1
San Francisco
2
Twinings London
3
Road Trip to the Flea Market
4
Making Your Door Into a Chalkboard
5
Frozen Pesto Cubes
6
Heart Shaped Ricotta, Basil, Tomato Tea Sandwiches
7
Beach Thursday
8
Garden Fresh Pumpkin Pie
9
Kale Turkey Meatballs

San Francisco

I was in San Francisco a few days ago.  I was only there for about 19 hours so I didn’t get to see much, but wanted to share the experience.  This was my first time on the West Coast, it’s so sunny in California – how do you guys see?
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This is how I travel.  It’s really the necessities.
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Watching live TV 35,000 feet up in the air is probably one of the most exciting moments of my life.  Sadly the Nets lost and I had a Knicks fan next to me.
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I had IN-N-OUT for the first time.  I thought it was very cheap, but taste wise it was just ok. (I’m sorry!)
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The next morning I met one of my best cat friends Melody for a very early breakfast.  Melody moved to San Francisco a few months ago and I have missed her so much.  She was nice enough to meet me very early for french toast.  We talked about cats the entire time.
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This is us.   What a beautiful pose she made!
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San Francisco.  It’s very bright.  That’s my suitcase too.  It’s very bright.
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I did not pay to use this, instead I just took a picture of it.
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I had Mexican, a chicken taco and chicken tortilla soup.  The taco was great but I still think this recipe for tortilla soup is the best.
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Me and Miss Golden Gate Bridge.  I also said hi to the Pacific Ocean and Alcatraz from a distance.
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I don’t usually get to see palm trees.
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Then I flew home on a red eye.  Note how much Virgin America looks like a night club.
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But it’s ok because I can order unlimited “free” Mighty Leaf tea from my screen at any time I want. I love it!

Twinings London

If you know me then you know I am tea obsessed.  If you come over, I will serve you tea.  If you see me, I am probably drinking tea. I dream of tea at night, dark english breakfast tea.  I have started lovely friendships with tea exchanges.  It all started as a young girl where everyday before school my mother would make me toast and tea.  Let’s not discuss if this is ok for a 8 year old to have, but I fell in love with it immediately.  So when we were in London, Twinings headquarters was my number one spot.  When I went in I told the employees how excited I was and I’m not sure if I freaked them out or they thought I was sweet. Either way, they did throw some free samples my way.  If you’re ever in London, go here.  Go have afternoon tea too.  Drink tea all day.  It’s totally ok!
Let’s go in!
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Magical fairy land..
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Of tea! Every kind!
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Bags, loose, pots – have your pick…
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I happily skipped down the aisles filling up my bag with tea.  Matthew asked me “Really, you need that much?”
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Why, yes I do!
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Matthew doesn’t like tea, I’m not sure how this relationship has survived this.  One day I talked him into having tea with me and I thought I would serve him a dessert tea, something chocolate and mint, it would be delightful and he would fall in love with tea! Then we would go on daily tea dates!  Unfortunately Matthew burned his lips on the hot tea and cried.  So I drank his tea. He never has tried it again.  He was curious on the smells though…
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What a fun time!
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Some of my loot!  I would highly recommend the Queen’s Jubilee tea
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Road Trip to the Flea Market

Yesterday we rented a car and drove to Columbus, New Jersey to go to one of the biggest flea markets I’ve ever been to.  Besides the usual inside booths, the outside was filled with never ending rows of people selling their junk and treasures.  It seemed everytime we rounded a corner thinking it was done, there was another field filled with tables and items to root through.  Going to flea markets was a big thing in my childhood, we would go to the local one every Sunday and some other ones during the week.  Right before vacation every year we would even set up our own stand and sell to make some extra money.  I was always the kid selling the RL Stine Goosebumps books who was not going to give you a deal because did you have any idea how good these books were?  I remember sometimes my parents would leave me alone at the stand and I would have to sell tables worth of their goods.  Folks would come up to me asking how much my parents items cost or questions about them.  I would glance up from my Nintendo Gameboy and shrug, 50 cents for that kitchen table, sure take it.  But those RL Stines – no deal is being made.

It was a fun journey.  We found some items that we wanted, and some that we didn’t really need but had to buy.  Road trips are always supposed to be filled with eating horribly, so there was some treats to be had along the way too.

