Once upon a time there was a pumpkin that turned into a coach but that, my friends, is the wonderful stuff fairytales are made of. And, though I wish I had a magic wand and fairy godmother to turn pumpkins into coaches (and my dollar bills into hundreds) alas all I have is a creative imagination which is how I came up with the following ways to use our season’s favorite fruit…Yes fruit! Pumpkins are fruits not veggies and fact be known, they’re berries… albeit ones that seem to have been on steroids. And, their close cousins include cucumbers, melons, gourds and squash-whodathunk!
PLEASE NOTE: All of these ideas are great activities to do with you child under adult supervision including the Exfoliating Mask. Just ‘carve out’ an area indoors or outside and cover a table or floor with paper bags and use one for all the goop to avoid a gigunda mess!
1. VASE OR PLANTER:
o Carefully cut off the top (don’t want you to be a truly accidental housewife J) and scoop out the center. Save the seeds if you wish to make a tasty snack (see below).
o Place a square of floral foam in the center. Moisten the square and ‘plant’ your fresh flowers. You can also use it for dried flowers but don’t wet the foam!
If you’d rather transplant a plant without replanting it (have I confused you yet!) simply scoop out the center and place the plant in its original pot directly into the center. It will look pretty and there’s little muss or fuss. Love that!
Of course if you like getting a bit dirty take the plant out of it’s original plastic pot and plant it directly into the pumpkin. Then ‘plant the pumpkin’ with your plant remaining above ground. The pumpkin will turn to compost and help fertilize your plant!
2. CANDLE HOLDER
o Pick smaller pumpkins to fit the candles you wish to use
o Cut off top and scoop out all the yuk to approximate
o Place candle directly in the center
3. NATURAL PUMP-POURI
o Cut the top off carefully and keep it on the side.
o Hollow out ye ole pumpkin and save the seeds for a tasty snack (recipe below.
o Depending on your artsy side either carve out a jack-o-lantern face or 4-6 circular holes around the width of the pumpkin using an apple corer or clay cutter which you can get on line http://www.amazon.com/Four-Clay-Tools-Hole-Cutters/dp/B000Y8W71I
o Rub some cinnamon, nutmeg and/or pumpkin spice into the bottom of the lid and insert a few whole cloves
o Place a tea light inside
o The scent should last 6-8 hours in total when lit. Yum!
4. WINE/CHAMPAGNE ICE BUCKET:
o Pick a large wide pumpkin
o Cut off top 1/3rd and scoop out yuk
o If you like to use it as a wine or champagne bucket carve out one-two openings as in the picture for the top/neck of the bottle
o Coat inside with Vaseline and plastic wrap to avoid ‘bloating’ the pumpkin from the ice/water that melts
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o You can also use a glass or plastic bowl (I generally don’t since post use I can just toss the ‘bucket’ out but that’s your choice)
o Fill with wine, champagne, beer or other single serving libations of your choice. Cheers!
5. EXFOLIATING MASK- You could use all the goop (sans seeds) to make your own puree but that would be more a Martha like task, which as noted is not my style. Instead I purchase a can of pumpkin puree from my local supermarket to whip up this simple home-made mask in less then a minute:
§ 5 tsps. pumpkin puree
§ 3 tsps. brown sugar
§ Splash of whole milk
Optional: add a teaspoon of honey and/or replace milk with olive oil (you know how O-live olive oil J)
2. Apply to your mug and neck in circular motions avoiding your eye area
3. Chill with it on for about 20 minutes (avoid family members whom may think you’ve contracted some horrible skin disease or are turning into a pumpkin)
4. Rinse off with lukewarm water and a clean washcloth….and enjoy your fresh new glow J
A FEW FYIS:
- Pumpkins make a terrific facial mask because they’re bursting with vitamins A, C and E and zinc.
- Brown sugar is your natural exfoliator
- Milk has fat/cream (duh!), which is a natural softener and hydrator; lactic acid which helps cleanse your skin and alpha hydroxy which is a natural exfolient.
- Honey is a natural anti-oxidant and anti-microbial
BONUS: YUM PUM SEED SNACK:
o Clean seeds thoroughly
o Preheat oven to 350
o Place in a single layer on sheet of tin foil or a baking sheet
o Drizzle with olive oil or melted butter.
o Add any of the following seasonings to taste, individually or in combo:
o Brown sugar and cinnamon
o Cayenne pepper or hot sauce
o Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown-stir occasionally so they brown evenly
For more tips from The Accidental Housewife, visit juliestips.com