Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tales of a Pumpkin

I'm really behind on all of my Halloween posts. I have been blog-absent and I apologize. But I wanted to share this one nugget of information that I discovered this year. Pumpkins and me do not mix.

We headed out to Niagara County to buy a pumpkin in mid-October. As it turned out it was pretty raining and the farm we went to was pretty much picked out. So we headed to Harris's Farm which had a great supply. Maddie loved picking out her pumpkin.

In fact for days afterward, she hugged it and told me "I love Pumpkin."

We carved our pumpkin a little too early I guess. Rule #1: when you live in an apartment that is warm, carve your pumpkin the night before Halloween. We did not.

Here I am carving the pumpkin -- this was apparently just an activity for me. As much as Maddie looks interested in this picture, her interest was short lived.

Two days before Halloween, our pumpkin had liquified. And thus by Halloween, we had no Jack-o-latern.

Part two of our pumpkin debacle involved my favorite part of Halloween: PUMPKIN SEEDS!!

Let's just say this. Don't leave pumpkin seeds in an open container on a shelf that you frequently use. Don't do it twice. Or you will eat no pumpkin seeds this year.


Normally, I don't go in for Halloween, but with a little one I've actually been pretty into it this year. I even went all out for some crafty decorations. And at the last minute as I caught sight of a Toys R Us catalog I decided to make these:

I saw a picture of those little Ugly Dolls and thought, "Hey, I can do that." And then I thought it was perfect for Halloween. So I whipped these up from some spare felt, thinking Maddie would enjoy them. Instead she tried to pull off their eyes and said, "No Ghosties!" Ah, well. They'll keep until next year.

These little ghosties were courtesy of a Pinterest post (I'd love to link it, but I apparently never pinned it). Maddie had a ball making them. Can you pick out which ones she made? Then of course she spent days filling each one with crayons and rocks, which is why if you look closely, these are multi-color speckled ghosties.

And they're perfectly at home underneath a little spider web...

But this is my favorite picture of all time. Maddie and I made some cutout bats and scaredy cats for our window. Can you tell which one is the real cat and which one is the cutout? (Give you a hint, the real one is fat.)

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Taste of Fall

For me, October is less about Halloween and more about Fall food. I've been pretty busy cooking some of the recipes I've found on Pinterest lately. But the other day I decided to try something new.

Buffalo is pretty big on sweet potato fries... And that got me thinking: what if I made Butternut Squash Fries?

(Somehow these photos always look so much more appealing on my iPhone. I really need to get a new camera!)

So I made French Dip (recipe found here through Pinterest) with a side of Butternut Squash Fries.

I'm not a big fry person and I've never made them from scratch before. I experimented a little and I'm sure a better cook would know the best way to actually fry these-- I ended up baking them.

To try it for yourself just seed and cut up one butternut squash. I chose to cut them into very thin matchsticks. Toss them in olive oil (about 1-2 tablespoons, you want them pretty oily or they'll stick) and spread thinly on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees, turning occasionally until browned (about 20 minutes). Sprinkle with kosher salt immediately after you take them out of the oven. Delicious!

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Monday, October 24, 2011

No Picky Eaters Here!

A little while ago I noticed that Maddie was snacking more on cheese than the fruits and veggies that she will actually eat if I remind her. So I came up with this idea to give her a little visual reminder and put some choices out there. (By the way, I'm in love with felt lately, in case you can't tell...)

Fruits (and a few veggies) from clockwise from left to right: broccoli, strawberry, orange slice, peach, pear, raspberry, blueberry, banana, grapes, apple, tomato.

Veggies, clockwise, from left to right: squash, corn, tomato, green beans, beet, peas, carrot, broccoli.

These were super easy. I just cut out two of each shape, sewed them together in a nothing-fancy stitch with a craft magnet in between layers (although you could probably hot glue a magnet to the back -- I just felt safer sandwiching it). Some of the fruits and vegetables I got a little creative with and made a little bit of detailing. But for the most part, I kept it simple.

