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Posts Tagged ‘Pumpkin’

It’s that time of year. When you’ve got leftover pumpkins lingering around the house, calling your name. Or, in my case, an overwhelming desire to eat things containing pumpkin.

I don’t know what it is about November, but my tastebuds shift ever so slightly from their 24/7 obsession with chocolate to throw pumpkin into the mix. Crazy, yes. But absolutely true!

So if you are a pumpkin maniac as well, here are a few ideas to add pumpkins to your menu.

• Make a simple pumpkin soup by adding about four cups of chicken broth to a 28-0unce can of pumpkin. Stir in about 3 ounces of Feta cheese, season with salt and a pinch of nutmeg and enjoy.

• Use canned pumpkin as a thickener. Add it to any type of chili or stew that needs a little thickening.

• Substitute canned pumpkin for half the fat in quick breads. This works well with cinnamon, citrus and chocolate. Or make your tastebuds extra happy and make a loaf of pumpkin bread.

• Add canned pumpkin to half your cheesecake filling. Swirl it into the filling, but don’t mix, before baking to get an awesome design and incredible flavor.

• Mix canned pumpkin into softened ice cream then refreeze for a quick pumpkin dessert. Serve with gingersnaps and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

• Mix a heaping spoonful into grits, top with grated Parmesan cheese and a tiny dollop of butter.

• Mix canned pumpkin with one part apple cider and two parts ginger ale for a fun beverage.

You could also make pumpkin polenta, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin muffins, roasted pumpkin wedges, pumpkin roll or pumpkin seeds.

What fun, out of the box pumpkin recipes can you come up with? I’d love to hear your favorite pumpkin recipe!

Happy Entertaining!

Shanna

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As the weather turns colder, the leaves more golden, and the air crisp, my thoughts (and tastebuds) seem to wander toward all things pumpkin.

I had a piece of pumpkin cheesecake from one of my favorite restaurants the other day. If I hadn’t been at home enjoying it, Hubby would have had to scrape me up off the floor of the restaurant. Yeah, it was that good.

So that got me thinking about how fun it is this time of year to host a pumpkin themed party.

Start with the invitations. You could use mini pumpkins and florist picks. Type out a simple invitation on some card stock or hand-print a fun invite. Place the florist pick into the top of the pumpkin and insert the card in the holder then hand deliver to your guests.

 

Another fun idea would be to color a black band around your pumpkin and then write in metallic or glitter a very simple invitation message. This is guaranteed to get you some attention.

You may also use some fun pumpkin paper, cut your invitations out in the shape of a pumpkin or just use pumpkin colored paper.

Once you have sent out the invitations, think about decorations. The options for decorating with pumpkins are only limited by your imagination. You can carve them, bedazzle them, color them, and stencil them.

Etched Pumpkin from Southern Living at Home

Etching is a great way to display a fabulous design without having to dig out all the messy insides of the pumpkin. I’m pretty certain this would take way more creative talent than I can muster. If you do find yourself having to clean out a pumpkin, use a sturdy ice cream scoop. It gets in there and digs out all the icky goo like nobody’s business.

Line your driveway with illuminated pumpkins. Carve out the letters “w-e-l-c-o-m-e” as a fun greeting for guests. Have piles of pumpkins by your door, set little pumpkins on tables and in corners.

 

You could even march them down a table for a fun and easy accent.

Think about using white pumpkins mixed with the traditional orange or go all white for a dramatic effect.

 

Hollow out pumpkins for candle holders or serving containers. This large pumpkin works great as an ice bucket.

Don’t forget to light a few pumpkin candles so your home even smells like pumpkin. Two of my favorites are Spiced Pumpkin from Yankee Candle and Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin from Bath & Body Works. You can even get pumpkin soap, if you want to really take your pumpkin theme to a whole new level.

For your menu, think about fun things you can add to tie in the pumpkin theme. You could offer pumpkin soup or even a chunky stew served in hollowed out mini-pumpkins. You can offer pumpkin bread, mashed pumpkin or grilled pumpkin. Serve up a pumpkin dessert like Pumpkin Cake, Pumpkin Roll (a holiday-must have at our house) or even a Pumpkin Trifle.  And for goodness sakes, don’t forget the pumpkin seeds. You can make your own or buy them plain or with interesting flavors like chipotle, lemon or barbecue.

Have fun with your pumpkin party and explore all the fun possibilities.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin

Salt

Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut open the pumpkin and use a strong metal spoon to scoop out the insides. Separate the seeds from the strings and rinse.

In a small saucepan, add the seeds to water, about 2 cups of water to every half cup of seeds. Add a half tablespoon of salt for every cup of water. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.

Spread  a tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a roasting pan. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan, all in one layer. Sprinkle on a bit of salt, and seasoning if you so desire.  Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 10-20 minutes. When browned to your satisfaction, remove from the oven and let the pan cool on a rack. Let the seeds cool all the way down before eating.

Enjoy and Happy Entertaining!

Shanna, aka the pumpkin fan

 

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pumpkinsA few years ago I came across this  recipe for Pumpkin Cake that is so good.  It comes together quickly and tastes like you went to a lot of work. If you are entertaining this weekend, this delicious cake will be a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, especially for those who love pumpkin!

Pumpkin Cake

1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack Pumpkin

3 eggs

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 package yellow cake mix

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened

In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, sugar and oil; mix well. Add cake mix and pumpkin pie spice. Beat for two minutes. Pour into a greased casserole baking pan, or two round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. In a mixing bowl, combine the frosting and cream cheese. Spread over cake.  Topped with toasted pecans. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Enjoy and Happy Haunting!

Do you have any fun Halloween recipes to share?

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