Pumpkin Carving: a day in the 13

Welcome to the 13 Days of Halloween

The Retro Series

Purple Pumpkin Lights Pictures, Photos, and Images for Facebook, Tumblr,  Pinterest, and Twitter

So a while back, I was taking a trip down memory lane with this lil blog o’ mine and really enjoying reading some of the posts from the first year. If you’ll remember, this blog was created as a final project for a class I was taking, and I knew my professor had no idea what to expect. I also know for a fact that he wasn’t expecting what I published within that first week. I mean, right outta the gate, it was bloody zombies and a gory (but delicious) menu. I’m delighted to report that he was totally diggin’ what I was serving up. Haha — good times! And by the end of the 6-week project, I had simply fallen in love with all the research and writing that went into creating these blog posts, not to mention being able to interact with my readers in a whole different way than when you write a poem or short story.

And so, in honor of my first year of publication and the earlier times of the 13 Day countdown with my kids, I give you the first in what I’m dubbing “The Retro Years.”

Pumpkin carving has always been a big thing for me and the kiddos (and now also the g-kiddos). There’s just something about that first stab into the shell with your carving knife that brings out the giddy anticipation of what the end result will bring. And sometimes, you amaze even yourself with how well your masterpiece turned out. But then there are the times when shit goes wrong, and you’re either pushing toothpicks into a section that got accidentally cut or completely changing things up so that your Jack-O-Lantern either has one giant eye or no teeth. You all know what I’m talking about. And let’s not forget that first initial scoop of the “guts” as you hollow out the carcass — err — shell. So gross!

How many of you took the time to sort out the seeds and roast them in the oven afterward? So worth it!

Nowadays, there are Mr. Potato Head-type things you can jab into an uncarved pumpkin and call it a day. And that’s totally fine, not knocking it a’tall. Many kids (and adults) may not have the time, skill, or patience to do the carving and the scooping. It’s a lot of work! Another trend is to simply paint your pumpkins, and I’m here for that too. But what really gets me jazzed are the macabre scenes created with many pumpkins (and sometimes even some props). Bottom line, though, is that it doesn’t matter how you choose to express your spooky creativity when it comes to pumpkins because they are one of the oldest and most timeless Halloween decorations. Let’s get started . . .


Classic Calvin and Hobbes — if you haven’t read any of these comics yet, DO IT NOW. You’re totally missing out on some great laughs.


In this post
  • song of the day
  • a passel of pumpkins
  • dinner and a movie



Song of the Day

Dudes, it is really hard to find a SOTD that’s fitting for a pumpkin carving theme. (If I’m wrong, please enlighten me in the comments below.) So, I’m goin’ with a little Billy Idol and “Eyes Without a Face.” Because if you can’t carve a proper mouth on your pumpkin, that’s what you’ll end up with — just eyes! Plus, this video is sofa king fun to watch — Billy Idol all intense stares and lip curl. LOL — oof!




A Passel of Pumpkins

Halloween discovered by Aline Mendes on We Heart It

Here’s a few pumpkin carving hacks and groovy ideas I’ve come across that are shareworthy.

How To Clean Out A Pumpkin In 2 Minutes
Find out how here.

Clean out a pumpkin in 2 minutes! | awonderfulthought.comImage Source: A Wonderful Thought


Carving A Pumpkin With A Cookie Cutter
Find out how here.

How To Carve A Pumpkin Cookie Cutter MethodImage Source: Taste of Home

There’s also some great tips on how to use a stencil or a drill (yay, power tools!).


How To Paint Pumpkins (the Right Way)
Find out how here.

How to Paint Pumpkins: Pumpkin with Foam Brush, Mod Podge and Black Paint

Image Source: Scraplifters

And now, for some of what I deem the best of amateur pumpkin carving/decorating while cruising the interweb. And who knows, maybe it will inspire some of  you creepsters to create your own Jack-O-Lantern masterpieces, or breathe new life into a time-old tradition. 

(All images can be found on Pinterest and Google)




Dinner

18 Purple ideas | purple, dark humor, violet aesthetic

So, tonight’s dinner is probably not something you’ll want to take on after a day at work and maybe best planned for a weekend meal instead. Bonus: You can enjoy a wee bit more of the suggested beverages then too. emojisky.com-1483589  Enjoy!

