Our visit to Elliot Farms in Macon, GA was dreamy this year. The weather was perfect, sunny with a gentle fall wind. Rows and rows of fresh Zinnias lined the pumpkin patch. I brought an armful of colorful flowers home. This year was unique at the farm, there were so many HUGE 100 lb.+ pumpkins in the field. Jude had to work hard to climb to the top of these giants. They were big and beautiful, so many shades of orange and green. The reason I love Elliot Farms pumpkins is because of their Cinderella Pumpkins. These magical pumpkins look like they jumped straight off the pages of a fairy tale. Cinderella pumpkins are not great for carving but make perfect decorations and are great for cooking. Our home feels like fall now!
Our second pumpkin patch adventure was with Jude’s school and his sweet little classmates. We traveled to Alabama to visit Jack-O-Lantern Farms. This trip was a great opportunity for me to connect with many of the parents of Jude’s friends. We shared stories of our silly littles, had picnic lunches and even got to hold baby bunnies at the petting zoo. I love seeing Jude interact with his friends. He is has such a soft heart, one that wants to hold hands with the littlest kids to guide them towards the fun, a heart that offers to share his water bottle (despite my concerns), a little heart that always holds the door open for his mommy. I see how God is shaping him in a special way. Jude picked out our perfectly round, perfectly orange pumpkin head… he had to have just the right one and was so very proud to show his dad.
Our church Fall Festival was so much fun this year! Complete with bouncy houses for the kids, funnel cakes and a petting zoo. Jude and my little brothers had a blast. My silly little Jude debated his Halloween costume for weeks, such important decisions for a 4 year old. He had two ideas in mind; one was this very ambiguous super villain named “Eagle Claw” (dun, dun, dun) from the show Aquabats or “Jack Frost” from the movie Rise of the Guardians. I’ll admit I was a bit concerned that my son was interested in becoming a villain. However, Jude informed me, “villains are good too mom.” In the end he chose the side of good… and so Jack he was.
With all this pumpkin picking I was inspired to once again come up with a recipe starring PUMPKINS. I just can’t get enough of this crunchy pumpkin granola. Once prepared I had fun adding different mix-ins; white & dark chocolate chips, pecans, dried cranberries and dried apples. This granola was perfect with yogurt, though I ate most of it as a sweet, crunchy evening snack.
Pumpkin Patch Granola
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbs. Pumpkin pie spice (you can find my recipe here)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
A pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients ensuring the oats are completely coated. Spread the oat mixture in a single layer onto a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, turning the oats about half way through. The granola should be dry and crunchy.