Last day of NaBloPoMo

Well, another month of blogging has come and will soon be gone.  It was fun.

And, nutter that I am, I’m considering December’s NaBloPoMo because the theme is “Thanks!”  Lately I feel as though I haven’t been as thankful for the good things in life as I should be.  A month of “Thanks!” might be just the thing.

My 50th birthday is coming up soon.  Very soon.  M and I have been cleaning out the attic and coming upon a lot of blasts from the past.  Here’s one:

(M, C, and me.  Circa 1977, 1978)

We look so young (makes sense since we were young).  And all that hair!  Wow.

Today’s view of the pond:

The grays are back.  It’s supposed to rain today, then turn to snow tomorrow or tomorrow night.

Thai-Style Pumpkin Soup

This recipe is from The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook.

Note:  I made a vegetarian version.  That means I substituted vegetable stock/broth for the called-for chicken broth.

(Hubbard squash.  Photo © Robin)

I also used hubbard squash instead of pumpkin.  I cut the gigantic squash in half (no easy task which is better suited to a handsaw than a knife), scooped out the seeds, put it cut sides down on a baking sheet, and roasted it for about 1.5 hours at 400°F.  For best flavor, you want to roast it, not steam it.  The squash puts out quite a bit of liquid so check on it every now and then, draining the liquid as needed.  When the squash is cooked, scrape it out of the shell/skin.  I put it in the food processor and pulsed it a few times to smooth it out.

You can, of course, use what the recipe calls for:  Canned pumpkin.

  • 2 (14½-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1 (12-ounce) can mango nectar
  • ¼ cup reduced-fat peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons minced green onions
  • 1 teaspoon grated, peeled, fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon grated orange rind
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.  Combine 1 cup pumpkin mixture and peanut butter in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.  Add mixture to pan.  Stir in vinegar and next 5 ingredients; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Ladle into soup bowls.  Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired.

Yield:  7 servings (serving size:  1 cup)

I was going to use Thai red curry paste instead of the crushed red pepper.  I’ll probably do that next time.  The cilantro may be optional but I think it finishes off the soup very nicely.

Enjoy.  🙂

Almost forgot.  Today’s view of the pond:


(Thai-style pumpkin soup.)

(The blurry looking line you see in the middle of the soup photo is the steam rising.)

Yesterday’s vegetarian Thanksgiving meal came out well.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I was so full by the end of the meal that I’m surprised I didn’t burst. I was also exhausted at the end of it all.  It turned out to be much more work than a regular Thanksgiving meal.

I remembered to get a photo of the soup befoe we started eating.  The rest had to wait until we finished.  Here are some of the remains of our feast.

(Quorn Turk’y roasts.)

(Savory artichoke and spinach stuffing.)

I probably won’t be making that stuffing again.  It was rich and delicious, but far too labor intensive for me.


We sent some of the leftovers home with our friends and kept a little for ourselves.  Today I’ll be cooking a real turkey because M would like to have a real turkey with the traditional stuffing, gravy, and mashed potatoes.

I’ll probably be at least 10 lbs. heavier by tomorrow.

My thanks to those of you who made our Thanksgiving meal so much fun.  (I know you’re reading.)  We should do it again next year.

Pretty much on schedule

The house is ready.  I started the soup last night (roasted the hubbard squash I decided to use instead of pumpkin, but really, canned pumpkin is often hubbard squash so I doubt anyone will know the difference).  I’ll finish it off with the fresh veggies just before serving.  It’s one of those soups where you don’t want to overcook some of the vegetables.  Besides, I think if I had put the green onions and garlic into the soup last night it would have been overpowered by those flavors and none of the pumpkin and mango would have come through.

I’m about half-way through making the stuffing.  I changed one of the ingredients.  I’m using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.  Can’t have a vegetarian meal with chicken stock in the stuffing.  There are so many other flavors going on in that stuffing that I doubt anyone will miss the poultry flavoring.

I went out and picked the herbs I’ll be using for the Turk’y.  Just some sage and Greek oregano.  That’s about all that’s left alive out there now except for some of the apple mint.  I should have picked and dried the whole lot of it earlier, but I never got around to it.  I hope to do better next year.

