Fifty and Fabulous

The thoughts, loves, rants, interests & inspirations for Gen X

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How to cook with pumpkin

Hello Lovely Followers,

The supermarkets are overflowing with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, it makes me sad to think that many will just be used as season decoration or Jack O’Lanterns – what a waste! So, I have had a peek at the BBC Good Food website and found these great ideas. I’ve left all the original links to the recipe pages so that you can peruse them too.

I’ve made pumpkin soup myself a couple of times from the discarded flesh after my girls have carved their Jack O’Lanterns and we have a great quick pumpkin bread Food Technology sessions so I’m looking forward to trying a few of the ones listed here. I’m not sure how they will fit in with my calorie counting though, but everything in moderation, right?! faery-red-lily-bye-for-now1111

Let me know if you’ve either cooked any of these recipes before (and how it went) or if you’re thinking of trying any of them out like me.



How To Cook With Pumpkin

Once carved to perfection, don’t forget to put the rest of your pumpkin to good use. From sweet classics to savoury mains, the options for the bright orange squash are endless.

diy-pumpkin-seedsDIY pumpkin seeds

The first thing you will do with your pumpkin, whether you’re carving or simply cooking, is to scoop out the seeds. These little kernels are packed with vitamins and minerals and are a great source of fibre – so it would be a shame to throw them away. To roast and eat, simply clean your seeds, boil for 10 minutes to soften, then drain and dry on a paper towel. Finally toss with a little oil, spread out on a baking sheet and place them in a low oven for around 45 minutes (about 120°C) until they are crisp and golden brown. If you want to add a bit of flavour, sprinkle over salt, pepper, paprika, or whatever takes your fancy when you add the oil.

pumpkin-passion-cupcakesGrate into cake

The sweet, honied flesh of the pumpkin lends itself perfectly to cakes and bakes when grated. Combine with cinnamon for lightly spiced cupcakes, enhance the sweetness with clear honey or give your favourite carrot cake recipe a makeover. If you find your grated pumpkin is a little wet once prepared, simply give it a good squeeze before using and keep an eye on it when baking – the added moisture may mean it needs a little longer in the oven.

Our favourite pumpkin bakes:
Halloween pumpkin cake
Pumpkin passion cupcakes
Pumpkin & ginger teabread

bacon-pumpkin-pasta30 minutes or less

It’s often assumed that cooking pumpkin will keep you in the kitchen for quite a while. This isn’t always the case as our speedy squash favourites prove. Make a moreish mid-week meal by adding diced pumpkin to pasta, roast and serve with sausages or simply serve lightly spiced as part of an antipasto or as a side.

Our favourite speedy squash recipes:
Bacon & pumpkin pasta
Sausage & pumpkin roast
Sicilian spicy pumpkin

pumpkin-soupA perfect blend

Soft pumpkin flesh blends effortlessly into a thick, velvety soup. Simply add onions, cream and stock to keep the colour bright and bold, or give your bowl an Asian twist with Thai flavours such as lemongrass and ginger. For a blend worthy of your next dinner party, first roast the squash to exaggerate the depth of flavour and serve with contrasting pancetta.

Our favourite pumpkin soups:
Thai pumpkin soup
Pumpkin soup
Roasted squash soup

roast-pumpkinKeep it for cooking

Not a fan of the Jack O’Lantern? There are other ways to use the hard skin of your pumpkin. Bring all the beautiful Indian spice of a biryani to your squash and then serve inside the pumpkin itself. Alternatively, scoop out the seeds and strands, pour a garlic cream inside and allow it to penetrate the skin as you roast the pumpkin whole.

Our favourite recipes for using your whole pumpkin:

Pumpkin biryani
Roast pumpkin with cream, thyme & Parmesan

pumpkin-lattice-pieClassic pumpkin pie

One mention of pumpkin pie in the Good Food office proved it to be something of a Marmite dish. Love it or hate it, nothing tastes quite like the spiced pastry. Opt for the traditional with shortcrust pastry, nutmeg and cinnamon or give it a twist with a lattice top or filo finish.


Our favourite pumpkin pie recipes:
Classic pumpkin pie with pecan & maple cream
Pumpkin & pecan strudel
Butternut, maple & pecan lattice pie

Try our favourite pumpkin recipes

What are your top tips for cooking the winter squash?

Source: How to cook with pumpkin | BBC Good Food

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Not My Idea Of Fun For Halloween.

Hello Lovely Followers,

Now, I must be honest; we don’t “do” Halloween in our house. I put out photos of my friends and relatives who have passed away and although I do decorate our home with autumnal decorations and enjoy carving a pumpkin or two with my kids, we’ve never been trick or treating (although I do keep a bowl of mini haribos by the front door) or held a Halloween party.

Having said that, I did allow Child2 to go with her friends trick or treating last yea,r as said friend’s mother was accompanying them. This “Killer Clown” craze has put a dampener on Child2’s enthusiasm to join her friend this year and I must confess to feeling really cross about it all.

I didn’t know much about it until Child2 came home one day from school, really frightened, not wanting to even go out during the day and anxious that she wasn’t safe in her own home! As I was uninformed I turned to Google…

…I am no longer in the dark.

As a parent, the world is already a scary place filled with deviants praying on the vulnerable, only this year we were warned by our local police force and schools of adults on the prowl in a white van, looking to abscond with our children at school drop off and collection times (an attempt had been made but luckily failed). Now we have these clowns wanting to have a bit of fun and scare people. *sigh*

If you’ve browsed through my site, you will know that when I was younger, I read lots of horror stories, including Stephen King’s “It”, like many people, I loved the thrill of being scared. I still enjoy watching horror films and reading paranormal thrillers/horror stories  but that’s fantasy – it’s on a page or on a screen, which means that you as the reader/viewer are in control of whether you want to continue or stop reading/switch the film off but putting on a costume and walking around town to scare unsuspecting people (and young children) is anti-social. You are taking away their right to feel safe.

The master of horror, Stephen King, even tweeted about this earlier this month, asking, “Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria–most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.”

faery-red-lily-bye-for-now1111Our local newspaper published the article below on 10th October which includes a warning from the local police force that this anti-social behaviour will be treated seriously and could result in prosecution.

I’m hoping that this craze will fade sooner rather than later ….


POLICE have issued a warning to clown pranksters.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “You may have seen a number of reports in the local and national media over the past few days regarding the latest ‘clown craze’.

“This involves people dressing up as clowns and pulling pranks on members of the public.

“We would like to remind people intent on engaging in this type of behaviour that your actions can cause fear and anxiety to people which could lead to public order offences being committed. In turn, this could lead to a criminal record.

“Please think about your actions carefully. Any reports of offences committed will be fully investigated.”

The ‘killer clown’ craze, which has seen individuals in costumes carrying out sinister pranks in the hope of terrifying adults and children, had previously been confined to the United States.

But in recent days it has made its way across the Atlantic to British towns and cities.

A spokesman said: “We have received a small number of similar reports locally and would like to remind people that this behaviour can cause concern and worry, particularly to young children and the elderly, and they may end up committing an offence.”

Mum Claire Eacott put a post on the Devizes Issue Facebook Page on Saturday saying: “Warning to all. My son and his friends popped to his mates house to get some sleep over stuff last night, it had just got dark.

“There were three men dressed as clowns with baseball bats hanging around Rotherstone, the boys ran home in terrible shock, luckily these clowns didn’t catch up with them.”

She said that police were contacted.

Two young women were walking home in the Cloatley Crescent area of Royal Wootton Bassett on Saturday when they were followed by someone dressed as a clown.

The individual is described as wearing white shorts, presumably with a clown mask on their face.

At the weekend there were also a number of sightings of scary clowns in a number places in Swindon.

Late on Friday, the administrators of a Swindon Facebook group posted a grainy picture of what appeared to be two clowns following an apparent sighting in the Pinehurst area.

The post was shared almost 1,000 times in under 24 hours – users of the social media site have responded with everything from terror to bravado, some have even threatened to use violence against any clowns they see.

Source: Police warn ‘killer clown’ pranksters (From Salisbury Journal)

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Underwater Stonehenge in Lake Michigan, USA?

Hello Lovely Followers,

So, if you’ve browsed through this site, you’ll know that I love watching documentaries about history and science.

The other day I was watching Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel and it was all about how the remains of a stone circle had been found in Lake Michigan, USA. I’ve been browsing through the net to find out more about this find and came across this article on the Collective Evolution’s website.

faery-red-lily-bye-for-now1111Let’s keep our minds open to possibilities while firmly grasping reality; what can be scientifically proved or at least hypothesised.




“Are These Remnants Of A 9,000 Year Old Stonehenge At The Bottom Of Lake Michigan? – Collective Evolution”

Have scientists stumbled across a structure similar to Stonehenge at the bottom of Lake Michigan? Insanely this story is not new, it’s actually old but it went so under reported that nobody knows about it. In 2007, 40 feet below the surface of Lake Michigan where the Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve is, Mark Holley, a professor of underwater archaeology at Northwestern Michigan University College, found the site with his colleague Brian Abbot after voyaging across the lake in a ship that contained sonar equipment, which is generally used to examine old shipwrecks.


After several passes they found a row of stones that piqued their interest. When they sent down divers to visit the site and obtain photographs, they were left somewhat discouraged. “It was really spooky when we saw it in the water,” Holley said. “The whole site is spooky, in a way. When you’re swimming through a long line of stones and the rest of the lake bed is featureless, it’s just spooky.”

In order to satisfy Grand Traverse Bay’s American Indian community, whose interests are to minimize the number of visitors to the site, and to preserve the location of his research, Holley has kept its exact location a secret.

mark-holley-carving-in-lake-michiganOne of the objects photographed from the site is a boulder which is believed to feature a prehistoric carving of a mastodon — an animal believed to have gone extinct about 10,000 years ago. Researchers shown pictures of the carving have asked for more evidence before they will confirm that the markings are in fact an ancient petroglyph. The trouble is that the boulder is underwater, and experts in petroglyphs aren’t necessarily expert divers.

Holley hopes that a computer model of the carving in the mastodon rock will help petroglyph experts determine whether the features were somehow natural workings or whether they were the work of ancient humans.

A skeptical Charles Cleland, retired curator of Great Lakes archeology and ethnology at Michigan State University, says that petroglyphs are rare in the Upper Midwest but have been seen. Although he is skeptical he does see the value in investigation.

 “But I think this is certainly something that needs to be investigated,” Cleland said. “It would be unthinkable to leave it alone and not try to figure it out.”

Interestingly enough, if this structure is authenticated, it may not be all that out of place. Other stone circles and other petroglyph sites have been located in the great lakes, and ancient structures underneath large bodies of water in general are not unusual. There have been over 100 cities at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea recorded alone, and many more at the bottom of the oceans.

lake-michigan-mapAccording to geographical history, the submerged site would have been tundra when humans of the hunter-gatherer era roamed it 6,000 to 9,000 years ago. Is is possible the stones came from a massive fishing weir laid across a long-gone river? Or could they maybe mark a ceremonial site? Only time will tell.

But let’s bring up an interesting question… where did all the water come from that covered so many underwater structures?

Think about this for a second: less than 5% of the ocean has been explored and only around 5% of the ocean floor has been mapped! This is truly remarkable when you consider the world’s oceans cover around 70% of the Earth’s surface! Just imagine what we still have left to discover — many ruins, ancient cities, and even pyramids have already been found and we have barely even looked. It seems like the future holds many more amazing discoveries in store for us.



Here is a link to the article itself: Are These Remnants Of A 9,000 Year Old Stonehenge At The Bottom Of Lake Michigan? – Collective Evolution