I love creating fun traditions with my family for holidays. I realized the other day that I have at least one tradition for every major holiday except Halloween, so I decided to do something about it. This year, we started a new fall tradition that I’m calling Pumpkin Dinner. (Super creative, I know.) Of course, the idea behind our pumpkin dinner night is to have food and drinks that have something to do with pumpkins!
While I tend to be more of a planner with most things, sometimes I have an idea that I want to execute on short notice. So I had the idea, did a few searches on Pinterest, made a list and went to the grocery store. The day of our pumpkin dinner came and of course, things didn’t quite go as planned thanks to a broken bathtub faucet that wouldn’t shut off, leading us to have the water off for half the day. But I was determined to follow through and I have to say, that I really love how everything turned out. It did take a little more time to prepare than I had hoped, but that may have had more to do with my desire to multitask than it did with the actual preparation. *wink*
For our menu, I could have chosen any number of meals, sides, desserts and drinks, but considering that the only people eating it would be me, my husband and three young kids (including a baby), I had to be selective. In the future, this would be a fun dinner to host with other family members or friends where we could have a couple of other pumpkin related items. Here is the menu for our pumpkin dinner:
- Dinner in a Pumpkin
- Orange Jello with Mandarin Oranges and Whipped Cream
- Homemade Italian Cream Sodas
- Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Dinner in a Pumpkin
I found a recipe from Favorite Family Recipes for dinner in a pumpkin that looked really yummy and (bonus!) it was actually cooked inside a real pumpkin. The recipe used ingredients that my family loves, but I’ve never combined them in quite the same way as the recipe. When you scoop the food out of the pumpkin, you can also scoop a little of the cooked pumpkin with it. I encouraged my kids to try it but they didn’t love it. I like squash so I thought it added a nice flavor. (As a note: We didn’t put in the water chestnuts because I wasn’t sure if my kids would like them, but after eating the dish, I think they would be really good and will probably add them next time.)
Orange Jello with Mandarin Oranges and Whipped Cream
My family loves jello so this one was a no brainer. I divided the jello up into four small ramekins before putting it in the fridge so everyone would have their own little serving. I topped it with a dollop of whipped cream before serving and it was good to go! Another idea I had would be to make the jello using the Jigglers recipe and then cut it out with a pumpkin cookie cutter.
Homemade Italian Cream Sodas
Having a specialty drink with dinner is a simple way to make things a little more fun. We don’t drink a lot of soda in our house, so when we do have it, it’s a special treat! I found the recipe for homemade Italian cream sodas on This Grandma Is Fun. I didn’t have time to run to the store to buy some Torani flavoring syrup but Pinterest came to the rescue when I found a recipe to make my own vanilla flavored syrup from A Few Shortcuts and made it orange using some food coloring. (Although after making it, I think my homemade snow cone syrup would have been just as good since it uses Kool-Aid for flavor instead of an extract which gives more flavor options.)
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Considering this is a pumpkin dinner, I thought I should probably make something that was actually pumpkin flavored! These pumpkin cupcakes were absolutely perfect and so easy. The recipe is so simple because you use a cake mix as the base and then mix in some canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and water. The cream cheese frosting added just the right amount of sweetness, plus I got to practice my piping skills to make them look fancy. Although another yummy option for dessert would have been my pumpkin cake or pumpkin gingersnaps recipes!
Setting the Table
To create a fun pumpkin tablescape, I used items I already had at home: a fall tablecloth, a gold circular placemat and mini pumpkins. We used our regular plates and silverware but I made sure to grab the orange plates for my kids. My daughter even caught on to the fact that I picked green forks/spoons for her and my son because of a pumpkin’s green stem and leaves. (Just because I was short on time doesn’t mean I threw all my attention to detail out the window! *wink*) The centerpiece was our dinner in a pumpkin which I put in the middle of the table so it was easier to serve everyone.
While I had already planned on sharing this pumpkin dinner tradition with you, it also worked out to share it as part of the Movie Club Monday link up I’ve been co-hosting this year with some other talented ladies. This month the theme is FALL FAVORITE and the movie I chose is It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! It’s one of those classic movies I watched growing up that is fun to share with my own kids.
Do you have a family favorite recipe that you’d serve at your own pumpkin dinner?