The weekend before Halloween, Tyson attended his very first birthday party.  It was a Halloween-themed first birthday for the lovely Peyton!  It was so much fun seeing all the kids dressed up.  I had envisioned dressing Tyson up as something cute and cuddly, but Jon had other ideas.

Hello Mr. T (and the T doesn’t stand for Tyson!)

I will admit, sometimes I make judgements about how things are going to turn out before I see the end result.  I had low expectations for this costume.  I may have even tried to talk Jon out of it.   But he was determined to make it happen, and I’m glad he did because it turned out to be pretty darn awesome.  Tyson seemed oblivious to the fact that he had a goatee and was wearing gold chains and feather earrings, plus he won the best costume award.  Now we’ve set the bar high.  Luckily we already have some ideas for next year’s costume!

As a parting gift, Peyton gave each guest a cute little sugar pumpkin.

It has since been a festive centrepiece on our kitchen table, but now that Halloween is over it was time for the pumpkin to move on.  Every year around this time I start to crave pumpkin.  This year has been no different.  I’ve bought cans of it and eat it  in oatmeal, cookies, muffins and even smoothies.  My inner “Frugal Franny” quickly did the math on how much money could be saved by roasting my own.  So I did a bit of googling, gathered my supplies and Tyson and I embarked on a fun morning of roasting our very first pumpkin!

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Step 1:  Preheat the over to 400 degrees.

Step 2:  Cut the top off the pumpkin.

Step 3:  Clean out the icky pumpkin guts, separating the seeds into a separate bowl.  Let Tyson play with the icky guts, as someone told me this would be a fun “sensory” activity for him.

Step 4:  Clean icky guts off the floor, highchair, table and Tyson.

Step 5: Cut pumpkin in half and place face down on a baking sheet.

Step 6: Roast for 75-90 minutes.  I left mine in for 90 minutes and the skin was quite brown by that point. The inside will look slightly toasty.

Step 7:  Scoop pumpkin flesh from skin and enjoy!

Similar to the Mr. T costume, I had low expectations for this endeavour.  I’m not sure why, but I figured it would be watery and would lack flavour compared to my beloved canned pumpkin.  But like the costume, I was pleasantly surprised.  It turned out awesome!  I took a couple bites right out of the oven and was blown away at how sweet and flavourful the roasted pumpkin was.  And the texture is way better than canned pumpkin for some reason – more squash-like.  I would estimate that it made slightly less pumpkin than a large can, but I can’t say for sure.  Either way, there is a cost savings.  A can of E.D. Smith pureed pumpkin is about $3.99 and I’m pretty sure the sugar pumpkins are less than $2.00.  More importantly, by roasting my own I get the benefit of it being a lot more fresh (who knows how long the pumpkin sits in the can before I buy it) while avoiding any BPA (Bisphenol A) contained in the lining of the can.  Like all winter squashes, pumpkins are full of cartenoid antioxidants, are very high in Vitamin C and are considered anti-inflammatory.  Very healthy indeed.

And the process was really quite simple.  Would I do it all the time?  Probably not.  Canned pumpkin is pretty convenient and making my own is a little messy and may be hard to do if Tyson is being fussy.  Will I do it once in a while when I have the time?  Absolutely!  Eating fresh pumpkin puree is a great way to incorporate more real food into my diet.   And Tyson’s diet too.   He has also been eating the yummy puree and actually had some for breakfast today mixed with applesauce and cinnamon.

Oh, and for those that are wondering, I did roast the pumpkin seeds using this method from Oh She Glows.  They turned out pretty fantastic if I do say so myself.  I took them to class and the girls said they were the best pumpkin seeds they had ever tasted.  True story.

After such a successful pumpkin adventure, I’m starting to wonder if it is possible to roast this guy:

We bought it to carve at a get-together with some of my cousins, but they got sick and the dinner was cancelled.  It’s been sitting in my kitchen ever since.  Some quick research indicates that you can roast and eat a Jack O’Lantern pumpkin (that hasn’t been carved of course), but that it is much more watery and stringier than it’s little sugar pumpkin sister.  One site says that you simply need to strain it and it will taste okay.  Instead of having low expectations, this time around I’m going to assume that this will turn out just as good.  I’ll keep you posted!

Has anyone ever tried roasting a Jack O’Lantern?  Or am I just plain crazy for even considering it?

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