Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Pumpkin, Pumpkin…Good for Your Skin

I’m sure that I’m not the only one disappointed that Pumpkin Season has alreadty come and gone…

Soon to be replaced with Turkey Season and Peppermint Season…

Not to mention deer season, right?!…or make that Deer Season Widow season for many of us…

But anyway, what’s a woman to do while her husband is out shooting Bambi…yeah, I know that if I have any vegan or vegetarian readers out there, even the very thought of shooting Bambi has probably made you hurt…but I AM from Mississiippi and am being read.

Anyway, one thing that I do while he is out hunting or fishing or whatever it may be at this time of year is start to think of and make homemade Christmas gifts to give to neighbors, teachers, and whoever gives me an unexpected gift.

This year I have embraced the pumpkin season totally and completely, as you can probably tell by recent posts.

So to kill at least two birds with one stone I have decided to make jars of body scrub to give away as gifts this year.

I wrote a blog a while back about making your own body scrub…called   Rub-a-Dub-Dub…Why Use a Sugar Scrub?! with several different ideas as far as scents to use.

But this time, I wanted to focus only on pumpkins so that those of us who are watching our Most Wonderful Time of the Year—PSL season—walk away  could continue to enjoy the sweet aroma of pumpkin all year long…

And in a much more intimate way…

 

Homemade sugar scrubs are very inexpensive.

And not only that…

Homemade sugar scrubs contain ingredients that you actually know what are…and ingredients that offer benefits for your skin.

 

 

Ingredients such as…

Pumpkin Puree…Pumpkin is packed with vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, vitamin C, E and beta-carotene. When used topically, it promotes healthy skin and hair.

Coconut or Olive Oil…Coconut oil and olive oil moisturize the skin, act as an antioxidant properties, and keep your skin looking younger.

Spices…The aromatherapy of the spices are rejuvenating, awakening, warm, and comforting. Not only that, cinnamon stimulates blood vessels, brings blood to the surface of the skin, results in plumper skin with a healthy glow, and is an excellent natural treatment for eczema, and acne.

Sugar…Sugar helps the skin retain moisture and gently exfoliates dead skin away.

Vitamin E…Vitamin E not only benefits your skin, but also extends the shelf life of your ingredients.

 

Ingredients

  • 1C brown sugar
  • 1/2C coconut oil
    1Tbsp cinnamon
    1 vitamin E capsule
  • ½C pumpkin puree

 

Combine ingredients. Note that the coconut oil will be easier to mix if it is at room temperature. Scoop body scrub into an airtight container with a lid to store.

Storage…This scrub is best when used immediately because the longer it sits, the more the sugar will dissolve and the less exfoliating the body scrub will become.

The scrub will last for about two months as long as the airtight container hasn’t been opened. Store in the fridge and use within four days after opening.,

Before using, let the mixture come back it warm up to room temp and stir if needed.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Everywhere…You Can Even Use Them on Your Hair

  • Hard to believe, but Halloween has already come and gone….and Thanksgiving and Christmas are just lurking around the corner. My, how this year has so quickly flown by.
    And for those of us who totally love SL, pumpkin Oreos, and anything else that has pumpkin flavoring in it, one of the most wonderful times of the year is drawing to a close as everything shifts from pumpkin to peppermint.
    But there are ways to enjoy that pumpkin vibe all year long.
    No, I’m not talking about the processed, packaged stuff that comes in a can and will probably be still sitting in your pantry this time next year, at least in time for holiday canned food drives.
    What I’m talking about is using pumpkin-scented health and beauty products and walking around smelling like you just carved, cooked, and ate The Great Pumpkin…smelling like pumpkin from head and shoulders…knees and toes.
    As far as the “beauty benefits” of pumpkins, pumpkins are packed with vitamins and minerals—such as the ones mentioned in the previous post Pumpkins…The
    Why?!
    Let’s take another look at a few of the nutrients contained in pumpkin, but this time from the view of what pumpkin can do for your skin and hair.

     

     

    Carotenoids…Carotenoids—such as alpha-carotene and beta-carotene—are the antioxidants responsible for giving pumpkins their bright orange color. Pumpkins can help reverse UV damage and improve skin texture.