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This was at a rest stop along the way.  My sunglasses were just found broken in my bag but I decided to wear them anyways.
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For breakfast we split a Cinnabon.   I also got tea, they didn’t even ask me what kind of tea I wanted out of 20 options.  Instead they just gave me a Lipton tea bag and told me to take it over to the hot water station.  I was not in New York anymore.
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There we arrived! This picture was taken at the end of the day, at the beginning, there was cars to be found everywhere.  We had to park very far away which was good because of the amount of fudge I would soon eat.
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Once inside the flea we came across a store that sold almost every game you could think of.  We love board games so we just stood and stare in amazement.  Two games I didn’t see: Ask Zandar, a classic in my opinion, and Candy Land Lotto which was my childhood favorite.
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I found what I believe is the best pie dish ever.  This gem here cost me $5 and was sold by a very stylish older woman who I had to promise I would take good care of this for her.   It’s one of those things that you know you’ll always love and will always make you smile.  I’m in love with it.  I’m pretty sure it was made for me.
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We bought 2 baseball gloves.  Matthew has brought up the idea of going to the park and catching baseballs for years so at $10 for 2 gloves, we found this to be a great deal.  The guy who sold them (who I believe is Joseph Galm’s father?) was very nice and gave me encouraging words that I could participate in this sport and not get hurt.   The baseball though.. that’s another story.
We were trying to find a cheap baseball after buying the gloves.  Matthew thought he saw some earlier in the day so we went back to these stands but couldn’t find any.  Eventually we came across one baseball that had signatures all over – who was it signed by? Babe Ruth? Little League team? No idea.  The booth belonged to a older man who when he saw us popped out of his pickup truck.  “How much for this?” Matthew asked him.  “One dollar” the man said.  Now it’ gets tricky.  Matthew shook his head and put the ball down.  Matthew thought $1 was too much.  I wasn’t sure what to do so just looked at Matthew to the older man and back and forth again. Then the older gentleman started to yell at Matthew “OH! ONE DOLLAR TOO MUCH FOR THIS MAN HERE! CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS. ONE DOLLAR, TOO MUCH MONEY”.  Then I grabbed Matthew’s arm and tried to push us away.  We walked off as the man continued to yell at us down the rows “ONE DOLLAR IS TOO MUCH FOR THIS MAN THERE.  ONE DOLLAR. ONE DOLLAR”.  By that time I was crying with laughter.   Eventually we found this baseball.. and paid $2.50 for it.
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After the stress of the baseball man, we needed lunch.  We got a pepperoni pizza pretzel roll from the Amish market stand.  It was delicious.
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Matthew got this winter coat at a military store that also sold guns.  Would you like to see someone awkwardly standing in a store while her other half poses in front of a mirror with a complete wall full of guns behind her? That was me.
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I needed a piece of fudge, so I got some chocolate peanut butter. I love fudge so much. It’s dangerous.  It’s delicious.  This was amazing.  I asked for a quarter pound, but the 8 year old (seriously) who rang me out said it was a bit over.  Ok, I guess, pull my arm, I will eat half a pound of fudge instead.  Ok, Ok.
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Do you know Whoopie pies?  This is a childhood favorite from always visiting the Amish markets.  The Amish know how to make their pies.  These can be described as one of the sweetest pastries you will ever eat.  It’s full of cream with a cake like top and bottom.  I got this pack of chocolate, pumpkin and oatmeal.  I took it to a debate party we were attending later that night and basically whoopied everyone else, we were in a sugar comatose. I made a horrible choice of this morning eating a piece of a leftover pie, now my day is moving very slowly.  I’m going to eat broccoli for the rest of the day.
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Also bought from the Amish, the best sour dough bread ever.  The smell of it – oh god.  I also got organic freshly ground peanut butter. I never had fresh peanut butter, I don’t think I can go back to the stuff in the jar now. I wanted a jar of red raspberry jam as it’s a favorite. I bought this thinking it was local freshly made, then when I got home i realized it said “Made in Ohio”.  I was fooled!
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On the way home we stopped in a Cracker Barrel to have a early dinner.   I never ate in a Cracker Barrel, only heard about their large portions.  I got a baked potato, a side order of mac and cheese and a cup of cabbage stew. I ate about 25% of it.  Matthew said he was disappointed in my ability to finish a full American meal like this, but there was no way.  How can potatoes grow that big?
Anyways, to my surprise Cracker Barrel has a gift store full of cute  holiday items!  What a great idea, after I finish dinner with a full belly, have me walk past Christmas trees decorated with my favorite people: snowmen.  Just give me one of everything, I need to go to the car and lie down.  I got these Snowmen Christmas ornaments, and Peppermint Bark because it’s a favorite.  We are ready for Christmas.  It’s October 12th. Bring it on!

