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Guest Post: All From One Little Pumpkin

Guest Post by Monica from The Homespun Heart

One of my favorite Fall decorations is a simple pumpkin! I

recently purchased a 3.4 lb. pie pumpkin at Wal-Mart for $0.78/lb. I thought it would be fun to see how much we could do with just one pumpkin several days in a row to really stretch the value of purchasing it!

Join me as we follow the life of the this small pumpkin…

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When I first brought the pumpkin home, it made a lovely decoration perched on my porch.

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A few days later, it made a fun greeting for a few ladies I had over for an Autumn in Avonlea gathering.

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The next morning, it made a fun vase for our First Day of Autumn breakfast.

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And, at lunch, a great hiding place for lunch during our scavenger hunt.

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Next, I cooked the pumpkin. (Just half the pumpkin and place cut side down on a baking sheet for one hour at 350 degrees; I got about four cups of cooked pumpkin from the two pumpkins I cooked.)

I used the cooked pumpkin and made some delicious Pumpkin Struesel Muffins.

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Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

1/4 c. margarine or butter, softened

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 c. brown sugar

2/3 c. pumpkin

1/2 c. buttermilk

2 eggs

2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Streusel Topping:

1/3 c. flour

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 Tbsp. cold butter or margarine

For muffins: cream together margarine and sugars. Add all remaining ingredients and mix together. In a separate bowl, cut together streusel ingredients and sprinkle over muffin batter. Bake in prepared muffin tin at 375 for 20-25 minutes. Makes one dozen muffins. Original recipe from Quick Cooking May/June 2000.

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We were able to tie the muffins into our homeschooling this week by having an ‘unbirthday’ party (we’ve been reading Ask Mr. Bear!)

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Then we toasted the seeds for a snack. Here’s the recipe we used:

Sugared Pumpkin Seeds

2 c. pumpkin seeds (from two pie pumpkins; rinsed and dried on a baking sheet for 48 hours)
1 egg white mixed with 1 Tbsp. water (save the egg yolk for your next batch of pancakes or scrambled eggs!)

1 c. sugar

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. salt

Mix seeds and egg white mixture. Add remaining spices and mix well. Spread on greased baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees for one hour stirring every 15 minutes.

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I think I’ll send some in my husband’s lunch tomorrow. After this yummy baking, we took a short walk outside and enjoyed coming into a cozy smelling home!

All that from a $2.68 pumpkin!

How do you like to stretch a pumpkin? I look forward to hearing your ideas!

Monica enjoys blogging about the simple pleasures of faith, family and home over at The Homespun Heart.

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51 Comments

  • Sarah says:

    That was a really neat post! I enjoyed Monica’s creativity (and the Avonlea party sounds intriguing). Thanks for sharing this with us!

  • cheapsk8mom says:

    I really enjoyed that post.

    I can honestly say I’ve never put that much thought into a pumpkin.. but with things costing as much as they are, it really does make sense to pay attention to everything, and to enjoy it all. Thanks for sharing this one… and the yummy recipes too!

  • mom_of2boys says:

    Interesting post! My next pumpkin won’t be going from porch to trash anymore. I’d love to try to stretch our pumpkin out for a couple uses at least. Thanks for sharing!

  • Becky says:

    How fun! I don’t have that kind of creativity and find it amazing to watch the creative things others are able to do (and then share with us). Kudos!

  • Lana says:

    I buy a pie pumpkin every year, too. It just makes me happy to see it sitting on my kitchen table. Pie made with that fresh pumpkin is fabulous!

  • Tara says:

    What a great post! I enjoyed the use of the photos along with your creative, thoughtful ideas.

  • Misty says:

    Ok – that was a great post! A day in the life of a pumpkin. I love how much fun it was – the time spent with the kids, the unbirthday party and all, for a few dollars. What a great idea. Thanks!

  • Heather says:

    Are you able to store the cooked pumpkin? Will it seal itslef if you put it into canning jars while hot? I love having pumpkins for decoration, now I am going to try enjoying it all the other ways! Thanks!

  • Kelly says:

    That was a great post! I am going to make good use of our pumpkins this year too. Thank you Monica

  • How inspiring! I bought small pumpkins for the kids last year and let them paint on them. But this idea sounds much better!

  • Jennifer says:

    We do Pumpkins in homeschool every year. Use a pumpkin to discuss circumference–wrap a string around it and measure the string with a ruler. Measure pumpkin height with a ruler of unifix cubes. Weigh the pumpkin. We usually have several, and graph the different measurements on bar graphs. Throw some social studies in by talking about producers and comsumers and track how the pumpkin gets from the field to the store. Science–pumpkin life cycle–there are some great children’s books that illustrate this. Also–decomposition over the weeks if you end up carving the pumpkin. Track how long it takes to rot. We can get more than a week’s worth of lessons out of pumpkins!

