The Stuffed Pumpkin Recipe That Would Make Martha Proud

Stuffed Pumpkin Recipe

When October comes around, I’m overcome by the urge to buy every vegetable possible and stuff it with things. Bread, quinoa, vegetables, tomatoes, cheese, curried chickpeas- the possibilities are endless. Stuffed peppers and stuffed acorn squash are part of my year-round rotation, but I reserve stuffed pumpkins for fall and only for fall.

In the same way that a whiff of Douglas fir brings me straight into mid-December, the scent of this quintessential fall concoction lets me know that it’s my favorite time of year. Fragrant sage, savory cheeses, and a hint of Granny Smith apple all come together to usher in happy memories and make way for new ones. My husband’s birthday is October 28th, with mine falling a day after on the 29th and Halloween nipping at its heels two days later. I’m jumping the gun a bit by making this special dinner now, but it’s never too early to celebrate (or to eat pumpkins, for that matter).

SARAH’S MAGICAL STUFFED PUMPKIN
Serves 4 (or 2 really hungry people)

INGREDIENTS

2 individual-sized sugar pie pumpkins (around 5″ in diameter)
1/2 tsp. olive oil
3 cups Sourdough bread, torn into small chunks
1 cup freshly grated cheese (I use a combination of smoked cheddar and baby swiss)
1 packed cup kale, ribs removed and leaves chopped
1/2 medium Granny Smith or other tart apple, chopped
1/4 cup walnut halves
2 tsp. or 4 cloves minced garlic (use less if you’re not a garlic fanatic like I am)
2 fresh sage leaves or 1/2 tsp. dried sage
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Herbamare or salt to taste
1/3 cup low-fat milk, divided (whole milk is fine- don’t use skim!)

DIRECTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If desired, toast walnuts in a skillet with some cooking spray over medium heat until just fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add sage leaves. Toast for 60 seconds. Remove immediately from pan, let cool, then chop finely.

2. Cut off the top of the pumpkin the way you would for a jack-o-lantern. Remove seeds and pulp using an ice cream scoop, reserving seeds for later use (toasting… mmm…). Rub exposed pumpkin flesh with olive oil.

Pumpkin With Cap Removed3. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl except milk, including walnuts and sage from Step 1. Fill pumpkins with the mixture.

Stuffing for Pumpkin4. Gradually drizzle half of the milk into each pumpkin until just moistened. Use more or less liquid if need be.

5. Place pumpkins in casserole dish and bake with the pumpkin tops on for 45 minutes. Remove tops and bake for 10-30 minutes more until pumpkin flesh is tender and easily pierced with a fork. Let cool, then devour!Unbaked Pumpkins in Dish

Baked Stuffed PumpkinsGuess what arrived in the mail, just in time for our birthdays! There was no return address, but I can only assume this person must know us and our love of pumpkins and octopi quite well. And yes, before you ask, that is indeed an octopumpkin.

Sarah with the OctopumpkinStan the Octopumpkin

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A Little Bit Grunge, a Little Bit Country, a Little Bit Rock & Roll

Vintage Flannel Shirt (see it styled differently here), Express Jeans (circa 2002), ATM T-shirt, Crossroads Sunglasses, Forever 21 Booties

It’s amazing how a year without a car can make driving fun again. On the way back from Sacramento (photos coming later this week!), Jim suggested we take a windy road through the mountains on our way to visit family in Sonoma. I hadn’t been in mountains of any kind since I moved away from Colorado, and it was so powerful and comforting to be in their midst again.

We pulled over at Lake Berryessa and walked down to the shore. My booties were much sturdier than I had anticipated, although I wouldn’t recommend them for more strenuous trekking! It was late enough in the season that the lake was deserted and completely, wonderfully silent.

It was truly a meld of past and present, evoking memories of the countless cross-country drives that Jim and I made when our relationship was new and entirely long-distance. We used to drive together across the Great Plains over and over again as we traversed the country between Chicago and Colorado Springs. My outfit was even an accidental past-meets-present tribute- I’ve owned these jeans for exactly a decade, and my brand-new booties were on their maiden voyage.

As much as I love San Francisco, getting away into the county revived me in a way I hadn’t even known I needed. I love the city for its vibrancy and constant movement, but occasionally, I just need some peace.

Flannel and Sunglasses at Lake Berryessa-001

Forever 21 Studded Booties at Lake Berryessa-001

Jim at Lake Berryessa-001

Western Redbud at Lake Berryessa

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Five Quick Snaps

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Photos taken with Sanfranista’s Instagram

Starting today, I’d like to take time weekly to share bits and pieces of the day-to-day beauty that I get to experience by living here. I rarely have my “real” camera with me, so all these snaps come through my iPhone while I’m traveling around San Francisco. I’m always partial to views of the skyline, but I also love to capture a beautiful storefront or small things I find along the way. What are the details you notice throughout your day?

Above, pastel buildings with a stripey awning steal my heart every time. I love the Fillmore Street area in Pacific Heights for its classic beauty and boutique-y charm. Below, I’m very rarely in the Potrero Hill area, but this view gives me reason enough to return.

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I can’t ever get used to the criss-crossed, spiderweb pattern of the electric bus cables. They’re always make me think of Terminator for some reason- am I the only one? Love it.

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Who said BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit, for you out-of-towners) can’t be beautiful?

View to the west from Rockridge BART at sunset

If I had to choose a favorite nighttime neighborhood in the city, I’d probably grimace and adopt a martyred expression (“How could I ever choose?!?”), but this image would almost certainly pop into my mind. It’s one block  from a historic beat poet bar, Chinese food that will blow your mind, a super-swanky champagne lounge, and the best dive karaoke bar… ever.

North Beach at NightHave a beautiful weekend, everyone!

Listening: “Underwater” – Metric

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