Can you Cook a Halloween Pumpkin (Jack-o-lantern)?

I’ve been asked if you can cook a Halloween pumpkin many times. The short answer is yes. However pumpkins that we purchase for carving (in America) are not grown to be cooked and don’t taste great in traditional pumpkin recipes. (Think pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, etc)

pumpkin baking

“Jack-o-latern” pumpkins are typically large, flat bottomed, and filled with less flesh to make them easier to carve. Their seeds, however are plentiful and great for roasting.

If you want to use fresh pumpkin in a recipe purchase a “pie pumpkin” from the grocery store. They are sold during the fall months and are grown specifically for baking. They are darker in color and are very dense which makes them perfect for baking.

I do not recommend cooking a pumpkin that has already been carved and left outside for an evening or two. Leave the big pumpkins for carving and use the smaller pie pumpkins in your baking.

If you love pumpkin I highly recommend cooking a pie pumpkin. Canned pumpkin isn’t pure pumpkin it is a mixture of squash and pumpkin and isn’t as sweet as the flesh straight of of a pumpkin. Your friends and family will be raving about your pumpkin baked goods when you use fresh, super sweet pie pumpkin in the recipe.

Find step by step instructions on how to cook a pie pumpkin and several delicious recipes here.


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Favorite Fall Foods

Do you love fall as much as I do? One thing that I don’t love about Florida is fall. Now come January, I’m going to be showing off all my working by the pool Instagram photos, like this one.

But for now I’ll just have to pretend it’s a little cooler than the 82 degrees on my car thermometer by making some of my favorite fall recipes.

Tonight we even started discussing our Thanksgiving plans I all my fall favorites started coming to mind.

One of the things I love about fall flavors is that they are things my kids already love. Because they love apples it is easy to convince them to try a new apple recipe, and if you have kids you know that getting some of them to try new things is quite the challenge.

Below you will find some of our favorite fall flavors and how we incorporate them into some delicious dishes. (scroll down to the end for a coupon for a free carton of Silk Almondmilk)

Pumpkin

You can’t really have fall without pumpkin, right? There are so many delicious pumpkin recipes from curried pumpkin soup to chocolate pumpkin swirl cake there is something for everyone.

Even my kids who don’t love pumpkin love these pumpkin donuts. They are easy to make and a fun treat for an after school snack or weekend breakfast.

Maple

I love any and all things maple but this maple oat bread is my absolute favorite. It tastes great served by itself with butter, but becomes out of this world amazing when you turn it into French toast.

My kids talk about this bread like they talk about their favorite toy. I’m pretty sure some of the folks running for office should be handing out slices of my maple bread instead of promises this week. They’d definitely win!

Almonds

My family loves nuts and almonds are so good for you. My mom keeps jars of nuts on the kitchen counter so it is easy to grab a handful on the go.

This almond swirl oatmeal is a healthy favorite in my house and is made with Silk Almondmilk. When I first bought Silk Almondmilk my husband was hesitant about trying it.

After he tried it in his cereal he was hooked. He actually prefers the taste to regular milk! It is delicious in cereal or oatmeal and you can also use it in recipes like this fruit and veggie smoothie or this dairy free pumpkin spice latte.

Apples

Who doesn’t love apples. They are delicious by themselves and can be served with everything from nut butters to ice cream. They are in season right now so it’s a great time to stock up and make all your favorite apple treats.

While you’re baking make some delicious apple butter stuffed French toast. It is delicious and an awesome breakfast on a cool fall morning.

Caramel

If I’m being honest, caramel is on this list for one reason. Carmel corn! I cannot get enough of this stuff. It is one of the few sweet treats I absolutely love.

I make it almost every year and give it as gifts at Christmas, but the reality is I make it so I can eat all the kernels not pretty enough for gift giving.

Lemons

What do lemons have to do with fall? When we lived in Florida a few years ago we had a gorgeous lemon tree in our backyard. Every year around the middle of November the lemons would ripen and we would pick over 100 pounds of lemons.

From lemon poppy seed bread to lemony asparagus pasta, for two years we tried almost every lemon recipe we could find because we had such an abundance.

Ice Cream

I know what you are thinking. Ice cream is not a flavor of fall. I agree, when served straight out of the carton.

However, when you take ice cream, cover it with cinnamon and sugar, broil it and drizzle it with chocolate and serve warm it becomes a perfect fall treat, oven fried ice cream.

The ice cream cookie cake is also one of our favorite Thanksgiving desserts. You can make it ahead of time keep in the freezer for several days.

Sweet Potatoes

Here’s another healthy option that is super cheap this time of year. Sweet potatoes are delicious by themselves and are a quick side dish to prepare.

You can also make sweet potato chips or wow your Thanksgiving guests with this maple pecan sweet potato casserole.

Chicken

Chicken pot pie, chicken and corn chowder, chicken and dumplings, smothered crockpot chicken… need I say more?

S’mores

Y’all know how much I love s’mores. I love them so much so that I’ve figured out how to turn them into muffins.

