility of this recipe. You can season it anyway you like and trade out the celery or mushrooms, etc. Play with it and have fun! I think this is a great way to enjoy the harvest season get our families to try new things. Traditions are a great way to bring our families closer together.


What traditions do you share with your family in the Fall?
Warm hugs~

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