Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

Last fall I did some reading about how to grow pumpkins.  I was astonished to find that many people said to simply discard of your old pumpkins in an area in which you want to grow pumpkins again.  Those pumpkins will decompose, the seeds will deposit into the soil, and then regrow the following year.  So, last fall, as our decorative pumpkins began to go soft, I simply placed them in a side bed in our yard.  Then as I processed some pie pumpkins, I scrapped out the seeds and placed those in this bed as well.  In the very early spring (early March), I covered the entire bed with a very thin layer of compost.

And voila…

IMG_3109…we now have pumpkins taking over our yard.

Some of the pumpkins are ready for picking this week, so I played around in the kitchen a bit and came up with this recipe.  I hope you enjoy it!

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Pumpkin Zucchini Bread (makes one loaf)

Mix the following ingredients in a large mixing bowl:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon baking soda

In a separate bowl, mix together the following:

1 cup shredded zucchini

2 eggs

1/2 cup non-GMO canola oil

1 cup pureed pumpkin

splash of lemon juice

Next mix the wet ingredients into the dry.  Fold in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.  Pour into a bread pan and bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour.  Enjoy!

Early September in the Garden

As fall quickly approaches, the end of the gardening season is just around the corner.  But with everything going on in our garden, one would never know it.  So, for now, we are just so very grateful for all that our garden provides for us.

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As I mentioned last Tuesday, our tomatoes are in full swing right now.  That means lots of canning is taking place around our house.  This year I am attempting something new after reading my favorite blog.  I am roasting my tomatoes and basil with a bit of garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a 450 degree oven until the tomatoes begin to brown.  I then let it cool to room temperature, scoop the mixture into quart jars, and freeze them.

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On a fun tomato note, last year I grew Mexican Midget tomatoes and Green Zebra tomatoes in our school garden.  At the end of the growing season, my students and I tried a little experiment.  We picked about 3 tomatoes from each plant, sliced them very, very thin and left them to dry out on a coffee filter.  Once the tomatoes were dry, I stuck them in my file cabinet until this past March.  Then, using our class pet’s castings (Yes, we had worms as a class pet!) as a base, we placed the coffee filters (with the dried tomato slices on them) on top of the compost.  We then coated the dried tomatoes with a thin layer of compost.  Once mid-May hit, we transplanted the small tomato plants into our school garden and I also took some home.  Above is the result of our experiment:  some Green Zebras (left), some Mexican Midgets (right), and a nice cross pollinated version (middle).  And the result of this cross is just delicious because it is sweet like a Mexican Midget, but also has a tang to it similar to the Green Zebra.  Science is so fun!

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Our milkweed has begun to go to seed, and with my daughters’ current obsession with Little House on the Prairie, we are drying the seed pods and then plan to use the wispy, silky fibers to stuff a small doll.

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For the first time ever, we are growing pumpkins.  And they are actually growing!  I cannot express my excitement when I went out to weed the other day and found this guy nestled in among the gourds we are also growing in that same space.

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The cucumbers are currently out of control.  And truth be told, I have no desire to can pickles this year.  At all.  I am hoping my sentiment changes because I am not quite sure what do to with all of these guys that are currently sitting in the middle of my kitchen table.

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We are so incredibly fortunate to still be in the midst of our second round of berries.  This has been a truly prolific year for us and berries.  Yum.

 

 

Weekending

This weekend was one of those that will be looked back upon with fondness.  While we normally spend our weekends close to home, this one brought us on many adventures.  One where  the hustle and bustle was completely embraced, and fun was truly had by all.  Our hours were filled with alpacas (it was National Alpaca Weekend after all), pumpkins and retro amusement park rides.  Yes, quite the eclectic combo.

Here is a glimpse into our two days of fun…

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I hope you all enjoyed a lovely weekend as well.  Have a wonderful week my friends!

Forget About It

It seems as if it has been a very long time since I posted a recipe in this space, so here goes nothing.  As I’ve said a lot over the past few months, finding my grandfather’s recipe box has been a fun adventure filled with cooking experiments and taste tastes.

This particular card has been one I have played around with quite a bit over the past few weeks. And this weekend, after a lot of testing and even more tasting, I think I’ve come up with a great pumpkin bread recipe that allows you to forget about adding in all of that refined sugar and unhealthy oil.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 cups honey

1 cup coconut oil (melted)

4 eggs

2/3 cup water

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

15 ounces pumpkin puree

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat the honey and melted coconut oil with an electric mixer.  Next add the eggs and beat until smooth.  Then add the water and beat mixture again.  Set aside.

In another large bowl, mix both flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture slowly, beating with an electric mixer.  Finally, beat in the pumpkin puree.  (I add dark chocolate chips at this point sometimes too 🙂 )  Pour into two greased loaf pans.  Bake for 55-65 minutes.

Our Weekend

This past weekend we opted to stay close to home because many of us in our little household of four were getting over the lovely beginning-of-the-school-year sniffles. It always seems so odd to me to have a cold in the middle of a ninety degree heat wave, yet that was our particular situation this weekend.  So with lemon tea and honey in hand, we set to having a fun-filled weekend none the less.

The first pumpkins of the season made an appearance at Friday’s market, so we had to buy just a couple.  The girls worked hard all of Saturday morning, digging out the seeds and preparing for some roasted goodness.

While the girls worked hard on the pumpkins, I got busy making my homemade granola. We were able to purchase some delicious home-grown oats from Hazard Free Farms, which helped to make the granola extra yummy.

I also tried another treasure from Grandpa Dit’s recipe box: piccalilli.  I must say, standing in the kitchen over a giant pot of boiling veggies on a ninety-seven degree day was not one of my brightest ideas, but the final result was quite tasty.

And I chopped the day away, getting food ready to put by in the freezer for the winter months.  Andrea Hazzard, from Hazzard Free Farm, gave us a great suggestion for preserving watermelon.  Pour boiling water over a bit of honey, making honey water.  After cooling down the honey water, pour it over diced watermelon until all watermelon is covered.  Then freeze it for enjoyment in the winter months.

Rajah enjoyed finding a new hiding spot.  Oh my.

And Tyler enjoyed some brewing time.  He concocted a batch of caramel creme ale.  Yummy.

I have also been hard at work in the backyard, continuing with our garden expansion.  I am so excited to bring you the finished product in tomorrow’s post.  Hooray!  See you then.

Pumpkin Scones

As promised yesterday, here is the recipe for the pumpkin scones I made on “Seed Starting Day.”

Mix together the following ingredients in a large bowl:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Using a pastry cutter, add 1/3 cup cold butter cut into small pieces.  Make a well in the center of the mixture and set aside.

Next mix the following ingredients in a medium bowl:

2 eggs

½ cup heavy cream

¾ cup pumpkin puree (In the fall my husband halves pie pumpkins and scrapes out all of the seeds.  He then roasts the pumpkin halves on the grill until soft.  I then scoop out the meat of the pumpkin, run it through the food processor, and freeze it for later use in recipes.  This is what I used for this recipe.)

Add egg mixture to dry mixture all at once.  Then stir with a fork until just moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten into a circle.  Then cut the dough into wedges.  Separate the wedges as much as possible.

Brush the  wedges with a bit of additional pumpkin puree and sprinkle with additional cinnamon and sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!