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8 Uses for Pumpkins You Need to Know

8 Uses for Pumpkins You Need to Know

Halloween is right around the corner, so your neighborhood is about to become blanketed in Jack o’Lanterns. But a pumpkin can be used for a lot more than this typical decoration: here are 8 more uses for pumpkins you need to know.

1. Salvage the Insides

How does pumpkin pie, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin cookies, or pumpkin butter sound? Delicious? Before you can enjoy any of those things, you need to salvage the insides of your Halloween pumpkin by whipping up some pumpkin purée. Chop your pumpkin in half, get a bowl, and scoop out the seeds and guts. Place your newly mangled pumpkin in a baking dish with the cut side down and bake it for about 90 minutes. You can freeze your pumpkin purée for several months, so you’ll have plenty of time to try out neat new recipes! If you need more detailed instruction, click here for a full guide to making your own pumpkin purée

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2. Separate the Seeds and Guts

Remember that bowl of seeds and guts you set aside? Get that bowl and separate the seeds from the guts. Rinse off the seeds and keep them in a zip-lock bag, because we’ll get to those shortly. Toss your pumpkin guts in a boiling pot of water and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Strain out the solids and preserve the resulting broth. Try to add your pumpkin broth to soups and casseroles to make them more interesting and seasonal.

3. Brew Up Some Pumpkin Ale

Do you like to brew up your own creative beers at home? Take a shot at pumpkin ale for a delicious seasonal treat. Perfect your recipe with experimentation over a few weeks before inviting over your friends for some football, when you can unveil your masterpiece.

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4. Feed the Birds

Your neighborhood birds would be happy to take some of that pumpkin seed off your hands. You could use this as an opportunity to buy or make a bird feeder to invite some beautiful new animal friends to drop by your house for a tasty snack.

5. Treat Your Skin to an Invigorating Facial Mask

Who needs to spend an arm and a leg for the spa treatment? Pumpkin pulp contains enzymes that can dissolve your dead skin cells, leaving you with smoother skin. You will also receive the benefits of a long list of nutrients that promote healthy skin including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, zinc, and more.

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6. Make Your Own Halloween Candy

Would you like to make a delicious (and healthy) Halloween treat? All you need is some pumpkin seeds and honey! You could also make some pumpkin brownies, pumpkin cookies, or pumpkin pancakes. Did your stomach just growl? Mine, too.

7. Plant Fall Flowers

Get a couple of large pumpkins, hollow them out completely, and fill them halfway with soil. You can then plant some colorful mums inside and put your festive decoration on your porch, walkway, or deck.

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8. Chill Some Beers

Find a large and round pumpkin that is shaped like a bowl. Chop off the top 1/3 and scrap out the insides. Put a glass or bowl inside the pumpkin cavity, fill it with ice and voila, you have an amazing beer cooler to show off to your friends for the rest of football season. If you’re feeling super festive, go ahead and buy a 6-pack of pumpkin ale to store in your pumpkin cooler.

Do you know of any creative uses for pumpkins that I didn’t talk about here? Please feel free to tell me all about your brilliant ideas in the comments. Also, in the spirit of Halloween, enjoy this clip from “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” 

 

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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