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packing up Thanksgiving, bringing out the Christmas

For 22 years we have adhered to a strict rule in our house at this time of year. No holiday decorations are allowed on December 1st. That means Thanksgiving stuff needs to be taken down and put away and the Christmas stuff must be left unbothered until at least December 2nd. Hey, that’s today! The reason for the rule is simple – December 1st is Marissa’s birthday and that day needs to be all about her – not about the two major holidays that surround her special day.  Over the years, the rule has been slightly modified, and Christmas lights on the outside of the house became permitted. And this year, the rule wasn’t so much modified as actually broken – just a little! I have a TV shoot here this morning and it is going to feature me and my kitchen Christmas tree. Hence, the rule was broken when I put up that little tree yesterday – sorry baby girl, we’ll go back to being rule sticklers next year!

While taking down the Thanksgiving decor, I pulled apart our dining table decoration. It consisted of all sorts of herbs, gourds, mini pumpkins, Indian corn, and 3 sugar (pie) pumpkins. I’ve tried saving the gourds in the past, but that has not worked out so well for me. They either turn into a pile of mush or an unrecognizable mound of mold. The Indian corn gets well sealed in plastic containers along with the rest of the decorations, and as for the sugar pumpkins – they get eaten! Roasted to be exact and then turned into mini loaves of pumpkin bread to be frozen and put away for Christmas. You gotta love it when one thing can serve two wonderful purposes in its life. Live on sugar pumpkins!

Baking the pumpkin caramelizes the sugars and makes for a sweet puree. Be certain you are using the “pie” or “sugar” variety and NOT the huge Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins which are great for carving but not so much for eating. I was at Trader Joe’s (on Tatum and Shea) yesterday and they still had plenty of sugar pumpkins, so it’s not too late to roast your own. Just call your store first, before making the trip… “let your fingers do the walking.”

Roasted Sugar Pumpkin Puree

(Adding brown sugar is an option if you are certain that the puree you are making is going to be used in sweet recipes and not savory. If you are not sure, just leave it out.)

1 or more fresh “sugar” or “pie” pumpkins
1 tablespoon brown sugar per pumpkin; optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Carefully split the pumpkin in half starting at the stem. Place cut sides down on parchment paper.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the flesh is soft to the touch.

Cool completely and then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.

Use the spoon to scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin and puree it in a food processor.

Now you are ready to make pumpkin bread or place the puree in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or into the freezer for a month or more. Pack puree in 1 cup portions in Ziplock bags, pressing out as much air as possible.

My 3 sugar pumpkins produced  5 1/4 cups of fresh pumpkin puree

Tomorrow – pumpkin bread!

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1 Audrey Larsen { 12.02.10 at 12:24 PM }

I love that you honor your daughter’s birthday by not letting the holidays impinge on her special day. And I don’t think one little kitchen tree is that much of an infraction! 🙂

2 sloane { 12.02.10 at 3:50 PM }

It looks like you murdered the pumpkins! Whats the tv shoot?

3 Linda Hopkins { 12.02.10 at 4:06 PM }

The TV shoot was just a little profile that Valley Dish likes to do for each of it’s co-hosts… I hate doing them, so I’m happy to report this was the last one! It will air when I am on tomorrow at 3:30 on Channel 12. And the pumpkins died a happy and tasty death! xoxo

4 packing up Thanksgiving, bringing out the Christmas | CookingPlanet { 12.03.10 at 2:11 PM }

[…] Recipes A-Z : packing up Thanksgiving, bringing out the Christmas […]

5 Pen & Fork — Les Petites Gourmettes { 12.05.10 at 12:16 PM }

[…] I mean exactly!  I was trying to decide what to do with 2 acorn squash that were a part of that Thanksgiving centerpiece I made. I successfully used the 3 sugar pumpkins last week, but the squash remain. I knew they would […]

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