It seems like ever since moving back to my home-state of Texas, I find myself getting "home"sick every year around this time. Even though I have lived in Texas for most of my life (and I do LOVE Texas!), my husband and I "grew up" as a married couple in Illinois. We lived there for the first six years of our married life and started our family there. So, Illinois holds a very special place in our hearts, and in many ways, it, too, feels like "home" to us.
I'm a very cold-natured person, so winters in Illi were never very fun for me. I remember saying every winter, "I just will NEVER get used to this weather!" But there was one season that I fell asbsolutely in loving with while in Illinois: fall. Sure, the temps change a bit in Texas, too, but fall in Texas is NOTHING like fall in Illinois. I fell in love with the brisk air, the beautiful cloudy "fall" looking skies, the sound of the trees rustling through the windy air, and the beauty of the leaves morphing into so many different shades, each one visible on each individual leaf. I loved even just driving down the streets and watching a shower of leaves slowly cascading along the roads. Maybe I've romanticized it a bit in my mind, but fall really is beautiful in Illinois.
Unfortunately, I won't get to see the beauty of fall in Illinois this year, but there are still other things about fall I can enjoy right here in God's country. So, for the month of October, I'll be devoting several posts to my love of fall, staring today with one of my all-time fave things about fall: DINNER IN A PUMPKIN!
I've been eating dinner in a pumpkin every single fall since I was in 5th grade. It's a family fave of ours, and maybe it will become one for your family, too...
1 6-8 lb. pumpking (about the size of a basketball--not too big bc then it will take FOREVER to cook!)
1 to 1½ lbs lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 package fresh sliced mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 ½ cups cooked rice (I used whole grain rice)
1 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 tblsp brown sugar (the splenda kind will work, too if you want it more SBD friendly)
3 tblsp soy sauce
-Cut off top of pumpkin, clean thoroughly and drain. (Do this first so it has time to drain. Try to get as much of the stringy stuff out as you can)
-Brown hamburger meat, mushrooms, onions
-Add other ingredients
-Place meat mixture inside pumpkin with top on. (I usually place it in a pan, too in case any juice drains out)
Bake at 350 until pumpkin is tender (it usually takes a few hours, but mostly depends on the size of pumpkin.)
*We also eat the inside of the pumpkin- it tastes just like squash and is especially good with butter (we use spray butter), salt, and pepper.