As soon as my back rests up a little I’ll finish up the stuffing and start preparing the potatoes for cooking and mashing.  Then it will be time to get myself dressed appropriately (I don’t think a food-stained t-shirt is appropriate), and get the appetizers set up and ready to eat.

Break time is over.

Just one more thing before I go.  I have a lot to be grateful for, in spite of this being a not-so-very-good year in some areas.  So while I’m here, let me start with you.

Thank you to all of my blogmates for your friendship, your comments, and for the opportunity you give me to have a glimpse into your lives.  And thank you to all of you who lurk without leaving comments.  I know you’re there and appreciate your visits.

P.S.  It’s sunny here today!  Yay!

P.P.S.  For those of you who want photos of today’s feast, I’ll see what I can do.  Trouble is, things get busy when I’m trying to pull the whole meal together so it’s ready all at once.  I’ll have to see if I can get folks to refrain from digging in immediately.  Don’t count on it, though.  If they’re anything like M and I, they didn’t have much breakfast because they’re saving room for the feast.  That means we’ll all be pretty hungry by the time the food hits the table.



(Today’s view of the pond.)

Well, it could have been worse.  As you can see, the snow is just barely covering the ground.  The pond is starting to freeze again, just in time for another thaw.  It’s supposed to be 40 and sunny tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to seeing the sun again.  I need a break from gray and gloomy.

Today I have been cleaning house, not as well as I’d like but as best I can.  My left hip and back are bothering me a little so it’s slow going.  Slow going is better than no going.  I figure as long as I keep moving, things are good.  Or as good as they can be.

We’re having some friends over for Thanksgiving tomorrow.  It should be fun.  Our menu is all vegetarian.  I know at least one person will be disappointed in the lack of turkey.  (You can stop by on Friday, CB, and pick up some turkey then.)

Here’s the menu so far:

  • Walnut paté
  • A variety of cheeses and crackers
  • Spicy Thai-style pumpkin soup
  • Quorn Turk’y Roast
  • Mushroom gravy
  • Savory Spinach and Artichoke Stuffing
  • Homemade cranberry sauce
  • Mashed potatoes with green onions
  • Some sort of squash dish (MC is bringing)
  • Some sort of pie for dessert (CB is bringing)

I haven’t decided how I’ll spice up the Turk’y Roast just yet.  I’d better make a decision about that soon.

I’ll be making the soup and cranberry sauce this afternoon.  That will save me some work tomorrow and give the cranberries a chance to gel up.

For those of you out there celebrating it, have a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow.  I’ll be by with a placeholder kind of post as I doubt I’ll have time for much else.

Another snow post

(Today’s view of the pond.)

I have a feeling there are going to be plenty of snow posts this winter.  Bring it on, I say.  I ordered some warm, water/snow/ice-resistant, outerwear so I’ll be ready for cross country skiing.  I’d also like to try snowshoeing this year.  So go ahead, Winter.  Bring it on.

As you can tell from the photo above, it’s snowing again here in the Bogs.  More lake-effect stuff.  It’s been coming down since I rolled out of bed this morning.  Accumulations are expected to be fairly light (4-6 inches according to the last time I checked).

I feel like I’m way behind lately.  Every time I get caught up at home, we take another trip.  When we return home, I spend a lot of time catching up on things that didn’t get done before or while we were away.  It’s the same way with blogging.  I can’t find a way to be caught up on everyone and everything.

Perhaps there is no such thing as caught up.  Perhaps I need to start where I am and just take it from there.

Move 2008 Update


(Today’s view of the pond.)

It’s a dreary, cold, and damp day here in the Bogs.  Kind of suits my mood at the moment.  This year keeps throwing stuff at us.  The latest is something I can’t write about publicly.  I can say it sucks, but that’s about all I can or will say for the moment.

Best to put aside the suckiness of 2008 and get to the Move 2008 Update.

  • Total mileage for the year:  946.636 miles

I don’t have too much further to go.