establishing new traditions

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I first wrote this post a few years ago when we began to really rethink what we wanted this holiday to mean to us as a family. The traditions we embrace have of course evolved a bit since then, but for the most part… the spirit of the day has remained consistent. Thanksgiving is a quiet day spent focusing on each other.

We’ll be chomping on homemade bread and soup in our little corner with lots of board games in between. I hope you all have a lovely day enjoying whatever traditions help make the day special for your family.
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homemade pumpkin puree

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homemade pumpkin puree |

I have a confession: I have never baked with canned pumpkin puree.

I didn’t grow up eating pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread or pumpkin anything. Our holiday gatherings tended to have flan or Lulu’s choco-flan or dulce de camote. The closest I came to pumpkin in October were those little pumpkin-shaped candies that my mother would throw out of our Halloween baskets (source: dangerous halloween candy urban legend of the mid-80s).

I baked my first pumpkin pie only a few years ago and by then had already switched gears to cooking from-scratch as much as possible. I figured I’d skip the canned stuff. Roasting and pureeing the pumpkin went easily enough. My first pie was not very pretty though and I had a really hard time getting it to set. My aha did not come until my second pie. I decided to strain the excess liquid from the puree until it stuck to a spoon and voila! Set pie and a perfect (flexible) consistency for all things pumpkin.

IMG_2115Homemade Pumpkin Puree

  1. Slice the stem off and cut in half.
  2. Place the pieces face down on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast in a preheated 375º oven until the skins start to brown and wrinkle and pokes easily with a fork.
  3. Scoop the sweet stuff out and puree it in either a food processor or blender (Food mills work, too, but I like the smoother texture that you can get out of an electrified tool).
  4. Transfer pumpkin puree to a cheesecloth lined strainer until your puree is no longer runny.

One pumpkin usually makes about 2 ½ cups of the more firm puree. I freeze whatever goes unused in one cup portions for later batches of bread, tortillas, and any other pumpkin-y things that come up.

veggie meal plan – october 12, 2015

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veggie meal plan 10/12/15 |

Hello there and a kazillion apologies to those of you that peek at my meal plans more regularly. The transition from summer to school has taken us longer this year, partly because it was a whole new school and mostly because work schedules kept us from slowing down enough to focus on the transition. It is now mid-October and I think we may finally be getting into a groove.

I’ve been cooking plenty the past couple of months, but the lack of planning has meant that we find ourselves eating out at the last minute much more often than we should. The real kicker came this past weekend when I had to throw out produce. Yikes! A zucchini, a half-batch of green beans, and some soft cucumbers went straight into the trash. Ouch. If that isn’t a sure sign that it is time to get back to my kitchen routines, I don’t know what is. Hoping that putting some broad strokes together will also force me to tackle some “new things” this week. This rut must be broken out of.

waffle freezing |     OriginalPhoto-466203144.645121

For Meals
Quick Sautéed Greens with Ginger *
Ginger & Black Pepper Rice
Roasted Veggies with Garlic Aioli *
Tempeh Bacon + Lettuce + Tomato Sandwiches
Crispy Brown Rice Salad with Peanuts and Cilantro* over Mixed Greens + Baked Sesame Chips
Collard Wraps w/ Hummus, Roasted Peppers & Fresh Veggies
Greenest Green Goddess Salad *

For the Pantry & Freezer

Vanilla Bean Sweet Potato Waffles
Dandelion Greens Pesto
Oat & Honey Granola Bars
variation on Texas Pepper Sofrito
Summer Veggie Burgers
The Kitchn Cookbook

texas pepper sofrito

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comida mexicana / recipes
texas pepper sofrito |

Although most commonly associated with Latin American cuisine, the use of a sofrito is common across cuisines from all over the world. Italian food (and most soups we are familiar with in the US) begin with a base of chopped celery, onion, and carrots, fried in oil or butter. Indian curries most often begin with a fry of onions, ginger and garlic. They’re about establishing a flavor base more than anything.

The following sofrito bares most likeness to a Cuban one, but can be used in migas, as a rice base, with black beans and/or mashed with some avocado for a pepper-filled guac. Use some now and freeze some for later when the pepper stash is limited.

Texas Pepper Sofrito
makes about 3 cups

2 small green bell peppers, seeds removed and roughly chopped
1 small purple bell pepper, , seeds removed and roughly chopped
2 cubanelles, seeds removed and roughly chopped
2 ringo peppers, seeds removed and roughly chopped
3-4 tiny hungarian sweet peppers, seeds removed and roughly chopped
6 banana peppers, seeds removed and roughly chopped
½ onion, roughly chopped
3 small-medium tomatoes, cored and quartered
4 garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup chopped cilantro
salt to taste

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor
  2. Pulse until the consistency pictured above (somewhere between a pico and a salsa)

I used peppers from the selection available in my CSA box, but feel free to mix it up with what you can find in your local grocery store. Most of the peppers are sweet, so no need to worry about it getting too hot for the littles. ;)