Now I put the fruits and veggies that we have on the fridge for Maddie to play with and remind her to grab them for a snack -- which actually does work! And I stash the ones we don't have up on top of the fridge to remind me to pick them up.

So far, Maddie seems to like them!

If you want to try this for yourself, feel free to use these patterns (but really their nothing special):

Ok, and now you also know the truth: those fruits and veggies also cover up the stickers I've scrapped off my fridge.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Summer is officially over...

You know summer is over when you take a picture like this:

We went to Kopeka this weekend and Maddie wanted to go throw rocks one more time. The lake was all churned up and the wind was blowing. Always a little sad to say goodbye to our lake, but a powerful sight to be sure.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pear Gruyere Pie

Ah, doesn't that just sound so rhymey and delectable? Well, it is. So there.

Fall is upon us, it seems, and that meant a recent trip to a farm stand near Kopeka. I had intentions of making an apple pie, but the I also bought a ton of pears... And I started thinking of Pushing Daisies.

[Side note, that was seriously an awesome show! While I'm mainly a plot-hooked person, that show was visually stunning-- more so in the first season. Seriously, Netflix that baby and note that each scene has a two-three color scheme AND a geometric/pattern theme that permeates everything from costumes to scenery. Fascinating.]

Anyway, Chuck used to make a Pear Gruyere pie. I'm not usually a pie making person but I decided to experiment a la the old "Pie Hole." And I came up with this recipe.

Now I should mention, this started off seeming to not be a day for pie making. First I realized I was almost out of flour. Which meany my pie crust was a little moist, and had to be hand pressed. Someone kept eating all my pears (seriously she ate them faster than I could peel them!) I was out of nutmeg. And my pie dripped onto the bottom of my oven (yuck, but those drippings joined many others so at least they aren't lonely). But voila!

Pear Gruyere Pie

2cups flour (I blended whole wheat and regular bleached flour, as I was out!)
8 Tbsp butter, cold and chopped
4-5 Tbsp cold water
Pinch of salt
3-4 oz of shredded Gruyere

(Mix by hand, adding a little more water if needed.chill dough for about 30 minutes, then divide and roll into two crusts.)

Peel and dice pears (I used Bartlett)
Toss with A splash of lemon juice

In a separate bowl, combine a few handfuls of granulated sugar, pumpkin pie spice (or just nutmeg if you have it!) and 2 Tbsps butter. Sprinkle in with your pears and toss to coat.

Assemble the pie (I use a glass pie pan and just spray it with cooking spray to be safe.) Cut the top of the crust to vent, and sprinkle all over with about 3 oz of grated Gruyere.

Bake at 375 degrees (with a baking sheet underneath...) for about an hour or until bubbly delicious.

Enjoy and as you do chew away the bitterness of ABC's cancellation of Pushing Daisies.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011


Today, Mom took Maddie and I to the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls. I haven't been there since it opened in the 1990s. Seriously this place is awesome! And 2 1/2 is the perfect age. Perfect.

The butterflies are just beautiful. Sadly this is one place where my iPhone camera just wasn't sufficient. I really wanted so many pictures that I just couldn't get. And as you'll notice in these pictures, the butterflies are not easy to see.

But first, let me tell you that in order to go, you must bring:


It makes it much easier to search for those butterflies.

"Butterfly! Right dare!"

There were butterflies everywhere, and of every shape, size and color. (again this does no justice!)

Did you know butterflies eat oranges?

We all had butterflies land on us:

And Miss Maddie attracted a black and white polka dot one who wanted to say hi. ("Right dare! Right dare!")

And luckily Grandma got us a butterfly to take home:

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mommy's Prince

This week, I had to work a lot which has one benefit -- daddy-daughter time. Maddie had this conversation with Rob at the slides one day:

M: I'm a princess.
R: who's your prince?
M: Robert.
R: Then who's Mommy's prince?
M: Um, Paul.
R: Who's Paul?
M: Paul takes Mommy on slides.

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