a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Seeking baking chaperone to make an apple pie

“But then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.” 
― Stephen King

By Amanda Gillooly

It's officially the second full day of fall, and I already have one item crossed off my seasonal bucket list.

Yes, I have a seasonal bucket list.

It's like, a smaller bucket.

Like so many others, I have the Big Bucket List (visit Ireland, win a Pulitzer, earn a law degree). But sometimes that list can get a little lofty.

Yes, it's prudent to work toward accomplishing big goals. “Go big or go home”-- I get it.

But I also have found that when I'm chasing something big, I hurry through a lot of the details.

And that's where the really good stuff is.

They say 'tis the season for a reason, friends.

Fall is a season of apple cider, zombie movies (or AMC television shows, whatev) and all things pumpkin. It's a season brightened by a tapestry of wildly colored leaves and copious amounts of football (and this year, baseball. Go Bucs!).

There's so much to dig, I made my own Little Bucket List: Fall Edition.

Among the items on the list? Bake an apple pie from scratch, visit this interactive zombie hayride thing my friend told me about the other day, and do stuff with pumpkin.

Gillooly's jack-o'-lantern
On the first full day of autumn, I created stuff with a pumpkin.

After purchasing a nifty carving set from Target, I went to work on the pumpkin, saving the pulp and the seeds (the large gourd I bought—between 14 and 16 pounds-- yielded about a cup).

Since, to me, fall is also the season of cinnamon, I looked for a sweet recipe for roasting pumpkin seeds instead of a savory one.

I found what I wanted at allrecipes.com—and part of its charm was its simplicity (hey, I don't even PRETEND to be handy in the kitchen).

Here's what I did:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rinse off the pumpkin seeds, dry, and set them aside in a little bowl.
  3. Get ¼ cup sugar (I used Splenda, though, and it turned out perfect) and ½ tablespoon of cinnamon and mix in a small bow.
  4. Melt one tablespoon of butter
  5. Pour the butter into the bowl with your seeds
  6. Pour the seeds onto a baking sheet (you can use parchment paper to line it, if you have it. I didn't and they turned out fine). Make sure they are single-file style: Just one thin layer.
  7. Sprinkle the sugar mix over the seeds and mix them around on the pan so they get an even-ish coating. Bake for 5 minutes.
  8. When the time chimes, take those bad boys out and sprinkle again (and give them a little stir) and return to the over for five more minutes.
  9. And then you repeat step 8.
  10. And then you repeat step 9.
  11. And then you repeat step 10.
  12. Then you take them out, put the remaining amount of sugar mix and returning to the over for 10 more minutes.
  13. Take out. Let cool.
The roasted pumpkin seeds

While I know that there are myriad recipes for delectable pumpkin cookies and cakes, it is well known among those who are my friends that it's not really advisable to allow me to do much serious baking unsupervised (looking for an Apple Pie Baking Chaperone).

So after a little research, I discovered that raw pumpkin is an awesome beauty aid.

Pumpkin facial mask
Instead of doing a mud mask (with the tube of stuff I bought for like, $15), I did one with pumpkin as the base.

This recipe for a DYI facial went like this:

  1. Take your pumpkin and puree it. Put ¼ cup of it in a little bowl. Refrigerate the rest.
  2. Add an egg to your bowl of pumpkin, and whisk.
  3. Add a splash of milk (supposedly the lactic acid in the milk helps with exfoliation), and whisk again.
  4. If your skin tends to be dry, add a little honey to the mix. If your skin tends to be oily, add a splash of cranberry juice. Whisk.
  5. Slather the mixture on your face, avoiding the eyes (obvi). Let is stand for 20 minutes. Rinse.
  6. Feel gorgeous.

Next on my list to conquer? That apple pie. And I wasn't kidding about needing a chaperone.

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