The hummingbirds have left for the season.
The last one to leave was the original female that showed up right after the male on May 19th. For a couple of days it seemed that she was saying goodbye. She’d hover at the kitchen window and look in at me, trying to tell me she was leaving. I knew the others had left already and I understood her message. She left on the last day of summer, September 20.
They arrived late this spring. I remember one year when they arrived very early in April. It took me by surprise as we were still having frost then. But there they were and I had to scramble to get the feeders, clean them, fill them with sugar water and hang them!
And this is the earliest that I’ve seen them leave. I remember one year they left right at the beginning of November. It really worried me that they were staying so long…there was no natural food left for them, the flowers were long gone. They were surviving on the nectar I was providing them alone. I was envisioning them getting stuck in an early winter storm. But, thankfully, they left before that happened.
Even now at this point in September, there really is very little natural food for them. The phlox are pretty much through blooming as are all the other flowers. The only real color from flowers are pockets of goldenrod here and there and the sedum. So bye bye birdies and hello autumn!
Pumpkins and apples, to me at least, symbolize autumn. And what could be better than the aroma of an apple or pumpkin pie baking in the oven? Seemed like a good idea to me so I marched right over (actually I drove right over) to the store and purchased a can of pumpkin puree. No making the puree from real pumpkins for me, no sir…I took the easy way out. Besides, the recipe called for “canned pureed pumpkin”!
The first recipe is for Oatmeal Crust Pumpkin bars. I just love oatmeal crust…it makes me feel like I’m eating something fairly healthy plus it’s delicious.
Oatmeal Crust Pumpkin Bars
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups oatmeal (I used old fashioned but you could use the quick cook type)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
pinch of ground gloves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups of canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup light cream
Heat oven to 350 degrees and greased an 8 inch square baking pan.
Mix flour, oats and baking powder. Add 1/2 cups each of granulated and brown sugar. Add melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix until blended.
Press half of this mixture into the greased pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
While this is baking, make the filling. Combine the 1/4 cups each of granulated and brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Add in two beaten eggs and vanilla and mix. Stir in pumpkin and cream and incorporate until blended.
Pour this mixture over the oatmeal crust that has baked for 15 minutes. Place this in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Crumble the remaining half of the oatmeal crust and sprinkle over the top of the pumpkin layer. Bake for about 25 minutes. Cool for at least an hour before serving. A dollop of fresh whipped cream or a spoonful of ice cream would work well with this but it is absolutely delicious all by itself.
If there is any left, this refrigerates well for several days.
Don’t you just hate those recipes, like this one, that calls for only a portion of a can of something? I’ve used 1 and 1/4 cups of pumpkin in this recipe. Now what do I do with what’s left? Ah, I have the answer! Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce!
I am fortunate enough to have a sage plant growing in my garden. I planted it about ten years ago. It comes up every year with no further action on my part. It doesn’t need fertilizer, or have pests or diseases. It’s not invasive…just stays where I planted it and looks gorgeous with its silvery green slightly fuzzy leaves. And, lucky for me, I love the flavor of sage. So this dish is right up my alley. I clipped this recipe from a magazine many years ago. This is exactly as written, however I do modify it slightly which I’ll describe below:
Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
16 leaves fresh sage, sliced into thin strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Combine the cream, pumpkin puree, Parmesan, sage, salt and pepper in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer the mixture until slightly thickened about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Toss with cooked pasta and serve immediately.
I modify this recipe by eliminating the sliced sage leaves in the recipe and replacing it with about a half teaspoon of rubbed or ground sage. I also substitute cayenne pepper for ground pepper. I slice the fresh sage leaves and quickly fry them in either olive oil or bacon fat for just a few seconds and remove them to a paper towel. These sage leaves are now crispy crunchy and delightful sprinkled on top of your pasta with pumpkin sage sauce.
Sometimes I also sprinkle some crumbled bacon bits on top as well as roasted pumpkin seeds. Delightful when served with cheese tortellini!
And now that can of pumpkin is empty!