5 Ways To Use a Pumpkin After Halloween
Transforming a plain old pumpkin into a jack-o’-lantern is one of the highlights of Halloween. But there are many other ways to make use of the orange gourd after the holiday has passed.
Some of these ideas help you extend the life of your used jack-o’-lantern, while others require you to utilize a fresh pumpkin. All of them will put you in a festive fall mood.
Following are five ways to use a pumpkin this autumn that go well beyond carving.
- Make pumpkin puree
Remove the seeds and pulp from the center of your pumpkin and scoop out the flesh for fresh pumpkin puree.
- Roast the seeds
Few fall treats are more delectable than roasted pumpkin seeds. There are dozens of ideas for using seeds, including as a garnish for soups or salads, or even as a seed sauce.
Homemade roasted pumpkin seeds are a guilt-free treat since they are full of health benefits. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which have benefits to the skin, hair, and nails. The healthy fat has also been linked to improving artery, cholesterol, and brain health.
- Create pumpkin flaxseed dog biscuits
Your kids already love Halloween, so why not introduce your pup to the joys of this fun holiday? Use the puree you created in Step 1 to whip up pumpkin flaxseed dog biscuits.
Worried about feeding pumpkin to your pooch? Don’t be. In fact, it’s among the best “people foods” you can give your canine companion. According to PetMD, the nutritious fruit can help support urinary and digestive health as well as weight management. (And, yes, pumpkin is a fruit!)
- Use pumpkin as a beauty treatment
Pumpkin facials, anyone? Treehugger suggests using pumpkin to beautify your skin. According to the website:
The humble pumpkin is packed with skin-loving nutrients like antioxidants, zinc, vitamins A and C, fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids. Pumpkin flesh can help to nourish, brighten and smooth skin, as well as boost collagen and help tame the signs of aging, according to the International Dermal Institute. So it’s time to squish some squash on the body.
- Turn a used pumpkin into a bird feeder
Grab your binoculars and get ready for some birdwatching! Martha Stewart says you can stretch your jack-o’-lantern’s lifespan by turning it into a bird feeder. Slice the pumpkin in half, then cut holes and insert twigs to give the birds a place to perch. Finally, fill the gourd with bird seed.
You can also simply use the seeds to feed birds. The National Wildlife Federation offers the following advice
Collect seeds from your pumpkins, before composting them, and let the seeds dry. Please don’t add salt or seasoning. Place seeds on a flat surface, tray, shallow bowl, or mix in with existing bird seed in your garden.
How To Maximize Your Workout
You go to the gym, but results aren’t showing as quickly as before. You remember to drink enough water, exercise three to five times per week, and eat healthy. But finding a routine that works is just the first step; achieving consistency, varying exercises, and maintaining motivation are the keys to long-term success. Here are some simple ways to maximize any workout.
Keep a Log. Grab a pen and paper and write down every exercise in your routine. Having a game plan before you hit the gym will promote a quicker and more efficient workout. You’ll be less likely to skip exercises as well.
Each week, list times and weight amounts beside each exercise. You’ll be able to record what exercises you’re improving on, and which ones you need to spend more time on.
Do Your Homework. The more you focus on form, the faster you’ll see results. Performing exercises incorrectly can work the wrong muscles and put you at high risk for injury. Consult a personal trainer, or print out how-to exercises from accredited fitness Web sites. Don’t learn how to do a workout by watching someone else. Who is to say they are doing it correctly?
Break It Up. Finding it hard to fit your workout into your schedule? Breaking your cardio routine into two separate exercises actually promotes higher fat loss. “Two 15-minute sessions of high-intensity aerobics per day (before breakfast and after your last meal) is more than twice as effective as a single low-intensity 60-minute session,” says Timothy Harris, Director of Athletic Development at Adaptagenix Biosciences. “Focus on brief, intense, and more frequent aerobic exercise for faster results.”
If exercising more than once a day is out of the question, try strength/interval training. “Break up your [lifting] exercises and run on the treadmill for three minutes in between to keep your heart rate up and strengthen your muscles in the same amount of time,” says Kevin Gianni, author of Lifestyle Fitness Points System. “You will spend less time in the gym and see better results.”
Change It Up. Prevent hitting a plateau by mixing up your workout routine every four to six weeks. New workouts will keep you from getting bored at the gym, and give you an opportunity to find what exercises your body responds to best. “Don’t continue a program if you don’t get measurable results within six to eight weeks,” says Sarah Lurie, owner and founder of Iron Core La Jolla, California’s original kettleball fitness center. “If your clothes aren’t fitting better after consistently working out and eating healthfully, ditch the workout and find something else.”
Warm Up. Cool Down. Do you start the day without breakfast? You shouldn’t. And you should never workout without warming up your muscles first. Stretching not only prevents injuries and makes muscles more limber, but it also gives you a chance to mentally focus on the task at hand. Add a pre-workout walk to help loosen up your legs, especially if you plan to do a lot of cardio. “Include a cool down to help prevent lactic acid from pooling into the legs,” says Evan Chacker, founder of the American Fitness Institute and personal trainer manager of the New York Health & Racquet Club in Manhattan. Stretch after each workout to help relax your muscles, and pamper yourself by massaging your legs and arms. Massage increases circulation, reduces cramping, and increases joint flexibility.
Mask Your Trouble Areas. Exercise isn’t always enough to achieve an ideal hourglass figure. Genetics plays an important rule, but enhancing the physique of your hips and shoulders can make the midsection appear smaller. “In the gym, perform the following exercises every Monday and Friday for one set to positive muscular failure: deep leg-presses with feet shoulder-width apart, hip abduction machine, and lateral raises with dumbbells (10-12 repetitions),” says Ferriss.
Attend Class. One of the easiest ways to stick to a fitness program is by simply joining a class. Many gyms offer free classes including aerobics, yoga, and spinning. Classes are not only great for motivation, variety, and improved fitness, but they give you a chance to interact with people who are also interested in staying active.
- 1 beef rump roast or bottom round roast (3 to 3-1/2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 small onions, sliced
- 1/2 cup water
- 6 to 8 tablespoons horseradish sauce
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons celery salt
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup cold water
- Cut roast in half. In a large skillet, brown meat on all sides in oil over medium-high heat; drain. Place carrots and potatoes in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Top with meat and onions. Combine the water, horseradish sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and celery salt. Pour over meat. Cover and cook on low until meat and vegetables are tender, about 8 hours.
- Combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until gravy is thickened, about 30 minutes.