Vegetarian Family

A Peek @ Food We Eat & Things We Do!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mr. Pumpkin Head & Pepitas

Here's our first attempt at a pumpkin carving this season. The fun here is in using vegetables to create different facial features -- we used: broccoli for his hair, pea eyebrows, walnut eyes, rutabaga nose, and a corn mouth.

Basic Tips:
Eyes Use a melon baller to carve holes for small vegetables like radishes or okra to sit in. Secure the veggies with skewers or toothpicks.

Nose/ears/neck plugs Slice one side off spherical produce (like eggplants) to increase the amount of surface area that rests flat against the pumpkin; affix the veggies with skewers. (Spritz sliced sides with lemon water to keep them from discoloring.) For a long pepper or rhutabaga nose, carve a hole that's a little smaller than the biggest end of the veggie; secure with skewers.

Mouth To cut out a mouth the exact size of a squared-off corn-cob, first trace its outline on the pumpkin with a water-based marker (which can be wiped right off). A mouth that requires no carving (nor parental help): Draw a smile with the marker, prick holes along the line with a skewer, wipe off the marker, then place whole dried cloves in the holes. We want to try this next....

Hair Use a rubber band to attach parsley or cilantro to the pumpkin stem. Affix green beans or snow peas with skewers. Or, do like us, and just put a bunch of broccoli in his head hole for a curly do. Asparagus makes pretty hair also.

"Not a thing inside there, Mr.Pumpkin. Where'd your corny teeth and seed brains go?"

Little and big fingers alike dug into these roasted pumpkin seeds. Emmy of Vegan Diva is right -- these are easy to roast and a very addicting snack. Just rinse the seeds in a collander until clean. Dry on a towel, and then toss with some canola oil and sea salt. Lay the seeds in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet, and bake them in a 250 (or less) degree oven. I checked mine every 10 minutes, and it took a while for them to completely dry out. A couple times, I just turned off the oven and left the pepitas inside for up to 30 minutes to slow cook. Then, if they weren't ready, I'd fire up the oven again. As Emmy suggested, we tested a few along the way to know for sure when they were done. Liv ate what remained from yesterday for breakfast this morning.

This picture reminds me of an old cartoon on Saturday Night Live, Mr. Bill, "Ohhhhhhh Nooooooooo!"

Pumpkin Preservation Tips:
Look for pumpkins with a sturdy stem, this is the sign of a healthy pumpkin. Don't lift the pumpkin by the stem, this can damage the pumpkin and make it age faster.

Put the pumpkin in a wash tub full of cold water, carved side down -- it'll absorb the water and become firm.

After you've carved your pumpkin, wipe vaseline along the cut edges to preserve -- this prevents water from getting out. If your pumpkin does shrivel, resoak it for several hours and even over night. A little unscented clorox bleach in the water will prevent premature molding by killing evil pumpkin germs. Here's a link to WH Foods with some great information about pumpkin seeds.


Anonymous Emmy said...

Oh my goodness!!! That pumkin is adorable! Love it! What a creative use of veggies. The broccoli hair is hysterical.

The pumpkin seeds look delicious!! Thanks for the shout-out :) I am in awe that you had pumpkin seeds left the next day. Now that's self-control. LOL

10:05 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

That is darned cute! I think we're going to keep this in mind and do at least one like that this year. I'll just set the kids loose at the farmer's market to get the facial features. :-)

10:42 AM  
Blogger Harmonia said...

That's so awesome!!! I have bloglines now...I will be around more often to comment...

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a cute pumpkin guy. I like the idea of this one. It reminds me of a book I just got that I will post about soon called "play with your food". It looks like you are the author of that book!

I think was just reminded how much I really miss my oven... pumpkin seeds! Yum.

And you mentioned cloves, sometimes I take a lemon or an orange and prick it with cloves (the sharp parts) and leave it out on the counter and in the bathroom for wonderful smell... try it if you haven't.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Tanya Kristine said...

you have VERY excited pumpkins!

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're better than a Chia pet. COOL!

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love him! Lol! What a great idea. You are so creative, Vicki!! Your girls are SO lucky!!