Making Your Door Into a Chalkboard

I have been in the mood to change things around our loft space.  I will soon be painting the walls around my desk area, but before I get to that I wanted to change the back of our front door.  Lately I have seen great ideas involving chalk board paint, but I wasn’t sure where to do this.  Then one day after coming home once again after forgetting to send out the mail (4 days in a row) I thought to myself “I need a reminder right by the door”.  There the idea of a chalk board on the back of the front door was born.   We can use the door for lists, reminders and more importantly we can leave happy messages to each other.

Chalk board paint is a pretty easy process.
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Prepare where you’re painting.  For the door I just cleaned and wiped it down.
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Then I used some painters tape to tape the edges.  I eventually did the entire thing.  Xanadu helped.
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She really helped.
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This is the chalk board paint.  You can also get colors but they are sold in smaller cans. You can find this at Home Depot by the spray paints.
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I had to apply 2 coats to the door for it to take evenly.  Let it dry a few hours in between each coat.
Now here’s the hard part.. let it dry completely.  It needs to sit for 72 hours before you do anything.
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72 hours later:  Then you take a piece of chalk and use the side of it to completely cover the paint.  This creates a coat on the paint to protect the paint and seal it in.  Then you erase it completely with a chalk board eraser. Do not clean it with water until 10 days after painting.
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Now comes the fun part! Get the chalk out!
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Halloween is soon, let’s be festive and decorate the door too!
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The door is finished, and ready for any loving notes you want to leave.  One thing has been added to the door: Send mail out!
Have fun.. the ideas are endless!

Frozen Pesto Cubes

If you are growing herbs in  your garden then right now you might have alot and not sure what to do with them. Do you dry them? Do you use them as is? How about we make delicious pesto and freeze them? Yes, let’s do that!  Here we will use our fresh parsley and basil.  Just think about in December when it’s freezing out and you’re in a bad mood because your boot has a hole in it and you stepped in a big slush pile.  You come home, cranky, boil some pasta.  What to put on top.. pesto… from your garden.. oh the summer time  memories.. everything feels better now. 🙂

What can you do with pesto besides put in pasta? Use it as a pizza sauce.  Marinade chicken or steak or shrimp in it.  Use it as a vegetable dip.  Make soup.  So many options!

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Frozen Pesto Cubes
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups fresh parsley
  2. 4 cloves of garlic
  3. 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  4. 1/2 cup olive oil
  5. 1/4 cup walnuts
  6. 1/2 cup fresh basil
Instructions
  1. Directions: Blend all ingredients together. Put in ice cube trays, freeze for a few hours. Take out and then package in freezer bags. Can it get more simpler?
What you’ll need to freeze
  1. Ice Cube Trays
  2. Clear Wrap
  3. Freezer Bags
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

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Let’s make some pesto and freeze it!

Directions: Blend all ingredients together. Put in ice cube trays, freeze for a few hours.  Take out and then package in freezer bags.  Can it get more simpler?

From the recipe/ingredients above I made 2.5 batches of it which equaled 6 cups of fresh parsley and 1.5 cups of basil. I also made a quick batch of just basil pesto.

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Gather your supplies.

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I have 2 bags of walnuts just in case.  I totally didn’t need all those but I’m overly prepared (in life).  I have so many bottles of soy sauce in the pantry.. just in case.

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Beautiful fresh parsley and basil, picked minutes before.  MMMM. Smell it!

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Parsley, I love you.

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Basil, I love you.

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Put your herbs and your garlic in your blender/processor.

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Add your cheese.

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Add your nuts. I like to use walnuts,  some people use pine nuts.  Whatever.

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Put your olive oil in.  Look at this.

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Blend, blend, blend.

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Take it out and put it in a plastic bag.  Seal it shut.

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Get your ice cube trays and some scissors.  Cut the bottom corner of your plastic bag, you’re basically going to make it into a cake icing bag.

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Start to fill them up…

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All done? Yay! Cover them up with wrap and put them in the freezer.

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Magic, they are frozen now!

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Now you need to work quick when you take them out of the freezer because they like to melt pretty quickly.  Work them out of the trays.

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Put in bags. Label them if you must.

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Hooray, frozen pesto cubes!

Heart Shaped Ricotta, Basil, Tomato Tea Sandwiches

I made these for a tea date lunch that I had with some dear friends.

