Finishing Fall Fun and All Things Pumpkin

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Oh, the joy of jumping into a big pile of leaves!

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And soft landings!

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And finishing projects.

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And baking and making…

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Saint and I grew a ton of mini pumpkins, and, well…what do you do with a ton of mini pumpkins?

Have a pumpkin Day with Elle! I planned it before Halloween and gathered ideas for all kinds of pumpkin projects, but, just as well that we didn’t have time for it before Halloween because we didn’t even have time to finish the “not Halloween” pumpkins. What we did have time for were pumpkin painting, pumpkin popcorn, pumpkin spice cookies, and chili with a secret ingredient. Any guesses? Yep. Pumpkin! Neither Saint nor Elle were fans of it, but I kind of liked it. I had made pumpkin chili before for a Super Bowl Party when the kids were teenagers, and it was a much better recipe. I liked the idea of adding another healthy ingredient, but Saint thought tomatoes, onions, beans were healthy enough already. Since this recipe failed to pass the Saint/Elle test, I won’t post it here.

The cookies, on the other hand, were easy, good, and the recipe made a LOT of cookies. I found the recipe at myhoneysplace.com, and I only made a tiny change. I used white chocolate chips for half the dough, and I preferred them to the chocolate chips in the other half. Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Spice, Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies
Ingredients
  • 3 c. all purpose flour*
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 (3.4-3.56 oz) box of pumpkin spice pudding (dry)
  • 1½ stick of butter, softened
  • ½ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1½ c. of chocolate chunks
DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and pumpkin spice pudding mix- set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream together (on medium speed) butter and both sugars until fluffy (about 5 minutes). Then add eggs, one at time, followed by vanilla and honey. Scrape down sides. Then reduce to low speed and add dry ingredients. Combine until just incorporated. Finally fold in chocolate chips .

Line baking sheet with baking mat, aluminum foil, parchment or wax paper. Scoop out 1 1/2-2 inch, cookie dough balls onto sheet (roll between the palm of your hands for a nice round shape). Space the cookies 2 inches apart. Slightly flatten the cookies using the palm of your hand. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.

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Sometimes you need a break from pumpkins and cooking. This has been one of my favorite teacher projects; one I have used throughout the years with a variety of literature selections and science units. It is extremely simple, yet provides a beautiful display for classroom windows. Elle let me keep this one to display in the dining room, and I think I need to share it with teachers everywhere. Here’s what you will need:
Tissue paper-orange, yellow, brown, red, green-cut into small irregular squares and rectangles
Waxed paper-cut in the shape of a tree crown
Glue
Black construction paper
Directions: Give each student a waxed paper tree shape and a handful of multi-colored tissue squares. Students should glue tissue onto the shape, covering it completely. Glue down all edges, and trim off as needed. Cut tree trunk and branches out of black construction paper and glue onto the crown.
Note: I had parent volunteers cut a variety of trunks and branches for younger students. Older students may prefer to free cut their own.
I assure you these will brighten up your room as the sun magnifies the stained glass effect, but I can’t guarantee the trees will look as lovely as Elle’s. 🙂  She is very talented, you know.
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Berry Rosemary Scones

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A deck, a devotion, and a heavenly scone = a lovely Saturday morning.

I made these in honor of my friend, Pat Reynolds, who loves scones, and who told me last week that she is going home to heaven soon. I wanted to argue with her. We have not done all the fun things we had planned; antique shops, tea rooms, flea markets, but Pat is in her eighties and has been very ill for the past few weeks. And all the enjoyable times we have had or could have had are but a speck of dust compared to what our Father has in store. Who am I to argue? I’m thankful for the time we have had, the friendship that developed, and all I learned from Pat. I promised to make her some scones. So, here they are, Pat. At least you can enjoy the picture and know that I keep my promises.

Scones are not as daunting as most people think. I created this recipe for the freshness of spring’s first fruits, and I’ll share the recipe with you.

DSC00240A great thing about scones is that you almost always have the ingredients on hand.

Berry Rosemary Scones

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

dash of salt

1/2 to 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

6 tablespoons butter (no substitute)

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup fresh strawberries (diced)

Extra flour for dusting and patting

 

Glaze-

1 cup powdered sugar

juice from 1/2  lemon

2 tablespoons jam (I used raspberry because that’s what I had)

Water to make the glaze the desired consistency (Add few drops at a time, stirring)

 

Directions: Preheat oven to 375. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place a long piece of parchment, foil, or waxed paper on your counter top and sprinkle generously with flour.

In a large mixing bowl, mix  dry ingredients and rosemary. Add cold butter by cutting it into small pieces. Use pastry blender (you could use the pulse mode on your food processor) and cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Cut in until the mixture looks kind of like corn meal with tiny peas in it. Gradually add the cream and stir until you have a sticky mixture. Divide it into two halves and turn one half out onto your floured sheet. When it is coated with flour, turn it over and coat the other side. If the flour is too thick, brush it off. You just want it dusted so that you can pat it out a little. Do the same to the other. You will have two medium circles to transfer to your cookie sheet. Using a knife dipped in flour, cut each circle into wedges (6 or so) being careful to NOT cut all the way through. You just want an indentation when the scones bake.

They should look like this when you take them out of the oven.

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As they cool, make the glaze. Drizzle the glaze over slightly warm scones.

Placed on a glass dish with a sprig of fresh rosemary and a luscious strawberry and a vintage doily…who could resist?  Saint and I couldn’t!

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I’m putting the rest in the freezer because they are “almost” as good reheated. I don’t think Lance, Tiffany, and Carley will mind one bit next weekend.

Pat, should the Lord have plans for you to stay around a few more years, I’m making you pumpkin scones, gingerbread scones, key lime scones, and these little jewels. Blessings!