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Pumpkin Pointers: No longer just a jack-o-lantern

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Well, it’s that time of year again: convincing yourself it’s acceptable to indulge in an excessive amount of chocolate, spending too much on an outfit you will wear one time and, most relevant to my post, embracing everything pumpkin.

As I’ve modeled in previous posts, getting creative can help the “wellness” of your mind. There’s much more you can do with the popular orange crop than just leave it on your porch for smashing by the local hoodlums.

Here’s a few ideas to jump start your prolific pumpkin plans:

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1)   Style and Scents

Instead of just cutting the conventional Jack-o-lantern face out of your pumpkin, branch out this year. There are countless stencils available online. I decided to practice what I’m preaching for this tip and carve my own pumpkin.

The finishing touch is always adding the light source. Go a step further and turn your carving into a scented candleholder by rubbing your favorite seasonal spice, such as cinnamon, on the pumpkin top. The aroma will fill the air through the holes of your creation and the scent will contribute to the festive ambiance of your home.

2)   Get Gut-sy

Scooping out the innards of a pumpkin is an impossible task to complete without getting messy, so just accept that getting covered in stringy, colorful goop is going to happen. Enjoy it!

Before you toss the “guts” in the trash consider these alternative uses.

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Roasted pumpkin seeds

Just about everyone has heard of this tasty treat by now. You separate the seeds, place them (coatedin oil) on a baking sheet and stick them inthe oven. More thorough instructions can be found with a simple Google search, but that’s the main gist.

Following these steps can leave you with a healthy and tasty snack, but lets step it up a notch. Add brown sugar or cinnamon for a sweeter option, stick them in the outer layer of a candied/caramel apple or accessorize you brownies with a top layer of the seeds.

Pumpkin Stock

We’re heading toward soup season! Who doesn’t love to snuggle up with a warm bowl of soup and watch their movie of choice? I am now giving you the secret to adding some extra oomph to your next soup concoction.

Now that you’ve removed the seeds, it’s time to get those guts in a pot of water. Toss in some bits of other vegetables for added flavor and boil for about 30 minutes. Strain the stock and you have yourself a tasty broth, perfect for putting in soups and casseroles.

3)  Exfoliate with Puree

Bet you never thought of this one.

Pumpkins are not only healthy to consume, but are beneficial when applied to skin, because they’re composed of zinc and Vitamins A, C and E. Knowing this, it seems only natural to use your pumpkin purchase to your advantage in the form of a facemask.

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First, you’ll need to make your own pumpkin puree (an easy, but time-consuming task). Of course, you could always buy your own can of puree, but this will prove much more satisfying.

Only five teaspoons of the puree is needs for the exfoliating mix. The remains can be used as ingredients in other pumpkin-friendly recipes.

The five teaspoons of puree should be combined with three teaspoons of brown sugar and a little splatter of milk.

Apply the mixture to you face in circular motions avoiding your eyes. Let it sit for 20 minutes and enjoy the soothing sensation of your homemade solution.

Hope these three ideas, mainly inspired by an article I saw from Earth911, will influence you to expand your horizons. This is the time of year people are mourning the fading summer months and dreading the oncoming snowfalls.

Keep your spirits up by getting more involved than usual in the holiday.

What did you carve into your pumpkin this year?

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4 Comments

  1. stefaniemoore says:

    How did the mask make your face feel? I’d be a little apprehensive about spreading pumpkin on my face. Great work on this post. Lots of fun ideas.

  2. Lyndsey Sager says:

    To be completely honest, I didn’t get a pumpkin this year. Here’s the short story: one day I saw them at Walmart for $2.00. I was excited, but felt it was a little too soon to buy a pumpkin. Then, when I wanted a pumpkin they were like $5.00, and I kept waiting to find one for $2.00… But I never did.

    I love cooking pumpkin seeds and trying new things with them, though. Last year, I made cinnamon sugar and ranch seasoned seeds (two separate batches).

    Fall is the best time of the year. 🙂

    • hhamner says:

      Lyndsey,

      no pumpkin, and you call yourself a fall-lover? Just kidding. The price issue would have been a dilemma for me as well.

      I never thought of ranch for the seeds! That sounds soo good. You better hold on to these last few day because winter’s coming fast. I personally can’t wait!

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