That broccoli hair is too funny!

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha, well I have to make all the cookies to take to alto sax snack time three days a week! Yup.. my section loves me.

I have some tofu in my fridge and vital wheat gluten in my food drawer so hopefully I will be making some ACTUAL food sometime soon. :-P

Those pumpkins are awesome. That's such a great idea, I think if I can get my hands on some pumpkins I'll convince my friends that we should make some of those here at school.. to get into the Halloweenie spirit!


6:11 AM  
Anonymous dreena said...

Again, you are the COOLEST mom!! :)

6:41 AM  
Blogger Crystal & Ryan - Café Cyan said...

Those look so neat!! I picked up a sweet pumpkin yesterday to make one of Isa's recipes - probably make it this weekend (I hope!!)

Thanks for the tips!


6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are too cute for words! :) This looks like something up my alley as I can't carve a proper jack o'lantern to save my life (or my appendages...)

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After I opened this page, I just about died laughing, and made Jason come and look at the screen (AC was sleeping). Freaking hilarious. I so want to live with you and your daughteres - you have so much fun!

Have a great weekend, lady!
:) Mikaela

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hee hee- Mr pumpkin head makes me laugh! It's so creative! Thanks also for the pumpkin carving tips- I haven't tried to do that for at least 15 years, but maybe this year will be the year! And you are so lucky to have a walnut tree!

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Pumpkin is awesome! I love the long, skinny nose the best, I think.

Vicki, I have to say, Olivia and Abi are two of the cutest girls ever! I love Abi's two-fisted breakfast ice cream eating. And Olivia needing sunglasses to eat ice cream? Priceless! She definitely has a well-developed sense of style already! :)

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an amazing pumpkin.. and your girls are adorable as usual... Love the soup in the last post.

re: Tempeh, I have yet to make a successful batch... hopefully, one of these days and when I do, I'll blog about it for sure!


2:25 PM  
Blogger Village Mama said...

What a kick-butt harvest time + cute kids post! Thank you for all the tips: vaseline, roasting, carving, WH Foods link! Love, LOVE the pea eye browse.

Cookie intervention update: my mother-in-law is here from BC for 10 days. My hubby adores her sugar cookies, sooo, have asked her to make dozens and dozens for daily consumption, Thanksgiving dessert plate and freezer storage.All this to say that I'll be on a cookie baking hiatus!!! But, you know as addicts, there 'could' be a relapes... I'll keep you posted ;-)

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Pumpkin is fabulous!

4:10 PM  
Blogger Carrie™ said...

OMG! This is such a great post! I'm old so I remember Mr. Bill (as well as Mr. Hands and Sluggo) That's back in the SNL days when my good friend Dan *wink* was on the show. HAHAHA! He's a wild and crazy guy.
Seriously though, what a fun thing to do with a pumpkin. Better than old boring jack-o-lantern carving like everyone else does. I love the 'hair'.
Sorry I haven't been commenting much lately. This week's time was just eaten up with work and other commitments. I'm hoping next week is better.
Have a great weekend!

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm Honestly, I'm baking all the time, I would be happy to share! :-P

Ahaha every time I come back to this page I want to make jack-o-lanterns more and more.


10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey - makes me wish halloween takes off in Australia one day!

4:12 AM  
Blogger Turquoise CRO said...

Woooo Hoooo! I LOVE the corn cob mouth the best and the walnuts, mmMMMmmm!!! The gals have such a FUNtastic time!!! Happy Week-end Sweets! XOXOOXX

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vicki, you guys are so creative. Love this post, love the photos!

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That pumpkin is just too much!! :) How wonderful--you guys have so much fun! I love roasted pumpkin seeds, by the way...

5:54 AM  
Blogger funwithyourfood said...

woah that is just too cool.
very creative


8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your pupkins looks so amazing! now my girl want one like that but we dont have those pumpkins here! love your girls phots they are so, so cute!

6:04 AM  
Anonymous Veggies,Crafts & Tails said...

If cute were a blog post, this is IT!!!!

11:11 AM  

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