Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Fun & Crafts!


As you have probably figured out by now one of the things I enjoy doing here in Indonesia (in the U.S. too!) is crafty projects, especially for holidays and seasons.  Christmas is prime crafting time and I have actually been working on little projects for it all year long.  I finished this ribbon embroidery Christmas tree a few months ago… 



I would like to make it into a little pillow, but I am not entirely sure how to do that, especially without a sewing machine (or even with one for that matter), so this project isn’t quite ready to display yet. 

I’ve been working on a counted cross-stitch Christmas towel, which I finished and gave to a dear friend for her birthday this week, so I don’t have a picture of it.  Let me say, and pardon me if I offend, but counted cross-stitch just isn’t my favorite.  Part of it I think is that I enjoy dim lighting, especially in the evening when I am usually working on projects/stitching, so I pretty much feel like I’m going blind when I try to do counted cross stitch.  Plus it takes forever…or I should qualify that by saying it takes ME forever! 

Anyway…

These projects were small potatoes compared to the big daddy of all projects that I completed in the late summer...

The Advent calendar base with pockets for each daily surprise counting down until Christmas

The little surprises for each day, each individually sewn...yes, every sequin!!!
Behold, the felt advent calendar with individual plump little goodies for each pocket!  I think I bought the kit for it maybe hmmm, at least 12 years ago, but probably more.  I purchased it in a burst of crafting glory, thinking I would be able to whip it right up in several months.  That’s before I realized that I didn’t actually know how to sew, which created a bit of a snag in my plans.  On a whim I brought it to Indonesia with me on the off chance I might have time to finish it.  At that time I had completed about a quarter of the big picture on the base and 4 of the individual guys (and I think my mom, a master seamstress, actually made 3 out of the 4).  Once we were settled in our house here I brought out the calendar and started working on it in the evenings and weekends while we watched movies, and after months of working, it’s done!  It has been fun to actually get to use it this Christmas, and believe it or not, I really enjoyed making it once I (finally) got started.

My other crafting has centered on garlands, which I’m very into right now.  I’m having this thing for crafts using newspaper/old sheet music right now and I had a vision for a Noel banner that turned out like this…



It was easy and fun to make, and I think it adds the perfect extra touch of Christmas to the kitchen.

A couple nights ago two of my good friends here who also enjoy being creative had a combined crafting and birthday party.  I came away from that party with a tummy full of delicious hot chocolate and other yummy treats, as well as a simple star garland for one my kitchen shelves…



And a garland for the bathroom mirror with sparkly birds and stars…



Close-up of one of the sheet music birds

Both garlands featured this great old sheet music I found a free link for on Pinterest (love that site, as my friend Beth said last night, “It’s the new Google!”).  That’s the extent of my holiday craftiness; I’ve been having fun with it!    

A couple weeks ago Chris and I took a long weekend trip to the city where he spent his first year in Indonesia going to language school.  The city is called Bandung and it’s on the island of Java, where Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesian is also located.  We actually had to fly into Jakarta and then take a shuttle bus to Bandung, which is about 150 kilometers away (side note: the traffic between Jakarta and Bandung is so bad that it took us nearly 5 hours to go that 150 KM-crazy, huh?!).  In Bandung we stayed with some of Chris’s friends who he attended language school with.  They were so gracious to host us, drive us all around, and wait patiently for me to do lots of shopping!  Several American clothing factories including Old Navy, The Gap, Banana Republic, and Abercrombie & Fitch are located in Bandung, so there are outlet-type stores that have nice clothes for really reasonable prices.  I was in heaven as I love to shop for clothes and haven’t been able to pretty much since we arrived in Indonesia.  We also ate at some yummy restaurants and I actually got to enjoy salmon, one of my favorite meals.

Speaking of restaurants, we spent a couple nights in Jakarta before returning to Tarakan, and there is a Chili’s and an Outback Steakhouse there, both of which we enjoyed immensely!  I have to laugh a little bit at myself because in the States I can be a bit of a restaurant snob, and I tend to turn up my nose at chain eating establishments, but here I am ecstatic to get bottomless chips and salsa at Chili’s and a juicy steak from Outback (I forgot that meat could be so tender).    Here are some pictures from our trip…

Bandung is up in the mountains, so it's actually cooler there (I got chilly in the evening, it was wonderful) .    This picture was taken from the roof of one of the malls where there was a petting zoo and an ice rink (indoor of course).  The weather cleared a little bit so we got a view of the mountains.
Enjoying a blizzard at Dairy Queen-a rare treat! 


