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Pumpkintivities!

Mmmm... pumpkins.  We really love pumpkins.  There are so many things you can do with them!  They smell good (don't they remind you of all the yummy things about autumn?!), they taste good (Pumpkin pie... need we say more?), they look good, and they even FEEL good (that pulp is pretty fun, huh?).

Below are some of our favorite pumpkin activities that we'd love to share with you this Autumn!  We hope you enjoy them, and please tell us about YOUR great pumpkin ideas!

Decorating

If carving a pumpkin is a little too much for little hands, you can substitute a knife for:

1) A paintbrush and paints

Make a face, a landscape, or a spooky Halloween picture.  You can also simply paint the pumpkin a different color - a purple pumpkin? WOW!

2) Toothpicks and veggies

Make a "Mr. Potatohead"-like pumpkin by skewering different fruits and veggies into a fun face.  Use baby carrots for a nose, radish disks with grapes in the middle for eyes, or make a mouth with some bok-choy!  You can also make a fun veggie-platter by sticking dip-able favorites into a fun pattern on pumpkins for your guests to enjoy.  Who says you can't play with your food?

3) Glue and sparkles, felt, foam shapes, googly eyes, or even construction paper!

Even the smallest pumpkin-enthusiasts can put together a beautiful pumpkin masterpiece with some household craft supplies.  Practice making shapes, seeing how the pumpkin's shape affects placement, and working on spatial relations!  Then, proudly display your masterpiece for all to see!

Playing

1) Pulp

If you've carved a pumpkin, you probably have a big bowl of squishy, seedy pulp waiting to be used.  Simply spread out a layer of newspapers on the ground or table and dig in!  Feel the way it squishes between your fingers.  Use scrap paper and a scoop of pulp to "paint" orangey pictures with using your fingers.  Try slopping the pulp into your hands to make funny noises.

2) Seeds

Pick out the seeds from the pulp and arrange them into fun shapes on scrap paper.  Notice how they leave a little orange mark, and experiment with making pictures this way.  If you are outside, try squeezing the seeds between two fingers and shooting them  into a cup or bowl (like pumpkin Tiddly-winks!)

Eating

1) Pumpkin Seeds!

When you're finished playing with the seeds (assuming they haven't traveled too far from the bowl or gotten too dirty!), wash them and remove all the pulp from them.  Preheat the oven at 350 degrees and dry the seeds with a paper towel.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or sprinkle with olive oil or vegetable oil in an even layer.  Spread the seeds on the sheet in one layer, and bake for 10-20 minutes, or until the seeds are golden brown. Sprinkle with a little salt or other spices and serve!

2) Pumpkin Gnocchi

Cut the shell of your pumpkin into medium-sized chunks, sprinkle with a little olive oil, and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until the meat is tender.  Remove from oven and cool.  Scrape the meat from the skin and mash together into a smooth pulp.  In a large bowl, mix 1 cup flour, 1 egg, 1/2 cup pumpkin meat, a sprinkle of nutmeg, and a pinch of salt into a dough (add flour if it is too sticky).  Roll 1/4"-1/2" logs of the dough onto a floured surface, and cut into gnocchi-sized dough balls (about the size of a quarter).  Boil water in a pot and add salt.  Add gnocchi. In a pan, heat your sauce (fresh sage and butter/olive oil is delicious, but you can use any favorite pasta sauce!).  Gnocchi is finished boiling when it floats to the top.  Add to saucepan as gnocchi finishes cooking.  Serve and enjoy!