For those readers living in Raleigh, you know that we've had a long stretch of dreadfully depressing weather the past couple weeks. It's been rainy and gloomy. I can't remember the last time I've seen sunshine. This weekend I decided that despite all the gloom and despair I was going to rally and get into the autumn spirit! Obviously this means pumpkin carving.
We brought our dog, Bernice, with us to go pumpkin picking. We went to this really cute place up Lake Wheeler Road a bit - Porter Farms & Nursery, they have a great selection of a variety of different types of pumpkins and some pick-your-own fields BURSTING with gigantic pumpkins!
Rustic Camper Pumpkins
If Cinderella goes camping, I imagine this is how she does it. I saw a similar project to this in an old Better Homes & Gardens magazine and just had to do it!
2 Pumpkins; one taller and slimmer, one short and stout.
3 small gourds
Pumpkin Carving Tools (I used a steak knife and a box cutter)
3 Bamboo Skewers
2 Thumb Tacks
The first thing I did was sketch my design on the pumpkins with a marker. The smaller pumpkin is the "car" and the larger one is the "camper." For the car I made a large front windshield, a side door and side window. For the camper, I placed the pumpkin on it's side and drew a door, 2 windows (with drapes), and a racing stripe for authenticity.
Next I carved round holes in the back sides of the pumpkins (NOT the top where you usually carve pumpkins) - this is for goop removal. Using your hands or a spoon, scoop out all the guts/seeds.
Now you're ready to carve! Carve out all the solid pieces first. Then carefully carve the outlines of the doors. Make sure not to make your outlines go all the way around or else the entire piece will become dislodged from the pumpkin. Use your box cutter (or vegetable peeler, or other tool) to scrape away the outer orange skin of the pumpkins for the window drapes, bottom of camper door, and racing stripe. Wipe off any remaining marker.
To attach the wheels (gourds), poke bamboo cooking skewers through the pumpkins. Make sure about 1/4-1/2 inch of the skewer sticks out of the pumpkin, press gourd onto skewer to hold in place. I used 2 gourd tires on the car and 1 on the rear end of the camper - kind of as if the car was towing the camper.
Place the thumb tacks on the doors for door handles. VOILA! You have a cute pumpkin camper!
Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
If you're carving pumpkins you HAVE to roast the seeds - it's mandatory. I like to make my pumpkin seeds with a little "kick" to the taste buds.
1 1/2 - 2 cups Pumpkin Seeds
2 tbs Melted Butter
2 tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
Sea Salt to taste
Pre-Heat oven to 300 degrees F.
Separate your pumpkin seeds from the goop. I usually do this by hand as I carve, placing the guts and goo and a bowl and the seeds in a colander - that way I'm ready to roast as soon as pumpkin carving is done. If you need to you can rinse the seeds with water to get any excess goop and guts off.
In a bowl combine seeds, melted butter, oil and seasonings. Toss to coat pumpkin seeds evenly.
Spread seeds onto cookie sheet in a single, even layer. Bake for 45 minutes, mixing occasionally.