Not only does pumpkin make such awesome treats to eat and enjoy, pumpkin can also be enjoyed as a treat to help you feel pampered and relaxed.
Why should you consider using pumpkin in your “beauty routine” in the first place?
Pumpkin is packed with vitamins—such as vatima B, vitamin C, and vitamin E… as well as beta-carotene. This means that it helps promotes healthy skin and hair.
Other ingredients commonly found in these products…or used when you’re making your own…include…
1.Coconut or Olive Oil…These both moisturize the skin, act as an antioxidant, and keep your skin looking younger.
2. Spices…Not only is the “aromatherapy” of the spices rejuvenating, awakening, warm, and comforting…cinnamon also stimulates better blood circulation all over the body and brings blood to the surface of the skin…resultting in plumper skin with a healthier glow, as well as healthier hair.
3. Sugar…Sugar helps the skin retain moisture and gently exfoliates dead skin away.
4. Vitamin E…Vitamin E not only benefits your skin, but also extends the shelf life of your ingredients.
Not only that…these cosmetics and concoctions will enable you to enjoy the sweet, nostalgic aroma of pumpkin all year long.
So first let’s look at what I call OTBC products…those Over the Beauty Counter products…and then we’ll talk about a few ideas that you yourself can make at home.
Desert Essence Organics Hand & Body Lotion––Pumpkin Spice—…available at Sprouts…other fragrance options—Island Mango, Italian Lemon, Tropical Coconut, Coconut Lime, Bulgarian Lavender, and Spicy Vanilla Chai
One Love Organics,,,available at Nieman Marcus…ingredients include pumpkin seed oil, sunflower seed oil, green tea seed oil, kelp extract, sea buckthorn oil, chia seed extract, rosemary leaf extract, and rooibos tea extract
Other OTBC products containing pumpkin in some form of fashion include…
—Bath & Body Works Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte Super Smooth Body Lotion…available at Bath and Body Works…(go figure)
—Burt’s Bees® Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, Pumpkin Spice with Beeswax, $2.97, available at W-almart
—EcoLove Shampoo Orange Collection
—Good Earth Beauty Shampoo Pumpkin Chai Natural…available at Amazon
—Hempz Pumpkin Spice & Vanilla Chai Body Moisturizer…available at Ulta
—Native Deodorant Kit…available at Native
—Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Enzymatic Dermal Resurfacer…available at Sephora
—Sara Happ Pumpkin Spice Lip Scrub Kit…available at QVC
Now as far as DIY ideas…
Pumpkin Body Scrub…Combine…
- 1C brown sugar
- 1/2C coconut oil, room temp
1 vitamin E capsule
- ½C pumpkin puree
Scoop body scrub into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to four days. Before using, let the mixture come back it warm up to room temp and stir if needed.
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.
Pumpkin Hair Conditioner…Combine the following ingredients…
- 1/2C pumpkin puree
- 1/4C yogurt
- 2Tbsp honey
- 1Tbsp coconut oil
Pumpkin Hair Serum…This hair serum helps repair dead ends and control “fly-away” hair. Using apricot seed oil instead of pumpkin oil keeps the pumpkin oil from making your hair feel so weighted because the oil is so much lighter.
To use the serum, lightly spritz water in your hair…and then 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 hot 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…Mix together…
- 1tsp argan oil
- ½C pumpkin puree
2tsp coconut or olive oil (unrefined)
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,,,Another option as far as a hair mask would be to use…
1 Tbsp. pumpkin seed oil
1/2 apple puree
1 tbsp. shea butter
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.
Pumpkin Energy Bites
Choose any nut, seed, or combination that you like…or omit them altogether if you’re allergic to them or simply don’t like them.
The more nuts you throw in, the crunchier (and more expensive) it will be.
Nuts and seeds that you might consider using include…
- Brazil nuts
- chia seeds
- coconut flakes
- pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- poppy seeds
- sesame seeds
- sliced almonds
- sunflower seeds
- unsweetened coconut flakes.