Christmas window displays in Bandung

Another Christmas window

One of the business districts in Jakarta - it's a big city

Christmas decorations at one of the huge Jakarta malls

What could be in Sumo Santa's "Surprise Sock"?  A man-size Christmas sumo diaper perhaps?!

A delicious belated birthday dinner at Outback - mmm, I can still taste the yummy goodness!

Another Christmas display at one of the malls in Jakarta, complete with an Asian Santa Claus!

Last night we had a Christmas open house for our Indonesian friends and co-workers.  I have been cooking and baking like crazy all week to get ready for it, and worrying that we wouldn’t have enough, or people wouldn’t like the food, or no one would show up.  I needn’t have worried!  We had a good turn out, I think people liked the food, and there was plenty and then some, especially of cookies!  It was an open house so people could come anytime, but I think most people showed up around 8:00pm…so many that I didn’t have enough spaghetti noodles made.  I was trying to greet people (everyone shakes hands ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ here, so greetings are quite the ordeal), speak Indonesian (badly), and boil more noodles (not to mention dripping sweat), as people poured in the door.  It was busy and fun!  Chris had video games for the kids (and later the guys) in our T.V. room, people were sitting and eating in the living room/dining room, and those who smoked were sitting on the front porch talking and eating.  As much as I was apprehensive about having the party, I’m so glad we did because it was fun to share Christmas traditions with our Indonesian friends.   Chris and I took a few minutes in the midst of the busyness to take some pictures during the evening…

The food - spaghetti, chicken tikka masala, naan, and rice

Drinks & dessert - pumpkin bread, cookies, and watermelon

Our yard keeper, his wife, and their daughter came by to eat and chat

Their little girl was loving the watermelon, but she wasn't so sure about the cookies...

Chris's friends playing car racing video games in our T.V. room

Chris hanging out with some of his friends on the porch
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, already!  Chris and I are planning to have dinner with some friends on Christmas Eve, and then we hope to speak with our families on Skype and then visit some Indonesian friends on Christmas day.  We are praying the Internet is good enough to have a clear connection with family on Christmas, as the Internet has been pretty poor lately. 

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas full of fun with friends and family!!!

Our little glowing Christmas Tree...Merry Christmas everyone!!!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Moldy Joy

***Warning, real stuff ahead, I’m getting all serious and things-if you are looking for a chuckle and warm fuzzy feelings you best move on, or check in later when I do a heart-warming post (do I do those type of posts?  Not sure)…

Thanksgiving weekend (yeah, we are going back in time a bit since I haven’t gotten up the oomph to blog until now), the Saturday after Thanksgiving to be exact, I took the lid off the plastic storage bin that holds our Christmas decorations and started to unpack the boxes.  One by one I peered inside each box, surveying the damage to the ornaments, stockings, and knick-knacks from a year of being stored in the heat and humidity.  I pulled out a brightly colored wooden outline of the word “Joy” adorned not only with the sparkles that were originally affixed to it, but with a thriving layer of fuzzy mold. 

Unbidden the thought came to me, “That’s about right, my joy is feeling quite moldy right now.”

Back up to the Monday before Thanksgiving when I started to prep for the big dinner we had with our MAF team.  Each day leading up to the feast I worked hard and had fun cooking and baking, trying to get everything just right.  Thursday evening finally came and, after having a minor meltdown because I had to carve the turkey myself and really had no earthly idea how to do that well, all 27 adults were seated at a LONG table, and 27 kids were seated at many little tables, and we bowed our heads together to give thanks to God for the food and all His blessings.  At the word “Amen”, people jumped up to begin to fill plates with food for their children, kids and adults were walking everywhere, taking in the yummy goodness.

Suddenly, it went pitch black, the power, which is going through an unreliable streak lately, went out. 

Total chaos ensued as people scrambled for their cell phones, emergency lights, and candles to provide enough light to see the food and each other.  The food was delicious, really amazing, especially considering it’s not so easy to put together a traditional Thanksgiving meal over here.  Still, as we watched the school kids put on a Thanksgiving program lit by flashlights in the hot, sticky room, and then cleaned up I kept thinking, “Seriously, after all the work everyone has done we have to eat in the dark and not really enjoy ourselves because of all the craziness, this stinks.”

