Monday, October 31, 2016

Crock-Pot Pumpkin Butter - Tastes Like Pie!

One of the things that always bothers me about the Halloween season is what a waste it is to just throw away every single part of those pumpkins.  The end result of the attempted mitigation of my guilt was this pumpkin butter.  It uses pumpkin guts instead of cubed pumpkin, and everything is tossed in the slow-cooker.

We went to my parent's house for supper last night, and when we got back the whole house smelled of pumpkin pie.  It was amazing.  

Crock-Pot Pumpkin Butter
  • 1 medium pumpkin's guts (About 2 Cups)
  • 1/4 cup butter or hard margarine
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
Separate the pumpkin seeds from the guts.  It's easiest to do if you soak it all in a bowl of water, as the seeds (or most of them!) will simply float to the top.  A few stubborn seeds refused to unstick themselves from the guts, and I left them in.  One or two seeds won't make a huge difference.

In your slow-cooker, combine all the ingredients.  Set on low for 8 hours.  I opened it up to stir around after about 2 hours, just to make sure the butter is all mixed in with the pumpkin.

Now, once it's done, there is a very important step.  Take the lid off, and breathe in.  This smells so much like pumpkin pie, and it tastes like pumpkin pie.  Which is a Gods send, really.  Sean hates pie crust, and now we can just have what is basically pumpkin pie on toast!  Or English Muffins.  Or mixed with cream cheese and whipped cream for an amazing dip...I could go on.

Here, have another picture of it.  I couldn't decide which I liked best.

Who else loves vintage Tupperware?  I thought the orange suited rather well here.  :)  Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain, everyone!


Sunday, October 30, 2016


Tomorrow is Halloween. At this point, you don't need me to tell you that.  I would hope not, anyway.

Bugs and I carved a pumpkin this morning.  She rejected all of the stencils that came with the carving kit, deeming them "not scary enough".  She has often said over the past month that our house isn't scary enough for Halloween.  My only decoration (a wreath)  is sorely lacking, it seems.  Apparently, the neighbor's house is appropriately scary, though.

Our beautiful, scary pumpkin.  It, at least, met with approval.  I'm attempting some pumpkin butter and roast pumpkin seeds with the leftover bits...we'll see how that turns out!

Have a Happy Halloween and a Blessed Samhain!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Homemade Pasta Sauce

Once upon a time, a generous coworker gifted me the largest zucchini I have ever seen.  I had no idea what to do with it.  This thing was larger around than my bicep.  Not even joking.

I decided on a pasta sauce, with the whole monstrous thing chopped up and thrown in.

I've made this a couple of times since then, and as you can see, I made a double batch the last time.  Pasta sauce for days.  Months, more likely.

Homemade Pasta Sauce

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 to 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 to 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cans mushrooms (with liquid), or 2 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 to 3 tsp minced garlic, to taste.  (I may have put way more than that in.)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tbsp cooking sherry
  • 2 cups broth (I had chicken broth on hand, but beef would suit better.)
  • 1 large can (796ml) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans (398ml) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Brown ground beef, and set aside.  

In a large saucepan, melt butter.  Saute celery, carrot, and onion together until onion is translucent.  Add garlic, zucchini, and mushrooms.  Saute a minute more.  Pour in red wine, cooking sherry, and stock.  Stir.  Add in ground beef, crushed and diced tomatoes, and spices.

 Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until desired consistency is reached.  For me, this took about 3 hours.  Remove bay leaves before serving or freezing.

This sauce was fantastic.  Meaty taste, full of veggies and a tiny bit of kick from the chili flakes.  The recipe as stated above will serve 4 to 6 people, dependent on appetites and sides of course.  It freezes beautifully.  Make sure to label your freezer bags!

If you make this and like it, let me know!

Happy cooking,