This Quilter Eats Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast! Plus…my recipe.

On Friday I prepared a homemade pie crust. I’m neither the best nor worst crust maker. Truthfully, I could use more practice making pie crusts. But I’m afraid. You see, I love pie so much that if I practiced more that means I’d be baking more pies. And eating more of them. Probably for breakfast! Once in a while is fine, but at 55 years old, my metabolism isn’t what it once was and I’d like to not have to buy or sew a whole larger size wardrobe due to an out of control pie habit.

OK. Sew. Don’t judge.

This was the last piece. And it was DEEEEEElicious! Plus, pumpkin pie has way more nutrition than most commercial cereals! And technically, this isn’t even “pumpkin”. It’s an heirloom Spanish Squash called Buen Gusto de Horno which means, “good taste from the oven”. I just couldn’t help myself when I saw the gorgeous warty green “pumpkin” picture in the seed catalog listing, but I digress.

So…squash pie. This breakfast is actually pretty darn healthy, don’t you think? You knew all pumpkins are squash but not all squash are pumpkins, right?

I planted just a couple of this variety in my garden this year. Squirrels took one of the plants, but I still managed to get a few 7+ pound beautiful warty fruits from the remaining plant before the early freeze and snow came.

Buen Gusto de Horno Squash

Baker Creek (the seed company from which I purchased my seeds) says this in their description of this pumpkin…er…I mean, squash, “The dense, firm, medium yellow-orange flesh is sweet and fine-grained, and definitely excellent for baking. Add excellent keeping quality, and you’ve got a real winner that everyone is sure to love!

Here’s what it looks like when it’s cut open and the seeds have been scraped:

Now, maybe you’re thinking the inside flesh and thin green rind reminds you a little bit of cantaloupe? Well, I was surprised to discover it also smelled very sweet and quite a lot like cantaloupe. I wondered how this was going to work out for making a pie, but I charged ahead using the roasting and pureeing techniques I used for my New England Sugar Pie Pumpkins.

I was surprised again when I pulled the roasted squash out of the oven and the flesh had turned the most gorgeous deep gold. And the most heavenly, rich pumpkin aroma (no more cantaloupe smell).

OK…on to my recipe. This recipe is inspired by the one I used for YEARS (it came from the back of the can of a famous brand of commercially canned pumpkin). Yes, I did change it up. I don’t like my pumpkin pie too sweet so I cut the sugar a little bit. I also don’t care for quite so much ground cloves. I feel cloves are very strong and overtake the delicious pumpkin flavor; so, I use about 1/2 as much as the original recipe called for.

SewThankful Pumpkin Pie Ingredients:

  • Slightly less than 3/4 cup Granulated natural/unbleached Sugar (I remove about a tablespoon +/- from the 3/4 cup measure)
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon Ground ginger
  • Scant 1/8 Teaspoon Ground cloves (if you don’t have a 1/8 teaspoon, just eyeball about half of a 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups pumpkin (or winter squash) puree (or one 15 oz. can of commercial pumpkin puree)
  • 1 12 fl oz Can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell (4-cup volume)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together the dry ingredients: sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Mix well, making sure all ingredients are evenly distributed.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Then add puree and sugar/spice mixture. Next, slowly stir in the evaporated milk. Stir thoroughly, making sure everything is well mixed and evenly distributed.

Pour pumpkin filling into pie shell.

Bake pie at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes.

Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for an additional 40 – 55 minutes or so. Test for done-ness by inserting a knife straight down near the center of the pie. The pie is done when the knife comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack for at least 2 hours, then chill in the refrigerator at least another 2 hours to over night before serving.

Optional Serving Suggestion: Top slices with a dollop of your favorite whipped cream, ice cream or other topping.

M’s Quilt – BEHIND SCHEDULE – But I’m OK With That

Let me get this out there in the open first thing. I’m behind schedule. I wanted to have M’s quilt quilted, bound and finished before today. Didn’t happen.

I could tell you a million different reasons why I let things get in the way and all the unforeseen interruptions that occurred. But I’m not going to waste your time or mine doing that. What I am going to say is that I own it and I’m OK with it. Things come up. Things happen. I’m tired of fighting the flow and taking it out on myself when I don’t meet my own expectations. Do you ever do that?

OK. So where am I in the process? I am a bit over 1/2 way finished with the quilting, which I decided to do wonky echo quilting (using King Tut #918 thread) instead of wavy horizontal or vertical line quilting. Once the quilting is finished, I will apply the binding which is a randomly pieced scrappy binding made from the colors/fabrics that were used to make the M and accent strip. The binding has already been pieced and prepared, so it is ready to go (a PLUS!). I really like the look of the variegated thread on the solid navy background. I can’t wait to get it finished and wash/dry to see it all crinkly.

I think if I push myself and work really hard I might be able to get it finished today. But if I’m being honest, I need to admit that I already know that’s not going to happen. (See where I’m going with this self-honesty thing?) With all the uncertainty in the world right now, virtually EVERYONE is under incredible stress. That includes me. I was never a particularly fast quilter to begin with. Stress makes me even slower. You know what? That’s a perfectly normal response to stress.

SEW. What am I going do to help myself so I don’t revert to Perfection Paralysis and allow M’s quilt to join my UFO pile? I’ve decided I’m going to lower my expectations of myself–and of others. I’m going to stay true to my personal values but I’m also going to cut myself–and others–some slack. This is all new territory we are in and no one knows when it’s going to end. Sew. YES, I’m going to sew, quilt and work at a healthy pace, allow my process to just be. It will BE imperfect and I’m going to celebrate that because I AM IMPERFECT. I’m going to take breaks when I need to go for a walk. I’m going to spend time with and care for our chickens, goats, and seeds I’m starting for our garden. I will make frugal but tasty and nutritious meals for my family every day. I’m going to take care of myself so I can “be there” for Jeff (husband) and Jacob (son who is a college student finishing his semester online from home) and 3 adult children serving active duty in the military. I’m going to do my very best to be kind, extend love and encourage others. I’m going to look for the good and I believe I’m going to find a LOT of it everyday.

When I feel myself getting sucked into negative thinking and doom & gloom, I’m going to come back here and read this post to remind myself how to get back on/stay on track.

No matter what the situation, giving up is never a good answer. We can always choose to tweak, adjust or even change course entirely. But as long as we remain honest, stay responsible for our own choices and keep moving forward, we retain our own personal power and dignity. With that there is peace and satisfaction at the end of every day.

OK. Enough about me. How about you?

What are you going to do to take care of yourself and keep moving forward?

What do you think about M’s quilt so far?

As always, I absolutely value and appreciate constructive comments and sharing. Please remember that in order to protect the blog and my readers from hideous spam posts I must approve each comment that is submitted. I have numerous responsibilities, so sometimes it takes a bit for me to get to reading and approving posts. Thanks in advance for anything you care to share. It means a lot to me.

A Quilt for M and Overcoming My Perfection Paralysis

M is my beautiful grandson. M will turn 3 soon. Can you believe I still haven’t made a quilt for him? This is shocking and almost criminal, I know.

Out of respect for M, his parent and our privacy concerns for them, I won’t be sharing pictures of him/them or any additional details about M himself.

But I want to use this occasion to share a personal secret with you. I suffer from a hideous disease called Perfection Paralysis.

Have you ever experienced this? It’s when you find yourself unable to perform the “ideas” that are in your head and begging to come out because you are afraid they won’t come out as perfectly as you imagine. BECAUSE…as long as they stay ideas in your mind they are perfect. But what ends up happening is that you don’t make many of the things you really want to create. M’s Quilt is a perfect example of this. He’s turning 3 and still no quilt has been made by me. This is OUTRAGEOUS to me and I’m fed up. I’m done with this disease.

Ugh. I’m the only one who can take action to cure it, you know. And one thing that’s become clear to me through all the stuff that’s happening in the world right now is that I no longer have time or luxury of allowing Perfection Paralysis a place in my life. So here I am, baring my soul in hopes that maybe I can help someone else free themselves of this hideous disease.

Sew…I turned this into a challenge for myself.

The challenge was to make a more “modernish” style quilt that has a lot of negative space (note: negative space is the space between, within and surrounding an object in an image) and to use ONLY the solid fabrics that I currently have on hand. This quilt will be a utilitarian/drag around cuddle quilt. I have removed any expectations of myself and I am creating and sewing with abandon as ideas come to me.

SEW…The picture above shows approximately 18″ of the bottom right corner of the quilt top. The M was cut out from pieced 1inch strips of many solid fabrics. I cut the M and fused it on. I will stitch it down with a durable zigzag/satin stitch. The colorful 1/2inch finished strip at the bottom was pieced into a floating border (and there is a mirror image of it at the top left side of the quilt top). It’s funny, I mused as I was sewing the colorful strips into the floating borders that they reminded me of military service ribbons.

As of right now, I plan to do either simple straight line or whimsical wavy line quilting across the quilt using my domestic sewing machine. I have always loved closely quilted horizontal straight line quilting. Fingers crossed and saying my prayers that I will get this thing finished, bound and sent off to M this week. Please send good thoughts my way.

Sew…my friends…what do you think? Do you have any thoughts or feedback? Constructive comments and feedback are always welcome! Please know that to protect you from seeing unwanted spam garbage I do have to approve each comment before it will post so there may be a delay in seeing your comment appear.