I know that is totally not what I was supposed to be reflecting on at that moment.  I’m sure I was supposed to be thinking about how to be thankful for all the wonderful things God has given me (and He has given me so much, don’t get me wrong), and using the discomfort and disappointment as a lesson on how to grow and embrace the frustrations in life.  That’s what a good missionary would do, right?

Sorry, you didn’t get the light-filled, rise-above-it gal you might have been hoping for, you get me, ol’ moldy joy me.  Bummer, huh.

So that was what set my frame of mind as I grudgingly unpacked Christmas decorations.  I probably should have waited until I felt more like doing it, but I just didn’t think it would be getting much better, because, let’s face it, 90 degrees just isn’t Christmas, at least not for me, and neither is being away from family.  I tried to turn on Christmas music, but every other song seemed to talk about coming home for the holidays, nope, that was just making the whole thing worse.  As I wiped the mold off that ‘Joy’ shelf ornament and sprayed Indonesian-style Febreeze on my musty Christmas quilt and stockings, and threw everything that wouldn’t get ruined into the washing machine I prayed “Lord, just help me to see You in all this, give me Your joy.  Or, just help me to get through it again this year…just make it to January”

I, who always loved Christmas, who (sometimes dragged) my family after me in my pursuit of Christmas traditions and fun times, now praying just to get through it-I never thought I would see that day come.

How to thrive here in this season?  Because I am here after all, so continuing to pursue living here as opposed to living in a longing for home is definitely my best option.  “One day at a time” keeps ringing in my mind, and the truth that the hard things won’t last forever, and the even bigger truth that there are things for me to learn on this road, good things in the struggle if I choose to let them sink in. 

So, I’m looking to learn, and to let what I’ve been given where I am be enough, because really, it is enough if I think about it. 

And Christmas lights still shine so pretty through the needles of the (fake) Christmas trees, even in Indonesia, and the truth and meaning of Christmas isn’t any less real…so there’s joy to be found if I choose to look.

Okay, that's it, no more serious posts for a while…I like to keep it real, but this was hard core-whew!  Go drink eggnog, or, even better, get an eggnog latte from Starbucks, I would commit a serious crime for one of those right now, and embrace whatever joy you can find, moldy or otherwise!

The infamous 'moldy joy', now freshened up!








Friday, November 18, 2011

Increasing Our Curb Appeal, Crafty Fun, and Another Tarakan Birthday



It all started last Saturday night when Chris said to me,

“You know, the front of our house is kind of boring, it’s just white.”

I agreed.

“Maybe we should paint part of it or something.  And the overhead light on the porch is kind of ugly, maybe we should get some different lights.”

The decorating wheels in my brain immediately started turning.  Within a few hours I was on the computer looking up paint schemes, by the next morning we bought supplies at the electrical store and then moved on to the paint store.  I stood sweating in the stuffy store in front of the display of paint colors.  You don’t have the option to take home paint chips or buy a little can of paint to sample the color you are thinking of here, you just buy a gallon and hope for the best.  Chris patiently stood by as I agonized between a safe beige and an orangey coral (the color I really wanted but was a little afraid to get because I thought it might be too crazy). 

“What do you think?”  I asked Chris for the eighth time. 

“Well”, he replied with a smile, “if you are worried about what other people will think then the beige will probably be a safe bet, but if you want to go big or go home, the bright color would be best, it’s up to you.”

Well, when have I ever really gone the safe, conservative route with paint colors?

We bought the coral.

We were back home by 10:00am and I was painting the wall sconce lights by 10:15 (I liked the style of them, but not the color), while Chris ran out to get a few other supplies and tools.

As the sun went down that night we finished the project, two coats of paint on the light sconces and the walls, wiring in the sconces, attaching them to the walls, and cleaning everything up-I don’t think I’ve ever conceived, started, and finished a semi-major home project all in one day.  It was rewarding, but oh so tiring!  Here are the results:



Oh, I forgot to mention that we bought the wrought iron bistro table and chairs on the porch from an MAF family that is heading home in December, so that was part of the motivation to spruce up the front of the house.  I really love how it turned out.  It’s especially pretty at night-it has kind of a low-lit café feel.  Much more appealing than the glaring bare halogen bulb that used to light our porch and front yard!   

