Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Party

Confession: I have never carved a pumpkin before.

Don’t you worry though, that was rectified last night!

I attended a very good friend’s birthday party and there was a pumpkin carving contest with a Best Buy certificate on the line.  The night didn’t start out that way though.  First we hit up Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner with the whole group.  I ended up ordering the honey bbq bacon chicken sandwich which came with fries.

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It was mildly underwhelming to be honest.  It could have used more of their honey bbq sauce flavor and the bun on which it was served with tasteless and the bottom half was soggy from the moisture of the chicken.  I finally peeled off that part of the bun and ate it upside down as an open-face sandwich.  I dipped my fries in ketchup and a side of their parmesan garlic sauce.  Random yummy fact of the evening: dipping raw red onion and tomato into parm-garlic is AWESOME.

After dinner we headed back to the apartment of the birthday boy and his wife (also a super good friend of mine –> I was a bridesmaid at their wedding almost two years ago) and got to carving the pumpkins.  I was informed I should start out by cutting off the top and gutting the globe.

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I did the top just fine and I even gutted it a bit but then I got grossed out and this young gentleman party goer helped me out.

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He cleaned it out perfectly.

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Next step: attach the template and use a little poker to dot your pumpkin so when you removed the stencil you can still see the pattern to carve.

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That was the easy part.  Then I just started carving and I was wayyyyy too gentle to start with.  I had to get over myself and start digging in!  I think I was nervous as I got into the more detailed portions that I was going to accidently break a crucial piece of my design off.

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Obviously that didn’t happen.  The dragon turned out awesome!  Each couple at the party got to carve one pumpkin but since Jack couldn’t be present I was our sole representative.  I checked the pattern with him first to see if he “approved” and then sent him a picture of the final product so he could name it.  Isenhart it was!  Once everyone had finished we lined all of the pumpkins up and began the judging.

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After the viewing we voted.  Everyone got one vote and it couldn’t be for your own pumpkin.  The top three were chosen (my pumpkin was one of them!) and then everyone whose pumpkin was not in the running got a chance to vote again for anyone one of the top three choices.  Sadly I didn’t win but it was just a cool experience overall.  I’ll be honest, if I had to lose, I’m glad I lost to “Pumpkin Pie”.  It was super clever.

Throughout the night of carving snacks were had.  I brought dark chocolate cookies with either semi-sweet or peanut butter chips, another couple toted in sugar cookie stars with yellow icing, and there was autumn mix candy corn.

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That bowl of candy didn’t last long.  I was a major contributor to that fact.  Everyone liked the cookies I baked and I particularly enjoyed the sugar cookies with icing.  I’m a sucker for sugar for sure. (Say that three times fast…)

Later in the evening after the contest was completed we sang happy birthday to the guest of honor and sliced up some Coldstone cookies and cream ice cream cake.

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My slice was significantly sized but I didn’t mind.  I’ll admit I like their chocolate peanut butter cake better but this was still good.  The general consensus was that there could have been bigger chunks of Oreos rather than crumb dust.

After cake the party started to dissipate though I hung around for a bit longer to chat with friends.  I ended up leaving at 12:45 in the morning.  I was a tired camper but when I got home I couldn’t just dissolve into my bed.  I had to prep the French toast for Sunday morning’s parish breakfast.

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With the casserole setting in the fridge I conked out only to wake up 7 hours later, completely not hungry and a bit groggy.  I changed into church clothes, grabbed the two pans of breakfast food and headed to church where they baked up beautifully.

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They were a hit too!  People loved the flavor and said the cinnamon really made it.  I was pleased.  I didn’t have any at the church but instead took a few slices home and went back to the apartment to work on my MedGen report due on Thursday.  Not thirty minutes into my work session did my stomach start to growl so I heated up a hunk of French toast, topped it with apples that had been microwaved for a minute, and the last dregs of honey I could scrape from my old container.

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It was lovely though it only kept me full for 90 minutes.  By that time I was prowling the kitchen again for something to eat so I whipped up some peanut butter-tomato-pepper toast and a large 32oz orange mug full of water.

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Back to work I went.  At one I turned on football only to find that they weren’t playing the Redskins game in my area.  Sadness.  I settled for the Colts-Bears game instead.  Rematch of the 2007 Superbowl anyone?  After a bit more time I changed into workout gear and did a 30 minute elliptical workout while looking over my role play prep sheet.  When I came back to the apartment I showered and refueled with a toasted peanut-scotch banana muffin topped with peanut butter and Biscoff spread with a side of string cheese.

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When I was heating up the muffin I lost some butterscotch to the Silpat.

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Don’t worry though, I am a firm believer/participator in the No Chip Left Behind Act. =D

I went back to work on homework for a while and then took a break to prep my dinner casserole.  I ran across a recipe for this curried chicken and broccoli bake and I realized that I had everything already in my pantry/freezer for this.  That, in my book, leaves me no excuse not to make the dish.

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When I put it in the oven I used that time to get more done and 50 minutes later the bubbly casserole emerged.

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I threw a serving on top of some leftover rice (reheated with a bit of veggie broth) and poured myself a glass of wine.

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The whole thing was great.  I did more work while eating (sad, right?) and ended up going all the way until 9:30 before I called it a night.  To celebrate getting a bunch done and finally being able to watch some TV, I grabbed a small bowl of sweets for dessert.

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In the mix: a dark chocolate cookie from the party, caramel apple candy corn/pumpkins/skulls, butterscotch chips, and German chocolate cake marshmallows.

With that my friends, I am out to veg out.  I don’t have class on Monday or Tuesday but I think I will be walking onto campus in order to get some notes and do some work with a free printer handy.  What a way to begin the week.

Question: What’s your favorite flavor of string cheese?

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