A few weeks ago we had our first bonfire of the season and the only thing missing was s’mores. We’ll definitely have to rectify that during the next bonfire.

Have you tried Silk Almondmilk yet? There’s no excuses for not trying this delicious milk because you can do it for free!

Just sign up for Silk enewsletter and you’ll receive a coupon to try Silk Almondmilk for free!

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Pumpkin Bars – Gluten Free & Vegan

Pumpkin Bars - Gluten Free & Vegan at The Happy Housewife
By contributing writer Tessa

Tis the season for all things pumpkin! My family (especially me) gets giddy with all the orange orbs I am pulling from the garden. You can frequently find cookie sheets full of various pumpkins and winter squashes baking away in my oven this time of year.

Fresh puree is infinitely tastier than any variety you find in a can. It is an extra step, but I liken the difference to a fresh tomato off the garden vine versus a canned tomato—no comparison! In case you’re interested, I wrote a post to help you make your own pumpkin puree and explain that all pumpkins are not created equal.

Here is a quick recipe for pumpkin bars that your family will love! And you, as a mommy, can be happy that a vegetable is lurking within. You can eat it as is or consider some of these fun toppings:

  • whipped cream
  • melted caramel (add some milk to thin it)
  • a scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • cream cheese frosting
  • maple sweetened creme fraiche

Not gluten free? This can be made with regular flour. See the note at the end of the recipe.

Pumpkin Bars - Gluten Free & Vegan at The Happy Housewife

Pumpkin Blondies- Gluten Free & Vegan
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 16
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup allowed butter (vegan butter, coconut oil, palm shortening)
  • 1 cup palm sugar, or brown sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon Nu Naturals Pure White Stevia Powder or ¼ cup additional sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree, fresh is best!
  • 3 teaspoons chia meal gelled in ⅓ cup hot water or 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon guar gum or xanthan gum
  • ¾ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup millet flour, or potato starch
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (or more!) to taste
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy.
  3. Beat in pumpkin, vanilla, and chia egg.
  4. With the mixer still running, sprinkle in the the baking soda, guar gum, and sea salt.Continue with the flours.
  5. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  6. Spread into prepared pan and bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Notes
If you don't want a gluten-free bar, you could substitute 1¾ cups flour in place of the gum, rice flour, tapioca flour, millet flour, and potato starch.

A gluten free all-purpose flour can be use although the flavor will change, and some all-purpose mixes do not do well with no eggs.

Pumpkin Bars - Gluten Free & Vegan at The Happy Housewife

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Dare to Try a New Vegetable

This post is in partnership with the #V8VegOut campaign. All opinions are my own.

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If you are like me you eat the same vegetables day after day, week after week. In fact many of my favorite veggies are on this list of the top ten vegetables consumed in America.

  1. Potatoes
  2. Tomatoes
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Onion
  5. Lettuce
  6. Cucumbers
  7. Bell Peppers
  8. Carrots
  9. Cabbage
  10. Broccoli

I would argue that potatoes are not really a vegetable but I would be getting off topic. More often than not delicious vegetables are ignored or even forgotten because we’ve never tried them or learned how to prepare them.

For example have you ever heard of a oca? It is similar to a yam and very popular in South America.

What about a romanesco?

romanesco_exotic_vegetables

Photo:aurélien./Flickr

This cauliflower variant is high in vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber.

What about a sunchoke? This vegetable is actually native to North America and can be used as a low-starch substitute for a potato.

You don’t have to travel overseas or consume crazy looking vegetable to try something new. There are many awesome vegetables sitting in the produce section of your local grocery store or farmer’s market just waiting for you to try them.

Most of the time we think we don’t like vegetables because we haven’t had them prepared correctly. For years I thought I didn’t like brussels sprouts, then I had some prepared by my friend Allie and realized I just hadn’t had them prepared the right way.

They are delicious!

Another vegetable I didn’t try until I was older was spaghetti squash. This awesome winter vegetable tastes great as a replacement for spaghetti and if a great gluten free option for dinner.

Spaghetti Squash with Chunky Tomato Sauce

Just last week I learned that the reason I did not like kale was because of the bitter stems, when they are removed kale is delicious in a salad, cooked, or in a smoothie.

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This month I’m daring you to try something new. I noticed that the top ten vegetables were mostly summer vegetables. I’m encouraging you to try something new, perhaps a winter vegetable?

They’re on sale and very fresh this time of year and I’m sure there are a few that haven’t been in your shopping cart this season or maybe ever!

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If you are unsure of how to prepare a vegetable do a quick google search and I’m sure you’ll find more than enough ideas.

Here’s a list of winter vegetables to help you get started.

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Belgian endive
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cardoons
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chicories
  • Fennel
  • Kale
  • Parsnips
  • Rutabagas
  • Tunips

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V8 wants you to share your dare on social media with the hashtag #V8VegOut. V8 wants you to celebrate veggies and join the community here.

If you need veggie inspiration follow V8 on all their social channels.

Next month I’ll be sharing some of the new vegetables we tried and a few tricks to get the kids to try them too!


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