     

    Minerals…Minerals—such as potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese, and iron-that are found in pumpkin. Two of the important minerals as far as hair and skin are…

     

    Potassium…Potassium helps promote healthy hair and regrowth.

     

    Vitamin A…encourages hair growth

     

    Vitamin B…Pumpkin is a good source of most of the B vitamins—including niacin, riboflavin, B6 and folate. This makes pumpkin great for treating acne, improving circulation, and increasing cell turn over and renewal.

     

    Vitamin C…Vitamin C helps prevent wrinkles and skin cancer, promotes collagen production, and improves skin tone and elasticity….also strengthens hair follicles.

     

    Vitamin E…stimulates blood circulation in the scalp, which then promotes hair growth)

     

    Zinc,,,prevents and treats flaking, irritation, and itching scalp

Shampoo...Many companies have started adding pumpkin shampoo to their product lists claiming that the shampoo will help your hair grow, moisturize, and kill frizz. A few options to try that actually smell like pumpkin and might help with PSL withdrawals include…
  • Acure Organics Mega Moisture Shampoo
  • EcoLove Shampoo Orange Collection
  • Ecosevi Pumpkin Seed Shampoo
  • Good Earth Beauty Pumpkin Chai Restorative Shampoo.

 

 

 

Conditioner

As far as conditioner, one of your best options is to make your own. To make your own conditioner, combine the following ingredients…

  • 1/2C pumpkin puree
  • 1/4C yogurt
  • 2Tbsp honey
  • 1Tbsp coconut oil

A great store-bought option would be this conditioner by Sexy Hair Concepts.

 

Pumpkin Hair Serum…This hair serum helps you deal with dead ends and fly-away’ away hair.  The apricot seed oil is a lighter oil than the pumpkin oil and keeps the pumpkin oil from making your hair feel so “weighty.”

Here’s how…Combine one part pumpkin seed oil with two parts apricot seed oil. Lightly spritz water in your hair. Comb the pumpkin serum through your hair.

Pumpkin Hot Oil Treatment…Combine equal amounts of coconut oil and pumpkin puree. Heat on top of your oven over low heat. Let cool slightly. Apply to soaking wet hair, working from the ends to the roots. Wrap hair in a heot towel, Wait twenty minutes. Rinse well.

Pumpkin Oil Hair Vitamin Mist…Fill a spray bottle with two ounces of pumpkin seed oil and 1Tbsp coconut oil. Fill the bottle with distilled water. Shake before each use.

Pumpkin Puree Hair Mask…Believe it or not, the cinnamon that this hair mask contains is there not only because it makes the hair mask small awesome, cinnamon also helps with circulation and promotes better hair and scalp.

Mix together…

  • 1tsp argan oil
  • ½C pumpkin puree
    2tsp coconut or olive oil (unrefined)
    1tsp cinnamon
    1 Vitamin E capsule

Apply the concoction on your hair, making sure to cover your strands from tip to roots. Put on a shower cap to keep the goop from dripping all over while you wait. Wait at least 25 minutes before shampooing your hair. Use this mask once or twice a week to help make your hair soft, shiny and silky.

Pumpkin Seed Oil Hair Mask

1 Tbsp. pumpkin seed oil
1/2 apple puree
1 tbsp. shea butter
1 egg

Process half of the apple in your blender. Add shea butter and pumpkin seed oil. Whisk egg by itself. Stir the egg into the mixture. Apply to freshly washed hair. Leave in for twenty minutes. Rinse out.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Purely Pure Pumpkin Puree

Since this year I have tried to stay away from processed and prepackaged foods, I decided that it would be fun to take advantage of the millions and billions of pumpkins that are available this time of year.

I had read that there was something different about the texture and flavor of pumpkin pies and other baked goods made from pureew.

At first I thought that pumpkins are a pain in the butt, and the only people who would ever take the time to make their own pumpkin puree would be those over-achievers who pretend that they are Martha Stewart and are lost in the dark ages.

