It's freezing outside! For those not living on the Eastern coast of the United States, we're having a massive cold front and storm. Nasty weather outside makes me want to make something warm and cozy feeling. In general, cooler fall weather gets me excited for typical fall flavors and smells. One of the most iconic is the pumpkin. This is the perfect time of year to make a pumpkin pie or soup from scratch. I love pumpkin so I bought one small and three large pumpkins (woah!) and froze the extra puree to use in receipes throughout the rest of the winter.

Around here (NC) pumpkins can be found on every street corner in September and October. I bought mine at the Farmer's Market and they were delicious... well mostly. I bought four, so let me explain. The first two I bought in late September at the same time. I had been eyeing the pumpkins and wanting to get one but it had been so warm in the previous days I wasn't in the mood. Finally it turned cooler and I decided to go for it. I chose two medium-large pumpkins that looked good and took them home to cook. Turns out they were delicious! Nothing "special" about them.

The next time I went to the Farmer's Market I was a little over confident in my ability to choose a good pumpkin. I grabbed one that looked similiar to the previous ones and headed home. I excitedly cooked it, only to discover it was stringy and tasteless. I could have made pie with it but it would have required a ton of spices and sugar to achieve a mediocre pie.

The final time I bought my pumpkin I decided to ask. They recommended one that was a medium size. I took it home, cooked it, and it turned out to be as good as the first two.

I still have no idea how to choose a tasty pumpkin, but I do know that some will make delicious soups and pies with little else needed, while others will be stringy and flavorless. My only advice is to ask, and if your first one turns out to be a dud, don't give up hope.

I did google something to the effect of "Can I eat all pumpkins?" to make sure I didn't buy one that was inedible. The results were very conflicting. Some sites saying you can ONLY eat pie pumpkins and other sites saying a pumpkin is a pumpkin. I decided to ask the closest thing I know to a pumpkin expert - the lady selling the pumpkins at the Farmer's Market. She said that all pumpkins are edible and can be used in recipes, some just might be sweeter and less stringy than others.

Use this pumpkin puree recipe to get your pumpkin ready for delicious pumpkin recipes. The pictures are actually from the one "dud" pumpkin that was less flavorful, so you might notice the pumpkin is a little less colorful. However, the process is the same so just hope yours turns out better than this one. Happy pumpkin hunting!
 
 
The pants were a hit! I finished the pants just in time for the rehearsal dinner at my wedding, so of course I told my brother he had to wear them. I received many compliments on how well they fit, but also many comments on the unique pattern. But let me back up to actually finishing the pants...

I was so close to finished for about a month but couldn't bring myself to actually sit down and finish them. I was getting married in less than a month, so I'm going to consider that a good excuse for procrastinating on the pants. When I finally did lug out the sewing machine and tell myself "I will finish these pants tonight", it went relatively fast.

The belt loops weren't bad. They were pretty straight-forward based on what the pattern said (for once). However, the fabric was so thick I did break two needles in the process. Breaking a needle is annoying, but not the end of the world. After the first break I called both the sewing machine and pants a few choice names, but I changed my needle and kept going. After I broke the second needle I was less understanding. I balled up my fist, shook it at the pants as if that was somehow going to make them finished, and then realized I had no other needles.

After a quick trip to buy more needles, and yes I did buy more than just a single pack, I was back and ready to finish. Belt loops, check. Now the only thing left was hemming the bottom. Let me explain why that was annoying. Remember how I *might* have made a mistake earlier in the pants process? (I admit nothing.) Well... my unique addition to the pants ended up making them just a little bit too short. With the raw end exposed they barely grazed the ground, but clearly I couldn't just leave a loose end at the feet with strings hanging off. Shoot, what to do?

I ended up making a cuff at the bottom. It was a little annoying to figure out how long to make it, and clearly I couldn't base anything on the pattern at this point, but the end result looked very nice. And I must say that nobody commented on the cuff... it's as if I did it on purpose.

The moment of truth! My brother came into town for the wedding and I had him try them on. I held my breath as he went to put them on. If they weren't perfect I had no intentions of adjusting them anytime soon so I was hoping for perfection. And yes, a home run! They fit, they were a good length, and best of all...  no more changes!

Back to the rehearsal dinner... My brother did wear them, and they looked good. But I must say that the most hilarious and unexpected part of the evening was having people go up to my brother and want to take close up pictures of his pants. Since he was wearing them at the time it seemed from afar more like close up shots of his lower body. I did have to laugh when I looked over and saw my aunt taking a close up picture of his butt. I guess technically the intended picture was his pants, but still a funny scene to see at my rehearsal dinner.