Pumpkin Fun

I was recently reading an article in a small local newspaper (one of those you get free in your mailbox) and there was a funny (to me) piece on what to do with pumpkins. I figured I have had some experience with pumpkins and I would come up with my own list.

Pumpkin Problems and Possibilities

1. Never try to carve those tiny cute squash things to use as candle holders or place card holders for your table. A smallish pumpkin will work but those gourds and squash things need an electric saw to get through. I know this from experience and have the scar on my finger to prove it.

2. Don’t let anyone talk you into toasting fresh pumpkin seeds in the oven. First, you have to get through all nasty gook and then clean them and frankly you can buy them at the grocery for practically nothing.

3. Make yourself a pumpkin pie – surely the easiest pie to make in the world. I never have the urge to tinker with the recipe on the back of the Libby’s pumpkin can. It’s perfect as is.

4. If you have people coming over, make a pumpkin cheesecake. Very delicious and a lot of recipes available out there.

5. Make pumpkin soup – again from canned pumpkin. This time hollow out small real pumpkins or do what I did…buy cute pumpkin shaped bowls from a discount store.

6. Make yourself a nice buffet or foyer centerpiece using pumpkins in a couple of sizes, some gourds and corn and wheat. I really do love the fall colors and a centerpiece like this will last a long time in the house. The pumpkins don’t rot as they do outdoors if the sun gets them.

7. In the article, they said to make pumpkin butter. I tried this and it was awful, so don’t go there.

8. The article also suggested carving out an extra large pumpkin and posing your small child or pet inside and taking a photograph. WHAT? Stephanie, please do not place my first grandchild in a wet pumpkin for a photo – not that you would ever do that!

9. OK so other than baking, and there are a lot of great recipes for pumpkin desserts out there (mousse and cake and even bread), I cannot think of another good or bad idea. So, there is no number 10. Have a beautiful fall.


Mom and Alice

Well, many of you have asked for more on Mom and here is another fun story. As you can imagine, Mom has lost many of her friends and family – she is after all 85 and many of her cronies are not blessed with her great genetics and good health.

Anyway, since her sister-in-law and pal is now in an assisted living place, Mom has been spending more time with an old friend, Alice. Alice had a large family like ours and we have known them for years. Currently Mom and Alice have “re-discovered” each other and have been spending a lot of fun time together.

On Friday’s they go for “fish” at our local Slovak home. This is after all, Lorain, the land of nationalities that each year sponsors a “princess” in the annual International Day Parade. No, I was never a princess but my sister Bonnie sure was the Macedonian Princess of 1975. Another story.

A few weeks ago, Mom made her usual call to Alice on Thursday evening to check on fish Friday and Alice did not answer. So, Mom called Alice’s daughter-in-law and was told Alice was in the hospital, suffering from shortness of breath. I ask Mom what the treatment was and she said, “they gave her a colostomy” and I said “Mom, are you sure? That doesn’t sound like treatment for a breathing problem.” The Mom says, “Oh, what’s that other thing that sounds like that” and I responded with “a colonoscopy?” Mom says yes and again I said I didn’t think that made any sense either.

Now, Mom is impatient with me for questioning her and she says,” Hell, I don’t know, maybe she breathes out her ass.” I laughed so hard I cried.

The story goes on – Alice is released from the hospital and proceeds to break her toe. Mom is trying to reach her and calls her cell phone. Alice, (who is 86) has a voicemail recording that says, “This is Alice, I am at the Irish Pub, LEAVE ME ALONE!

So, Mom is now hanging out with a friend that shares her great sense of humor. How much more can you ask for at 85 years of age? May we all be so blessed!


Becky's Original Flank Steak Salad

A long time ago, I came up with a delicious flank steak salad recipe that I have tweaked over the years. Today I made the current version and it was so perfect I will never “fix” it again.

Early in the day, marinate a flank steak in the following mixture:

1/3 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. oil
1 T. brown sugar
4 green onions, chopped or ½ of a regular onion
1 clove garlic, minced

Mix all these together and make sure the sugar is dissolved. Place the flank steak in a plastic bag and add the mixture. Let sit in fridge all day. When I make this for me and Mike, I only use ½ a flank steak since it is only part of the salad, not the star. Freeze the remaining half for flank steak and broccoli stir fry or just to marinate and grill.

On a large plate, put a nice heaping spread of chilled, chopped romaine lettuce you have rinsed and dried. In sections on the plate, arrange chopped hard boiled eggs, red onion diced finely, pretty chopped tomatoes and a green or yellow vegetable. I like asparagus or yellow or green beans you have cooked until not crunchy but not mushy either.

Grill or broil flank steak about 6 minutes each side. Let rest for 10 minutes on your cutting board. Slice across the grain and then cut again into smaller pieces. Arrange on plate. Sprinkle crumbled bleu cheese on top. Make the dressing and spoon on lightly.

Dressing: Mix together 1/3 c. balsamic vinegar, ½ c. olive oil, 2 tsp. Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

This is such a pretty, great summer dinner. I serve it with fresh French bread or rolls.