Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pathetically Pumpkin

I think I'm sick.  No, not in the ralphing, wheezing, sneezing sort of way--in the I-have-an-obsession-and-it-may-be-unhealthy sort of way.  My roommate Jake and I are addicted to pumpkin.  Ever since the autumn season has rolled around, we can't get enough... Whenever we see a pumpkin or hear of a pumpkin recipe, our eyes get big and our mouths start salivating.  I suppose you could say that we're starting to suffer from Pavlov's Dog Syndrome (no, I don't know if that really is a diagnosed syndrome, but it works well enough for me).  

Just last Friday, Wallis invited my apartment over for a Sunday dinner party.  Wallis and I were sitting in the kitchen and Jake was in the living room nearly konked out in the lovesac.  Kyle politely declined (not rude... he had his birthday dinner with his family already planned) and Jake somewhat acknowledged the invitation.  Wallis then mentioned that we would be having homemade pumpkin ravioli.  Jake all of a sudden shoots up out of the lovesac and looks over at us with a gleam in his eye (much similar to what I imagine would be in Santa's eye upon seeing a plate of cookies and a glass of milk).  He just sits there and smiles at us, a silent, but most definite rsvp.

Really though, we've made TONS of pumpkin stuff... pumpkin cookies, pumpkin fudge, baked pumpkin, pumpkin french toast, several pumpkin soups, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin pie, pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheese ziti... sweet or savory, pumpkin has officially taken over our lives.

We've realized that it's been comical over the last few weeks (we finished off 16 cups of pumpkin puree in a 2 week time period), but last night, we finally conceded to the fact that yes, it is an addiction.  We've had 4 large pumpkins from our other roommate Jim's family's garden sitting in our kitchen for about a week and a half now.  We've been wanting to turn them into puree, but just haven't gotten around to it.  Until last night, that is.  So what do we do? We, two 23 year-old men, start up 4 pots of water and get going on the boiling down of pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin until the wee hours of the night.

Pumpkin cooking in all of it's Autumn glory
Jake, the pumpkin master

Ok, so I lied... I didn't really start doing the pumpkin cooking... I was actually on the phone with my sister in Hawaii when Jake decided to begin his pumpkin conquest.  I came upstairs and was blasted with a good, hard shot of hot humidity.  With water boiling non-stop, our upstairs became quite the sauna.  Nearly everything was fogging up (including my glasses, the clock, and the windows... even the doorknob had a good amount of moisture).  The best part, though, was opening the door because steam just billowed out (unfortunately, it is that cold that you can see steam leaving your apartment).

Yes, that is steam leaving out of our door
Once I got up there, I got to work skinning pumpkin and chopping it all up... because of our lack of quality knives and the excessive amount of cutting, I got a blister at the base of my index finger.

A trash can full of pumpkin peel (plus an empty box of Charleston Chews that Jim has most likely forgotten were in the freezer until he reads this... oops!)


 It was a lot of pumpkin, but at the rate that we went through our first batch of 16 cups, I doubt that we'll struggle using it all.  The night did take its toll on us... we're just not as young as we used to be.  We keep on telling ourselves that we're not going to keep staying up late, but we continue to make the same mistakes over and over.  Because we keep disregarding our better judgment, we end up looking something like this at the end of the night.

Anyway, we obviously have a lot of pumpkin in our house right now... We've tried a lot of different recipes, but if you have any good pumpkin recipes, post a link or the recipe!  We wanna try them!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Flashback Friday--Stand Out!

So once upon a time, back in elementary school, I may or may not have dressed up as a little-known rock star named Powerline for dress-up day at school.  It wasn't Halloween or anything like that... just a day that allowed us kids to do something fun.  Anyway, I felt unbelievably cool as I walked around school dressed in slick sunglasses and a sweat suit with an atom that my mom so lovingly fabric-markered on the front.  My parents were such sports about the whole thing... I remember it being the night before and going through several stores trying to find a yellow something or other that would work for the outfit.  We finally settled on a white sweat suit from Wal-Mart (that's the first and really one of the only times I remember going to Wal-Mart as a kid... we were totally a Target family).  I wish I had pictures of it because I was awesome, but alas, I don't.  The only problem was that when I went to school, no one really knew who I was... they just weren't as cool as I.

