Thursday, November 25, 2010

Beyond Thanksgiving Pie - Pumpkins in Style & Food for the Entire Holiday Season + GIVEAWAY CONTEST

Holiday GIVEAWAY CONTEST:  Don't miss it.  TWO different pumpkin-themed prize gift basket packages will be given away for kids and adults.  Entry info at the bottom of this post.  Contest ends December 25th.

Pumpkins have been long associated mostly with Halloween and with the Pumpkin Pie of Thanksgiving .  However, as you'll soon learn in this post, this season the colorful squash can be incorporated not only into Turkey Day, but into Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year's Day in so many different ways.

The pumpkin, which today comes in a range of colors, sizes, and shapes -- in shades of oranges, greens, beiges and whites --  also is known in various cultures as pompion or calabaza.  It is a member of the Cucurbita family which includes both squash and cucumbers.

Photo used with permission from My Hydrangea Home

Pumpkin Style
Whether part of your home decor or anyone in your family wears clothing or accessories with a pumpkin motif, elegance is easy.  

With a little sense of adventure on your part, there is a way to work these relatives of the squash family into your own style in an infinite number of ways. These -- for sure -- are not your mother's pumpkins. 

You can really make a beautiful modern or traditional statement in your home simply by displaying these creatively to spotlight their natural splendors.  Take these gorgeous white pumpkin display ideas arranged and photographed by Dawn at My Hydrangea Home for inspiration.  Or, how about a Pumpkin & Squash Candelabra from Disney's Family Fun that would look equally beautiful on your table any time between now and the middle of winter?

This adorable baby looks like he's had too much pumpkin pie, I think.  He's wearing a finely crafted knit pumpkin hat that fits babies, toddlers, and young children and will keep little ones warm while they slumber as well as when you take them outside well into spring in areas that have long winters.  This bright and delicious hat for children is from Olivia of Kansas who is known for her handmade reminders of simpler times and is exclusively available from Olivia's Catalog.

Hand Knit Baby or Child's Pumpkin Hat by Olivia's
Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

Pumpkin Health & Beauty
Pumpkins are very good for your body.  Not only are they nutritious, a recent lab study indicates that pumpkin seed oil may even aid prostate health.  Loaded with vitamins A and E as well as potassium they're as tasty and good to eat as they are to use as healthful topical treatments.  In fact, according to Ariel Caddow of the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, California, home of the world-famous Pumpkin Festival, on the skin the enzymes in pumpkin break down easily and make a great exfoliant.  They also reduce fine lines and wrinkles, she says.  

I haven't stayed at this property myself yet, though my family and I did enjoy a wonderful and luxurious respite at sister property Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, CA at the end of October.  Whenever you are in Northern California definitely consider a visit to the Half Moon Bay property's spa.  You're in for a treat if you decide to try their exclusive Renew Pumpkin Spice Body Ritual that starts with a pumpkin and sugar scrub, before going to a Vichy shower and finishing with an ultra-hydrating vitamin-rich pumpkin body masque.

For more ways to incorporate pumpkin bath and beauty into your daily regimen you might also want to check out two items that were featured in this blog's 2009 Best of Thanksgiving showcase.  These include Return to Beauty, by Narine Nikogosian (Atria Books), a DIY guide overflowing with beauty product recipes to make with things often found in home kitchens -- such as pumpkin (fresh or canned) -- and the scrumptious Pumpkin Custard Soapopz bath bar on a stick by MilkAndCookeez which tastes good enough to eat, even if it's really a bar of soap.

Pumpkin Foods & Drinks
For sure, pumpkins are for more than making just pie as both these luscious sweet desserts attest.  The first one featured below you can make at home, the second oneyou can buy online ready-baked.  Either would be absolutely wonderful served as the crowning touch to any Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa meal.
Pumpkin Whoopi Cakes With Cream Cheese Filling
Photo by Cheryl Liefeld,

These extravagant whoopi cakes above are to die for.  Who would have ever thought that cream cheese and pumpkin could be such a delicious combination.  Lucky the recipe and the how tos to bake these -- maybe even with your child serving as your assistant -- are provided on the Adventures in the Kitchen blogI have a strong feeling that this soft cookie is as fun to make as it is to eat.

Pumpkin Spice Shortbread Decorated Cookies
Photo by Sara Dandy, 

If you're not a DIY baker, you can always purchase the decorated pumpkin shaped shortbread cookies pictured above that are also flavored with pumpkin and spices.  They're also available in several different turkey designs, too, and may be purchased via the Internet from the Dandy Delights website.  This small, woman-owned business offers not only a variety of standard cookie styles but also can provide you with customized treats suitable for just about any occasion. Reasonably priced at just $3 each with a minimum order of 2 dozen.

Pumpkin Arts & Crafts Kid Projects
Don't miss my separate post for a huge collection of easy and really fun pumpkin theme crafts for kids.

With so many things you can do with pumpkins, you might start wanting to integrate these colorful beauties not only into all the end-of-year celebrations, but into your year-round lifestyle.  After all, pumpkins are so much more than just pumpkins.

Pumpkin-Theme Gift Baskets

TWO Prize Packages are up for grabs
  • 1 Kid's Basket to be awarded includes Mr. Potato Head Pumpkin game set & a pumpkin baby's bid
  • 1 Adult's Basket to be awarded features 4 embroidered coordinate pumpkin and candy corn dish towels plus a set of 10 pumpkin coasters
This giveaway, which is hosted by MommyBlogExpert, is open to legal U.S. residents only.  Limit one main (required) entry per person, plus you may earn optional additional entries daily until the contest ends on December 25, 2010 at 11:59 PST.  See details below.

ENTER this Giveaway NOW - Just by Commenting Below This Post

For the Required (Mandatory) Entry
Leave a comment below this blogpost about your favorite way to use pumpkins, either from the ideas in this post or your own original thought.  Remember to include your email address or Twitter contact info with your comment(s) so that we may reach the winner.  In the event that you win either prize, we will contact you got your shipping info.

Optional Extra Entries
Get extra entries for subscribing to this blog and/or for following MommyBlogExpert on Twitter and/or Facebook. Be sure to return to this post on to leave an additional comment after each individual action you do to confirm them so we can record all your extra chances to win.

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In ADDITION to doing any or all of the extra entries above, you can earn one extra entry each time you Tweet the message exactly in the paragraph immediately below -- there is no limit to the number of Tweets (and RTs) you do on Twitter for this.  Just don't forget to return to leave a comment on MommyBlogExpert with the direct link within one hour after every Tweet you do so you'll receive the proper number of additional chances to win for all that Tweeting.

Pumpkin Gift Basket Giveaway Contest for Kids & Adults #contest #family #pumpkinholiday RT 2 WIN 

To reiterate, for each of the above extra entries to count, be sure to return to MommyBlogExpert to leave an individual comment after each of the above actions to confirm them so your all extra chances to win will be tabulated.  

FTC Disclosure:  I disclose that some companies mentioned in this post provided me either with services or products, including Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Atria Books, MilkandCookeez, and Olivia's.  All prizes for the gift baskets giveaway are were purchased by MommyBlogExpert.  I did not receive payment or other compensation from any company associated with this particular post.   See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one. 


  1. Just found you thanks to your twitter post. Cute giveaway!

  2. Hi. I love carving pumpkins for Halloween. It's such a great family activity. Thanks.