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Posts Tagged ‘challenge’

The October Farmer’s Markets were full of lovely pumpkins and I could not resist their siren song.  So, this year I bought a Halloween pumpkin with wonderful intentions of carving it into a masterpiece… but that didn’t happen.  Halloween came and went and my pumpkin sat on my porch looking very autumnal but not very scary. 

On Monday night I was feeling inspired by all of the posts I have been reading about roasting pumpkins.  I figured that since my pumpkin hadn’t quite turned out to be the ultimate Halloween decoration I could still get my money’s worth.  All needed to do was roast it and turn it into tasty pumpkin puree.  Such a wonderful idea, at least in theory.  When I actually set about roasting and pureeing, my brilliant inspiration gradually turned to determined frustration and ended in exhausted triumph.

At this point I should probably mention that I was not using a “cooking” pumpkin.  My pumpkin was about 19 inches tall and 16 inches around.  The Pumkin as compared to my 12 cup tea kettle

The size should have been my first clue that this would not be a quick task.  I also got a bit of a surprise when I cut my giant pumpkin open.  I was expecting it to have an 1-1/2 inches or so of meat to it.  Boy was I wrong!  The walls were about 3 inches thick on the sides and 4 inches thick towards the bottom.

Pictures 006

Okay, we have now established that this pumpkin was no shrinking violet.  I fact only 1/4 of the pumpkin fit into my modest oven at a time.  It took 30 minutes at 450 degrees for the pumpkin to become perfectly roasted.  When the roasted pumpkin became cool enough to handle it was time to remove the skin and puree it.

Now is a good time to mention that the sole blending device in my kitchen is a blender.  Not a fancy vita-mix type blender either.  Just a run of the mill 6 cup Oster blender.  It has always served me well and makes a mean smoothie, but I was about to discover that blending frozen fruit and blending roasted pumpkin don’t even come close in comparison. 

I peeled and sliced roughly 1 cup of pumpkin and proceeded to attempted to puree it.  My blender put out an awesome effort….for the first 5 seconds.  After the addition of some water and some coaxing with a spoon I got my first bit of pumpkin puree.  2 hours, a bit of cursing and a few tears later I had pureed half of the pumpkin.  You may be asking yourself, exactly how much puree can one make from half a giant pumpkin?

  The answer, 23 cups.23 cups o' pumpkin

Half of this pumpkin is still sitting in my fridge, sliced and waiting to be roasted this weekend.  I decided that pumpkin roasting/pureeing  is not a great weekday activity for me.  I definitely won’t be doing this on a Monday night ever again.

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It has been 3-1/2 weeks since the beginning of my vegan journey, so instead of doing a post that revolves around a recipe I am going to do a bit of an update on my journey so far.   Hopefully this will be the first of many posts that widen the scope of my blog.  I would love to do more posts on the vegan lifestyle apart from food, so I will be trying to include at leat one non-food post per week.  Anywho…on to the update.

The last 3 weeks have gone by fairly quickly.  While it has been a relatively smooth transition for me to go vegan, there have been a few challenges.  For example, I am really missing cheese.  I have tried a recipe for “Cheese” Sauce and frankly it fell way short in the taste category.  I wasn’t expecting it to taste like cheese but it was almost sweet-tasting and I think the spices need to be switched up a bit. 

Aside from venture into faux cheese sauce I haven’t really tried any vegan cheese products.  The grocery stores in my area are rather poorly stocked when it comes to vegan cheeses.  Everything I have come across has had dairy proteins in it.  But I will forge ahead and continue the search for something to fill the cheesy void in my life.  I may even order some Daiya from Pangea Vegan Store.  I have heard some great things about it.

In all things not cheese I have done really well.  I am eating more meals at home and actually spending less money on groceries even though I am making more trips to the store for fresh ingredients.  My energy levels have been up and I am even sleeping better.  The one thing I would like to get better about is planning meals ahead of time.  I am kind of a fly by the seat of my pants girl and that doesn’t always work when you are in a hurry to find something to eat.

I have really been enjoying my experiments with vegan baking, and so have my friends and family as I love to share my creations with them.  But I have noticed that I really need to work on expanding my repertoire of entrees.  While I am a whiz at whipping up sweet treats and baked goods, my actual cooking skills need to be stretched a bit more.  I am seeking out some quick and easy recipes for casseroles, past dishes and stir fries.  Am especially interested in things that I can prepare ahead of time and them refrigerate or freeze for easy meals during the week.

All in all, I am very happy with this new leaf I have turned over.  I am looking forward to all of the new things I have learned, and I know that there is so much more out there for me to discover.   

 

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Well, it’s official.  Tomorrow is V-day.  For the next year I will cast aside all animal products to embrace a healthier and more compassionate way of life.  I am looking at the coming change with excitement, anticipation and a slight bit of trepidation.  I have the support of family, friends and vegans everywhere.  One of my friends has even signed on to go vegan with me.  I have to admit that I feel much less likely to slip up with her holding me accountable.  

Tomorrow morning promises the start of a new adventure.  It also promises a very tasty smoothie for breakfast.  I am looking forward to my new challenge.  Bring on the veggies!!

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