Pumpkin pie goodies

I have always loved pumpkin pie. Give me a rich, creamy pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top and extra pumpkin spice and I’ll show you a clean plate in seconds. I’m horribly finicky about the strength of the pumpkin seasoning, too, which has caused problems for me at several Starbuckses. Their pumpkin spice latte is never up to par.

This is the only cup of pumpkin spice coffee to ever meet my standards.

  Two years ago, I was bored in the kitchen in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I dreamed up this awesome combination. Are you ready? Mini pumpkin pies with gingerbread crust. Yes, I’m a genius, I know. The recipe itself is rather sketchy as far as amounts go, but use your better judgement and always err on the side of flavor!

Pumpkin-Gingerbread Desserts

About 1 doz worth of homemade gingerbread cookie dough
1 can pumpkin
1 egg
1 can evaporated milk
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

1. Press about 1/8 c of dough into the bottom of each lined muffin cup.
2. Pour about 3/8 c of filling over uncooked dough.
3. Bake at 350 for 37 minutes, or until set.

Makes approx 1 doz.

They’re kind of a drain on resources, but I guarantee they’re worth it! If I make them again this year, I promise to add pictures. Cheers!

Las Mariposas de Verano

It’s October, and the monarch butterflies have stormed Texas, migrating north for the winter through Mexico. For some reason, this time of year managed to slide right past me for the past few years. Maybe back home I was just used to it, but this year I have been seeing these beauties everywhere, and they never fail to put a smile on my face. 

I snapped a picture of this one just a few hours ago during work. There were two of them and the little girls were going crazy. I’m not ashamed to say in the least that I was too.

Monarchs were my favorite butterfly as a kid, and if I remember correctly it was purely because they appeared around my birthday, but now that I’m all growed up I’ve realized exactly how much meaning butterflies have for me, and how much I’ve surrounded myself with them. For example, my favorite earrings to wear are two tiny mismatched butterflies, and I have a ring that is a butterfly as well. If I were to ever get a tattoo, it would be a tiny butterfly, and it would probably be one of my own design, because they tend to be my margin doodle of choice.
  So what’s up with me and butterflies? Honestly, I’m not really sure. Sure, they’re beautiful, graceful, a symbol of rebirth and all that, but I think I embodied my personal connection with butterflies best in a quite unoriginally titled poem I wrote back in my sophomore year of high school.

Butterfly

‘tis quite vain to wish to be a butterfly.

quite selfish, too.
The glory of beauty

   and the exhilaration of flying

are trivial, hardly worth 
the loss of free will. 
Only instincts guide the delicate creature;
   love,
   liberty,
   happiness,
are ever unknown.
Yes, I will be content with being human;
we humans can dream,

   create,

   love,
   feel,
   and remember,
and I wouldn’t give up my daydreams:
soaring, darting, flitting
across the open sky.
pretending, once again,
to be a butterfly.

It’s a rather different view of butterflies than most people have, but it works for me. After I wrote this poem I kind of forgot about it, but it pushed itself back to the surface. Four years later, this sentiment has cemented itself in my character. Lots of people have words, ideas, or objects that hold lifelong meaning for them; something tells me I’ve found mine, and it’s a delicate, gentle, but non-sentient butterfly.

Impromptu Thai Red Curry with Butternut Squash

I don’t know how I survived to be nineteen without ever tasting Thai curry. A few weeks ago I ordered it at a restaurant on a whim and I’ve been hooked since the first bite, addicted to the creamy yet spicy, unparalleled taste of curry. I have probably eaten curry four times in the past week alone, and craved it much more often, so it only follows that today I had to impulse-buy red curry paste and a butternut squash.
  It was only about ten in the morning when I got home, but the pull of my pending culinary adventure was too strong. I immediately went to the kitchen. Only an hour later, I emerged victorious.

2 tblsp red curry paste
1 14 oz can coconut milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 or 7 frozen basil leaves, chopped
3/4 butternut squash, cubed
Handful green beans, cut
1/2 can black beans
1 tsp sugar
Cayenne pepper
Salt

1. Mix curry paste and coconut milk in saucepan.
2. Add garlic, basil and vegetables, let simmer until squash is tender.
3. Stir in sugar, season with Cayenne and salt to taste.

A few concerns: I forgot the fish oil, a staple of Thai cooking, so next time I will probably add a teaspoon. I also would have liked to add lime juice and have used brown sugar instead of white.
  I must say, for an impulse recipe, it turned out pretty well. The aroma of simmering coconut milk is absolutely magical; I’ve decided that must be what serenity tastes like. The smooth, sensational texture, mingling with the complex spices… Am I getting poetical? Oh well. That’s what happens when you fall in love.