All Hollow’s Eve went off without a hitch, but there are still remnants of the Lycra overload around every corner. It’s hard not to complain about that leftover bag of bite-size candy bars hidden in the freezer, but the excess pumpkins and gourds collected throughout the month may have seen their last days.

If the carving was left for the little ones, your own superfluous decorative pumpkins lying around the house need to recharge in anticipation of the mashed potatoes and turkey leg dwellers. We’ll be honest, we can never turn down a unique gourd when heading to the pumpkin patch with the kiddos, but the stacks sitting adjacent to the fireplace or welcoming relatives at the front door need a boost of confidence come November 22.

Scouting out our favorite DIY tips and pumpkin recipes for the fall, we came up with a list of some pumpkin prescriptions to lead you away from the holiday of horror into the one of thanks.

 

Pumpkin & Cheese Spice Bread {Insider tip: The bread is moist and delicious, and perfect for Thanksgiving morning!}

Yields 3 mini loaves (the mini loaf pans I use are 5 3/4 inches long X 3 inches wide X 2 inches deep)

For the Cheese Batter:

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Pumpkin Spice Batter:

3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

2 large eggs

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon cloves

Other:

Butter, to grease the pans

For the Cheese Batter:  Use a handheld electric mixer to beat together all ingredients until smooth and creamy.

For the Pumpkin Spice Batter:  Preheat oven to 350F; lightly grease 3 mini loaf pans with butter.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and eggs until light and fluffy, then stir in the pumpkin, canola oil, and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.  Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet, being careful not to over-mix.  Divide the pumpkin batter between the 3 loaf pans, then pour the cheese batter on top.

Bake until golden around the edges, about 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean or with just a couple crumbs.  Cool 10 minutes in the pans, then remove from the pans and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

{Pumpkin Recipe & images via An Edible Mosaic}

DIY Garlands, Wreaths or Floral Arrangements

There’s nothing more seasonal than a fresh and festive wreath hanging from your front door, or an aromatic floral arrangement siting in your entryway. Don’t trash those mini-pumpkins just yet, but save them up for a weekend DIY that involves some moss, a wire wreath frame and big burlap bow. Put it all together for an inspiring piece of décor everyone will want to give thanks to.

{Image via The Not-So Stepford Diaries}

 

Table-Toppers 

We might have said table-topping your Thanksgiving feast with leftovers was lame, but Better Homes & Gardens has put on a new spin on the traditional topper. By adding bits and pieces of your signature holiday decorations, along with color-coordinated pumpkins, you’re sure to hear the “oohs” and “aahs” of approval before dinner is even served. Tie in an accent color that shows off your finest China, and mix with colors, shapes and height to create a festive Thanksgiving centerpiece that starts and ends the conversation.

{image & idea snagged from Better Homes & Gardens}

Pumpkin Paint 

We like the idea of a glitzed and glamorous home, and this season the repurpose pumpkin trend went glam. From glitter to gold and florescent ombre hues to vegetables dripping in jewels, turn any pumpkins that remain into something that elicits fear into a classy neighborhood friend. With a few crafty techniques, this simple pumpkin DIY  easily coordinates with your table setting to create a sensational conversation starter before the first course hits.

 

Want to get some more ideas? Head on over to our Pinterest Pumpkin board, where we went a little overboard on gourds.