Pumpkin Week at the coast is HERE! For the next 7 days, we are blending the charm of the coast with the cozy delights of fall. Join us as we begin a journey filled with pumpkin recipes and autumn fun. This is a taste of coastal fall that you won’t want to miss!
The coast has a unique way of celebrating the season and we hope to share the magic with you. Get ready for a daily dose of inspiration, unique fall activities, coastal beauty and plenty of pumpkin love. So grab your beach chair, soak in the autumn sun and let’s make this pumpkin week by the coast a fun celebration of fall flavors – pumpkin style!
“The beach is not always the place for sun and sand;
it’s a canvas for all seasons.”
Charmaine J. Forde
Pumpkins in the Sand
In the fall, many coastal areas host sand-castle competitions which attract both amateur and skilled artists. These events, especially in October, often feature pumpkin and autumn-themed sand sculptures as the main attraction. The creative sculptures draw crowds of visitors as they admire the imaginative designs. One of the largest competitions this month is in South Padre Island, Texas. The Sandcastle Days brought in artists from around the world, and the results were incredible!
I’ve always thought that the sand used during a competition comes from the local beach – and that is certainly true in a few places in Florida (Fort Myers, Siesta Key, Navarre Beach) and in TX (South Padre Island, Port Aransas). However, in most cases, organizers actually bring in sand from quarries and spread it on the beach. This is primarily to provide enough material for creating bigger and more detailed sculptures. The competitors may only use the sand provided and usually have to submit their design for approval ahead of time. Since sun and wind are the biggest enemies of sand sculptures, there is a secret ingredient which makes all the difference – Glue! Most artists will use a mixture of glue and water to spray down the finished product, forming a protective outer layer.
Some creative individuals prefer to make sand pumpkins for indoor decorations. In fact, these sand pumpkins are crafted with Mod-Podge to keep the sand in place, creating beautiful decor pieces. If you enjoy DIY, these may be a fun project and a unique addition to your fall decorations! (Click on the photos to be directed to the instructions if you would like to duplicate these creative pumpkins).
Pumpkins in the Kitchen
From the sandy beach right into the kitchen, we have a wonderful pumpkin treat for the fall season. Our family’s favorite is this Spiced Pumpkin Bread, which we have made every October for years. We bake it in large batches to last the whole season. I just finished making 24 loaves of this recipe and we enjoy the different variations. One son loves it with chocolate chips, a great combo. The other son and my husband prefer both chocolate and nuts. My mother and mother-in-law like it plain, so I make all three!
Spiced Pumpkin Bread
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks)
- 4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cans pure pumpkin (15oz each)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- Pumpkin seeds for garnishing top
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Generously butter and flour four 8×4-inch loaf pans.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. Whisk and set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter on medium speed until blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the pumpkin. Mixture will appear to be grainy, which is correct. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Add nuts and/or chocolate chips (optional). Top with pumpkin seeds if desired.
Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake for 60-70 or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. ** Makes 4 loaves. This recipe can be halved for smaller amounts.
Did You Know?
Pumpkins are 90% water, which makes them a low-calorie food. One cup of canned pumpkin has less than 100 calories and only half a gram of fat. Pumpkin has more fiber than kale, more potassium than bananas and pumpkins are full of heart-healthy magnesium and iron. We should certainly eat more pumpkin!
As we ‘wrap-up” Day 1 of Pumpkin Week, we invite you to stay tuned for the exciting activities we will be sharing tomorrow. We also have additional pumpkin recipes to add a taste of autumn to your meals, and we’d love it if you shared them with your friends too.