Pumpkin Cranberry Oat Agave Muffins

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I still enjoy baking with agave instead of cane sugar and I recently found a fabulous recipe for pumpkin agave muffins (I added the cranberry part) on the blog, Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!  (This link will bring you right to the recipe.)  They are moist, not too sweet and full of pumpkin-y goodness.  The only other tweak I made was switching regular flour for whole wheat flour.

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I made them a second time around and reduced the flour to 1 and 1/4 cup to make way for adding 1/3 cup of Coach’s Oats (also interchangeable with Old-Fashioned Oatmeal).  And Pumpkin Cranberry Oat Agave muffins were born!  I brought them to a morning work meeting and they were a hit!

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Fall Garden

The yellow crookneck squash is still hanging on!

Heirloom tomato "Stupice" getting ready to ripen already!

Stupice is a prolific grower. So glad I have 4 of them.

The sugar snap peas are starting to really take off.

My first lettuce! This is a second planting after the first set was mowed by a bunny.

The lemon cucumber is VERY happy. I had to prune the main shoot to control it's height. There are so many baby cucumbers for one plant.

Baby lemon cucumber

The cherry tomatoes are still producing well.

After the first wave of green beans, these vines had a growth spurt and I'm expecting another large crop.

The bells should be turning orange and yellow pretty soon!

The majority of the pumpkins are harvested, which gave way for new planting. Yesterday I sowed Detroit Red beets, cosmic purple carrots and all season romaine.

A late bloomer pumpkin finishing up.

Here we have beets, carrots, cabbage and spinach. The spinach sure is taking it's sweet time.

The nasturtiums are popping up with the cooler weather. Great on salads!

Fall Pumpkin Harvest

The pumpkin collage just after today's harvest.

This year’s pumpkin patch yielded 13 pumpkins!  I planted about 15 seeds in very early July.  Seen as though this is my first time growing pumpkins, I must say I’m tickled orange!  Granted, they didn’t turn out as large as I may have hoped, but bigger isn’t always better.  I love their character, primarily thanks to the pumpkin scarring that I performed in late August.  In addition to the ones pictured above, there are still  other green pumpkins that were late bloomers and still have healthy, green vines.  The pumpkins harvested today all had brown vines.  So, I decided it was time to harvest.  The ones that are still greenish can be set in a sheltered, warm and sunny area to complete the oranging process.

The SD Chargers bolt pumpkin turned out to be the smallest of the harvest. I can't help but think that it's a sign of a not-so-great season for the Chargers?? Hmmmm....

One of my favorites!

The pumpkins are posing in front of the yellow crookneck squash plants still hanging on, 2 cherry tomatoes to the right and pole beans in the back.

Although pumpkins take quite a bit of garden space even when pruned, and take a minimum of 90 days from seed to harvest, I’d say they are well worth the sacrifice.  I’ll be proud to display them on the front porch.

Scar your Pumpkin…It Doesn’t Hurt.

"Squash mean people. Plant a peace pumpkin!" (Thanks Aunt Leslie)

After some research on pumpkin growing (because boy were the vines getting big and intimidating!), I came across a pumpkin patch on youtube http://youtu.be/rXQr1_0Fdq8  that showed pumpkin scarring, or pumpkin tattoos.  It’s the process of making a shallow engraving of a word, symbol, even a company’s logo onto a young, green pumpkin.  The recommended size of pumpkin for engraving is about the size of a coffee cup.  The carving should only be able 1/8″ deep to preserve the integrity of the fruit.  After a few weeks a scar will begin to form over the carving, just as it does on human skin.  When I performed the scarring technique on my pumpkins, a thin, clear sap immediately oozed out and can be difficult to wash off.  Do what I didn’t do and put on some gloves first.  I tried an old can opener tip and found it to not be exact enough.  Then I went with a short, sharp kitchen knife and was happier with the results.  The scarring should take place sometime around the first of August.  I’m looking forward to this unique way to “carve” my pumpkins this year from my first ever patch.  🙂

Here's a traditional version of pumpkin carving translated to the scarring method.

I'm excited about the "Spooky" pumpkin. I found that writing words was the easiest thing to scar.

I just HAD to do a Charger Bolt for my die-hard Charger fan husband. I've never seen him more interested in pumpkins!

I will definitely update you with more photos sometime in September when the scarring process is more complete.

Here’s some more fun ideas I came across:

  • Your favorite sports team name or logo
  • Names
  • “Welcome”
  • Halloween words like “Ghoul”, “Ghost”, “Goblin”, “Boo”.
  • Symbols such as a heart or ying/yang.
  • Spider, ghost…be creative!

These could also make great gifts.  

Once Upon a Seed

 

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Top/Mid Left: pumpkins. Top Right: pole green beans. Mid Left: watermelon. Mid Bottom: bell peppers. Bottom Right: Yellow crook neck squash.

My veggie garden blog starts similar to a vegetable seed.  Today I planted my seed in rich, viable soil (WordPress blog) and now with careful attention I will tend to it and watch it grow.  Hopefully I can cultivate it to the point of producing delicious, nutritious blog entries which will motivate, inspire and educate fellow novice gardeners to produce their own backyard bounties.  I write to you about 5 weeks in to my first vegetable garden endeavor.  I have been so excited about what the last month has brought that I just had to spread the news.

FYI: All my seeds are planted directly in the ground.  I understand that this is a luxury of my place on the globe, but I’m performing tests of seed starting other ways.  More on that later.  The following is a list of what I have planted thus far:

Late June:

  1. Pumpkin (seed) – I was so “green” at this point that I didn’t write down the type of pumpkin and can’t recall.
  2. Watermelon (seed) – ditto above
  3. Cucumber (seed) – These did not germinate.  Not a one.

Mid July:

  1. 2 bell peppers – 1 red, 1 yellow.  (plant)
  2. 6 pack of yellow crookneck squash
  3. 6 pack of pole green beans
  4. 2 bush cherry tomato (plant).  Boy did I get these in JUST in time!  They say July 15 is the last plating date for procrastinators.

August 18:

  1. Spinach – Organic Bloomsdale long standing (seed)
  2. Carrot- Red Cored Chantenay (seed)
  3. Beet – Detroit Dark Red, Morse’s Strain (seed)

Since I’m new at this, I like to intermingle plants and seeds to see what works best for different veggies.  Important note: Keep track of the exact plan of your garden, including plant location and description (lesson learned on that one!) to help you in following seasons with what you liked/disliked and the success or lack there of of certain crops.  I don’t want to be wracking my brain in the seed isle next spring thinking, “which kind of beet did I have last year that was so yummy?”