Curried Pumpkin Stew

Have you ever seen someone out on the streets in your neighbourhood and wondered what their lives were like? Maybe you’ve seen them a few times before, each additional time you see them you feel like you are getting to know them. But you don’t know them, you are merely observing them in public. Sometimes this can be a very different beast then what people are like at home. People put on their good faces for public scrutiny, I know I do.

If it were up to me, I would never put makeup on again. Ever. Doing my hair every day is, to put it bluntly, a ridiculously intricate and complicated endeavour. Having long, curly, thick hair is a curse…a gorgeous one.

In the spirit of having you get to know the “real” me, I’d like to take you on a journey through a typical day in my life. Let’s begin shall we?

 

12 am: Still sleeeping.

1:06 am: Get up to pee (the bladder’s not what it used to be after two kids…)

5:05 am: Get up to pee again….

5:06 am : Get back into still warm bed. There’s no clock in our room, so then I wonder what time it is. Seems close to wake up time….

Spend the next 45 minutes sleeping on and off wondering when Mr. Guilty’s alarm will go off…

6 am: Try to ignore intermittent cries from kid#2 and thumps from the living room above of kid #1. Mr. Guilty is already in the shower.

6:12 am: Crawl out of bed, put on workout clothes. Drag myself up the stairs to the kitchen. Kettle is at full boil. Pour hot water into French press. Make oatmeal. Fill Sippy Cups. Make toast. Stir French Press. Cut and squeeze lemons into glasses and fill with water. Say hello to kid #1, who is sitting, in his underwear, on the couch playing video games on my iPhone.

6:18 am: Retrieve kid #2 from her crib. Plunk her in high chair and give her oatmeal, toast, fruit and sippy cup.

6:19am: Pour coffees. Call kid #1 in for toast.

6:25 am. Mr. Guilty joins us for coffee. Downs his oatmeal. We play Words with Friends while we eat, chat, talk to the kids.

7 am: Mr. Guilty leaves for work.

7:05 am: Both children now dragging toys, books, balls, and anything else they can get their hands on around the living room. I turn on some music to drown them out.

7:15 am: Sit down to deal with emails, phone calls, billing, invoices, accounting, family Facebook stuff, work, photo editing. Try to keep kids from killing each other.

8am: workout.

9am: shower. Do ridiculous things to my hair. Put on make up.

9:30am: Make smoothie. Run out the door barely clothed with towel on head.  Come back inside and realize I still have to blow dry ridiculous hair.

9:45am: Head out to some fun thing. Sometimes Butterfly Gardens, an aquarium, grocery shopping (fun!), Kindergym or Strong Start Co-op Preschool. Answer emails on iPhone while watching kids play. This usually involves tremendous amounts of snacks and sippy cups loaded into my purse. When we arrive I then spend the next 30-45 minutes chasing both kids around, kissing boo boos, picking up fallen kids, making sure they don’t stick their fingers in carnivorous plants or light sockets, etc.

11:45am: Drag kids home kicking and screaming. Ridiculous hair now frizzy and unkempt from running after two kids all morning.

12 pm: Feed kids who are running around the kitchen screaming, hitting each other, throwing things, etc.

1 pm: Put kids down for naps. Try to make some lunch for myself. Tweet pictures of something random.

1:25 pm: Discover kid #1 has actually been quietly playing in his room and throwing my ear plugs around my room for the past 25 minutes. Put on “Dumbo” and make him watch a movie.

2 pm: try to get work done. Answer emails. Get distracted by Facebook and Twitter.

2:15 pm: Get drink for child. And snack. And help him with his pants after a pee break.

2:30 pm: Kid #2 wakes up. Change diaper. Get snack. Read a book to her. Watch her try to climb chairs, tables, ottoman, couch. Get mad when kid #2 starts screaming. Try to keep kids from fighting. Get kids snacks. Get distracted by Facebook and Twitter.

2:45 pm: Try to get photos edited for blog post. Get distracted by Facebook and Twitter.

3:15 pm: Mr. Guilty returns home from work. Kids go crazy. Get distracted by Facebook and Twitter.

4 pm: Drink beer or cocktail with Mr. Guilty while kids go crazy. Make big mess. Try to hit each other.

4:30 pm Talk about work (or lack thereof) with Mr. Guilty.

4:45 pm: Start dinner prep. Kids going crazy.

5 pm: Make kids dinner, because ours is taking forever and will be late.

5:30 pm: Feed kids in kitchen while we make the rest of dinner. Make another cocktail.

6 pm: Finishing touches on dinner. Tweet photos of something. Try to get set up to take pics of dinner for blog. Put kid #2 to bed.

6:15 pm: Realize is ridiculously dark out and there is not enough light for taking pictures. Curse having to use studio lighting.

6:30 pm Dinner.

7 pm: Put kid #1 to bed. Sit down for first time today and watch a movie with my best friend, Mr. Guilty. Or play video games…yeah, we nerds.

