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Pumpkin Garlic Knots

I am at home today with the day off. Can you believe it a Friday off? The day care was overstaffed for today so they needed a volunteer to take the day off and I happily volunteered. I do have to work tonight so it is not a full day off, but nice to have off when there is daylight. I started the morning with 3 cups of coffee uninterrupted and treated myself to some leftover apple cranberry crisp for breakfast. I threw a stew in the crock pot and made some fresh pumpkin garlic knots for supper tonight. All of this was done before 9am!

Lately I have been cooking pumpkins like crazy because they are so plentiful. I use them as a decoration for a little while them cut them in half, deseed them, and roast them face down for about 45 minutes to an hour until they are tender. I remove the skin and puree them in the food processor. It is so easy to do. I put all of the puree into a large bowl and it keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks! I have added the puree to muffins, pancakes, oatmeal, soups, and rolls. I am going to share the recipe for Pumpkin Garlic Knots today that I found on Taste Spotting. The creator of the recipe is I love homemade rolls and since we are having beef stew for supper tonight, I thought that these would be the perfect accompaniment to the stew.

The recipe is so simple and easy to follow. I have also included the recipe that I adapted for beef stew. The beauty of this meal is that with the exception of the beef, flour, salt, pepper, yeast, and olive oil, everything else was something that we either grew or made! Now how about that for being sustainable!

Beef Stew
Servings: 4
Source: Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever

1 1/2 pounds cubed stewing beef
2 TBS flour
2 TBS olive oil
1 large red onion cut into chunks
4 red skinned potatoes cut into chunks
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/4 cup pinot noir (I used our homemade wine)
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt/ pepper

1. Rinse and pat dry the beef. Put into a bag with the flour and shake to cover the beef.
2. Heat the oil and add the beef to brown it on all sides.
3. Add the beef broth to deglaze the pan and scrape away all of the brown bits.
4. Add the chopped veggies to the crock pot. Pour the beef and broth on top. Add the spices and wine.
5. Cook on low for 8 hours or until meat and veggies are tender.

Pumpkin Garlic Knots

Yield: about 15 rolls

• 1 cup warm water
• 1 envelope active dry yeast
• 2 tablespoon maple syrup
• 1/2 cup fresh pumpkin puree 
• 2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup olive oil
• 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
• 3-1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• salt & freshly ground pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1. For the dough: Pour the warm water into a medium bowl and whisk in the yeast. Let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the agave nectar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and pumpkin puree.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients then pour in your wet ingredients.

3. Using a rubber spatula, pull all the ingredients together. When you can no longer mix, use your hands to start kneading the dough. Knead the dough until it comes together in a smooth and elastic ball, adding flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

4. Lightly oil another large bowl and put your dough ball inside it -- flipping over once to coat both sides lightly with oil. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise for about 2 hours; or until nearly doubled in size

5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, put in a pizza stone (you may use a pan, too, but it works best with a stone), and divide the dough into two equal pieces. If you're planning to use the other half the next day, just put it in a large zip-lock bag and store in the fridge. You may also freeze the dough for up to three weeks.

6. To create the garlic knots: tear off sections of dough (2 tablespoons at a time) and roll them into a long snake shape. Tie that snake in a knot. Set aside and continue with the rest of the dough.

7. Once you've made all your knots, put them on your stone (or on your pan) and let bake until golden brown on the tops, about 10-15 minutes depending on size of knots.

8. While the knots are baking, in a bowl mix together the 1/3 cup olive oil with minced garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano. When the knots are done, toss in the olive oil mixture to coat.


Like a few of my blogs that I have written in the past, I have forgotten to post them right away, making this one a little outdated but still a good experience to share.

Today was the first Sunday that I have had off in weeks! So Rob and I planned to get out and explore. I have had my heart set on going up north to visit a cranberry bog to pick fresh cranberries for Thanksgiving since Canadian Thanksgiving is next weekend. We talked about going here all week and relooked at the map and realized that all together it would be about 9 hours of driving to get a bag of cranberries. So we scratched that idea and I was a little bummed. Instead we took a drive to Bon Echo Provincial Park and drove along some very scenic roads. The trees were some gorgeous shades of red, orange, and yellow. Since most of the drive was through the Land O’ Lakes region, it provided for some amazing waterfront views.

Most of our day was spent hiking through Bon Echo, which is home to ancient Native American rock paintings. The unfortunate part was that we arrived without a canoe and most of them are only visible from a boat. We plan to come back here in the summer with a canoe and to camp at one of the portage sites.

Ok so the whole point of this blog is that on the drive back, we just drove in the direction of home but turned on a bunch of roads not on our map. We passed by this long driveway all surrounded by bush and there was a small “Open” sign in the drive. I asked Rob if he could turn around because I just had a feeling it was the entrance to something you can pick. We had no idea what it might be until we pulled in the drive and the small little handmade sign said.. .you guessed it.. cranberries! The feeling of a little kid in a candy shop quickly filled my boots. We pulled up the long windy dirt road and were greeted by a woman in flashy rubber boots. She guided us to a safe parking spot and handed us a bunch of bags. She showed us how to pick cranberries because we had never picked them before and quite honestly I didn’t even know how they grew.

Cranberries grow on a long vine like shrub that hugs the ground. They take over the entire area. The patches were not in neat little rows like many other berries that you might go and pick. You have to get down on your hands and knees to spot the little buggers hiding under all of the vines. Picking cranberries is very time consuming, but well worth it. We tried a few of the berries and boy were they sour, but good! We picked about 5 pounds of berries and were so shocked when she told us they were only $1 a pound. In the stores, these things are outrageous.

The owner told us that about 7 years ago the growers used to sell to Ocean Spray, but too many rules came into play so they got out of the deal. Now they just run the U-Pick operation and don’t even sell to Farmer’s Markets or anything. The locals are enough to keep the place in business. No pesticides are used, but like many farmers the cost of paying for organic licensing is outrageous so she can’t call them “organic.” So she advertises them as “just cranberries.”

This farm was such a good find and I know we are going to be back next year! What a nice little hidden secret off the beaten path. Now off to gather all of the recipes to make a blog about cranberries.

Since going to this farm, I have made cranberry sauce, eggless cheesecake with spiced cranberries, and apple cranberry crisp. They have all been tasty. Unfortunately my camera was not charged and our tummies could not wait for the battery to charge before these goodies were devoured.