I have been feeling crafty lately, so I got together with one of my other friends who loves to craft, and while she made some cute cotton ball Christmas wreaths, I made this fabric pennant (bunting?  I’m not sure what to call it)…



I bought the fabric at the local fabric store, made a template for the flags, traced and cut out two of each color, and sewed them onto a long piece of ribbon.  I think they add a little extra fun to our orange wall in the kitchen.  Are you noticing a theme here?  Apparently I like orange.  And bright colors.  But you probably already knew that!

I was feeling a lack of Thanksgiving décor, so using some fantastic free Thanksgiving printables I found and some origami paper from one of the local stores I put these together…



The big one is attached to a CD case – nothing like a lack of supplies to spur on creativity!



I also used more fun printables and sate (pronounced sah-tay, a popular meal here, chicken is twisted onto wooden skewers, grilled, and served with rice and peanut sauce-yum) sticks to add these flags to my Fallish mix vase.



It’s fun thinking of easy decorations to make here…well I think it’s fun, but at times I suspect I am prematurely becoming a grandma, sitting on my couch and stitching and watching old movies.  I just watched “It Happened on 5th Avenue” the other day and it was so cute!  Yes, yes, I’m old, it’s okay, I am embracing it!  So, on “Murder She Wrote” the other day, I noticed…just kidding I haven’t quite moved to the Angela Lansbury viewing stage…yet.

Speaking of getting older, my birthday was last week.  As you may remember from last year, my birthday turned into something of a misadventure involving tasteless shrimp with eyes and ravenous, too-friendly cats.  Unfortunately, I can’t say this year was a big improvement.  I did have a very fun get-together with some of the other MAF ladies the night before my birthday and they made a beautiful, delicious cake, and we watched “The Help” (loved it), so that was great.  However, about midnight I started to feel sick to my stomach and thus began a stomach bug that had me alternating between the bed, the couch, and the bathroom floor for the next 24 hours.  The night was actually the worst of it, but I still spent most of my birthday in bed and had to cancel all my fun plans-it was sad.  Chris stayed home from work to take care of me, which I so appreciated.  He even made me chicken noodle soup, what a guy!  I started really feeling better on Thursday, and I think I am pretty much back to normal now.  The result of being sick has been that my birthday has extended throughout the week with friends coming over to drop off fun gifts and visiting, so that has been fun.  Also, I received many sweet messages and several packages from home on my birthday, which cheered me up very much.  Thanks to everyone for being so good to me!  

Those are all the major goings-on here.  Chris is flying today (Saturday) to make up for missing work on Tuesday (when he was home taking care of me), and I just got back from meeting him for lunch at the MAF hangar.  He had to do an emergency flight this morning to pick up a pregnant woman from a village who was having complications and bring her back to Tarakan so she could be taken to the hospital.  After he ate with me he was just going to begin his regular flight schedule for the day, so he will be home late.  I have thank you notes to write and emails to catch up on, so I will be keeping busy as usual.  Plus I still have the crafty itch, and I’m thinking about cute stuff for Christmas.  I’ll keep you posted on my latest do-it-yourself conquests! 

Thanksgiving is next week (in case you didn’t know, ha-ha), so I am getting ready to contribute several dishes to the huge dinner we are having with all 13 MAF families in Tarakan.  I will try to take some pictures because it will be a zoo with tons of people (27 adults and 28 kids!) and mountains of food-I’m really excited about it!  I hope each of you has a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Because I'm SO NOT a good photographer...

This past Sunday was the Muslim celebration of Idul Adha.  It was marked in Tarakan, and I'm sure throughout the world, with extended services at the Mosques on Saturday night at sundown, more pronounced early morning prayers, and the sacrifice of cows (and other animals) in many Mosques, homes, and even in the street.  Chris went out to visit some of his Muslim friends, while I unfortunately stayed home with a yucky stomach.  One of the other guys on the MAF team, Dave, is an amazing photographer and he captured Idul Adha beautifully.  So, as I said, since I am so not a good photographer, here's a link to Dave's blog so you can get a peek at this holiday that I didn't even know existed until I moved to Indonesia.

Aren't the children gorgeous?

Isn't the devotion amazing?

I'm convicted by the commitment to prayer as a community here...do you devote yourself to prayer like that with fellow believers?  I know I don't.

Living here is humbling in so many ways, I am constantly aware of how much I have to learn, how far I have to go.

