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Pumpkin Pie from Scratch is a Winner

Pumpkin Pie from Scratch is a Winner

We thought it was cool to raise one eyebrow really high and cock your head to one side, like your face was saying “WHAT? YOU EXPECT ME TO BELIEVE THAT?????”

I’d practice in front of a mirror but both eyebrows shot up. Hey, we were teenagers with time on our hands. It was before computers and cell phones.

The other day I told a friend of mine that I was going to make a pumpkin pie from scratch. She raised one eyebrow so high it almost touched her hairline and, in the classic pose, she tipped her head to one side. Then she said “How in the world do you make a pumpkin pie from SCRATCH?” and I knew she was really thinking “YOU EXPECT ME TO BELIEVE THAT?”

Pumpkin Pie from scratch is fun to make

It surprised me that even after all these years I could be jealous when someone could raise just one eyebrow. Plus, silly me, I’m surprised about the pie. I thought everyone made pumpkin pie from scratch. It is the best. Beats canned by a country mile. But no, all over America men and women are waiting for the canned pumpkin to go on sale so they can stock up to make a bland uninteresting pie.

Well, why wait? You can do pumpkin pie from scratch. Let’s be authentic. Take my hand. Together we’ll make the real deal step by step:
1. First, buy a small pumpkin. These have the best taste. The big ones are good for Halloween, that’s about it.

2. Cut it in half. Use a big, sharp knife. Do this carefully.

3. Scoop out the seeds with an ice cream scoop. Some folks like to roast the seeds. Roasting and eating them is too much trouble so I don’t do this part. But I am going to plant some in the garden and see what develops.

4. Place the two halves in a baking pan. Put in about one inch of water. Bake about 45 minutes at 325 degrees or until done (a knife goes in easily)

5. Turn cut halves up. Put aside to cool. When cool scoop out the pumpkin meat with the ice cream scoop. From a small pumpkin you will get about one cup of delicious, cooked, fresh pumpkin. Recycle the pumpkin skin into your compost bin (don’t have a compost bin? Now is a good time to start).

6. Use in the pumpkin pie recipe of your choice. This time I used one from Epicurious, a pecan pumpkin pie recipe first published in Gourmet in 1983 then again in 2003. I had never put pecans on top before but they are delicious.

Yum and double yum. You will be the talk of the neighborhood and some of your friends may even raise one eyebrow. I’m still working on that part.

©2008 Lucy Beebe Tobias. all rights reserved

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Reduce Global Warming – Do These 10 Things Now

Reduce Global Warming – Do These 10 Things Now

Reduce global warming -Here are 10 things you can do right now to  and oh yes, save money on gas and food. This list was first developed for Vacation Bible School this summer at Fort King Presbyterian Church in Ocala. It works!

Reduce global warming with changes in your lifestyle

1. Buy produce grown locally. Get to know your local farmers. Support organic growers. Suggestions: Find the closest Farmer’s Market in Florida and mstop global warming - buy local produce, not stuff that traveled 5000 milesark the day on your calendar. Nothing near you? Talk it up at meetings, at church, at the next gathering of friends and start the ball rolling.

2. Pick one day a week to be car free. Park it. Walk, ride a bike, or, gasp!, stay home and get to know your back yard, front yard, even talk to the neighbors. PS you release nearly a pound of CO2 for every mile driven. Bummer.

3. Plant a vegetable garden. Start with a container or two now in the hot summer (tomatoes, peppers), work the ground for a fall planting. Remember everything you buy grown far away costs energy to deliver it to your door. Break that cycle. Don’t have room? Share a plot with a neighbor who does.

A good book to read: “Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community”, H.C. Flores, Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2006. Amazon has it.

4. Shop with a neighbor. Trade off driving to the grocery store once a week.

5. Consider a carpool to church or school or work. Look around the church pews on Sunday. Look around the office or the classroom. See anyone who lives near you?

6. Start a compost pile. Make your own compost. It is richer than dirt. Those bags of topsoil you are buying at Lowes and Home Depot were produced somewhere else and lugged here. That is global warming in action. Break the cycle.

7. Take a rain barrel workshop. Save rainwater. Every drop counts. Just FYI, in Kentucky, they are making rain barrels from oak whiskey barrels. Plants watered with this rainwater are said to be smiling. (just kidding). Water use and global warming go together. The hotter it gets the more water we use. A good book to read: “Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S.”, Cynthia Barnett, University of Michigan Press, 2007. Amazon has this book.

In Florida, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Services at University of Florida in Gainesville, is big into rain barrels. Check out your local Agricultural Extension Service office to see if they offer rain barrel workshops and inexpensive rain barrels. In Marion County, we can get them at the Ag office for $50 and that includes all the hardware you need. See my blog on rain barrels. Have fun!
stop global warming - get a dog, walk more, use the car less
8. Get a dog. Okay, this is a little radical but think of the consequences. Dogs need to be walked. You will be walking the dog. Less time spend running around in the car doing “errands”. Plus, when you are walking the dog, you slow down enough to appreciate natural beauty. Pretty soon you’ll want to spend more time outdoors and less time at the mall. A win win situation for you and the planet, not to mention the dog.

9. Drive the speed limit. Set your cruise control. It is a concept, driving the speed limit. More people are actually doing it with gas prices going up. You will save gas driving slower. Trust me.

10. Turn off your sprinklers. Don’t water your lawn. Let God do it. Plant native plants that are drought tolerant.

To get in the mood, take this test to see the size of your ecological footprint. Ah! Revealing isn’t it, how many planets it takes to support your lifestyle. Now read the list of 10 things you can do again and get started. Good luck!

©2008 Lucy Beebe Tobias, author, artist, authentic Florida expert

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