Monday, November 29, 2010

When You Wish Upon a Squash.......

Often life gives you just what you wish for....
I was reminded of this yesterday morning.
While driving to my clinic office I kept repeating in my head: "Remember to pick up a butternut squash on the way home", "Don't forget to buy a butternut squash". The squash was for a dish that I was going to prepare with a client coming to my home for her appointment. I walked into my office and there on my desk was a two foot long butternut squash! I was stunned by the surprise... and greedily wished I had been thinking of something a little more valuable! Hehe ! : )

But it was very valuable to me at that moment - it was really the only thing I needed at that time. And who knows, by not having had to rush into the grocery store between appointments, maybe I averted an accident of some kind. I like to think that it is bigger than just a butternut squash coincidence. It reaffirms  the power of thought in our lives - think positively and positive things happen; think negatively and you may more likely have a bad day - or at least perceive it as a bad day!
That is no secret!

Now, back to the butternut squash - this is an alternative to the usual methods of preparing this 'winter veggie'. It is fresh and pretty, and would be a lovely addition to a potluck Christmas party!

This recipe is from the cooking genius, Mark Bittman.  He is always coming up with simple, real and delicious ideas!


1 small - medium butternut squash ( I grated just half of my humongous one and had enough for several days!)

generous sprinkling of dried cranberries or raisins

1/4 cup, or so, olive oil

2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar)

1 tbsp, or more, freshly grated ginger

dash of freshly ground salt and pepper

Be careful when cutting the butternut squash - it can be tricky! I like to cut off the bulbous end from the neck and then half the bulbous portion and seed it. Then peel it with a sharp knife or a really good peeler.
Grate it with a food processor - so easy!

Combine the grated squash, dried cranberries, oil, vinegar and ginger in a large bowl.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss, taste and adjust seasonings.

* you could add walnuts or pine nuts to make it a light lunch salad as in the photo below.

Bella says:" Oh, wow, veggies, dried fruit and favourite.....NOT!"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Puddledock Farm Pumpkin Bars

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Now that you have that pumpkin puree in the fridge / freezer you can make this snacky pumpkin bar. I received the original recipe from my sister, Margaret , who lives on Puddledock Farm in Maine. That is not a typo - I know, you think it should be PuddleDUCK, but no... it is PuddleDOCK...perhaps Margaret will comment on the significance of PuddleDOCK. Stay tuned!

The original recipe called for white flour and contained MUCH  more sugar and oil. It also had a cream cheese frosting and was aptly called Pumpkin Cake. I have taken the liberty to change the recipe drastically while still producing a moist, flavourful cake-like bar. I also changed the name from cake to bar because of the healthier connotation to the word 'bar'. And to add the title 'PuddleDOCK' as a nod to its origin. So, yes, I changed the name and the ingredients of my sister's recipe - but I wouldn't change a thing about the amazing person, Margaret! Except that I wish she lived closer to me!!

These are very popular in our home and disappear remarkably fast- but that is o.k. - we have lots of pumpkin puree! Feel free to substitute all or some of the honey for maple syrup, and to increase the cinnamon or to add ginger or nutmeg to intensify flavours.


4 eggs
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups pureed pumpkin
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp (or more) cinnamon
dash salt

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the honey, olive oil and pureed pumpkin.

In a medium bowl whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Blend completely. (In the photo below, I am adding extra cinnamon.)

Pour onto a cookie sheet with sides - approx. 12 inch by 16 inch by 1 inch.

(You can use parchment paper if desired)
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Watch it disappear!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pureed Pumpkin for Soups, Muffins, Custard, Smoothies, Cookies, Pies,..........

Pumpkin Carving Party!
Sing the following to the tune of the much loved East Coast bar song: "What do you do with a drunken sailor":
Mike surprised me by not knowing the tune!!! I am afraid he is not quite yet a true bluenoser!  I think it was part of the music curriculum when I was in elementary school! Here is the link to the song:

Here we go:

"What do you do with an orange pumpkin, what do you do with an orange pumpkin, what do you do with an orange pumpkin early in the mornin....."

Cut it in half and seed the pumpkin, cut it in half and seed the pumpkin, cut it in half and seed the ......o.k., o.k., I know when to stop...or do I??

I love to have pureed pumpkin in the freezer to make muffins, cookies, soups, smoothies, etc! The taste is so much purer and fresher than the canned versions. And pumpkins are a healthy addition to the diet. The bright orange colour is a giveaway of its high carotenoid content ;  antioxidants that decrease the risk of certain cancers and heart disease and help delay the aging process! Bring it on!!

Pureed Pumpkin

Use the small Pie Pumpkins.
Carefully cut them in half and remove the seeds

Place them cut side down on a cookie sheet with a small rim and bake at 350 for about 45 min - 60 min. They are cooked when a fork pierces the skin and flesh easily.

Let them cool for a bit - then scoop out the flesh. Put the flesh in a food processor.
Puree until smooth.
You can use the fresh puree now; just as you would canned pumpkin in a recipe.

 I like to freeze them in 2 cup portions in freezer -friendly bags. Thaw shortly before using in a recipe.

Would you like the recipes for healthy pumpkin bars and pumpkin smoothies? Leave a comment for me below and I will see what I can do!