Making a Pumpkin Roll From Scratch

So as you know we harvested a lovely pumpkin a few days ago.   I didn’t want it to go bad.. so I decided to put it in our bellies and bake with it.  So a pumpkin roll is born!

First thing, 1. I’ve never made  a pumpkin roll, 2. I’ve never baked a pumpkin or actually used a pumpkin we harvested for eating.  So it was alot of firsts today.

I found this recipe and headed to the super market after googling things like “How do I bake a pumpkin?” “How do I make pumpkin puree?” “What is pumpkin spice?” “What kind of pumpkins can you bake?”.  I’m going to be up honest with you,  this pumpkin roll was amazing.   Have you ever  made something so good that you were just like “Damn, did I just do that?”.  Well that’s how I felt.  I feel like I can have bake sales on my street now.  Maybe not that far.. but really, it’s that good.

This is going to be a long post, there’s alot of steps, but ITS WORTH IT.

You’re going to start here:

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And end here:

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Let’s Get Baking!

Mac and Cheese

I love mac and cheese, it’s one of my favorite foods.

Last night at around 2am for my nightly snack (that we eat while reading in bed), I asked Matthew for some mac and cheese.  He told me to get out of the kitchen and go in the bedroom and wait. 

TADA! Amazing.  This is what he whipped up in 20 minutes.. it was delicious!

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Coriander

Today I ripped up the cilantro plants after I let them go bad.  Why?  Because cilantro turns into coriander, a yummy herb! 

I was at the grocery store this morning in the spice section and saw each of these little packets for $4.

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So let’s harvest our own!

After the cilantro turns brown, flops over and turns into seed – then it’s coriander time.  When should you pick? The coriander should be brown and the seeds should almost fall off in your hand when you rub the plant.

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Then you’re going to sit on the ground and remove the seeds.  I heard you can put them in a paper bag and shake it too.  The smell is amazing!

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Xanadu and Essy were all over at me this time too.. not sure why but Essy wanted to rub her cheeks in it.

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Then place your coriander seeds in a jar.  You can keep them whole or grind it if you want.   When you’re ready to use, just take some out and spice away!

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Pumpkin, AKA, “You should make this post title “The greatest day of 2011””

So today we picked our first rooftop garden grown pumpkin! Smiles all across.  I have the pumpkin in my arms and might sleep with it tonight.

It started from this:

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Then to this:

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Then to this:

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And then I pollinated early in the morning:

Up at 6:30am pollinating pumpkins.

Then we got this:

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And today we have this beautiful guy:

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Anything is possible!!!!!! <3 <3 <3

Pumpkins

So this is our pumpkin we grew! It’s basically ready to be picked.. I just don’t know what to do with it yet!
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I know you’re thinking – it’s July! But don’t worry, we will still (hopefully) have Halloween Pumpkins too  because we just started seedlings…

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All 4 of them came up.  We are growing 2 Jack-O-Lanterns and 2 small sugar pumpkins.

 

Can't stop expanding...

So that sent us back to Home Depot to expand again as we wanted these pumpkins to be container based as well.  Our potting mix has been out of stock for the past 2 weeks so we’ve been obsessively checking everyday online for their stock.  Yesterday it was back in stock! This cart basically broke btw, we had to switch.

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Making the containers..

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Watering the containers for the first time  (hello Mr. Watermelon trying to peek into the frame).

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All planted.. Grow strong little pumpkins!

Homemade Tomato Soup

I love tomato soup (LOVE LOVE LOVE) but I always buy premade or in a can soup.  So with all our tomatoes, I decided to finally make a proper homemade tomato soup.

Alot of recipes call for crushed canned tomatoes, but it’s summer and I wanted to use our fresh tomatoes, so I did that instead.

The recipe I’m using comes from here but with my changes below.  Also the amounts below equal about 3 servings.

 

28 oz of tomatoes – this equaled for me 3 beef tomatoes and 5 romas (I guessed)

1 cup chicken broth

8 fresh basil leaves, minced

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup milk

3 tablespoons butter

 

So like I said, most recipes just list canned tomatoes so now we have to take our fresh tomatoes and get them to that point. Extra work? Yes.  Worth it?  Definitely!

So first we need to blanch the tomatoes – blanching consists of boiling the tomatoes for a small amount of time and then quickly putting them in ice water – this makes their skin peel off easily!

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Clean your tomatoes and say hello to them.

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Cut X’s on the bottom of every tomato, also cut off the top stem.

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Put in boiling water – for about 1 minute.

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Spoon each one out and put it in ice water immediately. Leave them in here for a minute.

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Where you cut the X, your tomato skin will peel off.. see.. amazing, no?

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My tomatoes, feeling naked…  Compost those skins too. :)

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So now let’s get these tomatoes crushed.  You can do many ways here – you can use a blender, potato blender, but I like my food chopper.  So I cut a few tomatoes up and put them in here.

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Chop for a few seconds until this.

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Repeat until all the tomatoes are done.  So now we got our crushed tomatoes.. let’s begin!!

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Pour chicken broth (I use bouillon cubes) into tomatoes – bring to a boil.

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Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

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While it’s simmering, let’s collect our basil.  I walk a few feet to our basil plant. :)   Take a minute and enjoy the smell.

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Then mince the basil. 

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Once it’s done simmering, add your sugar and basil. Stir it up.

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Add your milk and butter, crank it up to medium heat.

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Stir until all ingredients are blended, what you got here is tomato soup!

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Put in bowl, garnish with extra basil leaves if you want.

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Serve with grilled cheese because there’s no combination better than that.

Enjoy!! :)

Dinner Tonight

Matthew made this meal tonight and it was amazing.  I did help though by making the salsa…

We get some chicken breasts, marinate them with Italian vinaigrette overnight.  Then fry them up, put some fresh salsa on them.  Then serve fresh vegetables on the side.

SO GOOD!

We also can’t have a meal without some type of tomato…

Salsa:

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Pick some roma tomatoes.

 

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Roma Tomatoes + Green/Orange Peppers + Cilantro + Red Pepper Flakers + Salt/Pepper.   I use my Black & Decker food chopper so  much, an amazing purchase.

 

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Chop up for a few seconds. I like it so it’s not that  mushy.

 

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Serve on chicken. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

Garden Besides Tomatoes

It’s been hard to type the last few days, us being avalanched by a mountain of tomatoes and all.. but more about that later.

Other parts of the garden:

 

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Our watermelon starting out! So cute.  This was July 12th!

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This was July 17th!

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I’m pretty sure I’ll be picking this pumpkin in the next week..

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The beautiful scarlet runner beans. It’s been super hot here the last few days (and upcoming) so the beans haven’t started yet..

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We planted more carrots..

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The sugar snap peas crop is done.  I’d say we got about 400-500 sugar snap peas just from a few seeds – it’s been beyond our expectations.  We are going to have some for dinner tonight.  So we ripped this out and what did we do.. planted more sugar snap peas!

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We had a crazy rain storm last week, so we used the roof water for our rain barrel (it gets filtered with screen/funnels).

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We had a big rainbow too!