- Baking Powder……2tsp
- Sugar…1C granulated or brown sugar (or combination of both)
- Fat….1/4C butter, olive oil, or vegetable oil
- Milk…1C milk or buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350. Line one 9″x5″ loaf pan or three 6″x3″ mini pans with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides so that you can easily remove the bread from the pan once it finishes cooking. Coat well with cooking spray.
Mix dry ingredients together. Make a well in the center.
Combine liquid ingredients. Add them into the well that you made in the dry ingredients.
Mix the ingredients together. Mixing the ingredients by hand gives your bread batter better texture and appearance than using a mixer…but be careful not to over mix your batter so that you bread won’t turn out tough. Your goal in whisking is to to break up any clumps in the flour and aerate the mix for a lighter loaf….so leave the batter lumpy and even with a few streaks of flour still showing.
Pumpkin Seed Brittle
- 1C sugar
- 1/2C water
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 3/4C green pumpkin seeds
- 3/4C bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/4C chopped pumpkin seeds
- large-flake sea salt
Bring first three ingredients to a boil. Cook until candy thermometer reads 238ºF. Remove from heat. Stir in green pumpkin seeds with a wooden spoon. Stir 5min. Return pan to medium heat. Cook stirring constantly, 5 minutes.
Pour hot mixture onto parchment paper covered surface. Cover with a second sheet of parchment paper. Roll mixture between these two sheets of parchment paper as thinly as possible with rolling pin.
Let cool until firm. Break into pieces. Cool brittle completely.
Melt chocolate chips in microwave. Dip cooled brittle in chocolate. Sprinkle with 1/4C chopped pumpkin seeds and large-flake sea salt. Let cool until chocolate is firm.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Collecting the Seeds…As you are carving or cutting the pumpkin to use for whatever else, collect the seeds of your pumpkin in a colander as you get them out. Once you have collected the seeds, rinse them under cold running water to remove any pulp and fiber. Pat them dry with paper towels as you spread them out on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Seasoning the Seeds…Toss the seeds with salt and either melted butter or olive oil.
A few more ideas for adding even more flavor to your pumpkin seeds are….
- Italian…2Tbsp melted butter, ¼C grated Parmesan, ½tsp Italian seasoning
- Savory…2Tbsp melted butter, 1tsp seasoned salt, 1tsp white vinegar (add vinegar after roasting)
- Spicy…2Tbsp olive oil, ½tsp Cajun seasoning, ½tsp fresh lime zest (add zest after roasting)
- Sweet…2Tbsp melted butter, 1Tbsp brown sugar, ½tsp cinnamon
Prepping the Oven…Preheat oven to 350°F.
Pre-boiling…Many people boil their pumpkin seeds before roasting them in order to make them extra crispy, but this can be skipped if you need to.
Baking…Roast the pumpkin seeds at 200 degrees for 20min…until light golden brown and crisp, stirring once.
Cooling...Cool at least 10min before serving.
Ghosts and goblins, squash and pumpkins
Found on every aisle
As the shippers rush home with their treasures
Hear the whispers, see the costumes
Sitting there on display…
And above all this bustle you hear
It’s creepy time in the city.
Soon it will be Halloween.
City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
See the kids walking by
At each door they will ask for some candy.
Hear them all say “Please” and “Thank You”
As they say “Trick or Treat”
Soon it will be Halloween.
It’s creepy time in the city.
Soon it will be Halloween.
(Original poem written by yours truly…think of it as corny or creative…your choice)
This is the only time all year that you will see the color orange plastered everywhere you look. Suddenly you look up, and there’s almost as much orange to be as you look around as there is green.
I personally love this time of year because pumpkins are about the only food out there with such a sweet, cinnamon-y taste…a taste that reminds of us Halloween and Thanksgivings as we were growing up.
Read the next few posts for some ideas for great homemade gifts to give your neighbors, teachers, and whoever gives me an unexpected gift during the upcoming holiday season.
