It’s All About The Pumpkins

Pumpkin stem

Image via Wikipedia

One more week until All Hallows Eve! If you missed the Apple Pie a few weeks ago you can check it out here. But today, it’s all about the pumpkins!

What can you do with pumpkins? Decorate your yard  or front steps; use one for the head of a scarecrow; use them as luminaries on your driveway or sidewalk.

First, we’re going to cook with them (I always plan dessert first):

Pumpkin Bread – Makes 2 loaves

  • 2 C. fresh cooked pumpkin or a 16 ounce can of pumpkin
  • 3 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 C. sugar or Splenda
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 C. vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice or ground cloves
  • 1 C. chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 C. raisins (optional)
  • 1 C. chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/2 C water for fresh cooked pumpkin or 2/3 C. water for canned pumpkinpumpkin bread
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, sugar and spices.
  3. Add pumpkin, eggs, oil and water. Stir until blended.
  4. Optional-stir in pecans and/or raisins.
  5. Pour batter into two lightly greased and floured 9″ x 5″ loaf pans.
  6. Bake approximately 1 hour, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pan 10 minutes; finish cooling on a rack.
  8. Wrap in plastic 24 hours for best flavor. Loaves can later be frozen or kept in refrigerator, though not necessary.
  9. Serving ideas – drizzle with vanilla or cream cheese icing; serve 1/2 slice alongside cooked apple slices in a buttery cinnamon sauce; serve with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Of course, you can always just slice and gobble while standing at the kitchen counter!  

Imagine the sweet and spicy aroma wafting through your home while these are baking. Coming up next is dinner:

Pumpkin Risotto – to die for!

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • About 6 cups of hot chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 pie pumpkin, one half baked in the oven and then pureed; the other half, peeled, cut into small dice, and sauteed in a little oil and butter until tender
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

In a medium-size heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring continuously, just until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice and continue to stir, using a wooden spoon, to coat the rice with the oil.

Add the white wine and continue cooking, stirring often, until it has been absorbed by the rice. Pour in enough chicken stock to cover the rice completely, about 3 cups, and continue to cook, stirring often, until all the liquid is absorbed.

Pour in 1 cup more of the remaining stock and stir and cook until it has been absorbed. Repeat with 1 more cup. Add the remaining cup and cook, stirring, until the rice is al dente, tender but still very chewy, and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Stir in the pumpkin puree and the diced pumpkin and reduce the heat to very low so that the risotto doesn’t simmer anymore. Stir in the Parmesan and butter to give the risotto a nice, creamy finish. Spoon it immediately into heated shallow serving bowls.

Serve with a sausage, onion and apple saute (Saute slices of sweet Italian sausage and chopped sweet onion until sausage is cooked through and onion is tender. Add chopped apples, toss and saute til softened and heated through.) Mmmm!

Moving on…let’s get some inspiration for carving pumpkins!

What else can you do with a pumpkin? Create a table decoration. I like to use white pumpkins with candles and flowers in fall colors. Orange pumpkins are festive with leaves, flowers and raffia. Use them to hold flowers, candles  or candy. Here are a few examples :

Last, but far from least, use leftover cooked or canned pumpkin as a facial mask, says chef/actor/health advocate Bethenny Frankel. Her recipe for your face:

Bethenny Frankel’s Pumpkin Mask

2 cups canned pumpkin

4 tablespoons Greek yogurt

4 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Combine ingredients. Smooth onto face. Rest for 10 minutes, then rinse off mask. It tastes pretty good, too. Get your Vitamin A and Beta Carotene inside and out!

Do you have any other uses for pumpkin? Do tell!

You know I love hearing from you!


24 thoughts on “It’s All About The Pumpkins

  1. Pingback: Blog Treasures 10-29 « Gene Lempp's Blog

  2. Pingback: K.B. Owen, mystery writer » Blog Archive » Start your Halloween with a Pumpkin Mashup!

  3. These recipes look amazing! I’m thinking of making some pumpkin bars pretty soon. And I have some pumpkin cookie mix to make up too. Oooh and butternut squash. I better get cookin!

    I love the table decorations! My favorites are the cosmic painted pumpkins and the ones with flowers all around them.

  4. Yummmm. My tummy is rumbly now just reading these delicious desserts! At least I can make the face mask and it won’t cost me any calories.

    I do so love me a good pumpkin bread. Maybe just one loaf won’t hurt…

    • LOL, Tameri! Well, it does say you can eat the facial mask! I can picture you sitting with pumpkin all over your face and your tongue reaching as far onto your cheek as possible to lick it off!

  5. Great post, Marcia! I’d never have the guts (pumpkin guts, *groan*) to use leftover canned pumpkin on my face!

    I’m going to “mash” your post on my Halloween mashup this Wed. I’ll send ya a tweet!

  6. Oh I love the pumpkins made from flowers in your slide show. Those are so cool? Have you made them before? I would love to try them. And the pumpkin mask sounds awesome. Must try! Great Halloween ideas!!

    • Hey, Jill! I have done the pumpkin floral arrangements. Just put a block of florist’s foam in the bottom to hold the flowers in place. They’re a beautiful centerpiece. The mask does sound good doesn’t it? I’m giving the recipe for that to my daughter-she’s an esthetician.

  7. WOOOOWWW Marcia. Excellent superb and delicous post! I love pumpkins. I love pumkin bread and pumkin pie and I really like the idea of using pumpkins as a vase. I made pumpkin muffins this year. You’ve got some very pretty photos there. It makes me wonder if its your house?

    Another good one is pumpkin latte. Mmmmmm.

    • Thanks, Nicole. Love pumpkin muffins! Make some bread for your holidays. I use pumpkins to decorate from before halloween tthough Thanksgiving. I’ve some uncut pumpkins last a year.

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