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Cinderella Pumpkin ‘Rouge Vif d’Etampes’

January 26th, 2009

The Cinderella Pumpkin ‘Rouge Vif d’Etampes’ is a beautiful French heirloom pumpkin. It first became available in the U.S. in 1883. It is a deep orange pumpkin with pronounced ribs and is quite flat. I can see why Cinderella used it as a coach to get to the ball, it truly is a lovely pumpkin!
I bought this one at our local farmer’s market this past fall. The lady that runs the farm said they make the best pumpkin pies, and since Mr Chiots and I love pumpkin pies I bought it.
This pumpkin was so beautiful I was reluctant to cut it up. It graced our dining room for the past several month. This past Saturday I decided it was time; the momentous occasion was Mr Chiot’s birthday. So out came the butcher knife and that was the end of our beautiful pumpkin.
Carving a whole pumpkin is a bit of a task. It’s definitely much easier to use a can opener to get your pumpkin purée, but this is much tastier and it’s local!
So into the oven it went. After it was baked and cooled I got out the old Squeezothat my mom lent me. This food mill has been used for years in our family. As kids we always thought making applesauce was fun, just because of the Squeezo.
I ended up with a huge bowl of pumpkin purée, much more than I would have been able to purchase canned for $3. I only needed 30 oz for my recipe, so I’ll freeze the rest for soup or muffins or perhaps another pie (the pets are also enjoying some of it mixed with butter).
I settled on a recipe from Use Real Butter because it called for freshly ground spices and cream. I happened to have some cream I skimmed from our local milk and pastured eggs from the local farm, so besides the spices it’s almost an all local pie. It has a lighter more custard like consistency than most pumpkin pies, and the freshly ground spices just put it over the top. It’s been a big hit here at Chiot’s Run. I’ve used freshly roasted pumpkins in pies before, and I must say, this is by far the best tasting pumpkin purée I’ve ever had.
I also love that her recipe is crustless. I’ve always made my pumpkin pies sans crust, there’s just sometime about that soggy crust I don’t like. I would much rather have a few crushed gingersnaps on top of my pumpkin pie that a soggy crust underneath.
I made sure I saved the seeds from this pumpkin so I could try to grow a few in my gardens. How great would these be gracing my front hillside! I am in the habit of saving seeds from things I buy as long as they are heirloom open pollinated plants. I even made up my own seed packets to put them.

Anyone else saving seeds from things they buy to grow in their gardens?

A Little Something Random

January 25th, 2009

This winter I’ve been going through my iPhoto and getting rid of all the duplicate, blurry and bad photos. I generally delete all the bad ones when I import photos, but sometimes I’m too busy. So far I’ve deleted over 2000 and I’m about a third of the way through. I still have 6500 photos in there (I know that’s a ton, but 30% of them are work related). It’s been fun reliving all those past moments, we’ve laughed at so many things we’d forgotten about. While going through I found some funny random photos I thought I’d share.
A couple years ago I had all of my dad’s old slides digitized. This gem was among them, me and my big sister in our super cool sunglasses. This photo is one in a series of 4 with us making different faces. Priceless!
Mr Chiots and I at Disney. We don’t have children, we actually went with my parents several years ago. We took this photo for our nieces who are big fans of the Disney Princesses.
Where’s Susy? Mr Chiots and I found this tree while hiking in the Smokies many years ago.
It’s a good thing I wear a hat to protect against skin cancer, it also protects against other things. We also took this photo for our nieces when we were at the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida.
Our car packed to the gills before one of our camping trips.
When we first got our cats as kittens 5 year ago they were afraid of Lucy, but one day Samson made up to her and we found him sleeping next to her. From that point on they’ve been fast friends! The cats even used to sleep on top of her.
Lucy’s not a big swimmer, even though she’s part lab. Occasionally we throw her in the lake so she can take a swim.
While at Longwood Gardens we really enjoyed the topiary garden. I’ll never have these in the gardens here at Chiot’s Run, but they’re kind of fun!
Tourist places always have funny stuff. This giant rocking chair is in the Smokies.
Lucy has always sat weird, we call it her kickstand.
Our New Year’s celebration photo from several years ago.
Cats sure know how to keep warm!

