Tag Archives: Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkins and Poetry

My great-grandma, Dixie Lee Gabbard, enjoyed writing poetry throughout her life. Many years ago, my grandma worked with others in the family to publish a collection of her poems in a little booklet, “By-Paths By Dixie Foot-log and Other Poems.” Before these were published in this booklet, some of the poems were read on a radio program on KGRH in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and one of them was published in a newspaper in California.

A couple of years ago, when I was processing a pumpkin for freezing the pulp for pies and pumpkin bread throughout the year, I decided I’d try planting some of the seeds since some had already begun to sprout inside the pumpkin.

I was disappointed when nothing sprouted after about 7 days and I stopped watering and checking the seeds. But around the 2 week mark, I visited my little plot of dirt and was astonished to see a great number of little seedlings pushing up the earth. I couldn’t bear to throw away any little plants, so I transplanted them, and took many little seedlings to church to share with my friends.

My little pumpkin seedlings ready to share

I kept a couple plants for myself, but they soon became too big for the area I had to work with and I had to give up on them. But, my friend shared her seedlings with her grandchildren, and they enjoyed great success with their plants.

A proud pumpkin-grower

The children were thrilled with the results of their efforts when the time came to process their pumpkins.

Processing the Pumpkin Pulp

Many, many pies could be made with all the pumpkin they produced. They also had fun carving some.

More Pumpkin Fun

I became known to the children as “Grandma’s Pumpkin Friend.”

This experience of multiplied fun with pumpkins reminded me of one of my great-grandma’s poems, “Growing.”

GROWING

Last fall, a neighbor gave to us
A pumpkin from his field
When he had gathered in his crop
And counted up his yield.

Now when I cooked that pumpkin
I tossed both peel and seeds
Quite thoughtlessly and carelessly
Into a patch of weeds.

We gave the shell to children
To enjoy on Hallow e’en
And shared the pulp with neighbors
For tasty cuisine.

And so this fall imagine
Our delight and great surprise
To find three nice ripe pumpkins there
And each of ample size.

Here’s proof a friendly gesture,
Kind word, or even food
Can grow, produce and multiply
And do a world of good!

My great-grandma’s poem reminds me of these verses:

Galatians 6:9-10, NASB

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

This year, I’m trying to prepare for the busy cooking time of the year in advance. I noticed that my sister-in-law, Amy, from whom I received the original gluten-filled pumpkin bread recipe, often freezes breads in advance to make meal preparation easier during busy times. I’ve frozen our pumpkin bread recipe before, too, and was satisfied with the results, so this year, I’m beginning to prepare now for the busy months ahead. For the recipe for Amy’s Pumpkin Bread, see page 108 of A Recipe for Survival.

The bread remains moist even after freezing as long as very little air is in the packaging with the bread.

Our favorite gluten-free pumpkin bread

I started with my full-sized loaves and cut them into smaller portions that would work for a 1-2 day supply for Brody’s lunches.

Wrapping up tasty pumpkin bread

I wrapped the bread in BPA-free press ‘n’ seal and then aluminum foil, and then sealed it in a zip-loc bag to ensure that the foil would not be unwrapped due to the shuffling that occurs in our freezer as we rummage for different items.

Ready for freezing pumpkin bread!

Now we can enjoy fresh-tasting bread over a longer period of time!

Thanksgiving Part II

We are thankful for a special day set aside to help us focus on thanking our Lord for His work in our lives! Today, we are thankful to have the energy to exercise. When I was single, I sometimes would try to get back into the routine of walking and running regularly, but without another person to hold me accountable, I never kept up with the idea very well. Now that Brody is willing to help me keep going, we are increasing our walking and jogging. I am thankful, too, for how he helps me be accountable in my spiritual walk. When I am prone to being worked up into a lather about various difficulties, he often helps me refocus on God’s plan from eternity past and how He is working it out (Psalm 33:10-11).

 As Christmas approaches, I am thankful for the soothing sounds coming from the piano as Brody practices several beautiful Christmas songs. On Thanksgiving Day, Brody and I enjoyed a good time with Grandma and Ole and then we also visited Quaker Gardens in Stanton that afternoon. The residents were pleased with Brody’s piano concert of Thanksgiving and Christmas songs, and we enjoyed spending part of the day with them. We never thought Brody might be able to earn a little extra income from his piano playing! We are thankful for the many different ways the Lord provides for us, and we praise Him for His kindness in choosing a pleasant way for Brody to earn the extra income.

 I am also thankful for our Thanksgiving meal turning out well! This year, my turkey turned out the best ever. I cooked it a couple of days before Thanksgiving, and this time, I took a more simple approach. I combined some herbs, spices and butter and spread them over the turkey. Instead of opening the oven regularly to baste the bird, I left it alone. Since I had one of my debilitating headaches, I stumbled around in pain for most of the afternoon, and forgot about the turkey in the oven! By the time I remembered the turkey was in there, the little red “pop-up” indicator had popped up and Brody and I agreed that the bird looked well-cooked. As I removed it from the pan for its photo shoot, a wing came off, and I figured that was another indicator that the meat was cooked through. This was such an improvement over last year’s result! (Last year, the turkey didn’t cook completely. The year before that, I made a stuffing that used the giblets, and decided I’d never do THAT again! I tried some other ideas for the giblets this year, and I’ll share them later.)

