Fall Spirit

We have really been feeling fallish around here. The weather has gotten quite cool, as in hat and mitten time. Last night I baked summer squash lasagna for the last time this year (with our last zucchini). Today I baked two more pumpkins and made a double batch of pumpkin muffins. Ryan is preparing for his annual hunting/fishing trip to Canada... and we are preparing for our annual temporary move in at my parent's house. The leaves are changing... everything is starting to look golden outside.

I love this time of year.


Fall Flowers



This year's firewood. Waiting to be chopped...



Pumpkins... Part II

So after the picking, there was some baking (a group effort). And finally... some muffins.

Pumpkin Muffins (from "The Great Big Cookie Book)

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg beaten
I cup pumpkin
1&3/4 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking soda
1&1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup raisins or currants (today I omitted these)

Cream butter, sugar, molasses. Add egg and pumpkin and stir until well blended. Sift over flour, salt, baking soda, Cinnamon and nutmeg. Fold in until just blended. Do not over mix. Fold in currants or raisins. Bake for 12-15 minutes (it ours more like 20) at 400 degrees.

Pickin' Pumpkins


A Good One

Today was a good day. A really good day.

I think the reason was because these two got along... all day. It was such a treat.

We ended our day here, where we were entertained by seagulls and the boats on the river as we enjoyed our dinner.



I am loving this. This being me able to do something- anything- while my kids play together. Though it has been happening in spurts here and there for awhile now, long stretches like this one that happened today are very new. It was actually enough time for me to get a row of buttons sewn on Grace's quilt (oh yes, I'm still working on it). One whole half hour to sit and sew while watching my kids play happily. Can't beat it.


Pumpkins and Tomatoes

There is a new little ritual that has developed between my sister and I whenever we get together. It usually begins with a stack of cookbooks... and a lot of contemplation and discussion about different recipes and ingredients. Then there is (my favorite part) the cooking. But not just any cooking. Sister cooking. Planning, and chopping, and simmering, and measuring... intermixed with stories and laughing and silliness. Cooking with someone else who loves and appreciates fresh, homegrown food has much as me. Cooking with someone who is as inspired as I am by the sight of a grocery bag full of multicolored vegetables and fresh herbs. And, my confidence is always higher when cooking with my sister (aside from the fact that she's a better cook then I am), just having two people put there time and love into a meal makes it taste all the better I think.

So tomatoes and pumpkins have been the topic for quite sometime now. So much so, we decided we needed to dedicate a full day to them. So today was the first annual pumpkin and tomato fall fest (well if the truth be told we never actually agreed on that name, I just came up with it now... but it does seems to fit). I officially handed off all childcare responsibilities to Ryan so Katie and I could fully concentrate on our tomato and pumpkin duties. The end result of our labor was four batches of very, very delicious cream of tomato soup, one pumpkin pie, and a few jars of fresh pumpkin puree for later use. Very satisfying.

The Soup recipe was from the book "Soup a Way of Life"
1 tbsp butter
1 medium onion sliced
3 pounds of tomatoes (this equaled out to be about 6 tomatoes)
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 cup cream (optional) we used half and half in two batches and none in the other two
1/4 cup narrow strips of basil

In medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 7 minutes.
If using fresh tomatoes, stir them into the onions, raise the heat, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Blend in food mill (we used a blender) in batches and return to pan. Add salt, cream, and basil. We served it with croutons and fresh parmeson cheese.


Some Good Highlights From My Not So Good Day

Today was not my favorite day. In fact far from it. Jackson is/was (whether or not it has passed is still unclear) sick or teething and was understandably cranky all day. And Grace was just an all around handful for most of the day, I'm sure in most part do to the fact that her brother has completely taken the spotlight for the past few days. And we were all sleep deprived... not a good combo to say the least. Anyway, that being said, there were a few highlights that I do want to remember...

1. The first one is that we made homemade bread yesterday with our bread maker. It was my great aunt's given to me by her recently has she is no longer is able to use it. Though I would love to be someone who makes homemade bread with my hands, I'm not really seeing that in my near future (though hopefully in the not-so-distant future). But, the bread maker is the next best thing- and so easy. We made some delicious whole wheat bread and pretty much finished the whole loaf today. This morning (this is where today's highlight comes in) I made french toast with it and it was delicious. Everyone loved it.

2.There was maybe a half hour of time where Jackson was asleep and Grace was done with her quiet time and her and I sat and sewed together. I was working on her quilt (still) and she was working on a quilt for one of her babies. I love that she loves to sew with me. I know it might not last, but for now, I love it. And I love the way she puts the "pump" up on the chair like that to make it work for her.

3.I am really loving our garden harvest that is still going strong. The first picture is of a Minnesota Midget Mellon. These are just like cantaloupe but only about the size of an orange. They are so good but we only got five. I have to plant more of them next year- and not in the same bed as the pumpkins. And the tomatoes are really starting to come in. I need to find some good recipes so I can start making some sauce. But, they are also quite tasty in a burnt grilled cheese sandwich...which I had for dinner tonight.
Yes, thank goodness tomorrow is a new day.


Beach Adventure

We decided to go exploring today and headed to the little town of Afton (which I'd never been to before and I am definitely going back). After a picnic at the park, an ice cream cone at the local ice cream shop, and a hike through the woods, we found ourselves here...

Though we weren't planning on swimming, how could we not. We ended up playing at this beach (that we had all to ourselves) for almost two hours. It was so beautiful and relaxing. One of those perfect moments where everyone was happy at the same time. It is such a joy to just sit and watch them play when they are like this.

And I'm so excited to have found yet another little spot on my favorite river.