If you haven’t gone out and bought canned pumpkin yet for that Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, then wait!  I have a little project for you.  Make your own.  You know how I like to make my life harder and make everything under the sun from scratch.  Ya right!  But the sad fact is that I could not find any canned pumpkin over here in Delft.  No friggin’ canned pumpkin.

You wanna know why?  It is because Thanksgiving does not exist here. GASP!  You might find this even more surprising if you know Mr. Foodlova.  Thanksgiving just happens to be at the top of his list for holidays.  He did not even celebrate Thanksgiving at home until he started school and found out about it.  His Dutch heritage did not impart this food fest on his family, but once he got a hold of it he ran with it.

This time of year brings many fond memories back to the surface for me.  I woke up this morning to the most spectacular fall day.  Sun shining, blue skies, that smell only fall can bring and the deliciously crisp air.  That fresh air, washing away the sweat of summer, always begs me to put on a cozy sweater and go out to stare at the colourful leaves fluttering against the bluest of blue skies.  It’s the weather that reminds me of the start of the skating season and the feeling that anything is possible for the year to come.  It reminds me of family, like when Dad would get us all to rake leaves (ya right!  we only jumped in the piles – right, Dad?).  It reminds me of great friends gathering around a giant table, just big enough for all of us and small enough to fit into the apartment of the J family.

This year we are missing out on the succulent brined and barbecued turkeys of the past curtosy of the Jez, but we are excited to introduce the day of thanks to our cousins over here in Europe.  Wish me good luck on this venture and pray that they will love pumpkin pie!

Whoever you are celebrating Thanksgiving with this year, I hope it is a great gathering of food and love.  I am thankful for my great adventure in the Netherlands, for my loving husband, my great friends, my amazing family and the new little pea growing inside the pod.  I hope you have lots to be thankful for and I know that whoever you serve your pumpkin pie to will be thankful that you made the puree from scratch 😉

Pumpkin Puree – straight from The Pioneer Women (alt cooking style is from yours truly)

2 small pumpkins or 1 large

All you need for this recipe is that!  Slice the tops off of the pumpkins.  Then cut it in half.  Use a strong stemmed spoon and scrape out all the seeds and gunk.  Make sure you keep the seeds we will use them in the end!  Once cleaned out, slice the pumpkins into segments and line on a baking dish.  No need to peel, yet.

Put in preheated 350 degree farenheit oven for about 45 minutes or until the pieces are very soft.  Remove from oven and peel back the peel.  Break the pumpkin into smaller pieces.  Use a food processor or blender or potato masher (old school!) to turn it into puree.  You may need to add some water if the pumpkin is dry. 

For the alternate cooking style, you can toss the chunks of pumpkin into a pot and steam them.  I ended up having to do this since I did not bake them long enough!  Both ways work, the goal is just to soften up the pumpkin enough for it to be mashed or processed.

Now for the seeds – clean off the pulp and spread out on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle lots of table salt all over them.  Slide the baking sheet into a preheated 200 degree oven and bake for about an hour or until they are golden brown and crispy. Enjoy the bonus!