Monday, October 28, 2013


Now that the Halloween season is almost over, what are you going to do with some of those pumpkins that are scattered throughout your decor?  How about making your own pumpkin puree?  Once you use your own pumpkin puree, you will never want to use that canned pumpkin again.  Promise.
Don't be's as easy as pumpkin pie!
 I got 10 cups of pumpkin puree (the equivalent of 5 cans) out of this one 10lb. Fairytale pumpkin.
I chose a Fairytale pumpkin because it is hands down the sweetest tasting pumpkin out there, but you can use whatever kind you have.
Let's do this!  Grab a bag, a knife or small saw and something to scrape the pumpkin guts out with.
 Cut that pumpkin in half.  I recommend saving the stem for a project I'll tell you about at the end of this post.
Scrape out the guts and throw them in that plastic bag.  If you're a pumpkin seed eater, save your seeds.  I'm not.  Check out the gorgeous bright orange flesh in this Fairytale pumpkin.  (I did not color enhance any of these pictures.)
Bring it in the house, rinse it off, pat it dry and save that stem!
Place the two pumpkin halves cut side down on a foil covered cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  
Bake it at 400 degrees for about an hour and a half (longer if your pumpkin is bigger).  It should be all shiny and the skin will start to wrinkle slightly.
You should be able to stick a fork in it easily.
Let it cool down for about 45 minutes so you can handle it without burning your fingers, then cut each half into quarters and scoop the flesh out with a metal spoon.
(This picture is a little darker because I didn't have my light on over my stove, but that flesh is still as orange as can be...check it out.)
Put all of that flesh in a big bowl and just stand there being proud of yourself for a moment.  Gorgeous right? 
Just so you know why you are doing this...take a spoon and taste your pumpkin at this point.  Roasting your pumpkin this way brings out the natural sugars in it and it is so good!  Just so you know, I do not recommend the method of boiling pumpkin in water to puree it.  Pumpkin is already loaded with water and your puree will be too thin and runny.  (If you do have water in this big bowl of pumpkin, dump it in a colander and let is sit for a few minutes.)
At this point, you are ready to puree your pumpkin.  Some recipes will tell you to use a blender and some say a food processor.  Because I love you...I'm going to show you both.  I started out using my blender.  Just push "puree".
I did the other half with my food processor, which is about 25 years old and still works like a dream, so I just can't replace it with something new and fancier yet.
Both of these methods worked well, but I think I prefer the food processor.  The blender made more of a thin puree which is perfect for soups and recipes where you want to stir in some pumpkin.  The food processor gave me more of an "applesauce" texture, which is what you want for pies and breads.  It probably has something to do with the blades and diameter of the blender and you might be able to control that better by putting less in the blender.  I took a comparison picture for you.
You can see that the blender puree on the right is thinner and ran all the way to the edge of my ziploc bag, whereas the food processor puree on the left is a little thicker.  I made a little "FP" on the lower right corner of the bag of the food processor pumpkin so I'll know which is which when I want to use it.
I froze my puree in 2 Cup portions because that is about what most recipes call for when they say use a can of pumpkin.
I'd say 10 cups of pumpkin puree ought to get me through Thanksgiving, Christmas and the rest of winter!  I'll be sharing some awesome pumpkin recipes that you'll want to try for the upcoming holidays soon, but in the meantime, grab a pumpkin and make your own puree.  You'll be glad you did!
Oh....and that stem I told you to save?  My friend Kirby over at Kirb Apeal shared the easiest tutorial for a non-sewing girl like me and I'm going to use my pumpkin stem and Kirby's tutorial to make some of my Thanksgiving decor.  You can check her project out by clicking HERE.  In fact, I'm going to make 2 of them!  However, you don't really need a pumpkin stem...Kirby used a stick.  Everybody's got a stick, right?
Now...go start eyeing your pumpkins and pick one out to puree.  The baking season is almost upon us.  Speaking of cooking and recipes....don't forget that our Soups and Sandwiches link party is coming up over at the Inspiration Cafe.  Today, my dear friend Mel from Mellywood's Mansion is sharing a bit of Aussie Awesomeness over at the Inspiration Cafe.  Check it out by clicking HERE.

Linking up to....

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I had a party last Friday night.  A "Witches Nite Out" party.   I don't think I've ever had an all girl party before that didn't involve someone getting married or having a baby.  I wasn't sure if my friends would think I was just bizarre or what.  I had it at my local bar and the only stipulation was that you come dressed as a witch.
Seems my friends are as crazy as I am because they dressed up and then, they showed up.
My good friend and proprietress of the bar Marchelle.  She did an awesome job of decorating the bar and some tables just for us AND she dressed up and joined us! 
She also created a special shot for us that looked like blood and worked like a charm because it made us all think that we could suddenly sing!
 ....and dance....
There were some fabulous costumes without a doubt...
 My awesome sister-in-law is gorgeous no matter what she wears..
Me?...I went all out for the ugly witch look.....but I had great long hair for once!  Man I was flipping it all night long too!
But when it comes to witchy outfits,'s all about the stockings, the boots.....
and the shoes!!.....How about a close up of my good friend Krissy's fabulous Ruby Red Slippers, which as she says, she "managed to get back from that b*tch Dorothy just in time for this party". (She's a riot and I love her!)
A few guys tried to join us from time to time, but we made them put on witches hats and when we took their pictures, they didn't stay long........
(That would be my cute husband on the right here!)
Someone said we should have a picture of the back side of us.  When we all turned around my smart-mouthed husband said, "Anybody got a wide-angle lens?" at which point one of the witches became very bad....
I think I'll just leave you with that.  
(Well played Stayce!)