I pray to keep growing, to listen and learn more than I speak, and share whatever I am able to.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Eye of the Cat


This week I headed out to grocery shop and stopped at a very important store to us here in Tarakan.  It is called Toko Buah 88, which essentially means ‘fruit store’…not sure what the 88 represents.  This dim little store is run by a woman who is a bit gruff, but she is willing to order imported goods that other stores do not.  Because of her we can now get mozzarella, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, lemons, celery, cilantro, bacon-ish meat (it is bacon, just not cut in the way we think of bacon in the west, it is in chunks instead of strips), real butter (not butter in a can-disgusting), and heavy whipping cream.  I would have liked to get a picture of her, but I felt a bit shy to ask, so here is at least a (bad) picture of the inside of the store…




During my trip to the store this week I noticed hanging from a metal bar in the store in mesh bags were a type of fruit that is known as ‘Mata Kucing’, translated as ‘Eye of the Cat’, and I decided to buy some to try… 



These fruits get their name because, well, I think you can see why…




The black part in the middle is a pit that should be thrown away, but the white part around it is eatable.  I think Mata Kucing are part of the lychee family.  They are similar to lychee in taste, although not as perfumey (if you have eaten lychee before you know what I’m talking about), a bit sweeter, with a hint of saltiness.  They are definitely unique, not a fruit you would find at a typical grocery store in the States.  Although the bag I bought was a bit overripe, we have still enjoyed having a new fruit to try.

Here is the rest of the produce I picked up at Toko Buah 88 this week, it’s drying after I washed it off.  We are so blessed to be able to get such a variety of fruits, vegetables, and other goods here, both local and imported.



Now if I could only find a way to get Italian Sausage…ah well, we can’t have it all, right?!

Not too much else to report from Tarakan.  After several days with spotty water availability, (the city randomly turns off our water, no one knows why), we are so thankful that our base manager helped us hook up our gutters to a 1200 liter tank so we can collect rain water to use for bathroom needs, laundry, and washing dishes.  Life without electricity is annoying (and thankfully our electricity has been pretty stable lately), but life without water is downright difficult.  It seems like a theme of our time here so far has been periodically being without a working toilet, which is obviously the case when there are problems with the water-so not my favorite thing, especially when the food here can be a bit *ahem* unsettling to say the least. 

Living here is such a challenge to my very Western ideas of having rights to everything, rights to running water, rights to consistent electricity, rights to drive surrounded by others that adhere to traffic laws…I could go on and on.  It’s a constant culture shock and an excellent lesson that most things in life aren’t rights to be demanded, but privileges to be appreciated.  Now, just because I am pointing this out doesn’t mean I react with peace and acceptance when things don’t work like I expect them to…there are meltdowns, yes, many meltdowns…but maybe, little by little I’m learning a different way to think.  Okay, I’m realizing there’s a different way to think of and react to things, and that’s the first step toward change, right?

With those deep thoughts, I will sign off for now.  I’m realizing it’s 2:00pm and I haven’t really eaten anything today besides sugary dessert-type food…could be why I’m suddenly ravenously hungry!  Thanks for stopping by, more later!   

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Delicious Weekend



Last weekend in response to Chris’s usual question “What do you want to do this weekend?”  I replied, “Let’s make Spiced Sugar Pumpkin Donuts, (a recipe from ‘The Red Spoon’, a cooking blog that I follow), as in, let’s make them together.”  Bless my sweet husband that he was up for the challenge!  I don’t think we have cooked together before, as Chris’s experience lies in areas other than kitchen arts (although he is an excellent dish washer!), but he caught on quickly.  We mixed up the dough, he combining the dry ingredients, I, the wet ingredients, and then we stuck the dough in the refrigerator, intending to fry the donuts up after the recommended amount of refrigeration time.  After 3 hours had gone by we decided we were feeling a little too lazy, so we waited until the next day to finish the process.

When we went to roll out the dough, it was tasty, but super sticky, like, impossible to work with sticky.  I don’t know if that was due to the humidity or the recipe, or both.  Anyway, I probably worked in another cup of flour before the dough was useable.  When I finally rolled the dough out I came to the realization that we don’t have a donut cutter.  I improvised by making the big circles using the rim of a glass…




 But it was Chris who was ingenious enough to figure out a cutter for the donut holes…




 He was quick to point out this was a clear benefit of his soda addiction, and I didn’t argue!

Chris had his first experience (in his memory, anyway) of rolling out dough and cutting it.  He did so well that maybe I will put him in charge of making Christmas cookies this year!




