I'm all caught up again! It was kind of a quiet Sunday here... a nice afternoon at church, some snow (the pretty kind - big fluffy flakes that melt when they hit the road and stick to the grass and trees), and I did some cooking. Another new and slightly... interesting... recipe :)
First, here's today's entry:
The journaling prompt from Shimelle today was about your ideal Christmas. I have to admit, I'm lucky enough to have a pretty ideal Christmas most years with going home to see family, doing our traditions, baking cookies and enjoying all of that with a family that's all close. But in relief society today at church, we talked about having the Christmas spirit and I realized that a totally ideal Christmas for me would be to keep that spirit every day of the season - not letting little things get to me and stress me out... not getting caught up in gifts and decorations and shopping... being grateful every day. So that's what I wrote about today.
This page was about 95% digital - I added some Stickles to the snowflakes after I printed it out. I also quoted some from the Ensign article that we used in class - by President Monson.
On the other side, a picture I took through my windshield driving back home from church in the snow (don't worry... no one was behind me so I came to a stop first. lol.), the score from the Avs game I watched (they've won 3 in a row! I may fall over.) and some pictures from this evening's culinary adventure. I wrote a little bit about how to make it and why I made it. The poinsettia is out of wool felt from a die by Papertrey Ink and I sewed some pearl beads into the center.
Here's the picture of the snow:
And now, I give you tonight's creative cooking experiment. Pumpkin & Sweet Potato "Ragu" with homemade rigatoni.
My Italian friends are probably shuddering with horror right now. lol.
But... I was trying to use stuff I already had in the house so I can stay away from the grocery store until payday. You know how the holidays are... especially after coming home from a big trip. I'm on a budget, and it's not like I don't have a ton of food around the house. Case in point: I had 5 sweet potatoes, a pumpkin, chicken-apple sausage and fresh parmesan cheese, not to mention pignoli, pepitas, chicken stock and a ton of spices.
So really, I made this up as I went along and I don't really have measurements. But it was really good.
Start with a pumpkin - preferably a small one. Mine was about the size of a basketball and I only used half (but the rest, combined with a bag of frozen mashed potatoes, is going to make a fabulous soup!) I cut it in half and scooped out the seeds (which are cleaned and drying so I can roast them) and then I cut it in quarters and peeled it. Then I chopped the sucker up and added 5 peeled and chopped sweet potatoes (small ones). I tossed them with fat free olive oil spray, about 1/4 tsp each of allspice, cinnamon and cumin and then roasted them at 425 for 35 minutes. They came out perfect. Then I threw them in a big sauce pan with about 2 cups of chicken stock and let it mush up a bit. I used my immersion blender to help that along, but I left it about half chunky for texture. I also added salt and about 1/4 tsp. each more of all my spices (and that blend of spices smells fabulous!) and about 1/4 C of real maple syrup.
At this point, I quartered and sliced 5 links of Aidell's chicken apple sausage and browned it, then added it to the potato / pumpkin mixture. I toasted a nice double-handful of pepitas and about 1-2 tbsp of pignoli and added those in, along with a heaping handful of fresh grated parmesan cheese, more salt, and fresh ground pepper. I also stirred in about 1 cup of skim milk. Then I boiled the fresh pasta (which I do just because I enjoy making pasta and using the extruder attachment for my KitchenAid. And because I'm a nerd.) and I added the pasta to my "ragu" to finish, along with about 1C of the pasta water (lots of good starch and also salt). Then I served it with a bit more parmesan.
To be honest, I was really worried that it was going to be a giant pile of mush. However, there did end up being enough variety in the texture that I really enjoyed it. The chunks of pumpkin were a bit fibrous, the sausage had a good chew to it, the pepitas and pignoli added a little crunch, and the pasta was nicely al dente, so it wasn't the same texture as the mashed veggies. If I were to serve it to company, I'd probably make some parmesan frico to stick in the top and add crispiness. But honestly? It was delicious. And it made a ton... I'm set for the week!
k... it's late so it's time for me to sign off. Later!