Tuesday, November 15, 2011

eBook Review/Give-Away and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

eBook Review/Give-Away:

Angie Ballard sent me a copy of her new eBook, Tight Budget, Tiny Kitchen, and No Time: How to Eat Well in Your First Apartment to review. She has also gracefully allotted one copy for me to give away to an EFAW viewer! (Read on for that info - and a recipe or two - after the review.)

This is a great book for anybody, not just those of us with cramped cooking spaces, little cash, and scant "spare" time.  Having lived under these very conditions for the last 16 years or so, I like to think I've got a pretty good handle on how to manage that kind of stuff. That said, it took several years of trial and error to figure things out, particularly in the tiny studio apartment I lived in during grad school. This book would have been a godsend back then!

Angie's book tells you how to make the most of your resources with great advice ranging from shopping lists to storage solutions and tips on what kitchen utensils you REALLY need. Heck, I even learned a few tricks which I have already begun working into my cuisine routine.

The book also includes a whole slew of budget-friendly recipes which look delicious. I haven't had a chance to try any of them yet but their time will come. Some of the recipes do call for things like canned condensed soup or seasoning packets, which are things I avoid if at all possible, but with a little imagination you can work around those ingredients should you so choose. (I'm not being snobbish here. I'm very sensitive to MSG, which is common in such items. I'd rather purchase slightly more expensive foods and skip the migraines.)

I highly recommend you check this one out. It is available from Smashwords for only $4.99(US) but if you have a little patience, you could win one here! Simply leave a comment on this blog post - one entry per person, please. The deadline to enter is 12:00am MST Monday, December 5, 2011. After the deadline has passed all entries will be assigned a number in chronological order, and I will use a random number generator to pick the lucky winner! I'll do my best to announce the winner no later than December 8, 2011.

Angie Ballard lives here: http://www.thejammiegirl.com/
Her eBook is available in just about any format you could want here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/90773

And because it always feels strange to post here without a video, here are a couple of recipes for you!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

Wondering what to do with all those pumpkin seeds left over from making pumpkin soup or carving jack-o-lanterns? Don't throw them away! They make for a tasty - not to mention healthy - snack!


Pumpkin guts & seeds
2 Tbsps olive oil
garlic salt


Preheat oven to 275°.
Separate seeds from the guts. (Keep the seeds, discard the guts.)
Toss seeds with olive oil and garlic salt to taste, and spread on a rimmed baking sheet.
Place seeds in the oven. Check and stir them about every 10 minutes until golden brown. Depending on how many seeds you have, cooking time could be anywhere from about 20 minutes to an hour or more.

Music: Maintaining Radio Silence by The Hybiscus Journals. You can download it here: http://thehybiscusjournals.bandcamp.com/track/maintaining-radio-silence

Bonus recipe!

Hot Buttered Rum Batter

As fall and winter roll in, nothing takes the edge off the chill quite like a steaming mug of hot buttered rum. Of course you don't have to use rum, but it really does make for a great nightcap.

This recipe is my slightly altered version of the one I found here: http://www.floras-hideout.com/drrecipes/recipes.php?page=drrecipes&data=f-j/Hot_Buttered_Rum_Mix. I found the mix didn't quite get smooth enough with just a 1/2 cup of butter. Also, I couldn't help but put my own twist on the spicing.


3 C brown sugar
1 C butter (please do not use margarine)
2 Tbsps honey
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp rum extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (If you only have ground, that's okay. Use the same amount.)
pinch of ground cloves


Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until evenly mixed. If you don't have a food processor, a hand mixer will work. I'm not sure a blender would be terribly successful. The batter will look a bit like peanut butter once you're done (see photo), though if you taste it there will be a slightly grainy consistency. Don't worry about that, it's just undissolved sugar. Place into an air-tight container and keep refrigerated. Once the weather warms up, I stick any remaining batter - if there is any - in the freezer.


Put about a tablespoon of the batter into a mug. Add a shot of rum and top off with hot water. Stir until the lump of batter is dissolved. Enjoy.

Don't like rum? Try it with bourbon or whiskey instead.

Don't drink alcohol? Making this for the kids? Replace the rum and hot water with hot apple cider or tea. I've read suggestions to put it in coffee as well, but I've not tried it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Eat for a week 33a: Roasted Pumpkin Soup

This recipe takes some time, but is really worth it. The result is a lightly curried pumpkin soup. The recipe as published here makes a HUGE amount of soup - around 9 quarts or so. I would suggest cutting the recipe in half. For a stronger curry flavor, halve the amounts for everything but the spices. Grocery bill for this was just over $11.


10 lb. carving pumpkin (yes, like the ones you'd use for a jack-o-lantern)
vegetable oil (not much, maybe 2 or 3 Tbsps)
2 tbsps bacon drippings *
one onion, chopped
6-7 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 Tbsps curry powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tsp smoked paprika **
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg **
1 tsp cider vinegar (if necessary)
4-6 C water
1/2 lb. baby carrots
2-3 bay leaves
2 tsp dry marjoram leaves **
pinch of saffron **
1 pint half-and-half
salt & pepper to taste


To prepare the pumpkin - this can be done a couple of days in advance and stored in the fridge:

Preheat oven to 375°
Throw the pumpkin at the ground to crack it, then finish cutting it in half with your knife.
Scoop out seeds and strings and set the guts aside. I'll show you what to do with these in episode 33b.
Rub cut edges with oil and place cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet.
Place in the oven and bake 45 minutes to an hour, until a paring knife can be easily inserted and withdrawn.
Allow pumpkin halves to cool until you can handle them without burning yourself, then separate the flesh from the skin. (Discard the skin, keep the flesh and any juices.)

For the soup itself:

Heat bacon drippings in a large stock pot over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic with a little salt and cook 3-4 minutes.
Add curry powder, cumin, ginger, cayenne, paprika, and nutmeg and cook for 1-2 minutes.
If the spices start to stick to the bottom of the pot too much, add vinegar to un-stick them.
Add pumpkin flesh, carrots, water, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Add bay leaves, marjoram, and saffron.
Increase heat and allow soup to boil, then lower heat, cover the pot, and allow to simmer for about half an hour.
Remove bay leaves and blend the soup using an immersion blender (preferred method).
Turn off heat and mix in the half-and-half. Enjoy!

I like to garnish this with some greek yogurt and toasted pumpkin seeds. I'll show you my recipe for the pumpkin seeds in episode 33b (coming soon).

Music for this episode is Yellow by The Hybiscus Journals. You can download it for free - or whatever you think it is worth - here: http://thehybiscusjournals.bandcamp.com/track/yellow

I'm also working on putting together an e-book give-away. Keep an eye on the blog (http://eat-for-a-week.blogspot.com) for details!

* Feel free to use olive oil or butter if you prefer to keep this vegetarian. I was out of those and happened to have some bacon drippings in the fridge.
** These are optional. If you don't have them, leave them out. If you do have them, use them!