DIY and Recipes

Pumpkin extravaganza

Earlier this week, after much oohing and ahhing and pointing on my part, my husband finally got the hint that we needed to buy a pumpkin. Now, I’m not much of a make-my-own-recipes-up kind of girl, but I can share the recipes I did use with you, and also let you know how to prep your pumpkin. Facebook tells me not a lot of people actually know how to do that.

PumpkinPrepping is way easier than pie: cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the guts and seeds (save the seeds!), chop off the stem (this was the hard part) and bake cut-side down on foiled baking sheets at 350 degrees for about an hour, until it’s soft when you poke it with a fork. Some may take a bit longer than others.

5It will deflate like a wrinkly old balloon when you take it out of the  oven. But that’s okay. Be careful as you turn it over; apparently pumpkins lose a lot of water when baked, and when I flipped mine it was FULL of liquid. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that, but thankfully both halves flipped without spraying water too far.

Flesh

You can either suction the liquid away, or attempt to pour it out. Either way, get rid of as much of it as you can, or your puree will be too watery. Then, scoop out all of the beautiful pulpy flesh of the pumpkin, and puree until it’s nice and smooth! The easiest way, to me,is to use an immersion blender, but if you don’t have one of those a regular blender works too. Or a potato masher. Whatever.

And then, you’re ready to bake! My pumpkin yielded 6-1/2ish cups of puree, which is enough to make a ton of stuff.

The first thing I made, of course, was pumpkin pie.

8 9If you don’t know how to make pie crust, it’s seriously easy. You need 1c flour, 1/3+1tbsp of shortening (or butter. It’s better with butter.), 1/2tsp salt, and 2-4tbsp cold water. Mix the flour and the salt together well, then cut in the shortening or butter with a pastry blender (if you don’t have one, a fork+knife works too) until it’s mixed into the flour and looks the size of small peas, and then stir in the water 1tbsp at a time until your dough flakes away from itself a bit and is soft but not sticky.

15And then, make this pie.

It’s really good. I accidentally measured out the nutmeg and cloves more than was needed, and I added vanilla because… vanilla is good in everything. If you’ve never made pumpkin pie, the mixture will be VERY watery, but that’s okay. It’s always like that. And your knife might not come out clean when it’s done, but it’s still cooked. I promise.

Next, I  made A Beautiful Mess’s PSL syrup.

PSL syrupI was really surprised, it being a syrup, that you’re not supposed to boil this down. But after heating it for around 10 minutes and it not seeming to get any thicker, I gave up and let it cool… and then it got thicker. So, you know, don’t worry if it seems really liquid to you. It’ll get better.

It’s quite good! Don’t expect it to taste exactly like the Starbucks version (every recipe is different), but it’s definitely Pumpkin Spice Latte syrup, and totally worth it!

Next, I made pumpkin-oatmeal cookies.

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Now, I didn’t have any cranberries, so they weren’t the same as that recipe, but OH man, so good. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that after Mr. Owl asked why so many and I offered to give some away, he immediately said “NO!” and stuffed another one in his mouth.

I did have to add about a cup more flour to mine because the dough was incredibly sticky even WITH the oatmeal, but hey. They turned out fantastically and also are very addicting. Sigh.

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And last but not least, I made these AMAZING pumpkin-cinnamon-streusel muffins. So good. So addicting. Mr. Owl texted me from work and said they were awesome after he tried one, and he doesn’t usually comment on food (oddly enough,  because he eats everything…) so you know they’re good. Mine, of course, turned out looking absolutely nothing like the picture with the recipe; I used oatmeal instead of oats, and they didn’t rise beautifully and they’re sticky in the middle because of the sugar filling. But who cares! They’re delicious.

So. One pumpkin, four recipes, and I still have two cups of puree left over to make something else.  Oh, and I almost forgot, I also baked the pumpkin seeds with some ranch popcorn seasoning and butter, and they were so good we (okay, no. I, solely, without help, like a pig) ate them all that night. So I didn’t get a picture. But baking the seeds is super easy, and here’s how you can do it.

1What are your favorite pumpkin recipes? Any suggestions for what I should make out of the other 2 cups of puree? Something not sugary would be good. I think we’ve got enough dessert now to last us for a month.

Happy Friday!

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