Halloween Pumpkin Ale Mac and Cheese

Original recipe found here

Halloween Pumpkin Ale Mac and Cheese. Pumpkin ale cheese sauce over black bean rotini.
Image Source: Craft Beering

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz pumpkin ale
  • 1/2 pound a little over is OK of shredded sharp cheddar (works out to 3 cups full)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp + a pinch more turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp + a pinch more smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz black bean rotini
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • **Alternative Ingredients, not using beer:
  • 1/2 pound a little over is OK of shredded sharp cheddar (works out to 3 cups full)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp + a pinch more turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp + a pinch more smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz black bean rotini
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions

  1. Shred the sharp cheddar, coat with the flour and set aside to reach room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, bring about 4 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil and add the rotini to it. Cook for about 7-8 mins for al dente.
  3. Drain, return to pot and drizzle with the olive oil, then serve in desired dish.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, over medium heat melt the butter, mix in the additional 2 tbsp flour, the paprika and turmeric and stir to form a roux.
  5. Slowly add and mix in the pumpkin ale.
  6. Remove from heat and begin adding the flour coated shredded cheddar cup by cup, slowly stirring it in as it melts. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve immediately in a small dish next to the pasta and drizzle it over it table side.
  8. **Instructions for Alternative version (not using beer):
  9. Shred the cheddar cheese and set aside to reach room temperature.
  10. Meanwhile, bring about 4 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil and add the rotini to it. Cook for about 7-8 mins for al dente.
  11. Drain, return to pot and drizzle with the olive oil, then serve in desired dish.
  12. While the pasta is cooking, over medium low heat melt the butter and add cream, stir to combine well, wait until warmed through and hot to the touch and remove from heat.
  13. Add the shredded cheddar cup by cup, slowly stirring it in as it melts. Season with salt and pepper.
  14. Serve immediately in a small dish next to the pasta and drizzle it over it table side.

Halloween Chocolate Cherry Hand Pies

Original recipe found here.

An image of a plate of cherry chocolate hand pies in the shape of jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.
Image Source: House of Nash Eats

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, very cold and grated or cubed
  • 10-12 Tablespoons ice cold whole milk, half-and-half, or cream
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon water

Directions

  • Combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and cubed butter in a large food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form (about 15 to 20 pulses). You could also use a large bowl and pastry cutter instead, if you don’t have a food processor.
  • Slowly drizzle in the cold milk while pulsing or stirring with a fork, if not using a food processor.  The dough will be slightly shaggy and soft, but if it is still looking too dry, add another tablespoon or two of milk.  Divide the dough into two discs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 5 days.
  • When ready to make the hand pies, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Roll out one disc of chocolate pie dough on a floured work surface (you can “flour” with cocoa powder to keep things dark, or just use regular flour, which will mostly be absorbed into the pie dough anyway).  Cut into pumpkin shapes using a 3 inch pumpkin cookie cutter and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat.  Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of cherry pie filling right into the center of each pumpkin.
  • Roll out the second disc of chocolate pie dough and cut out pumpkin shapes using the same cutter.  Use a sharp paring knife to “carve” jack-o-lantern faces.  Brush the edges of the bottom crusts with egg wash made by whisking 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water together.  I just use my finger to moisten the edges so the top crust will stick.  Gently lay the top crusts over the cherry filling, matching edges and crimping with a fork to seal the hand pies.
  • Bake the hand pies for 15-18 minutes at 400 degrees F, just until the edges are set, but do not overbake.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Beverage

No Special cocktail recipe tonight. The main dish and dessert are pretty involved. So might I suggest serving one of your fave pumpkin ales instead. Here’s a couple of my faves: Two Roads RoadsMary’s Baby, Samuel Addams Sweater Weather variety pack, or a nice stout like Pumpkinator (Bourbon Barrel Aged).





Movie

Ugh!! Why the hell do I research scary stuff at night??!! Just scared the shit out of myself!! LOL. Oh well, guess that’s the whole point of a scary movie. Now . . . if you’re looking for something a wee bit tamer to watch on this day in the 13, then this one is always a win. Plus I adore Snoopy. Always have — always will.




Until next time . . .



Happy Haunting

Smoke Purple Smoke GIF - Smoke Purple Smoke Pumpkin - Discover & Share GIFs

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