Our pumpkin twins

As you know, my MIL made it to town and we took an evening to carve up these beauties we snagged from a local pumpkin patch…

Hubs and I tag-teamed the bugged-eyed one and Betsy created the adorable Jill-o-lantern; with a bow in her hair and all!

I grin every time I see these pumpkin twins sitting out on my patio – how could you not?

Anyone else carve out some time to play with pumpkins?

Get In My Belly: Spiced Glaze

I’m sorry for inundating you with more recipes but this one is quick, festive and pairs very nicely with my all time favorite recipe, The Best Pumpkin Bread Ever.  I found it here while perusing Pinterest and decided it wouldn’t hurt to add a little spice to my life, you know?

Ingredients:

  • 1 c + 3 Tbs powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 1/4  tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ginger
  • 1 pinch ground cloves

Instructions:

1.  Mix everything together.  If I can do this, you can too.

I got maaaaad props when I drizzled this glaze over the pumpkin bread and brought it to a party.  I love it when that happens.

Since this post needs a picture and I don’t have one of the actual glaze, here’s a pic of a pile of pumpkins.  Helpful, huh?

Get In My Belly: Special Chili

This is the twisted chili recipe that I promised you last month.  It’s smokey and spicy and meat-y.  Go forth and crockpot stuff!

Obviously, it was stolen from allrecipes.com because I would never be creative or daring enough to make this up on my own.

Ingredients (serves 8):

  • 2 onions (we used wild ones from our garden!), chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced.  We’re so classy that we use the real stuff now!
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1lb of beef tenderloin (yuuum), but we’re lazy and just used extra ground beef
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can/bottle of dark beer (!)
  • 1 cup strongly brewed coffee (!)
  • 2 (6oz) cans of tomato paste
  • 1 (14oz) can of beef broth
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 Tbs cumin seeds (we used ground and way less of it)
  • 1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder (!)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cans kidney beans
  • 4 fresh hot chili peppers, seeded and chopped (optional)

Other throw ins: sweet corn and chopped green bell pepper.

Instructions:

1. Brown the meat with garlic, onions, and green peppers (if you added them).

2.  Throw everything into a crockpot on low for a few hours.  EASY, right?

3.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top and a side of cornbread!

Friday Tidbits

Cross country season is coming to a close and I’m sad to see it go.  I’ve had the pleasure of coaching side by side with this young lady (also from the Midwest) and let me tell you, she runs FAST.  I’d ask her to be my morning running buddy, but we both know that’s not going to happen.  She said we could still be friends, even so.

Another tidbit, I pulled out what little fall decor I have – remember these guys?

Next up, to pick up some real pumpkins!

How are you getting your “Fall” on?

The Book Nook

It’s true, I really can read!

THE BOOK: The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

My feeble thoughts: This book come with many honors and I am not surprised.  It’s the story of a Dominican family, with a chubby romantic named Oscar at its center, that immigrates to Brooklyn to escape the horrors of their homeland.  They are kind of lost folks (cursed, some may claim), no matter where they try to live.  It was eye opening, being that I’ve played on the beautiful beaches of the Dominican Republic, to read more of the country’s gnarly history of oppression, violence, and poverty.  The book’s voice(s) and the writing – with massively long footnotes – are undoubtably unique,  but I had a few issues with it.  First, the Spanglish, although endearing, was frustrating for me.  My eight grade Spanish knowledge was useful about 10% of the time.  There would be entire sentences that I did not understand.  I usually read before bed too, so there was no way I was going to hop online to try and translate any of it.  It also references lots of sci-fi movies/shows/books and role-playing games, a majority of which I didn’t get (and I think most people wouldn’t either).  I felt left out, plain and simple.  Also, the title implies that the book is about Oscar, but frankly, I didn’t really feel like I got to know him all that well.  The book jumps from character to character in Oscar’s life, narrated by different people (but not consistently) and I found it a little difficult to fully dive in and root for Oscar.  This doesn’t give anything away: a narrator emerges late into the book and you don’t know this, but he is actually a character from other writings by Junot Diaz, named Yunior.  I kept thinking, WHO IS THIS GUY?  Anyway, I was not Wilde (that’s a sneaky reference to the title) about it but it was not bad, not bad at all.

Grade: B

Would I recommend it to a stranger on the bus (trying to make his way home)? Yeah, probably, especially if they are bilingual or of Dominican heritage.

What I am reading now: As you rightfully assumed, I still haven’t finished Getting Things Done (oh, the irony) but I’m currently reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, which comes highly recommended by the Hubs.  So far, it’s very good!