It’s here. It’s here. It’s almost here. That’s right—I’m talking about Halloween!
Have you carved your pumpkin yet?
I must admit, although Andrew and I picked out our pumpkins weeks ago, they are still sitting patiently on his porch, ready and waiting. It appears carving will be happening tomorrow on Halloween, just in time for the ocassion. Better late than never, right?
Despite our tardiness in carving these particular pumpkins, the past several weeks have been quite pumpkin-filled.
Earlier this month, Andrew assisted me on a festive backyard photo shoot for a guest post I wrote for the Oiselle Blog—Bird is the Word, titled “Fall Fuel Favorites for Plant-Based Runners.” Since I opted for a slightly more serious photo to accompany the post, here is an outtake from that session.
In addition to having backyard pumpkin fun in St. Augustine, while I was back home in Pensacola a couple of weeks ago, I spent an entire Sunday afternoon carving a pumpkin with my dad. Pumpkin carving has been a father-daughter tradition of ours for as long as I can remember, since before I knew how to properly hold a knife.
In the spirit of Throwback Thursday, here is a photo of us carving pumpkins on the front porch, circa the early 1990s. Yes, that’s me holding a knife like it is a magic wand.
As for this year’s pumpkin carving experience, we set up shop on the back porch.
As always, I did the marking and cutting and my dad scooped out the insides. Our goal is never to come up with an elaborate design. We enjoy keeping things simple while simply enjoying our time together. And of course, being silly in the process.
“Hey, which one of us is the pumpkin head?” asked my dad.
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Last year, after our carving session, we popped the seeds in the oven and baked them. This year, I decided to make a pumpkin pie smoothie happen. After we finished carving, I separated out the seeds and brought the guts of the pumpkin inside for smoothie time.
In the words of my dad, “Don’t chunk your pumpkin guts—blend them up.”
- ¾ – 1 cup fresh pumpkin guts
- ½ cup vanilla almond milk
- 2 frozen bananas (sliced)
- 1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp. chia seeds
- 1 tsp. hemp hearts
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- 8 pecans (or 16 pecan halves)
- 5 pieces of ice (small handful)
I decided that almond milk, frozen bananas and pumpkin guts would be the core ingredients for this smoothie, so these were blended together first. As some taste-testing happened along the way, the remainder of the ingredients were selected and blended in. The chia seeds and hemp hearts were included for a nutritional boost. The pecans and maple syrup were added thanks to a suggestion by my smoothie-loving stepmom. These ingredients helped give the smoothie more of a pumpkin pie flavor and sweetened it up slightly to balance out the intensity of the cinnamon.
Using a Vitamix, I always start by blending on low, increasing the variable speed gradually to 10, and then boost to high. This method should be adjusted based on your blender. Depending on your blender’s power, you may need more or less ice.
After blending was complete and a sprinkle of cinnamon was added, we decided to sit out in the backyard and sip our smoothies next to Mr. Pumpkin Head.
Taste aside, why should you be eating pumpkin this season? Because it will leave you glowing from the inside out thanks to Vitamin A. Plus, since pumpkins are packed with an abundance of potassium, they can help with recovery after an endurance event. I consider this justification to sip on a pumpkin smoothie after every long run this fall.
Have you carved a pumpkin this year? What’s your favorite way to make use of the guts and seeds?