Monday, February 1, 2016

NEVER SAY "NO" TO PIE

I’m not sure why three or four butternut squash plants grew in an empty space in my garden last summer.  We weren’t home a lot of the time.  Maybe some guy traded his cow for seeds and ditched them in the dirt before he went home to avoid defending his irrational act.
 
 I let them grow since they discouraged weeds, but they never grew tall enough to climb.  Still, I didn't think we’d have a growing season long enough for butternut squash to mature.

 I was wrong. 

Then I had the challenge of what to do with a dozen squash.

 We gave away a few to neighbors.  Our granddaughter painted up a bunch to decorate our place for Halloween.

 I tried a butternut soup recipe I saw on television.  The general consensus on that dish was, “Meh.”

 We like baked squash. But even after all that we still had a stack of the guys, now with faces, staring at us when we walked by their spot in the  basement.  And months later they were still as good as the day we picked them.

 So I peeled and scooped out the seeds of one, cut it in chunks and steamed it in the microwave oven for about 10 minutes.



When the squash was cool, I mashed it up…

 …and used some of it instead of pumpkin to make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.


I still had about two cups of squash left.  It was pie time.  Using Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe: 
I tossed the cooked squash chunks into a blender, poured in the evap. milk, and the eggs and some grated fresh ginger and kicked it on.

 I added in the sugar and spices and poured the whole mix into a waiting unbaked pie shell.  Soon the whole house smelled like Thanksgiving.

 The not pumpkin pie was a hit.  DH said he liked it much better than pumpkin.  So did I.
  

"Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin (or butternut) pie."—Garfield the Cat

Saturday, January 30, 2016

HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS

I’ve been spending some time hiking the Highlands and driving through the Lowlands of Scotland--virtually--using Google Street View.

Scotland is the location of the month for The Virtual Paintout, which is a website hosted by Bill Guffy.   It “uses Google Street View as a resource for traveling the world to find interesting locations and subjects to paint.”

It is always interesting to explore a place so far away and so different.  Scotland is on my bucket list so I found the rocky streets, stone houses, cathedrals, churches, and fields of sheep intriguing even if I was limited to the roads traveled by the crew with Google Maps.

 I was exploring the coast looking at lighthouses and fishing boats, but this house on a hill caught by eye.  I was challenged by the perspective and angles of the stairway to this home in Boddam with a view over the North Sea.

I discovered the Street View crew had taken their wrap-around cameras for a hike in the Highlands.  I followed along to see the stark, rock-strewn pass through the mountains called, “Lairig Ghru.”  Long ago the remote path was used by raiding parties.  When times were a little more peaceful it was used as a trail for droving cattle.  Now it is part of self-guided hiking trail system for trekkers.

 Although most of the Street View skies were overcast and gray, the cameras caught the picturesque castle of Eilean Donan during a clear evening.  This restored castle from the 13th century sits on a small island where three lochs meet.  The water line was a little low so I used my magic paintbrush to raise it above the mud and smoothed out the water to create a nice reflection.

On a personal note the Gaelic word for island is, eilean.  Change one letter and it matches my name, Eileen.  If you look up the meaning of that name you’ll be told it is a derivative of Helen and it means, “light.”  I think that meaning wasn’t researched enough.  I kind of like being an island.

Links to the Street View sites: