Tomorrow shall be a BIG adventure for our little one. We are off to a pumpkin farm with her Aunt Kari. Pumpkins are a big theme around here. I’m not sure that Zoe will actually let me cut into the pumpkin she picks out to make a Jack-O-Latern with her. She won’t let me touch the two little ones that she has now. The other day she wanted to draw a face on the little pumpkins but when she saw that the marker wouldn’t come off, she wigged. No pumpkin coloring for her yet. Maybe when she sees ALL of us cutting and carving pumpkins, she will change her mind. I’m willing to bet that she will be thrilled to see me carve *my* pumpkin but that she is not going to allow a knife anywhere near her pumpkin.
Case in point: the pumpkin fries.
I bought two small pumpkins (about 2 pounds each, I think) to make pumpkin fries. Zoe likes squash so I though she might like to try these pumpkin fries. However, when I went to cut the pumpkins, she wasn’t happy. In fact, I had to put the pumpkins aside and get her occupied doing something else. Like play with her lavender-orange scented rice with scoops and funnels.
Playing with textures by Kate Chan
Then, and only then, could I start peeling and chopping. Once she saw me happily peeling and preparing the pumpkin fries, there was no problem. She wanted to see the inside “guts” of the pumpkin and we talked about roasting the seeds, etc.
Zoe snuggled up next to my legs drinking her juice and munching on GF cheese crackers as I was prepping the pumpkins. And Rory was in a bouncing chair nearby watching it all go down and cooing away. It brought back memories of standing on chairs around our kitchen table as a kid while I scooped out the pumpkin I was going to carve. I thought about how much fun I will have when both girls are old enough to carve pumpkins around the kitchen table with me. Oh, the joy of two little ones. I just hope time doesn’t steal all of the good opportunities away from me with it’s speed.
I’m going back to work a week from today. It’s killing me. Every second that I can, I am listening to the girls. Rory’s little coos are enough to make time stop and fairies rejoice. Zoe’s stories keep me company everywhere we go. She and I headed to the cell phone store (again…really obnoxious third visit in five days….grrrrr) and she kept me laughing the entire ride, wait and trip home. She tells great jokes (okay… repeating the same joke 700 times really does wear you down and make you laugh more somedays) and she loves to learn. Both of these girls are the absolute joys of our lives.
Leaving the tiny moments to return to the ebb and flow of traffic, “to do” lists, papers to grade, lessons to write, emails to answer, etc has me just at the edge of breaking. I can’t imagine what I will miss with them. I don’t want to even think about it. I can’t. It hurts too much. Instead, I am just trying to take comfort in the times that we will be together and the plans and things that we can do together then. After all, I am incredibly lucky to be a teacher in the sense that I will have more time with my girls than some friends of mine who work a full calendar year. I’m just worried about the fact that a teacher’s job doesn’t end when the school day does. I work until 11PM sometimes and usually on Sundays too. I’m worried about the impact on my family and my girls.. and to me, to a lesser extent. I am definitely in need of setting some different professional expectations for myself as well.
I want more time with my kids.
More time to play in the buckets of rice.
More time to watch the seasons changing and teach them about the leaves changing colors, etc.
More time to cook and eat healthy food at a normal paced and not rushing through everything.
More time to listening to the stories that bloom from our days and adventures together.
More time to hear the coos turn into words and into stories of their own.
Just more time.
We all want that, don’t we?
So I guess I will just seize the opportunities as they come and as we make them. Like making pumpkin fries and talking about Halloween when I was little with them. And for those of you who are curious, Zoe is not interested in dressing up this year for Halloween. She doesn’t think it sounds like fun (yet) to be wearing a costume or a wig or make up, etc. Ah well, more time for me to savor my little one at home. (And honestly? MUCH less temptation to eat too! We are giving out mini Play-doh containers. Those leftovers will surely be loved to bits by the girls and my high school students. LOL)
Since it is pumpkin season, now is the time to make your own pumpkin fries and relive or create some memories. I made two batches of oven baked fries. One was savory and the other cinnamon-sweet. Both will enjoyed by Zoe and I. We highly recommend you giving them a try yourself too!
Cutting pumpkin fries, Photo by Kate Chan
Gluten Free Pumpkin Fries
Ingredients (per batch)
1 two pound + pie pumpkin
for Savory fries:
optional: ground garlic, ground ginger
for Sweet fries:
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Peel and scoop our pumpkin.
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Cut pumpkin into fries. (I cut mine into 3-4 inch long sticks that are about 1/2 inch thick.)
- Toss one pound of the cut fries in a tiny bit (maybe 1 tablespoon, or two?) of olive oil with salt and pepper (to taste). Consider tossing in some of your other favorite spices combinations like: ground garlic +ground ginger, cumin + fennel, etc.
- Mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Toss the remaining pumpkin fries in the cinnamon sugar mix.
- Spread savory fries out in a single layer on one prepared cookie sheet and the sweet fries on another.
- Bake the fries in the oven for 20 minutes. Then remove the pans. Flip the fries over. When you return the fries to the oven, be sure to rotate the pans as well. Whichever was on the top shelf, move to the bottom and vice versa. Continue baking another 15 – 25 minutes or until the fries are crispy and a deep golden brown color on the edges and the top.
Enjoy with your favorite meal – or eat them for dinner like Z & I did!
Happy Gluten Free Eating!