  • Tiffany says:

    Wow, I’m seriously impressed. I would NEVER have thought you could do so much with one pumpkin!

  • Mari says:

    What a super fun post. I am looking forward to trying your the recipes. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Danielle says:

    Wow, that was amazing! And that was a cheap pumpkin!!!!

  • kitchendoor says:

    This was great! I love the idea of using an item every which way you can, and those muffins look amazing. Thanks so much–you’ve really got me thinking about the pumpkin sitting on my counter right now.

  • What a great post! It never dawned on me to cook my own pumpkin. I always just go for the canned because I thought the real thing would be too hard. Something new for me to try in the kitchen!

  • Katy says:

    What a great story! And the pictures are lovely. I never think to cook the pumpkin, but I might this year!

  • Dana says:

    what a fun post! question though…before you cook the pumpkin, do you clean out the seeds, etc. first?

  • angela says:

    I dont’ like to eat pumpkin except in pie, which I buy the canned stuff.

    However, this year I am carving pumpkins and using them as decorations/centerpieces and giveaways at my sister’s baby shower.

    I’m also using that recipe for the seeds

  • Monica says:

    Hi Ladies – thanks for the encouraging feedback!

    Heather: According to the USDA and canning websites – they do not suggest that home canning is safe for pumpkin puree or mashed pumpkin. You can freeze it, though it will be a bit more watery when you thaw it.

    What may be the best of all – is to go ahead and make muffins or pumpkin bread or pumpkin pancakes and then just freeze the already baked items.

  • Sandra D. says:

    Wow … I’m absolutely impressed with all you did .. that pumpkin most certainly served its purpose!!! 🙂

  • Sunshinesavings says:

    How inspiring! What a way to reduce, reuse and recycle! I suppose if you have a compost pile you can then contribute the pumpkin shell to it for more nutritious soil! Love the vase idea. Thanks for sharing.ps. like that you added photographs. thank you!

  • Carrie says:

    Remember to get a pumpkin that is labeled as a pie pumpkin if you want to eat any of it, even the seeds. From what I’ve read, they spray the ones they assume people will use for Jack-o-Laterns so much they’re not fit for human consumption.

    This post reminded me of the Ramona book where the cat gets into the Jack-o-lantern and they have to eat pumpkin for two weeks straight. Remember that?

  • jamie says:

    how convenient! My daughter’s girl scout troop has a pumpkin patch they have been nursing all summer. Her leader asked me today for some ideas. I’ve seen sugared pumpkin seeds…hmmm we might have to try that out.

  • Coupon Geek says:

    This is amazing! I bought a pumpkin for Nathan to color (which he wasn’t interested in) and now I know exactly what to do with it! GREAT tips!!

  • Kim says:

    Do I remove the seeds before I bake the pumpkin if I’m going to use your pumpkin seed recipe? Thanks for the info … I bought a pie pumpkin while out today and can’t wait to try it. I found a copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Frap recipe which calls for pumpkin – yummy!

  • Lydia says:

    I bought pumpkins last year, used them for decorations and then baked them and froze the pumpkin. Yes, it’s a teeny bit more watery, but I made many things from it and honestly, I never had any problem. I enjoyed the creative post!

  • Kasey says:

    Every year on Halloween I always make Dinner in a Pumpkin- it’s a yummy recipe that’s basically a casserole that you just put into the hollowed-out pumpkin and cook the whole thing in the oven. The pumpkin is then your serving dish as well as part of the meal because part of the dish is the cooked pumpkin flesh that you scoop out and eat with the rest of the casserole. Sweet and savory and so yummy!

    I also love to bake the pumpkin seeds- I discovered a favorite recipe where you boil the seeds briefly in salted water before you bake them, and they came out so crispy and tasty that I got addicted! I can’t wait to make them again this year!!

  • K-- says:

    Oh, my goodness! I am SO impressed! Thanks for the great ideas and recipes!

  • zsera says:

    will definintly be making those muffins!!!

  • Donna says:

    Monica,

    I love this post! I am going to share this post with my 4 year old and show her how you can make many things just from one pumpkin. She is going to get a kick out of it! I also love your blog. I will be spending some time there this weekend.

  • Heather says:

    Thanks! I loved this post. I don’t really have a new idea for you, but the muffins made me think that you could substitute the pumpkin for zucchini in this zucchini bread recipe. http://www.zonya.com/pdf/recipes/Enlightened_Zucchini_Bread.pdf

  • Rapunzel says:

    What a wonderful post, I’m so glad I stumbled upon your lovely blog! I’ll certainly be back for another visit.

