We have certainly settled into our new home, I thought, as I walked from the grocery store, down our street to our house. It feels like home. I know a place feels familiar when the automatic pilot turns on and leads me there without actual brain input. We have only been living here for about two and a half months and I wonder what it will feel like years from now. Five years from now? Ten?
I mentioned this to Ben that night after dinner and he smiled, with a look that said, “It could only be wonderful.” Christmases with a fire in the fireplace and stockings hanging on the mantle, evenings with friends eating good food and drinking good wine in the dining room, summers in the backyard garden tending to vegetables…we will see many of these in our new home over the coming years. Feeling settled, to know we will be here years from now, in this same house, is a feeling unfamiliar to both of us in recent years, but it indeed feels wonderful. Although we have what feels like an endless list of “things” we want to do in the house (install a fan in the bathroom, for example), we are certainly taking the time to savor and enjoy this part of our lives and anticipate all that is to come.
Right now, our street is littered with leaves, all of the leaves having fallen off the trees at the same time, or so it seems. We are preparing for our first winter season in our new home, and our first holiday season. (I broke down and bought a package of red apple-cinnamon-scented tea-lights a couple of weeks ago, despite my resolve to not indulge in Christmas things before Thanksgiving has passed. I blame Ben – he just gets so excited about Christmas! If it were up to him, our tree would be up in September.) I got a little nervous when I read we have a pumpkin shortage this year, on account of the spoiled fields out east, but I came across a large display of canned pumpkin at the grocery store this past weekend and a little voice inside my head cried, “hooray!” I know, I know, freshly roasted pumpkin tastes much better, but the canned stuff is pretty darn good and you can’t beat the convenience with a stick.
About this time last year, I made pumpkin scones and I have been waiting to find the canned pumpkin in the stores to make them again! I bought four cans. I am in pumpkin heaven. But maybe I should go to the store later tonight and get more…I think I have an obsession.
This doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking with whole pumpkins prior to this – au contraire! Well, you all know about the pumpkin soup I made for last month's Go Ahead Honey it’s Gluten Free round up. I also made stuffed pumpkins for dinner last week and got rave reviews from Ben. I certainly know what we will be eating each fall for the years to come!
Sausage and apple-stuffed pumpkin
1 small sugar pumpkin
2 sausages, sliced (I am digging Al Fresco’s roasted red pepper and asiago chicken sausage)
1 small apple, diced
½ cup pecan pieces
Real maple syrup
Wash and dry the pumpkin and stick it in the microwave for about a minute (this makes it a tad easier to cut). Remove the stem and slice in half. Scoop out the seeds (and save to roast later) and pulp.
Place pumpkin halves cut-side down in a baking dish with about ¼ inch of water and bake at 350 for 40 minutes to an hour (depending on the size of your pumpkins). Mine took about an hour – they should be really soft.
Remove pumpkins from the oven and turn them over in the dish so the cut side is now up. Place a couple small dots of butter inside the cavities and drizzle with maple syrup. Divide the sausage slices, diced apple, and pecans evenly between the two pumpkin halves. Fill each pumpkin half with the apple and sausage, then place the pecans on top. Drizzle a bit with more maple syrup, if desired.
Bake for an additional 20 minutes, until the pecans are good and toasty and you can’t stand the delicious smell any longer!