Sunday, November 1, 2009

I'm definitely not pregnant this month...but Samhain was awesome.

So, Aunt Flo is here, for sure.  She arrived on time, with cramps, and she's still here.  Sigh.

I suppose I shouldn't really be disappointed.  Last night, I continued my usual Samhain holiday tradition of divination with my friends.  It's really the best night for it, when the veil between worlds is thinnest.  I get the best and clearest answers (usually) around this time of year.  So I asked if I needed to change anything in my quest to become pregnant with my daughter, and the answer I got was just to be patient.  More than that, my best friend piped up that she'd seen something on the news about the problems pregnant women were having with swine flu.  I figured that they were just getting worse cases than normal, maybe needing help breathing or needing extra fluids and monitoring during their illness.  No, I guess some of them are actually losing their babies.  Yikes!  So, it seems that perhaps something is keeping me from getting pregnant while it's dangerous to do so.  Well, yay them....and I need to learn to calm down about the baby who will undoubtably find her way into my life sooner or later.

I also need to avoid the baby aisle at Target.  All the pink and purple baby booties, hats, onesies, bibs and toys are making me a bit too excited about getting pregnant, and I need to chill out and focus on my health and timing my ovulation right now.  At least I've had enough months to really know, within about 3 hours, when I'm ovulating in a given month.

Anyway, this was all a little too distracting while Samhain was going on.  I love Samhain.  It's my favorite holiday, bar none, of the year.  Christmas/Yule has nothing on Samhain/Halloween and everything else falls so distantly behind that they aren't even in the same category.  I usually spend all month getting ready for it, but this month swine flu interfered.  Regardless, it was still a great Samhain, and an improvement was made this year that I'd like to make into a permanent tradition.  My coven and I celebrated Samhain on the 30th, having our religious celebration and feast separate from the secular, but still fun and important, trick-or-treating and Halloween party of the 31st.  It took so much pressure off to have the two on separate days that  can't imagine willingly going back to trying to cram it all into one day again.

For our Samhain feast every year, we make a stuffed pumpkin.  It's yummy, and looks really cool on the table.  But the first year, when we put way more spices in than the recipe called for, it was the best.  So every year we've added more and more spices to try to get it back to the amazing concoction we first experienced.  Finally, I changed the turkey sausage and ground turkey part of the recipe to good, old fashioned pork sausage.  We've long since decided that the golden raisins in the recipe were worth ditching, and voila....we revamped the awesome Stuffed Pumpkin recipe from The Wicca Cookbook by Jamie Wood and Tara Seefeldt and made it our own.  Here's our version:

Samhain Stuffed Pumpkin

1 medium cooking pumpkin, about 10 inches in diameter
2 large yellow bell peppers, diced
3 lbs mild italian pork sausage
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/2 c. sliced green olives with pimentos
2 tbs olive oil
2 tsp minced fresh oregano
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp black pepper (we like pepper a lot)
4 cloves pressed garlic
1 14 oz can skinned tomatoes, diced
3 large eggs, beaten

Cut the top off of the pumpkin, clean and remove the seeds and pumpkin guts.  Place the pumpkin in a pot and fill the inside of the pumpkin and surround it with water.  Put 1/4 tsp of salt in the pumpkin and another 1/4 tsp in the surrounding water.  Bring the pot to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the inside of the pumpkin is just tender.  This is the touchiest part of the entire process.  Make sure the bottom of the pumpkin doesn't become mush.  The topmost part will not be as well cooked as the rest.  Keep in mind that the pumpkin will pend another hour in the oven, so it should not be completely cooked yet.  Drain the pumpkin and set it aside.  Cook and slice 1/2 lb of the pork sausage and set aside. Remove the casing from the rest of the sausage, and cook with bell peppers, black pepper, onions and poultry seasoning in a large frying pan with 1 tbsp of the olive oil.  Cook until the sausage is just done, and set the pan aside.
In a large bowl, mix the chopped sausage, oregano, garlic, olives, tomatoes, vinegar, and the rest of the salt and olive oil.  Add to the pan, and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before stirring in eggs.  Fill the pumpkin with the stuffing and cover the top of the pumpkin with aluminum foil.  Bake on a greased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Before serving, remove the aluminum foil and replace the original pumpkin top.  You may also want to "carve" a face into the pumpkin by drawing with knife and a very light touch on the cooked pumpkin and peeling the rind away from the pumpkin flesh.  Enjoy!

My son was Calvin for Halloween.  It was a really easy costume, except that making Hobbes was a biatch.  As all true fans of Bill Watterson know, only two calendars, one very rare T-shirt and one very rare book were ever made with Bill Watterson's merchandising permission (other than the comics, of course.)  Yes, this means the pictures of Calvin peeing on a Ford logo that you see at every stoplight is illegal or manufactured ridiculously under another name.  Watterson was concerned that mass merchandising would degrade the comic and his message, and as  fellow artist, I respect that.  Anyway, this means that there is no official Hobbes pattern out there, and that if you find one that costs money, it's illegal.  So, I had to improvise and make a Hobbes doll sans pattern.  It came out okay.  I mean, you can recognize him as Hobbes.  His head is just longer and thinner than it should be.  Oh well.  My son was cute as a button trick-or-treating, and he had a great time, and that's all that matters.

My husband's idea for pumpkin carving this year was deliciously geeky.  I guess this is how it works in my house.  He thinks up the idea, and I carry it out.  That's how the last two pumpkins were carved, and that's probably how it'll continue to be.  Anyway, our emoticon pumpkin was a hit amongst our friends.  Check it out.  Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain everyone!

1 comment:

  1. I want to see pictures of the Calvin costume! Facebook? Please?