Heart Shaped Ricotta, Basil, Tomato Tea Sandwiches
Print
Ingredients
  1. 8 Pieces of Bread – I used Arnold’s Whole Wheat
  2. 8 oz Ricotta
  3. 5 Fresh Fresh Basil Leaves + Extra Basil On Top
  4. 3 Garlic Cloves
  5. Tomatoes
  6. Olive Oil
  7. Salt/Pepper
Instructions
  1. Marinade slices of tomatoes in olive oil, salt/pepper mixture overnight.
  2. Mince garlic and some basil (leave some for the topping) and mix with ricotta. Store overnight.
  3. Cut your bread into hearts with a heart cookie cutter.
  4. Add some ricotta on top.
  5. Add either a fresh basil leaf or a marinated tomato on top.
  6. Enjoy!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
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You want to marinade your tomatoes overnight.  Just a little tablespoon of olive oil goes a long way.

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Mince your garlic and basil.  Smells so good!

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Add your ricotta.  Store overnight.  Tastes so good!

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Right before your tea date, get your bread ready.  You will basically be able to do one heart per piece of bread.

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Well aren’t they lovely…

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Now put some ricotta on top of each one.

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Top with a fresh basil leaf..

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Or a marinated tomato.

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Serve fresh or throw in the refrigerator if your friends like to be late (*cough cough*).

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Have a great afternoon! 🙂

Beach Thursday

It really feels like the end of summer.  Matthew will be attending a electronic music festival until Sunday and then Tuesday we begin teaching for the Fall semester, so we wanted to get a last “summer day” in there.  The answer: the beach.  This was the first time at the beach all summer for me, and it was a good day of just plain ol relaxing.
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Taking the subway out about 90 minutes will get you to Rockaway Beach which is our favorite NYC beach.  Upon getting there, we knew we would need some shade to survive, so we were going to rent a beach umbrella to lay under and read for hours (my Kindle is amazing for reading in the sun).  Surprisingly to buy a beach umbrella cost about the same thing we expected to pay to rent one, so we now own a neon pink beach umbrella!
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The funny thing is that we weren’t really equipped to get a umbrella into the sand so when we first put it in, it immediately came out and blew down the beach.  As I ran after the umbrella trying to catch it but always missing it by arm lengths, children shouted to their parents to look at the girl chasing after her umbrella.  It was just one of those experiences… Finally I caught it!
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Then we began the afternoon which always starts with attending sunscreen crazily all over.  This reminds me of how I used to look as a kid when my dad applied sunscreen to me except he never really rubbed it in. I have pictures for proof.  Thanks Dad.
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Then it was lunch time, and I was starving for my first meal of the day.  We picked up deli sandwiches on the way.  I was a little “eh” about  my orange cheese, but it was pretty good to be honest.
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The real winner of the day were these pretzel crisps.  Have you tried them? You need to, immediately.  You should stop reading right now and go buy some!
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I forgot how good it feels to just bury your feet in sand and do nothing but close your eyes.
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Matthew didn’t go into the ocean, but I sure did.. many times! I forgot how fun it is to just let the waves knock you down, and then try to catch one to swim in.  It brought me back to my childhood vacations spent at the beach, I would play in those waves for hours everyday while covered in sunscreen.
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Thanks for the good day beach! Next summer, we’ll be sure to spend more lazy days there..
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We’ll bring along our umbrella too!
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Garden Fresh Pumpkin Pie

The best FRESHEST Pumpkin Pie you can make!  This homemade Garden Fresh Pumpkin Pie recipe uses fresh pumpkin puree made from scratch from your garden pumpkins.  This homemade pie recipe is easy to make with condensed milk, a pie crust and plenty of Fall spices. Make sure to add whipped cream to the top of the pie for decoration! This is always the most requested dessert for Thanksgiving!

I love pumpkin pie.  I just don’t love it, I LOVE it.  Thanksgiving to me means pumpkin pie.  It’s really the only time of the year I make a full pie and eat the entire thing. Ok, I lied about that part, I do it more than once a year.  So with us picking so many pumpkins from our garden, I decided  to make my favorite pumpkin pie from scratch.  From seed to pollinating to picking to baking – this is completely made out of love.

The best FRESHEST Pumpkin Pie you can make!  This homemade Garden Fresh Pumpkin Pie recipe uses fresh pumpkin puree made from scratch from your garden pumpkins.  This homemade pie recipe is easy to make with condensed milk, a pie crust and plenty of Fall spices. Make sure to add whipped cream to the top of the pie for decoration! This is always the most requested dessert for Thanksgiving!