These posts will highlight ways to cook with pumpkin…make awesome coffee…decorate…and stir up your own DIY beauty concoctions, such as hair masks and facials.
But first let’s take a brief look at which pumpkins to buy so that you don’t end up leaving the produce section with a lemon.
Going to the closest pumpkin patch to pick out your pumpkin(s_ can actually end up being more stressful than you would think.
Suddenly you find yourself surrounded by all of these small round spheres in all sorts of colors and sizes…
Which one should you actually buy?
Let’s take a quick look at your options, and your best bets.
The Gray Ones
Kakai...These are the gray ones with orange stripes or ribbing…even though these pumkins are edible, they are better known for their blue seeds, which can be roasted.
The Green Ones
Fairytale…These are the flat, dark green ones with deep vertical ribbing that are about 15″ around and 6″ high and weight anywhere from twenty to thirty pounds. Use these for cooking, especially for baking pumpkin pies.
The Orange Ones
Baby Bear…These are the flat orange ones out of this grouping…and are best for…pies, roasted pumpkin seeds, and using as a bown to serve soupf, stews, and chili.
Baby Pam…These are the deep orange, ir yellow if immature. .very smooth ones. These supposedly have a sugary, starchy, string-less, and dry flesh…choose these if you are willing to spend the extra time prepping the pumpking.
Long Island Cheese…These are the pale yellow or orange ones that .have light vertical ribbing on their exterior.
Musee de Provence:…These are the yellow-orange ones with deep and distinct vertical ribbing. These are great for snacking on because they have a rich, sweet, creamy, taste. In fact slices of this pumpkin are often sold in French markets.
Tiger…These are the flat yellow ones that have orange mottling that are about 5″ around and 3″ high in size. They have a recessed stem and deep vertical ribbing the top that fades at the bottom
Winter Luxury…These are pale orange round ones with a unique netted-looking
The Red Ones
Lakota…These are the red ones with green and black markings and light ribbing…and supposedly they taste like butternut squash.
The White Ones
Baby Boo…These are the bright white palm-sized ones out of the group. Supposedly their flesh is inedible…so use these only for…decorating.
Casper…These are the bright white ones that are .more round than squat…and have slight ribbing on their exterior.
Lumina…These are the bright white., smooth ones.
Marina Di Chioggia…These are the squat green ones that have a thick and warty skin. They are actually a favorite for cooking because they have such a sweet flavor.
White Ghost…These are the pure white, squat ones.
You probably alreadty know how to do this cooking method called boiling…most of us have been boiling stuff since we were making our own macaroni and cheese out of a box when we were teenagers…assuming that you were borb before they started making macaroni and cheese is single-serving microwavable cups.
Yet boiling is a cooking method…and our goal at this point is to learn about all of the most commonly used cooking methods…
So let’s talk about boiling for a while.
What is boiling?
Boiling is a moist-heat cooking method that involves immersing food in a liquid that has been heated to 212 degrees F. This hot liquid then transmits its heat to the food being cooked.
This temperature is called the boiling point…the point where the pressure of the liquid equals the pressure exerted on the liquid by the surrounding atmosphere.
As liquids boil, you will see bubbles forming and then exploding on the surface of the liquid. These bubbles are caused by water vapor rushing to the surface.
The food that you boil should be
sturdy enough to withstand the aggressive water without being damaged…because the rough agitation of the water can actually damage the food.
Commonly boiled ingredients include pasta, grains, green vegetables. dried pasta, dried legumes, rice, noodles, potatoes, and eggs.
How long you boil the ingredient depends on several facttos—such as what the ingredient is, your personal preference, how you were brought up….(for example, back in Mississippi we cook our peas along with some bacon practially all day before serving)…how important maintaining the food’s original color, texture, and flavor…whether or not you care if you deplete the nutrients of the ingredient…and so forth…
Ingredients an either be added to cold water and heated along with the water…ior added to the water once the water has already started boilling…depending on the characteristics, of what it is that you are cooking…(more on this later)…
The perfect onion rings have been double dipped in a batter that is seasoned to perfection. …the outside is crisp…while the onion itself is tender and sweet….accompanied by your favorite condiment—such as mayo, fry sauce, ranch or ketchup.