    I made pumpkin butter the other day myself but cheated and used canned pumpkin. *blush* Next time I’ll definitely follow your lead and buy a pretty little fresh one!

    xoxoxo

    Rapunzel

  • Paurian says:

    There’s one more way to stretch a pumpkin. Seeing how it’s already cut, it likely won’t be fit to act as a Jack-O-Lantern by Halloween. But if you saved a few of the seeds and didn’t cook them, they can be planted next spring to create a whole summer of gardening fun and homeschool activities, not to mention the pumpkins you get from your very own patch come next September!

  • Monica says:

    I’m really enjoying all of your ideas!

    Yes, you will want to remove the seeds and pulp before cooking the pumpkin. You can dry the seeds out on a cookie sheet for 48 hours before following the sugared pumpkin seed recipe.

    Enjoy!

  • MaryAnn says:

    What a terrific post! I always mean to do something with those cute little pumpkins besides just decorating with them, but I never knew quite how to go about it. Thanks so much for the jumpstart!

  • Grace says:

    Hi Monica!!!
    Great job!

  • Lee Scott says:

    We have always let our kids when they are too young for cutting use markers to color their pumpkins, I then peel the colored skin off of them and bake or boil. I also freeze my pumpkin leftover and buy a very large pumpkin so I have tons. I usually get several pies and breads out of 1 pumpkin! I do not eat the seeds or my husband but I think I may see if someone else likes them or send them with my hubby to work!

  • Amy says:

    Hi Monica. I really enjoyed this post, as we’ve got a few DOZEN pumpkins growing in our mulch pit this year. They were a total surprise. We went out one day to “turn it over” and noticed something growing… turns out that something is lots of pumpkins growing from the three that we threw out last year after Thanksgiving!

    So… mine are all small pumpkins. They haven’t been sprayed. Can I cook them all, or is there something I need to know about a special type/kind? Oh, I do hope I can cook them!

  • Monica says:

    Hi Amy – wow what a fun surprise to have all those wonderful pumpkins! Pie pumpkins work best for cooking, but according to a quick internet search – yes, you can use other types of pumpkin for cooking and eating! Yummy – enjoy all that wonderful pumpkin!

  • Wow, you are good! I grew my own pumpkins this year. That was tough! The deer love them. So far I have harvested one – the rest are still turning orange.

  • Amy says:

    Those are some great ideas- I always find Monica to be so inspiring!!

  • laura says:

    Well…we planted a ten cent packet of ‘jack o’lantern’ pumpkins, and we have at least five big pumpkins. We picked the first one today, and it weighs 31.5 pounds!! (I blogged it here: http://tenthingsfarm.blogspot.com/2008/10/one-pumpkin.html )

    Our daughter has gotten a lot of learning out of it already – planting, sprouting, mulching, watering, and we measured the growth through the summer.

    I’m planning to use it (and the others, if they are ready) in our fall family photo as well!

    We’ll decorate it (but not cut it – we’ll draw on it ) and then bake it and freeze lots of pumpkin for muffins, quick breads, biscuits, soups, etc.! I’ll have to try your roasted seed recipe – sounds great!

    Finally, any remaining peel or pulp will go to our hens! Not bad for one pumpkin from a ten cent packet!

  • Shellie says:

    I just got off the phone with my vet. I have a sick doggie. Did you know that pureed pumpkin is good for dogs? I had no idea! It has enough water in it to aid in constipation and is so rich in fiber it is excellent for diarrhea. Just give your dog a tablespoon once a day if they are having tummy troubles. So you may want to puree one or two of those pieces you carve out of your jack-o-lantern. You can stick the puree in the freezer and save it in case your dog gets sick later in the year!

  • rae says:

    thank you so much this was a great read. I am definitely going to try the muffins and the seeds. I don’t like plain salted baked pumpkin seeds but I’m a sweets girl so your recipe sounds like a great alternative.

  • BusyMom says:

    Love it! Yummm! I made the muffins yesterday and the seeds today. Definitely a keeper.

  • T.J. says:

    I did somethhing similar the other day, except I added oatmeal, water, and a couple of spices to some of the pumpkin puree and used it for baby food.

  • Excellent pumpkin stretching and great recipes!

  • casey says:

    A word about safety:

    It’s true that the National Center for Home Food preservation says do NOT jar homemade pumpkin. They say to freeze chunks of it, then puree it when ready.

    Second, it IS safe to eat a Jack-o-lantern according to the University of Nebraska. I’ve done it and they taste fine in baked goods.

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