The Carving of the Pumpkin

Today is 6 days before Halloween. I figured that now was a good of a time as any to work on carving our pumpkins. Oh, I had to go get the pumpkins too! LOL! I had wanted to take Jon & Hannah to the small pumpkin patch up the street, but it was rainy & wet this morning, of course. Wal-Mart and their pumpkins would have to do. Hey, they were under $4 a piece and they were a pretty good size! We headed out to mother-in-law’s house for the carving festivities. Jon informed me on the way over that he wasn’t really all that interested in carving a pumpkin. He didn’t want to get his hands dirty. Oh, that and his hand/wrist was sore and still healing from his recent injury. Okay, fine. I told him that he could take pictures and I would help Hannah. Once Hannah found out how messy (the insides) it was and how hard they pumpkins were to carve (very tough for some reason), she was all about swinging outside on the swing and abandoning the whole project. Glad we made plans to carve pumpkins today, huh? Well, the kids disinterest didn’t discourage MIL, FIL and I from carving up the 2 pumpkins that we had. The first one was much easier to carve than the 2nd one. The second one was very tough and hard to get a knife through. Thank goodness for FIL being there as I don’t think that MIL or I were strong enough to finish them up.

A couple quick pictures:

In honor of the pumpkin carving, MIL is going to roast the seeds and bring them by tomorrow morning. I can’t wait to snack on those! A great gluten-free snack! I also centered tonight’s dinner around pumpkins by making a Creamy Pumpkin Brown Rice recipe that is from Whole Food’s website. I did make some changes. Here is the recipe I used:

1 cup brown basmati rice
Saute rice & EVOO until rice is toasted, about 3-5 minutes
Combine 3 cups chicken broth and 7 -8 oz. canned pumpkin puree in a bowl and whisk together
Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, salt & pepper to the chicken & pumpkin
Pour mixture into rice and bring to a boil. Stir and turn down to simmer for 40 – 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Add more salt/pepper, if needed. **I left out the onion (can’t eat them) and bay leaves (didn’t have any) and added the cinnamon & nutmeg.

Now, for the yummy part. I had an acorn squash laying around so I decided to cook it up in the micro (sliced, removed seeds and seasoned with cinnamon & brown sugar; place face up in micro safe dish, added 1/2 cup of water to dish & covered with saran wrap; micro for 10 min or until tender). Once the squash was done, I filled my half with the rice and topped with chopped walnuts! YUM!!! I served that along with Perfect Pork Tenderloin (recipe to follow) and a mixed greens salad. Dessert was pumpkin ice cream topped with chocolate chips. Perfect end to a perfect pumpkin filled day!

Perfect Pork Tenderloin

· bonelesspork tenderloins or pork loin roast (my pork loin was 2 lbs 12 oz and I cooked it for 16 minutes and let sit in the oven for an hour after that)
· salt and pepper
· dryseasoning, of your choice( I used thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, basil, oregano, S & P)

1. NOTE: The success of this cooking method will depend upon how accurate the temperature of your oven is and how well your oven retains heat. Adjust cooking time +/- according your individual oven.
2. Get the EXACT weight of roast from the meat wrapper.
3. Weight will determine how long to cook the roast.
4. Preheat oven to 550 degrees.
5. Remove roast from refrigerator. Season roast as desired. Place seasoned roast in an uncovered roasting pan.
6. Bake EXACTLY 5 1/2 minutes PER POUND. Adjust +/- according to your oven’s accuracy and heat retention.
7. Turn oven OFF and DO NOT open oven door for 1 hour.
8. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes to redistribute internal juices.
9. Roast will be done, very slightly pink in the center, and very moist.
10. NOTE:******* For anyone questioning this method of cooking, it really does reach the proper internal temperature on a thermometer.
11. If you have a thermometer that has a wire that goes through the side of the oven door, by all means use it and set alarm for 140-145 degrees.
12. It should go off before the hour is up.
13. After resting 5-10 minutes, the roast should reach 145-150 degrees.
14. According to Sara Moulton on FoodTV, salmonella is killed at 138 degrees, and 145 is a safe temperature for pork, although the USDA recommends 160 degrees (meat will be drier).

This is one of our favorite pork tenderloin/pork loin recipes. 🙂

Gluten-Free Movie Theater Outing

My daughter is 6 years old and is in love with the High School Musical movies. She loves anything and everything HSM. She loves Troy & Gabriella, Shapay & Ryan. When we saw that HSM3 was coming out October 24th, I promised to take her on opening night. She was ecstatic! I held true to my word. When Hannah woke up yesterday morning, she had a permanent smile on her face. She knew that it was the day she had been waiting for, counting down to, for the last month. There was no wiping the smile off of her face. She proudly dressed for school, making sure to wear her brand new HSM shirt.

As we walked up to the theater last night, I wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into. Yes, I enjoyed (okay, really, really liked) the first 2 High School Musical movies, but I did so in the comfort of my own home, with only 1 screaming, crazy 6-year old girl, not a theater full of them. It was a madhouse! Fortunately I had purchased my tickets online and only had to show my credit card to claim them. We headed to the snack counter to pick out our delicacies (I call them that b/c they are priced like they are made from gold or truffles or something of the like). I do have to comment on the number of choices for those on a gluten-free diet. Don’t get all excited, there really wasn’t a healthy choice among the layout of sweets & chocolate. There was, however, more than a handful of choices to choose from. There were Skittles (sour & regular), Reese’s Pieces, Dots, M & M’s (peanut & regular), Snicker’s, Gummi-Savers and a few others that I can’t recall. I ended up with Skittle’s and some of my little sister’s Reese’s Pieces. I have heard that popcorn (without butter and some theaters with) is another option, I have just never looked into it b/c I am happy with my candy. 😉 Plus, what an excuse to stuff myself with chocolate and/or sugar! We quickly headed into the theater to claim our seats even though there was still 45 minutes until showtime. I think I counted a total of 10 men in the entire theater. The rest were HSM crazed girls/tweens and their cranky Moms. Deep down I was really looking forward to the movie itself, just not the craziness that went along with it. The movie did not disappoint. Shhhh….I think I liked it better than Hannah & Regan! The best part was seeing all the little girls rush down to the front of the theater at the end of the movie to dance to the final song. Ahhhh…to be young again.