A Constant, Powerful Truth: The Sun Rises & The Sun Sets Every Day

It’s true.

No matter if there is chaos and confusion in the world. No matter if times are good or bad. As long as life on earth continues, the sun will rise and the sun will set each day.

The following three pictures capture an exceptionally stunning sunset this past Wednesday, March 26, 2020. The sequence was taken over approximately a three minute span.

I felt overwhelmed, humbled and blessed to have the opportunity immerse myself in this powerful experience. As it started, the bright yellow cast felt so intense it was eerie, unsettling and almost foreboding. But I stayed still. I waited and observed. I could not believe the incredible progression to the most incredible beauty I’ve ever seen in the skies. (These pictures which have not been filtered or adjusted are OK but don’t begin to show the true intensity). This experience was an excellent reminder that our human problems are truly small and insignificant in comparison to the ever powerful, constant truth which we have absolutely no control over.

To worry about the sun rising and setting would be silly because we can’t control that in the least (and that’s probably a very good thing).

I honestly believe the same goes for what is happening around the world right now.

All we can do is our best every day. We don’t know all the answers and how everything is going to play out. We have no control over this thing. To allow ourselves to become consumed with excessive worry serves no purpose other than to paralyze and weaken us; and it will diminish hope, strength and resolve both within us and in our children and grandchildren for generations to come.

So what do we do? Should we succumb to the fear mongers? Should we join in the fear mongering? Should we just give up and wait for the government to take care of all our needs?

I say, “No! We must each do the best we can. Individually and collectively. EVERY. DAY. We listen to the still, small voice inside of us and we get busy. We get really honest about what we CAN do every day to make our lives better for ourselves, our families, our friends, our neighbors, our communities and we don’t wait for anyone to do it for us. We take back our power by remaining calm and controlling our own thoughts and our own actions. And it IS still very possible to do these things and follow the current safe social distance and shelter in place protocols.

There has never been a better time than right now to love, to be kind, to be thankful, to share, and most especially to offer hope to our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Let’s take this opportunity to teach them how to stand strong in the face of adversity. Let’s teach them: How to sew. How to mend. How to fix things instead of throwing them away and getting new. How to clean up after themselves and help out more in the household. How to bake & cook. How to plant a garden (yes, even in a small apartment, one can grow a few things in containers–and it’s incredible how good home grown veg tastes!). How to can and preserve. Let’s teach them that they can be part of something bigger than themselves and the video games they play while they wait for you (or someone else) to take care of everything for them.

At the end of every day, the sun will set.
It’s more powerful than magic. It is a constant, powerful, indisputable truth.

Jeff and I send you warm wishes of love, good health, safety and peace. There is STILL sew much to be thankful for.

Sew–I needed a new bike

My 50th birthday present to myself is a women only Adventure Tour in Oregon (Introduction to Road Touring) this coming July.  I booked the tour in March and started dreaming.

Then, I had a sudden, rude awakening!  It had not occurred to me that my current bike wouldn’t work for this new adventure.  Silly girl, I am. Well, of course I would need a new bike!  A carbon racing bike (my Maddie) is NOT a touring bike and definitely not what I need for self contained touring. Self contained touring means I’ll be carrying my own tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, clothing, food, cooking gear, etc. ON my bike…sometimes climbing mountains carrying all that stuff.  Maddie is wonderful, but she just can’t handle that type of work.

Hmmmm.

Sew…I spent several weeks researching what bike to get. I narrowed it down to 2 choices, then set out to test ride and make my decision.  Finally, I decided on the Surly Long Haul Disc Trucker .

disc-trucker-14_sv_930x390

 

 

 

 

 

Sew…now let me tell you about Two Wheel Drive Bike Shop and why buying a bicycle from a GOOD shop will always be 1000 times better than buying from a “cheap” shop.

I ordered my Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bicycle from Two Wheel Drive in Albuquerque last Friday (May 8th) with the understanding it would be 1-2 weeks for the bike to arrive.  I received the call on Friday, May 15th that my bike was in and built for me.

Sew…I went to pick it up and we discovered the size ordered is still too big for me. Even worse, the smaller size is NOT AVAILABLE in the disc version. WTF…ARGGGH!!! What to do, what to do?!!! Well dang…Charlie solved the problem. He ordered just the smaller bike frame (the frame only WAS available in my size) and they will build out my dream touring bike for me.

My mind is blown. My heart is blessed. While I’m disappointed I didn’t get my bike yesterday, I’m 1000 times MORE thankful that Charlie was willing to make sure I get the RIGHT bike for me (over just making a sale!).

BOTTOM LINE: Quality and service are at least 1000 times more important than CHEAP. Support your local bike shop if they support you. If you happen to be in the Albuquerque Metro Area, go see Charlie and his staff at Two Wheel Drive and tell him I sent you.