2 large Vidalia onions, sliced into 1/2″ rings
Oil for frying
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 c. fine cornmeal
- 3/4 c. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 Tbsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
Fill your Dutch oven pan with 1″ oil. Heat, over medium heat, until 375°. Line a large plate or baking sheet with paper towels.
Whisk together your dry ingredients—such as your flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, baking powder, and spices.
Whisk together your wet ingredients—such as your egg, buttermilk, and seltzer.
Slice and separate the onion rings.
Dip each ring first in your dry inredients and then in your wet ingredients…as we’ve already learned in this previous post about breading.
Repeat the dipping process.
Place the finished onion rings on a cooling rack until ready to fry..
First make sure that your oil is hot enough.
If so, place the battered onion rings into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd your onion rings. This will keep them from cooking correctly.
Do not add salt while you are cooking your onion rings. This will help keep the batter on the onion instead of falling apart in your frying pot. Wait and salt your onion rings after they have cooked.
Cook for about four minutes…until they turn a light golden brown color.
After they’ve finished cooking, take them out of the oil and set them out on paper towels to cool and drain. Sprinkle with salt.
Serve hot with ketchup and mayonnaise, if desired.
For our final Meat and Taters recipe from around the world, let’s travel to Switzerland…and try the rösti….(The word is actually pronounced “reursch-ti,” not row-sti…as you might think when you first saw the word…and the word “rösti” translates as “crisp and golden,”.)…
This dish consists of grated potatoes that are shaped into 1″-5″ patties and served in wedges like pizza….kinda like a giant latke or potato pancake.
These latkes-of-a-sort are enjoyed primatily in the German-speaking area along the border between the French-speaking and the German-speaking parts of the country.
And even though this dish started out as a breakfast dish, and is now more commonly served as an accompaniment, often to egg or sausage dishes.
the Swiss now enjoy
This is a simple peasant dish that began with just two humble ingredients—
But feel free to branch out and try serving this along with smoked salmon, sour cream, chives, or braised Savoy cabbage, smoked ham, fried eggs, salmon roe, chopped onion, dill, Swiss cheese
The perfect rösti is extra crispy on the outside…and soft and buttery on the inside….never an unpleasantly starchy flavour and greasy, raw interior…like the very best hash brown potatoes…but even more delicious.
- 4 medium-sized potatoes…(Note…Waxy potatoes seem to maintain their shape better than starchy potatoes…and also produce a crunchier cake.)
- 3Tbsp butter
- Olive Oil
- Optional ingredients…such as bacon, parsley, onions, nutmeg, pepper, or ground paprika, scallions
Many chefs start a day ahead by parboiling their potatoes in salt water until just tender, but not soft…allowing them to cool…and then chilling their potatoes for a couple of hours or even overnight. This will eventually make the potatoes easier to grate and helps them stick together when you’re cooking them.
Anyway, regardless if you chill them or not, at least clean and peel your potatoes.
Grate the peeled raw potatoes into a bowl. This is traditionally done by hand with a rosti grater…but honestly how many of us have rosti graters at home…and Alton warns us about “unitaskers” in how many episodes?
So instead do this with a box grater, food processor.
You want to use the larger holes on your box grater, not the smaller ones. This will mean not only faster work, but also better texture.
Let the potatoes rest for at least five minutes.
Now squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the potatoes by grabbing and squeezing fistfuls.
Transfer to a second bowl.
Season the potatoes with salt and pepper….Salting the grated raw potatoes at this point will “draw out” the excess water…making the rösti more crispy on the outside.
Melt 3Tbsp butter in an 8″ nonstick or cast-iron skillet.
Add the grated potatoes to the pan, Use a metal spatula to spread the potatoes in a layer that is about 1″ deep.