The donuts and donut holes were soon ready to fry…



We started heating the lard.  Yes, you read right, lard.  I have never fried anything in lard before, but the recipe indicated that lard was easier to work with than oil, and it’s a whole lot cheaper than canola oil, and well, we will probably only make donuts once a year at the most, so I think (hope) our arteries can take it!

Chris manned the frying pan while I eased the dough in the bubbling fat.  Okay, eventually I eased the dough in after the first few splashes that sent both Chris and I jumping to dodge the splatters of hot grease.  I told you I was new to frying things!

Look at this guy!  It does my heart good to see a man in an apron…especially one with flowers!



After the donuts came out of the frying pan and drained on a double layer of paper towel I dipped them in a mixture of sugar and spices.

Here’s the finished product, and let me say, they were sooo yummy, lard and all! 






 The happy cooks after a successful endeavor in the kitchen…



We enjoyed donuts and apple juice and shared some of the yumminess with our friends.

Just a little peak into our weekend-hope your upcoming weekend is fun and relaxing!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My First Post on the MAF Blog

Hi Everyone-

Just thought I would post a link to my first post on the MAF blog.  The theme of the MAF blog for this quarter is "Grace & Gratitude", so I thought a condensed version of my "One Year Ago" post was appropriate.  Feel free to check it out at:  http://www.mafblog.com/spiritual/the-difference-a-year-makes.

More later!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pumpkin-Yum!


So it’s fall now, (um, yeah, not really here, but I like to pretend), and that means it’s time to cook with pumpkin…well at least it does for me.  Surprisingly, we can actually get pumpkins here, which is great!  Notice I said pumpkins though, not cans of pumpkin puree, which is what I have always used in the States when making pumpkin treats.  Here in Tarakan I have learned the joys, (hmmm, joy is a strong word), of making pumpkin puree from an actual pumpkin, and since this is something that I do on a fairly regular basis, I decided to document it because it is just a small answer to the ever-present question of ‘So, Sarah, what do you do in Indonesia?’…

Here’s the pumpkin – Chris was actually given this pumpkin in one of the villages he flew into.  I think it is kind of fun because it’s whitish.  The pumpkins we typically get from the market here are sort of a dusty orange.


First I cut the pumpkin in half, which is always the scariest part for me.  The pumpkin skin and flesh are so tough I’m constantly afraid I’ll cut myself while wrestling with the pumpkin.    



Then I scoop out the seeds and all the stringy stuff-this part is reminiscent of pumpkin carving at Halloween!  I haven’t dried and cooked up the seeds from the pumpkins here yet; maybe I will try that soon.  I love roasted pumpkin seeds-yum!  Sometimes at this point I cut some of the raw pumpkin and put it in the fridge to use for stew, risotto, or even to sauté as a side dish.



I put the pumpkin halves face down in a couple of oven-proof pans and add a little water to the bottom of each pan to help the pumpkin steam as well as roast.



Then I pop the pans into the preheated oven at 300 degrees and let them roast for about one hour.  The pumpkin halves are done when a knife goes easily through them, or in the case of this pumpkin, the skin splits and it starts falling apart in the pan.




Next step, I let the pumpkin cool until it can be handled without burning myself, no, that’s actually a lie.  That’s what should be done, but I am notoriously impatient in matters of cooking, and so I regularly burn myself during this step, and indeed in many other kitchen tasks.  Honestly, My arms and hands are a veritable storybook of cooking mishaps-I really must change my ways one of these days.  Anyway, when the pumpkin is cool (or still pretty hot), I scoop the flesh out and put it in the food processor to puree.  Hint for anyone who might try this at home, vent your food processor (my processor has a small handle on the lid that pops out to vent it), or the steam can make the lid burst off and the contents explode all over the kitchen.  I may or may not have learned this the hard way.  Just saying. 



Once the pumpkin is nicely pureed, I dump it onto a fine mesh sieve over a bowl, cover it and let it sit in the refrigerator for several hours.  I usually let the pumpkin strain overnight.  I have used it unstrained before, but it is really watery and that sometimes messes up the recipe I am trying to use the pumpkin in.



The next day I take the strainer off the bowl-look at all the liquid that drained out!





Then I put the strained pumpkin in a container and save it in the fridge or freezer for later, or I use it to make something yummy…like pumpkin scones, which I made the other day and ate with a mock pumpkin spice latte made with homemade pumpkin spice syrup.


Just another little taste (ha-ha) of one of the things that keeps me busy over here.

Happy autumn!