 The pie is so tasty due to the freshness of the pumpkin!  This is one of those recipes where it’s so near perfect I probably won’t ever try another pumpkin pie recipe again! 

The best FRESHEST Pumpkin Pie you can make!  This homemade Garden Fresh Pumpkin Pie recipe uses fresh pumpkin puree made from scratch from your garden pumpkins.  This homemade pie recipe is easy to make with condensed milk, a pie crust and plenty of Fall spices. Make sure to add whipped cream to the top of the pie for decoration! This is always the most requested dessert for Thanksgiving!

If you can use fresh pumpkin please do, it really elevates the taste of a homemade pumpkin pie! If you’ve never made fresh pumpkin puree before, here’s a DIY post I made.  It’s easy – I promise!  Even better, it freezes great so you can continue to use it for baked goods throughout the next few months.  If you can’t make your own pumpkin puree, that’s totally ok, grab some at a farmers market or use canned pumpkin.  

 Either way – enjoy!The best freshest Pumpkin Pie you can make! This homemade Fresh Garden Pumpkin Pie recipe uses fresh pumpkin puree made from scratch from your garden pumpkins. This homemade pie recipe is easy to make with condensed milk, a pie crust and plenty of Fall spices. Make sure to add whipped cream to the top of the pie for decoration! This is always the most requested dessert for Thanksgiving!

The best freshest Pumpkin Pie you can make! This homemade Fresh Garden Pumpkin Pie recipe uses fresh pumpkin puree made from scratch from your garden pumpkins. This homemade pie recipe is easy to make with condensed milk, a pie crust and plenty of Fall spices. Make sure to add whipped cream to the top of the pie for decoration! This is always the most requested dessert for Thanksgiving!

The best freshest Pumpkin Pie you can make! This homemade Fresh Garden Pumpkin Pie recipe uses fresh pumpkin puree made from scratch from your garden pumpkins. This homemade pie recipe is easy to make with condensed milk, a pie crust and plenty of Fall spices. Make sure to add whipped cream to the top of the pie for decoration! This is always the most requested dessert for Thanksgiving!

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The best freshest Pumpkin Pie you can make! This homemade Garden Fresh Pumpkin Pie recipe uses fresh pumpkin puree made from scratch from your garden pumpkins. This homemade pie recipe is easy to make with condensed milk, a pie crust and plenty of Fall spices. Make sure to add whipped cream to the top of the pie for decoration! This is always the most requested dessert for Thanksgiving!

Print

Garden Fresh Pumpkin Pie

The best FRESHEST Pumpkin Pie you can make!  This homemade Garden Fresh Pumpkin Pie recipe uses fresh pumpkin puree made from scratch from your garden pumpkins.  This homemade pie recipe is easy to make with condensed milk, a pie crust and plenty of Fall spices. Make sure to add whipped cream to the top of the pie for decoration! This is always the most requested dessert for Thanksgiving!

Ingredients

  • 15 oz fresh pumpkin puree
  • 14 oz can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 9 inch unbaked pie crust

Optional

  • Whipped Cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a bowl.
  3. Pour into crust and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking 35 minutes.
  5. Let cool.
  6. Decorate the top of the pie with whipped cream.

 

This recipe is part of Meal Plan Monday Thanksgiving dessert party!

 

Kale Turkey Meatballs

Our kale in the garden is out of hand, it’s basically taking over. So last night I decided to pick some to make kale meatballs!  Not only are the ingredients easy, but the directions are as well.  While eating dinner Matthew proclaimed “This is the best spaghetti meal I ever had in my life”.   Good job kale! 🙂

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Kale Turkey Meatballs
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups uncooked chopped fresh kale
  2. 1 pound ground turkey
  3. Pinch of dried rosemary, parsley, oregano
  4. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  5. 3 cloves garlic
  6. 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan over medium high heat. Add kale and spices. Cook until your kale is wilted.
  2. Put kale mixture and garlic into a food processor and chop it up. Add your turkey and egg and pulse until it’s all combined.
  3. Form this mixture into 1 inch balls.
  4. Add one more tablespoon of olive oil into your previous pan, turn to medium-high heat and then add your meatballs. Cook until browned on both sides (make sure to flip them).
  5. Serve with some spaghetti, sauce, cheese on top..and some bread on the side!
Notes
  1. These work great on the grill too.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

Update: 

We put these meatballs on the grill and boy were they delicious! So if you are grilling this summer, try this recipe. I like adding sticks inside them once they’re  done, makes eating fun!
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