This is why we take so many photos; to relive all these fun moments you don’t think about and sometimes can’t even remember till you see the photo. With ditigal cameras it does often add up to too many photos.

Do you make it a habit to get rid of digital clutter?

Relaxing with a Cup of _________?

January 24th, 2009

I’m a huge fan of hot beverages; tea, coffee, hot chocolate, pretty much anything as long as it’s piping hot. While coffee is my first love, and not just any coffee mind you. Mr Chiots is an accomplished barista. He can make a latte or cappuccino much better than any I’ve ever had in a coffee shop.
Coffee is my morning hot beverage of choice. In the morning there’s nothing better than a latte to wake me up.
Late morning, afternoon and evening however my hot beverage of choice is herbal tea. I love a good cup of herbal tea with local honey. There are so many different kinds of herbal teas, chamomile to help you sleep, mint to wake you up, ginger for a headache, or elder to boost your immunity.
While I would love to grow all my own herbs and mix my own herbal teas, I just don’t have the time right now. Freija over at Grow the Change grows & mixes her own herbal teas. My favorite brand of tea is Traditional Medicinals. Their teas are made with organic herbs and they use sustainable power for their manufacturing. Their view of sustainability:

All things are interdependent; our health and well being rely on the health and well being of the planet. Good stewardship of the earth’s precious natural resources, both human and natural, is a cornerstone of our business philosophy. We want to leave a legacy of preservation and sustainability for generations to come.

Whether it’s our commitment to using organic herbs, off-setting our electricity use with solar and wind power, utilizing recycled paper in our packaging or seeking out partnerships for sustainable herb sources, we go to great lengths to bring you reliable herbal products.

I don’t have a brand of sustainable coffee yet. My dad brings us our coffee from Colombia when he travels back every 6 months (that counts as local doesn’t it?). I’ll be looking for one soon though.

What about you? Coffee or Tea? (take the poll)

Piling Up

January 23rd, 2009

The snow’s piling up around here. For the past couple weeks we’ve been getting snow every couple days. We get an inch here and an inch there. We’ve probably had 18 inches total, but it’s packed down a bit.
It keeps piling higher and higher on my bird bath planter. With the forecasted temperature going up to 40 it’s going to start melting away today. That’s too bad.
We’re getting to the end of our snow season here in Ohio. The month of February is usually a dreary month, cold dark days with no snow; kind of depressing. I guess the seed starting and planning my summer garden should keep my spirits up.
Snuggling with cats is another way to brighten your day. Lucy is figuring this out while she’s on bed rest. Samson loves to come in and snuggle with her to cheer her up.
What do you do during these deary cold winter months to keep your spirits up?

Off With His Head

January 22nd, 2009

I’m a HUGE fan of gingerbread men. It’s about the only kind of cookie I like. My mom makes the most fantastic gingerbread men, she always sends a bunch home with me when she makes them.
When it comes to eating gingerbread men, everyone has their own way of doing it. I like to jump in and eat the head first (that way they can’t feel it when you eat their arms & legs).

My mom sent over the recipe in case anyone is interested.

1 1/2 (or 12 ounces) cups dark molasses *I use blackstrap
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup cold water
1/3 cup butter
1 egg
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons allspice
4 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Mix molasses, brown sugar, water and butter. Mix in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 350. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick on floured* board. Cut with floured cookie cutter. Place about 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake until no indentation remains when touched, 10 to 12 minutes; cool. *If you like chewy cookies use confectioners sugar instead of flour.

Note: Can roll dough 1/2 inch thick and cut with 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter. Place about 1 1/2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake about 15 minutes.

What about you, head, arms or legs first?

Seeds and Sundries
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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.