I'm so doing this again next year!

Friday, October 18, 2013


Did you know that there is a full moon tonight?  An October full moon means Witches Nite Out and I'm throwing a party!  I've had a lot of fun decorating for it and this is my favorite project.
Isn't she fabulous?  I told you earlier in the week that I saw this project "online" several years ago, long before I knew what a blog was.  I have no clue whose idea it was or what blog it came from, but I fell in love with it and every Halloween, I've wanted to make it.  Two years ago, I told my dear friend Judy about it and she even sewed the legs for me and still, I didn't get it assembled.  This year, I finally did it.  
I took my umbrella witch outside and hung it from a tree so you could get a good look at her, but if you hang her inside she looks like she's floating right down from the ceiling.  Her wickedly wispy tulle skirt moves with the slightest breeze and although it was pretty windy the day I took these pictures, I did manage to snap one while it was calm so you could see it a little better.
Here's the how-to just in case you want to "magik-one-up", as my friend Heather says.
You need a pair of legs.
Now I told you my awesome friend Judy made mine for me, and they are way better than my plan, which was to use some tights and stuff them inside a pair of kids boots.  I like her idea better.  Those curvy toes and high heels on the boots are just perfect!  I stuffed the legs with poly-fill.  In the above photo, you can see one stuffed and the other is not....because I was so excited to finally do this project that I realized that I had not taken a "before" pic of the legs.  Stuff em as tight as you can without ripping the seams.
You need an umbrella.  Mine came from the Dollar Store.  Open the umbrella and snip off the handle as close as you can just under the little catch that keeps it open.  I used some bolt cutters, but it was serious overkill...the handle is very thin and you could do it with wire snips.  Now wrap up that cut end with some electrical tape or duct tape because if you don't, you will cut yourself on that sharp end and you might say some swears.
Leave that huge open umbrella in the middle of the living room where it's in everyone's way for a couple of days, and then cut some tulle strips for her skirt.
After totally frustrating myself trying to cut flimsy, slippery tulle into strips and possibly saying some more swears, I called my friend Judy.  (She's like my craft guru hotline.)  Seems the solution is to fold it as best you can and then cut your strips with a rotary cutter.  Worked like a charm!
Make yourself a whole pile of them.....
I cut some long and some short to give her skirt a more raggedy effect.  There are 8 skeleton ribs on my umbrella and I attached 12 strips to each spine.  You do the math..I'm too lazy.  Attaching them was simple...just tie the strips onto the umbrellas skeleton ribs with a double knot because that tulle has a mind of it's own and you want it to stay put.  (FYI:  I had to google umbrella parts because I wasn't sure what those were called....skeleton ribs!..perfect for Halloween!)
The only thing left is to attach the legs to the umbrella.  I thought about this for a long time.  After leaving the legs and the open umbrella out in the living room where it was in everyone's way for one more day...I figured it out.  With the ordinary magic of zip-ties, I was able to get this umbrella witch hanging in no time.  I used two small zip-ties to close the top of the legs.  You could sew them closed if you want, but I didn't think it was worth getting my sewing machine out for.  Most of my regular readers already know that my sewing machine is possessed.  I call him Damien and I rarely let him out of his cabinet.  He has horns and he scares me.
I need an exorcist...seriously.
But I digress...I used a humongous sewing needle and some dental floss and just ran it through the top of both legs to hold them close together.
After the legs were secured together, I ran a medium sized zip-tie in between the witches legs (around the floss) and attached it to the umbrellas skeleton ribs in the center.  I used one more zip tie as hanger loop, just poked it up through top of the umbrella.  (Zip-ties are to me, what duct tape is to my husband.  Throw a few in your'd be surprised what you'll need them for!)
Now my Umbrella Witch is finished and ready for transport to the party.  Yep...I'm not having this party here in my home...I'm having it at my local bar.  I mean, it's Witches Nite Out after all.  The owner, Marchelle was kind enough to allow me to use her awesome bar as my party venue.  She's dressing up like a witch too.  She's giving us our own corner of the bar AND...I hear she created a special shot just for us!  So fun!!  What crazy, fun friends I have who will meet me at the bar tonight..all dressed like witches.  I'll share some pics if they're fit to post!  Here is one friend I'm looking forward to seeing.  Her name is Renee and she came out to my pumpkin patch dressed like a witch one year....
Isn't she awesome??!!  I wrote my second ever blog post about her and you can read it HERE if you are so inclined. a final note to this already too long post, I have a plan to cute my witch up just a little more, but...I wanted to get this post up and running so I could link it up to my good friend Mel's party over at Mellywood's Mansion.  It's a fun one and if you have a project you want to link up...head on over to the link at the bottom of this post.
Linking up to any of the fine parties listed HERE as well as....
Mellywoods Mansion

It's Fall Y'all 2013

Kitchen Table Art
Savvy Southern Style