Cake Buffet

Gratitude Buffet

Eating Seasonally and Locally with Community Supported Agriculture 

 Pumpkin 

The first box arrived in March, filled with asparagus, bok choy, chives, chickpeas, cilantro, mixed greens, rhubard, and spinach. Each week the bounty continued until only a couple of weeks ago, ending with the twenty-sixth delivery. Included in the last box were pumpkins, apples, radishes, bok choy, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, gourds, leeks, butternut squash, and acorn squash.

I miss Thursday afternoons. That was the day that we’d head down the dusty, dirt road to pick up our delivery. Even though the drive was only one mile from our home, my family anticipated the outing.

My family ate well over the course of several months and we are so thankful for Schreiber and Sons.

Two pumpkins remain, waiting to be consumed. For Thanksgiving our family savored a pie made from one of the several pumpkins we received over the last several weeks. Tomorrow we’ll dine on pumpkin soup. The pumpkin puree that’s left over will go into the freezer. We'll add the puree to muffins, pancakes, and more soup. 

Baking a Pumpkin 

Once you’ve used fresh pumpkin in a recipe, you may never open a can of pumpkin puree again.

To make pumpkin puree, cut a pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and place halves cut side down in a large pan covered with a thin layer of water. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes until soft. When cooled, remove the pumpkin from the shell and puree in a blender or food processor. Excess puree may be stored in the freezer.

Use the seeds to make toasted pumpkin seeds. Rinse off the seeds, pat them dry, and spread a layer of seeds on an olive oil greased pan. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 20 minutes.

Here’s a soup recipe that is simple to make and flavorful.

Pumpkins - Not Only Used for Jack-o’-lanterns – Soup 

1 diced onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

4 cups cooked, pureed pumpkin

½ cup cream

½ cup milk

In a large pot, sauté onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until translucent. Add broth and pureed pumpkin and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring periodically. Gently stir in cream and milk. Remove from heat. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds. For an extra kick, add chili pepper flakes. Yields 6 servings.

Birthday Buffet

Cupcake

 Sometimes creative juices start flowing out of financial necessity. Following farewells from lucrative paychecks, my husband and I both act differently on all levels of consumerism, including birthday parties.

In the past, we’ve rented out a party room in the back of a children’s museum and even traveled to a big city, complete with fine dining, to celebrate our daughter’s birthday. No longer are such options feasible, yet we still have fun. More fun! All accomplished with a little help.

My sister, who happens to be a graphic designer, offered to create fabulous invitations. She’s crazy about cools fonts and crisp lines. The end result looked like snazzy carnival tickets. My daughter and I hand delivered the invites to the friends in the neighborhood.

Over the weekend, our backyard was filled with kids’ smiling faces as they competed in races to see who could put the most socks on their feet the fastest or fill up measuring cups with water, teaspoon by teaspoon. Yes, it helps that my husband loves orchestrating activities for kids. He even emptied out his t-shirt drawer. The kids grabbed at t-shirts, collected over the course of a decade, to see who could put on the most in one minute. The record was 13!

I usually make my daughter’s birthday cake. I had a hard time handing over the task. My dear friend and neighbor asked if she could make the cupcakes. After all she wants to start a cupcake business and thought that birthday party would be the perfect place to showcase her scrumptious product. Since we were her very first “practice” clients, she didn’t charge us. The cupcakes, perched on ornate stands, were surrounded by kids ready to start singing and start eating. “Hold on!” I shouted. I forgot all about candles. I always have a stash of numbered candles that we use again and again. But when I looked in our stash, there was no number nine candle! We never needed a nine. When my husband turned 39, I used a “3” and turned a “6” upside down. As a result of quick math, I stuck candles in various cupcakes. The numbered candles added up to “9”.

I made a wish when my daughter blew out her candles. I wished that we never lose our love of the simple moments.

How do you live creatively?