Tag Archives: farmers market

It’s fall! Eat a pumpkin!

One of the first and absolute best signs of fall? The arrival of all things pumpkin!

It’s all so tempting – pumpkin donuts, pumpkin butter, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin ice cream – you name it, they’ll be making it with pumpkin this time of year.

But you know what I look forward to most of all?

The actual PUMPKINS!

Few things make me happier than the first visit to the farmer’s market after all the pumpkins and fall/winter squash arrive. There’s just something about the feel of the fall harvest that makes me all swoony and nostalgic.

And even though I love all the things that can be made with this seasonal treasure, I think my favorite thing to do with pumpkin is just cut it into chunks and bake it!

Call me a pumpkin purist. ;)

Ok, so sometimes I do add a little bit of cinnamon or curry powder and a drizzle of oil to prevent sticking, but that’s it. And for about 3 dollars, I can cook more fresh, local pumpkin than I can even use (well, almost–we freeze some.) Just 1/4 of our first pumpkin of the year made 3 nights’ worth of side dishes and 2 lunches.

It’s a thrifty mom’s dream! And SO good for you, too! Just look at the color – it screams, “Hey! I’m crazy high in nutrients!”

It’s even a hit in my son’s daycare lunchbox! Bite-sized pieces of sweet, bright orange yumminess –what’s not to love in a toddler’s eyes?

So, before you add the cream cheese, heavy cream or brown sugar, I urge you to give fresh pumpkin a try in its original state. Start with an eating variety, like a Cinderella or neck pumpkin (and make sure you wash it well.) Just cut into small cubes, toss with curry powder or cinnamon and a bit of oil, and bake in a 375ºF oven until fork tender. Easy as pie! :lol:

One bite and you’ll understand just what good ol’ Ma Nature had in mind. :)

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Do you look forward to the pumpkin harvest each year?

Have you ever eaten a fresh pumpkin?

 

 

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My fruit salad is bringing sexy back.

Talk about busy…

The hubs and I have been hit with a lot of overtime at work lately. We’re officially in overtime regarding our new house, too. We were supposed to close almost 2 weeks ago, at the latest, and we’re still waiting. So things are packed up, and we’re trying to keep our current house in “showable” condition, which means not much cooking, not much grocery shopping, and not much sanity left for either of us. We’re in major “keep your eye on the prize” mode, just hoping to get through this without falling apart.

Needless to say, there’s not much going on in our house lately that qualifies as “sexy.” :|

Unless, of course, you count my fruit salad.

I mean, when you think about it, what could be sexier than an overflowing bowl of the summer’s finest fruits, fresh from the heart of Central PA’s farmer’s markets?

Juicy, sweet canary melons…

along with Crenshaw melon, ripe peaches, tangy pineapple…and some berries from our friends’ yard for color…

Taking an hour on a Sunday afternoon to cut up fruit – letting the juices drip down to my elbows and popping far too many pieces into my mouth – does wonders for my mental state. That time is like therapy for me, refocusing my mind on what’s really important on my priority list (it’s so easy to forget, sometimes.)

It makes me feel like a good mom knowing I’m not resorting to the temptation of convenience foods during this superbusy time in our lives (and I’m ensuring good, healthy milk for my son, too!) Plus, when I’m done, I have a fridge full of healthy, ready-to-go food for snacks, lunches and side dishes for the whole family, which saves me tons of time during the week.

…time I can devote to a little QT with my husband.

And if that ain’t sexy, I don’t know what is. ;)

 

 

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Filed under Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food, The Everyday

I’m craving dirt!

No, I don’t want to eat it, silly. :roll:

I want to dig in it!

Spring just didn’t feel like spring without our garden this year, and I’m thinking summer is going feel a little empty, too. With my husband in overtime, my work picking up, and our family getting ready to move in a few weeks, we decided not to put the usual focus on our garden.

It’s tough. When you love to garden, it can become much more than just a hobby. It’s a way of life. A way to feed your family, alleviate stress, feel productive, save the world. OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating. But only a little.

But as much as we both identify as gardening folk, we just didn’t see the point of planting what we usually plant this year. I wouldn’t mind so much if we had to leave some veggies for whoever may end up buying our house, but that’s a lot of time to devote to something that doesn’t bear real fruit for us. Time is a hot commodity these days, and we have to use it efficiently.

So in a few weeks we’ll be packing up and moving onto our new 6-acre lot, and there will be lots of gardening to go around. The herb garden taking shape in my head is just stellar. But until then, it just feels a sad to be missing our buds and shoots and blooms and baby veggies.

What’s our solution?

Well, we have two.

The first thing we’re doing is caring for a few choice plants that will help us feel “gardeny” while allowing our son some of the learning experiences we’re just not willing to let him miss. At 19 months, this is the perfect time to get him interested, so we did plant one little tomato plant for him, along with the dill volunteers from last year. (I even got a dilly bouquet today!) and a little spinach.

But the real star of the show is Little Man’s strawberry plant.

One potted plant, kept by the front walk. Every day when he gets home, he inspects it for new berries, which we allow him to pick (only if they’re red!) and pop into his mouth. He then fills up his tot-sized watering can and gives the plant a drink so it can grow more berries for tomorrow. Watching my son tend to his plant and snack on fresh berries, warm from the sun, is quite possibly on of the most gratifying experiences of my entire life. And nope, I’m not even exaggerating this time. :)

The other thing we’re doing to get us through this sparse year is exploring more local markets. We tend to miss them because we are too busy, or because we don’t need to buy more than we grow. But this year, we’re taking time when we can, as a family, to find out where the good local stuff is, and we plan to call and schedule tours at a few local farms in the next few months, too. I’m betting we find some real gems that we never would have found in a normal year, and we get to do our part to support our community farmers. It’s good karma, after all…you never know when we might be among them. ;)

This week, our local farmstand finds included blueberries, strawberries, cucumbers and green tomatoes. Can you tell they were a hit?

 

 

 

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Filed under Green Living, Home & Garden, Parenting & Family

Finally, That Fall Feeling!

I’m finally getting fall fever!

Fall always used to be my favorite season. But, for the past few years (since I started my long commute) winter is just so dang scary that I spend most of fall worrying about it, and last year, I pretty much missed fall altogether because of the all-encompassing arrival of my little man. :)

But today, I decided that I needed a neck pumpkin for a recipe, so we headed down to THE place in our area for pumpkins, gourds, and all things autumnal: Bailey’s Market in Selinsgrove. I remember when this place was just tiny!

So I closed up the laptop, left the cell at home, gathered up my boys and immersed myself in that “crunchy orange leaf” feeling. I did bring my camera, though. ;)

And you know what? It was the best day I’ve had in a really long time. It’s official: I’m totally loving fall again. (Isn’t it just incredible how having a tiny, new perspective along puts the wonder back into everything?)

….and my personal favorites, the Fairy Tale pumpkin!

Oh, and about that neck pumpkin…we got one, and the recipe turned out great!

Next post, I promise!

Any guesses?

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Filed under Green Living, Home & Garden, Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food, The Everyday