 I was particularly pleased with my first attempt at gluten-free dressing! Brody and I called Daddy and Candy for a pre-Thanksgiving chat a few days before Thanksgiving, and we caught her in the kitchen, preparing for the dressing she was making for (I think) 60 people. I quizzed her over the phone for her method of making stuffing, and decided I’d give it a try this year, making adjustments to make the dish gluten-free and Brody-safe. The result was wonderful!

 For the garnet yams and the green beans, I chose a simple method that I knew would work for Brody. I followed the Grandma’s Green Beans recipe from A Recipe for Survival (page 91), and for the yams, I steamed them and then simply reheated them with a bit of key lime juice, butter, salt and a slight drizzle of honey. The results were tasty side dishes without all the extra creamy and sugary additions often found on Thanksgiving tables – we felt good after eating – no pain from overeating nor from food disagreeing with us.

 The cranberry sauce turned out well, too! Using the relish dish from my great-grandma made it taste better … well, at least it made it look better! 🙂 It tasted really good, too. I’ll share that recipe eventually.

 The gravy was wonderful! I’m so excited about how everything turned out, that I haven’t decided yet which recipes I’ll save for a second book, (if the Lord wills) and which ones I’ll post now. I’m thankful for how our eating has improved over these 3 and ½ years! My initial recipes in 2009 kept us alive, but weren’t really worth repeating later as I learned more about cooking without wheat, rye, oats, barley, corn, potatoes and onions. I am thankful for the improvements over the years! Be encouraged – if you are struggling right now to find foods that work for you or your family member, keep on experimenting! In time, you’ll develop recipes that work for your family, too!

 Not pictured are the pumpkin pie and the crusty dinner rolls. In our household, the half-life of crusty dinner rolls is approximately 20 minutes, and since I used much of the batch to make the dressing, not a single roll was available for the photo shoot. Brody made the pumpkin pie the next day while I was working, so we didn’t have that for the photo. But, you’ve seen Aunt Nellie’s Pumpkin Pie (page 163 of A Recipe for Survival and a Sample Recipe on this website) in previous posts anyway. The green salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing (page 154 from A Recipe for Survival) rounded out our gluten-free, tasty, economical and pain-free meal. These are wonderful reasons to give our gracious Lord much praise and thanks!

Of Pie and Piano

This morning, Grandma and Ole were in our neighborhood for a seminar and so we invited them for some lunch and piano music. We didn’t tell them that they were going to be our guinea pigs for an experimental dish! They were good sports as they sampled my newest creation and some old favorites as well. The photo is of Aunt Nellie’s Pumpkin Pie recipe (one of the Sample Recipes posted on this site) – we’ve made this many times, but today, Brody prepared it and made a more artistic crust than I generally do since we wanted to post a photo of it. 🙂 He did a great job with that recipe while I was working on a variation of the Chicken Pot Pie recipe (also a Sample Recipe). Grandma and Ole also tried my latest variation of hummus – maybe next time, we can have some crackers ready to eat with the hummus… today we ran out of time to prepare the crackers. My experimental dish turned out acceptably – I used lots of fresh herbs to flavor some red beans, pork and shredded brussel sprouts, and baked it in the crust as I do for the Chicken Pot Pie. It tasted great, but I think I’ll let Brody enjoy the leftovers since I don’t enjoy pork as much as he does. I made a large batch of Meatless Minestrone yesterday, so that will likely be the main dish for me these next few days.

Brody’s latest piano piece is a medley of 3 variations of “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” by Mark Hayes. I love how Mark Hayes designed the arrangement to remind the listener of a trumpet fanfare for the arrival of the King. What a blessing Brody is! His piano playing will put an uplifting tune in my head and help me keep my focus on honoring my King with my attitude, thoughts and words, even as I am washing the endless supply of dirty dishes. If you are a caregiver right now, remember that nothing lasts forever on this side of Heaven. The difficulties you face today won’t be exactly the same tomorrow. If tomorrow comes, God will give you the strength to face tomorrow’s difficulties, and it is possible that the one you are caring for may improve to the point you can hardly remember how sick he/she once was. I am still amazed at how much Brody has improved in many ways after being so careful to avoid the ingredients which don’t work for him. I am thankful that now we can work as a team with the kitchen chores. In addition to working full time, he also has energy now to exercise, prepare to teach the Men’s Bible Study at our church, and play the piano, among other activities instead of simply surviving and working his full time job. If you are just beginning the journey of finding which ingredients work for you or your loved one, don’t give up! You may be incredibly surprised at the substantial physical and mental improvements you may experience from good nourishment and avoidance of problematic ingredients. And remember, God always gives His people daily spiritual nourishment, just as He provided the Israelites with daily physical nourishment in the form of manna. He will sustain you through whatever trials you are facing today.