Seriously though, who could not love Powerline or A Goofy Movie!?  It was kind of a defining movie and soundtrack of my generation's childhood.  I totally remember going to the movie theater right next to the K-Mart that our neighbors John and Connie worked at.  We parked on the back side of the theater at the bottom of a hill that was covered with that weird plant that grows like weeds... it has kind of thick leaves and if you break the leaves, white stuff strings out.  Anyway, that's completely unimportant and you really don't care.  However, it's my blog and I'll write what I want... On top of being the coolest movie I had ever seen, the movie was extra exciting because my mom bought the kids snack pack (you know... the box with popcorn, a drink, and a tube of m&m minis) for both my sister and me... yup, I got my own!  But I was absolutely enthralled by both the movie and the music.  I wanted to be Max.  When the movie was done, we walked out to the car and I totally danced the entire way to the car, imitating (or at least trying to imitate) every move that Max and Powerline did to their hit singles, Stand Out and I2I.

Even now, I still jam out to those songs, and yes, I most definitely do know all the words.  I still sing along at the top of my lungs and bust out whatever dance moves flow through my body.  It's juvenile, it's "Goofy" (yes, pun absolutely intended), it's absolutely ridiculous, but I have the time of my life doing so!
P.S. You totally do it too!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Party EXTRAVAGANZA!!!

Ok.  So being the activities committee co-chair is a lot more work than I thought it would be!  Well, maybe not... maybe it's just because of the fact that we decided to invite 3 other wards!  Lets just say that this was possibly one of the most epic ward Halloween parties anyone has ever experienced.  I mean, just look at the invitations that I whipped up to advertise this amazingness!

As you can see, there were plenty of activities.  We basically split up the activity amongst all of the members of our amazing committee (bless them! they were absolutely amazing in everything that they did to get this party on it's feet and rolling), which left me with two activities to be in charge of: the fortune-telling booth and the dance (which I might say were two of the biggest successes of the night, but others are more than welcome to dispute this statement).  Not gonna lie, I was really nervous about how they were going to come together.  I mean, I'm good at coming up with ideas and getting people to come to things, but the actual logistics of the ordeal is not necessarily my forte.

 But let me rewind for a moment.  The costumes! Oh were our costumes fantastic!  You see, with my hair being as long as it is, I've gotten a lot of suggestions for possible Halloween costumes: Jimmy Neutron, Johnny Bravo, a greaser... but of all the suggestions, one shone above the rest--Syndrome from the Incredibles.  I got all of the stuff together for my costume (worst part: the fact that you can only buy whitey tighties in 4-packs!) and I borrowed my aunt and uncle Rochelle and Dale's Incredibles costumes for my roommates. (Yes, this is the wave at the bus uncle that you readers are oh so fond of.)  We looked great!

Kyle: Mr. Incredible   Me: Syndrome   Jake: Dash   Jim: Jack-Jack

Helping Jake get his mask on

Wallis wasn't able to get into the Incredibles garb until actual Halloween, so she opted for a pirate for the tail-end of the party that she was able to go to (she got called into work, much to her dismay).  But it worked out fine and she was an amazing Violet for our trip up to Rochelle and Dale's on Monday night.

Pirate Mode

Ok, so now that I got all of my costume excitement out of the way, the party.  The fortune-teller booth that I got set up was Un.Believable!  The way the party basically worked was that each activity was hosted in a different apartment down the street, and the apartment that we chose for the fortune-teller booth couldn't have been more perfect!  For whatever reason, the girls in that apartment happened to just have tons of trinkets and fabric and pillows and whatnot--all perfect for what would probably be in a gypsy's lair.  I went over to their place before the party to see what kind of stuff they had that we could use, and they confidently told me that they had this one down.  I went in to see it right before the party and I practically fell to the floor!  The decor couldn't have been more perfect.  Anyway, if the ambiance wasn't perfect enough, the fortune tellers I got were the best ever!  My friends Kylie and Lauren were kind enough to come to the party and entertain the guests.  They even did it last minute because the people I had originally gotten bailed last minute.  So not only did they save the day, but they did it in great style.  Heck! they aren't even in my stake, let alone any of the wards that attended!  I definitely owe them all sorts of baked goods because they were most definitely the main attraction of the evening.

Kylie the Fortune Femme Fatal and Lauren the Gorgeous Ginger Gypsy
Just one of the shrines of gadgets and gizmos a-plenty
The line of people out the door waiting to get their fortunes told

The rest of the activities were great too and it everyone really had a great time.


We ended the night with a dance... there were a few scares with getting it all set, but it was of the most epic proportions!

Me just being Mr DJ
The only bad part was trying to get all the gel, hairspray, and coloring junk out of my hair.  I swear, I washed it 5 times and it still felt like there was all sorts of nastiness in it!  Also, all four of us guys looked like we had hard-core mascara on during Stake Conference the next day because of the leftover residue from the black face paint that we used for masks.  We tried, but I guess there really are reasons for products like make-up remover.

It kind of looks like someone was trying to make orange jell-o in our tub.

So, outcome of the party? Epic Success? I think yes!  
I'm just glad it's over!