Add salt, onions, spices
Cook over medium heat for ten minutes, stirring two or three times with a metal spatula to coat the potatoes evenly with butter and avoid “hot spots.”
Cook until the bottom of the pancake turns golden and crisp…and the top of the pancake starts to look translucent….about fifteen minutes.
Finish Cooking and Serve
Add 2Tbsp more oil or butter to the pan.
Now slide the pancake back into the pan….browned side up.
Tent with foil.
Cook for another ten minutes…until the other side is also browned and the potatoes feel really tender in the middle.
Slide the rosti onto a plate, cutting board, or cooling rack.
Cut it into wedges.
Add more salt and pepper if desired.
Getting my five year old ready to start “real school” in the fall has reminded how there’s always one of THEM in almost any crowd…
The sibling that gets your mom the most expensive gift of any other sibling
The nerd in the class that always aces the test that most of us have just failed
The homeroom mother eight months pregnant, kid in tow, perfectly organizing the homeroom Christmas…or whatever the heck THEY acknowledge the holiday as this week…party
The relative that brings the fanciest side dish to the Thanksgiving side dish to the annual “let’s all get together and pretend like we all like each other once a year” ordeal…
Your sister in law was so proud of her mashed potatoes…until you showed up with your twice-baked potatoes…
But lo and behold…here comes THAT sibling…the one you’ve competed with and lived in the shadows of your entire life walking in fashionably late with nothing but…
We can all thank Leif Elisson for being the overachiever in his cooking school and creating these potatoes back in 1953…when he was a chef in training at the famous restaurant at the Hasselbacken Hotel in Stockholm…an elegant hotel that first opened in 1748.
By the way the word Hasselback actually translates “Hazel Hill.”
In fact, they can’t be possibly be as hard as they look like they would be to make if the Swedes enjoy them not only for “red calendar day” events…but also for breakfast, appetizers, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
They are basically a baked potato…so I’m not gonna go into depth as far as cooking them…already talked about that in this previous post…
These just go extra by requiring that you make a special series of deep parallel cuts along the top of the potato so that it opens into their expected fan shape….and then so that you can showboat various toppings on top.
Surprisingly these potatoes only take a little more effort than a regular baked potato…and can make such an impact when served alongside a special dinner—such as a holiday roast, date night steak, or Easter ham.
The perfect Hasselback potatoes have perfectly crispy, crunchy, and golden edges of French fries on the outside…the soft, buttery, creamy goodness of mashed potatoes on the inside….and the perfect amounts of cheddar, Parmesan cheese, fresh chives, sour cream, bacon, crumbled feta, spring onions, etc.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat to 425°F.
The one thing that separates a hasselback potato from a plain everyday baked potato is the way it is cut.
So settle on bringing mashed potatoes or twice-baked potatoes to the party until you master the technique.
First of all, it is important that you choose a good quality knife to cut your potatoes—one with a thin blade that is very sharp…(and have the number to the nearest CareNow clinic close at hand.)…
Slice a thin layer from the bottom of the potato to keep it from rolling around.
Place a potato between the handles of two wooden spoons or two chopsticks. This creates a “guardrail” that should help keep you from slicing the potato all the way through….the most important thing to not do whenever making this dish…(other than cooking them too long and burning both your potatoes and perhaps even your house.)
Another option to help guide you as you are making your cuts is to rest the potato in a large serving spoon.
Cut thin parallel slits about every 1/4″ across each of the potatoes, leaving 1/4″ at the bottom intact. The thinner the slices, the better the end result.
Push the knife straight down into the potato. Once your knife hits the chopsticks or edge of the spoon, stop slicing. Once again, it is important to make sure that the slices stay connected at the bottom of the potato.
Don’t worry about your slices being perfect, they will end up great regardless.
If all else fails, and you still suck at this, then order yourself a Hasselback potato cutting board…they’ll still be impressed…
Repeat with the remaining potatoes, sertting each on the prepared baking sheet once sliced.