But then I remembered my mom always telling me that the secret to making awesome food is to have awesome ingredients, and there is no way that I would ever eat the pumpkin puree that you can buy in a can.

Making pumpkin puree while pumpkins are available on just about every street corner makes total sense and allows you to enjoy better, especially when you take the time to make enough pumpkin puree to stock your freezer. All year long you will have a much better pumpkin ingredient available as you are baking such things are pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin dip, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin butter, and so forth.

1,  Choose your pumpkins…You can roast as many small pumpkins at a time as you want. Tyically each pound of uncooked pumpkin will yield one pound of mashed and cooked pumpkin.

Make sure that the pumpkins that you use are the small “sugar” or “pie” pumpkins that are “bred” specifically for baking and cooking…not the larger pumpkins grown specifically for carving jack-o-lanterns.

These larger pumpkins are not the right texture and do not taste nearly as good.

 

 

2.  Prepare to cook it…

  • Slice a small piece of skin off one side of the pumpkin so when laid on its side, the pumpkin will lay flat without rolling.
  • Remove the stem,
  • Slice the pumpkin in half.
  • Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the center with a large metal spoon, ice cream scoop, or melon baller. Place all the seeds into a bowl for roasting later.
  • Repeat until all the pumpkin pieces are largely free of seeds and pulp.
  • Rinse the pumpkin under cool water to rid the skin of any residual dirt. Dry well with a clean towel.
  • Place pumpkin halves, cut side down, in a roasting pan,
  • Add 1 cup of water to the pan.
  • Rub the cut surfaces with oil.
  • Sprinkle the pieces with kosher salt.

 

 

3.  Cook your pumpkin….At this point you are ready to cook your pumpkin. This can be done in at least three different cooking methods—boiling, roasting, and steaming.

 

a.  Boiling your puree..Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pumpkin to the boiling water, Cook for about 25 minutes or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife.

b.  Steaming  your puree,…Place the pumpkin pieces in either a steamer or a metal colander placed over a pot of boiling water. Cover. Let steam for about 50 minutes or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife.

c.  Roasting your puree…Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Bake the pumpkin halves until you can easily insert a paring knife into the pumpkin, This can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on just how large your pumpkin halves actually were.

 

 

4.  Preparing the Puree…

Now that your pumpkin has cooked, your goal is to squash it…until the entire pumpkin has basically turned into baby food.

Let the cooked pumpkin halves cool for at least an hour.

Use a large spoon to remove the roasted flesh of the pumpkin from the skin.

Now smoosh it into smithereens…

This can be done using a food processor, blender, immersion blender, potato masher, or even a fork.

Continue pureeing until all the pumpkin is totally smooth.

If you want your pumpkin more watery, add a few tablespoons of water at a time.

If you want your pumpkin less watery, strain it over a fine mesh strainer to get rid of some of the liquid.

 

 

 

5.  Now what?

At this point you have a choice to either refrigerate and use the pumpkin within the next seven days or to freeze it in Ziploc bags, where it will keep for three months.

If freezing it, store about one cup of pumpkin in each bag.

I honestly find that a smarter idea would be to go ahead and start holiday baking with the fresh pumpkin puree. These five days of baking can save you much needed time later on in the holiday season.

 

After, it’s the most wonderful time of the year…to be getting ready for the most wonderful time of the year…

My how quickly this year has flown!!!

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Make Mine a Tall

But there are times when the smallest cup just won’t do…

And there are times when the smallest pumpkin in the PSL just won’t do either…

So let’s take a look at the tall menu…

This is the size pumpkin typically used to carve Jack o’ Lanterns, and if you’ve carved your share of these pumpkins over the last thirty years as I have, you think of these pumpkins, and probably all pumpkins in general, as one huge stringy mess widh a dry, flavorless “taste”…just sitting there begging to be carved lavishly, to be placed in a corner where they will eventually rot and have to be thrown away, or at best being used as a soup tureen.

