The pumpkin was purchased. The intention, as with all other households who purchase a pumpkin in October was to design and carve.
It never happened.
There she sat. (Apparently it's okay to personify the pumpkin.)
I have to say, cutting through the traditionally large orange squash is my nemesis...it's right up there with sticking sharp pokey things in my eyes. Why? Well, because chances are good I'm going to end up sticking a sharp pokey thing in my hand. It's just awkward, you know?
More than my aversion to slicing large gourds, I can't stand seeing waste. So, Friday afternoon I took the plunge. Blood (sweat, and tears) free.
My third least favourite thing (next to cutting pumpkin and wasting anything) is piling a bunch of large, awkwardly sliced pieces into a pot (after having equally as awkwardly removed the thick skin), simmering for umpteen minutes (ah hem, some of us go a little savage with the heat and inevitably leave some sort of burnt mess), waiting for it all to cool, removing, blending, then cleaning all said items used to cook the beast.
This year, following the baby-food-making process familiar to us around here, I decided to give baking/roasting our pumpkin the old college try.
Fantastic and amazing, all rolled up into one orange chunked up pumpkin was the result.
Forty five minutes in a 400 degree oven on a pan with a teeny bit of water (only!) and the pumpkin's skin peeled right off. A potato masher in hand, I went to work. Minimal clean up (even less waste!) and I had myself a whack of pumpkin meat.
Don't think I didn't taste it.
Don't think it wasn't wonderful. There is nothing quite like a freshly roasted squash of any sort (and this, from a girl who is not a fan of squash as an overall rule).
While the seeds were roasting in the oven, I divided up the pumpkin meat...five, one cup (plus!) portions...enough for at least five loaves. Yum.
The next mountain to climb would be successfully finding and executing the creation of a delicious, healthy (!!!), easy to make loaf.
Say no more. In minutes I found this bad boy and with a little help from my 'whoa on the refined stuff' touch, it fit this family to a tee.
For anyone with the same aversion to the cancer-causing, blood-sugar-raising, wicked white stuff - what, too harsh? - feel free to use my tailored version below.
1/2 cup flour (white/whole wheat)*
1 cup spelt flour
2 tbsp sugar**
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (+) pumpkin puree***
1/2 cup olive oil (go easy)
1 tsp each nutmeg/cinnamon/all spice
Blend dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients with spices. Fold wet ingredients into dry and continue to fold just until all is blended and moist. The key is not to over mix.
Pop in preheated 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes. Voila. (Not only will you have one incredible loaf, your house will smell like Fall...and that in itself is worth the effort.)
A couple of keys...this recipe uses very moist ingredients so if the loaf is in the oven a couple extra minutes have no fear - it will still be good and moist! I will add flax or some other nutrition booster next time, now that I know how successfully manipulated this recipe really can be.
Now I'm off to see if there are any remaining pumpkins locally...because not only is this a cheaper-than-dirt way to help fill two (never full!) boys, but it's a fun way to satisfy the baker in some of us.
*I used spelt only for one of my loaves and it worked great! No dryness. No falling apart. Simply wonderful.
**I would hedge a bet that you could completely omit the sugar (seeing as I already cut it down from 1 full cup in the originally recipe and it still turned out fantastic). My loaves were taken to friends' places and I didn't want to shell shock them by drastically changing the recipe. I'll do this next time. Increase the spice content if it seems lacking...this will often make a huge difference without altering the (good!) nutritional value.
***I made this loaf with applesauce, thinking it would be of similar consistency (moisture) to pumpkin puree...and whaddya know, it is!