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Pumpkin Carving Party

Text by: Jacque Crosswell Watene

© Jessica Ceason Photography
There are few things in life as satisfying as picking the perfect pumpkin to create a Halloween Jack-o'-lantern. When you find the right one, whether short and squatty, thin and tall, or perfectly round, you know it in your bones! All that's left to do now is to carve out a personality befitting your orangey gourd, for really, no two are ever exactly alike. Will your Jack-o'-lantern be jolly as a garden gnome? Or perhaps your pumpkin silently persuades you to make him into a horrifying caricature of malice. Maybe you will decide to carefully, skillfully, carve out a silhouette scene worthy of Renoir.

No matter what face you choose to give your pumpkin, one truth remains: it is far more fun to carve amongst like-minded ghoul friends than to attempt it alone. Why not host a Pumpkin Carving Party so you, along with your family and friends, can share in the long-standing fall tradition of spooking and merry-making? It can be quite a simple affair if you ask each guest to bring her own pumpkin, and perhaps even a favorite pumpkin dish to share. Here are a few ideas from the Polite Society Magazine editors:


© Jessica Ceason Photography
 
© Jessica Ceason Photography

Chili in a Pumpkin

About 14 cups

3 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
2 t. garlic, chopped
2 (16 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed
2 (15 oz.) cans tomato sauce
2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
4 T. chili powder
2 t. salt
1 t. ground black pepper

Heat large frying pan over high heat. Add ground beef and cook stirring frequently until meat is brown all the way through. Drain, if needed.

While ground beef is cooking, in a large soup pot, add onion, bell pepper and garlic; sauté until onions and bell peppers are soft, approximately 5-8 minutes. Add cooked ground beef, black beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours.

 
© Jessica Ceason Photography

Country Cornbread

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup sugar
1 t. salt
3 t. baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup oil

Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients together and then combine. Line 15 muffin cups with paper liners and fill about 2/3 full with cornbread mixture. Bake 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cornbread muffins are finished when golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.


 
© Jessica Ceason Photography

Pumpkin Cake Bars

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
2 c. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
¼ t. nutmeg
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)

Combine eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin into a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, soda, powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients bowl. Pour into an ungreased jelly roll cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool completely, then frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

-Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 t. vanilla
½ cup butter
2 ½ cups powdered sugar

Blend together in a medium bowl and frost cake. Enjoy!

 
© Jessica Ceason Photography

Pumpkin Cupcake Muffins

4 large eggs
3-4 oz. cream cheese
1 cup oil
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups pumpkin
2 t. nutmeg
1 t. vanilla
1 t. ground cloves
3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
1 bag of chocolate chips
Cinnamon Sugar Frosting (see recipe below)

Mix together first 8 ingredients in a medium bowl to make a wet mixture. In a separate bowl, combine additional dry ingredients-- flour, sugar, soda, powder and cinnamon. Add 1 cup of dry mixture to wet mixture at a time until blended. Consistency should be similar to a muffin mix. If too dry, add a little milk. Stir in bag of chocolate chips. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners and fill about 2/3 full. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes. Frost with Cinnamon Sugar Frosting.

-Cinnamon Sugar Frosting:

2 boxes powdered sugar
1 cup butter
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. vanilla
Milk to add for consistency

Mix together and add milk as needed to create smooth consistency. Scoop frosting into a frosting bag with no tip and frost in a spiral.

 
© Jessica Ceason Photography

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 box Spice Cake Mix
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
1 small bag chocolate chips

Mix cake mix and pumpkin puree until completely mixed. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop rounded spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


 
© Jessica Ceason Photography

Pumpkin Bread

Mix in a medium bowl the following ingredients:

2 ½ cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
½ t. ginger
½ t. cloves

Fold into the dry ingredients the following wet ingredients:

2 cans (15 oz.) pumpkin
2/3 cup water
1 cup oil
4 eggs slightly beaten
1 cup chopped walnuts

Grease two loaf pans generously and pour the batter evenly between the two. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

© Jessica Ceason Photography