Drowning in Pumpkin

Me and my bright ideas.

REALLY.

We don’t get trick-or-treaters, and we don’t dress up in costumes, so we really don’t decorate for Halloween. I usually just put some fall stuff out and let it carry over until Christmas. But we do usually carve a pumpkin, because let’s be honest…I really like carving pumpkins. Or I like scooping out the pumpkin goo and letting Jimmie carve it. Whatever.

This year we missed it. I just never bought a pumpkin, and we really didn’t have time to carve one. Sad.

So two days after Halloween, we had to go grocery shopping, and I figured if Kroger still had pumpkins we’d buy one. I wanted to try making my own pumpkin puree, and roasting the seeds.

Turns out, Kroger had plenty of pumpkins….and they were ALL $1. Giant pumpkins, baby pumpkins, all were $1. Score! Of course, I wanted to get the most bang for my buck, so I instructed Jimmie to find the biggest pumpkin he could. Then I found one too. Two giant pumpkins for $2? Yes please.

That was my first mistake.

Of course I had no idea how to cook it, but that wasn’t going to stop me. Unfortunately, Jimmie cut up the second one before I got a chance to take a picture, but here’s the SMALLER of the two pumpkins.

IMG_2840That’s the smaller one. The bigger one did not fit in my sink. And fun fact, Zoe actually chewed the stem off the other one.

Anyway, we chopped it up (well, Jimmie did), and I looked up how to cook a pumpkin. In the oven. Oookkk. It wasn’t going to fit in there, so we had to make really small pieces. Some of it went in the oven. That took almost 2 hours. Sigh. Some of it got chunked up and frozen for stew or soup. Some of it I put in the crock pot. And then I decided to try putting some in my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker. That was BY FAR the best method. It took 15 minutes, compared to hours in the oven or crockpot.

IMG_2836So, in case anyone is wondering….we ended up with over 18 pounds of pumpkin. Some of it is pureed in my freezer. Some of it is chunked in my freezer. Some of it is chunked in my fridge.

In the midst of the first batch of pureeing, I had the thought to see if I could make a pumpkin facial. Turns out, you absolutely can! I found lots of recipes, but most of them were fairly complicated. It wasn’t until I came across one that had 3 ingredients – all things I had – that I decided to give it a try.

IMG_2858I used pumpkin, plain yogurt, and honey. For the record, mine looks nothing like the pictures. But that’s ok – it felt amazing. I kinda rubbed it around for a few minutes, massaging it in, and then left it on for about 5 minutes. My skin had been horribly flaky and dry, and after doing this, I’ve not only noticed my skin is softer and more moisturized, but it’s brighter and healthier looking. I’m definitely going to dedicate a bag of puree to facials, because this is seriously amazing.

DIY Pumpkin Facial

I swear, I don’t really shop at Walmart that often.

Now, I had several friends tell me they were afraid their skin would break out if they did it. I’ve got SUPER sensitive skin. I break out whenever I put anything new on my face, whether it’s moisturizer, acne cream, makeup, or even facial wipes. It’s been four days since I did my pumpkin facial, and I have zero breakouts. Not even little tiny blackheads. Try it. You’ll love it.

Then I had the bright idea to freeze pumpkin facials in ice cube trays, so I could enjoy facials year round. Genius, right?

They're not pretty, but it worked!!

It’s not pretty, but it worked!!

And because she was following me around, I let Zoe eat the rest of my facial. She really enjoyed it.

IMG_2866Which brings me to my second pumpkin project – DOG TREATS. I was trying to figure out what to do with all this damn pumpkin, and I thought about feeding it to the dogs…but pumpkin is very good for doggie digestive systems, and the kids aren’t having any trouble right now. So I didn’t want to just give them bowls of pumpkin (although yes, they did get some mixed in with their food one night). But they love pumpkin, and besides, look at this face…how could I resist?

IMG_2898I looked up some recipes, but ended up just kind of creating my own. I used pumpkin (duh), more plain yogurt, crunchy peanut butter, flour, flax meal, a banana, and some parsley for fresh breath. If your dogs are sensitive to wheat, you probably want to use rice flour or something else.

photo 1 (2)I didn’t measure…I just mixed it all together and kept adding flour until I got the consistency I wanted. I did have to get input from the product testers along the way, to make sure we were on the right track…

photo 3 (2)Finally, into the oven for about 30 minutes, until they were cookie consistency. Mine ended up really really chewy. The dogs loved them, but I was afraid to give them too many at once. They were even palatable enough for me to eat.

photo 5 (2)The bad news? Three days later (and after giving a bag to a friend), I opened the Tupperware container to find they were all covered in mold. Sigh. I don’t know if I didn’t cook them long enough, or if I should have refrigerated them, or what. So the majority got thrown away. Not my finest moment. 

I’m not going to admit how many HOURS I spent dealing with pumpkin (6). The good news? I now have a freezer full of pumpkin (chunks and puree), I have facials for a year, and the dogs got to try a new treat. I also managed to give away 3 bags of pumpkin chunks and 2 bags of puree. I *may* have shamelessly pleaded on Facebook:

It worked!!

It worked!!

And no, I have no idea what I’m going to use the rest of this pumpkin for.