9 pm: Bed. Read one chapter of book. Fall asleep like a light. Dream of things I should have done for work or the kids or for our lives.

9:01 pm: Forget everything I just thought of.

 

So there you have it. A glimpse into my ridiculously complicated and hectic days. Some days I can’t keep a happy smile pinned to my face and I lash out. I yell. I’ve talked about it before. Being a parent is one of the hardest things to do in this whole world. Having the responsibility to raise these little perfect beings is a momentous challenge. They try to trip you up at every turn and all you can do is keep going.

Sometimes I try to imagine what life would be like if we decided not to have children. More money. More time. More trips. More physical ‘things’. But I just can’t get a grip on that reality. I can’t imagine life without these little monsters. They make me mad as hell and they make every day harder then it would be without them, but in the end, those little rosy cheeks and squishy hugs are worth it all.

Life is hard. Life with kids is hard. We’ve all got our problems don’t we?

My biggest problem lately is what to do with all the freakin’ pumpkins I planted.

I planted 12 pumpkin seeds in the spring. Sugar Pie Pumpkins. They are supposed to be cute little tiny perfect pumpkins. Made for making pie (duh) or any other edible treats you wish to use pumpkin in. Instead, what grew in our super organic garden, were monsters! Garagntuan beasts that more closely resemble jack o’lanterns then sweet little pie pumpkins. So now we have about 25 pumpkins sitting in our basement.

I will give some away of course, but a lot of people don’t eat fresh pumpkin. There’s a bit of a stigma there I think, as it is so easy to buy canned pumpkin ready made. But true to my form, I will eat every one of these pumpkins. In soups, stews, cakes, pies, cookies, curries, I don’t care what. I will be eating pumpkin until next spring, when I will be planting two seeds instead of twelve.

(I’m so anal about eating all our pumpkins and none going to waste that we went out and bought pumpkins to carve…but that’s all for the kids. Right?)

But in the mean time, I share with you this unabashedly delicious stew. Pumpkin has a filling quality, due to all that fiber, and makes a great vegetarian entrée. Pair this with a good chunk of foccacia, or a thick slab of naan bread and you are truly set for a perfect fall meal.

One year ago: Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili

Two years ago: French Onion Soup

Curried Pumpkin Stew

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cooking Time: 1-2 hours

1 small sugar pie pumpkin (about 1kg)
2 tsp + 1 tbsp oil (separated)
1 small onion or 2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated on a Microplane
1 1/2″ pc. fresh ginger, grated on a Microplane
1/2 tsp cumin, ground
1/2 tsp coriander, ground
1 tbsp turmeric
1/2 tsp fenugreek, ground or crushed
1 19 oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 19 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 litre vegetable broth
2/3 cup plain Greek 0% yogurt
400ml coconut milk, shaken
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cayenne or sriracha to taste
salt to taste (optional)
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
pinch of cinnamon

1. Remove top and bottom from pumpkin. Scoop out seeds, removing stringy flesh and set seeds aside for garnish (recipe follows).
2. Scrape sides of pumpkin to remove loose buts of flesh and such. Cut into wedges about two inches wide.
3.  Brush wedges with 2 tsp oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for about 45-60 minutes. They are done when the flesh gives easily to the tines of a fork.
4. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and allow to cool. When cool, peel the pumpkin and cut into cubes about 2/3″ and set aside.
5. In a large pot heat the remaining oil on medium. Add the garlic, onions (or shallots) and ginger and stir for 1-2 minutes or until the garlic is beginning to turn golden.
6. Add spices and stir for 1-2 more minutes.
7. Add the drained beans and stir for 1-2 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring just to a simmer. Add the cubed pumpkin. Now you can do one of two things: Turn the heat off and go about your day until about 25 minutes to dinnertime OR if it’s already 25 minutes to dinnertime, turn the heat down to 1 or two and allow the soup to gently simmer for 15 minutes.
8. If you turned your heat off, bring the temperature back up to a simmer.
9. Add the coconut milk, curry powder and cayenne/sriracha. Stir until incorporated.
10. About 5 minutes before you serve, stir in the yogurt gently until it’s incorporated along with the garam masala and the minced cilantro. Garnish with the pepitas and serve!

Pepita Garnish

Yield: 1 cup
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-12 minutes

Seeds from one small pumpkin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder (not salt)
1 tsp Lawry’s seasoning salt
2 tsp oil

1. Mix all together on a baking sheet. Get your hands in there and swirl it all around until the seeds are totally coated.
2. Bake in a 400°F oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring once or twice and keeping a close eye on them.
3. Remove from oven and cool. Try not to eat them all before the stew is done.

 

Similarly delicious recipes from other fabulous food blogs:

Roast Zucchini Soup with Stilton from Six Course Dinner
Butternut Beet Soup from Foy Update
Baked Potato Soup from Full Circle Foodie
Roasted Tomato Soup from Honey and Jam
BLT Soup from Soup Addict

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