Make Mine a Tall

This category includes pumpkins that weight from eight to twenty-five pounds, and the most common varieties include…

Fairytale

  • Best for…cooking or baking pumpkin pies.
  • Size…about 15″ around and 6″ high
  • Weight…twenty to thirty pounds
  • Skin Color…dark green turns to an orange color when ripe
  • Shape…flat
  • Shelf Life
  • Texture
  • Flesh Color…bright orange
  • Vertical Ribbing…,deep

Make mine a Venti

(15 to 25 pounds)

The following are some of the most common monster-sized pumpkins—such as the world record pumpkin that weighed over 2,300 pounds

These are the great big huge ones that are proudly shown by their owners at county fairs and international pumpkin harvest festivals…where the pumpkins compete for bragging rights—such as a award, ribbon, cash prize, and notoriety.

These pumpkins are really now grown to be eaten because these pumpkins often lack the flavor of smaller pumpkins.

These pumpkins are really not good for carving either because scooping out the pulp can be a chore.

But they do make eye-catching displays on porches and in public places.

Some of the most common otf these pumpkins are,,,

  • Atlantic Giant
  • Big Max:
  • Big Moon
  • Dill’s Atlantic Giant
  • Mammoth Gold
  • Musquee de Provence.
  • Prizewinner
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Pumpkin…The Why?!

Pumpkin is not only a highly low-calorie, nutrient-dense food that is rich in vitamins and minerals, but also help you have a healthier complexion, healthier hair, and more energy.

So let’s take a look at the specific nutritional level of pumpkin and how eating more pumpkin could be beneficial for diabetics…

First, a few nutritional facts…

Beta-Carotene…Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that gives orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color. Beta-carotene is easily converted into vitamin A…which in turn triggers the creation of white blood cells that fight infection.

This is important because consuming foods that are rich in beta-carotene may reduce your risk of developing certain illnesses, such as

  • age-related macular degeneration
  • asthma
  • certain types of cancer, including prostate and colon cancer
  • degenerative damage to the eyes
  • diabetes
  • heart disease

Calories...One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 49 calories.

Carbohydrates...One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 12.01 grams of carbohydrates.

Cholesterol…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains no cholesterol.

Fat…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 0.17 g of fat.

Fiber…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 2.7 g of fiber. Canned pumpkin provides over 7 grams of fiber.

Although the recommended daily fiber intake is between 25 and 30 grams, most Americans typically only get 15 grams of fiber per day.

Fiber is important for slowing the rate of sugar absorption into the blood and promoting regular bowel movements, and supporting the digestive system in general.

Protein…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains
1.76 g of protein.

Vitamin A…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains more than 200% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A.

Vitamin C...One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 19% of the RDA of vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for the immune system, especially important on days like today when the temperature is lunging from 85 degrees today to about 50 degrees tomorrow.

Other Nutrients…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 10% or more of the RDA of vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese… as well as at least 5% of thiamin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Finally, what benefits do pumpkin, pumpkin oil, and pumpkin seeds have to offer type 2 diabetics?

Pumpkins can lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes, and help control diabetes, because of the powerful effect that plant compounds found in both pumpkin seeds and pumpkin pulp have on the absorption of glucose into the tissues and intestines.

Not only that, pumpkin also helps balance levels of liver glucose.

In fact, these plant compounds found within the pumpkin seeds and pulp have such an impact on diabetes that there is research being done as to using them in anti-diabetic medication.

So now I am headed out the door and to the nearest Starbucks for a grande PSL with extra sugar…after all, pumpkin is healthy, right?

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

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The other day I found myself surfing Netflix to see if Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin episode was on there and making a special trip to Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte.

Yes…it’s time for the great pumpkin….not to mention Pumpkin Spice latte.

 

And needless to say, the pumpkin is great indeed…

 

Great for great recipes…

Great for great coffee…

Great for decorating your home not only for Halloween, but also for fall…

Great for “kitchen beauty” concoctions such as hair masks and facials…

Great for nutrition…

 

No other vegetable, other than perhaps the sweet potato, has the same sweet, cinnamon-y taste that nostalgically reminds us of Halloween and Thanksgivings long ago.

But have you ever thought about the health benefits that this great pumpkin, not to mention pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil have to offer…