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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Planning Pumpkins and Projects

It's that time of year again. It's time to start planning your garden!

Have you made plans yet on how you can include your kids in your garden? Or if you don't have children at home, how about grandchildren, neighbors, or friends.

After all, growing a crop is wonderful, but what a blessing gardens can be to help grow relationships.

One of my favorite family crops: pumpkins!

If you don't have a lot of space, mini pumpkins are a ton of fun to grow and then decorate with.

 If space isn't an issue, be sure to grow the big ones too!

What a blast the kids will have scooping out a pumpkin they planted themselves . . .

to carve it into a favorite face! 
The kids helped me carve out this cat for our cat lover on his 6th birthday.

A Jack 'O Lantern isn't the only way to carve a pumpkin though. 

Once scooped clean, it can be baked . . .

 to be cubed and canned or pureed and frozen.

Seeds can be baked for fun snacks (don't forget to dry and save some for planting next year!), and the pumpkin can be pulled out for delicious baked goods.

Our dog lover was thrilled to get a doggie pumpkin pie to share at Thanksgiving for her 10th birthday.

Not only that, but the kids can learn to bake as well. From our 4 year old up, our kids work together to measure and mix up their pumpkin bread for snack time.

 Our 10 year old has also learned how to mix up and roll out a pie crust from her great grandma's pie recipe.

She carefully forms the crust in the pan to fill with the pumpkin mix she also prepared . . . 

to make pumpkin pies for her dad, his favorite!
And from her trial piece of chocolate chip pumpkin pie, I think she might be on to something!

When you plan your garden this year, be sure to plan for crops to enjoy throughout the growing season and maybe even crops to feed your family for the year.  I encourage you, however, to also use your garden to nurture year round the relationships that you have been blessed with.

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Tools of My Trade

A couple years ago I received a set of pastry rolling pin covers and a pastry cloth from my mom.  She picked them up for me at the Amish near where I grew up and told me about how her aunt use to use them.  Reluctantly, I gave them a try, and now I LOVE using them.  They are wonderful to prevent doughs from sticking and reduce the amount of flour needed when rolling out doughs, which in turn benefits your dough. Not only that, they are great to use with beginning bakers as they making the rolling out process so much easier.

A digital food scale, such as this one, is a very handy kitchen tool.  I will use mine when pre-measuring out my purees for freezing. By filling a baggie set in a container, I can quickly see when I have measured the amount needed without making a mess of spatulas and measuring cups - and my counter!


Unknown said...

Terrific post!! Love that it covered many steps from planting to preserving to using!!

Julie said...

Love the scooping out in UNI shirts! Just bought seeds today for baskets!

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