Friday, October 14, 2011

Ways to Use Extra Canned Pumpkin! (Plus a Marathon Recap!)

Hi friends and happy Friday! In lieu of a Friday Favorites, I thought I'd switch it up a bit and write about an issue that is dear to my heart. I care very much about this problem that many people have, and I hope you do too. What problem is that, might you wonder? Well, it's the issue that occurs for me every fall. It's the leftover canned pumpkin problem! I love baking with pumpkin, but it's almost inevitable that a recipe never calls for quite enough pumpkin to use up a full 15 oz. can, and it certainly won't call for enough pumpkin to use one of those huge 32 oz. cans! And this brings me to the aforementioned problem of figuring out what to do with the leftover pumpkin... Below are a few things that I do with that extra pumpkin that I have after almost every time I bake with it! (Oh, and read on all the way to the end if you're interested in my marathon recap!)

By the way, you can refrigerate leftover pumpkin for probably up to a week. I'd recommend using it before too much time passes. I've read that you can freeze canned pumpkin too, and I did try that last year, but it ended up being very watery for some reason when I thawed it, so I haven't tried that again. Instead, I just make a point to use up the leftovers as soon as I can! :)

1) Make pumpkin yogurt!

If you have plain or vanilla yogurt, why not jazz it up a bit to make pumpkin yogurt? Simply add the amount of canned pumpkin you like to your yogurt and stir! For a 6 oz. yogurt container, I probably add about 1 or 2 tablespoons full. Add a dash of cinnamon too, and you're good to go! You've got an already healthy snack turned extra healthy with all the nutrients from the pumpkin.

2) Make pumpkin oatmeal!

Last fall I posted about making homemade pumpkin oatmeal. This is another great way to use up some leftover pumpkin!

3) Make a pumpkin-flavored smoothie!

To use some extra pumpkin last week, I whipped up my own version of a "pumpkin pie" type smoothie. I added one frozen banana, about 1/2 cup of milk, 1/4 to 1/3 cup of pumpkin, a couple teaspoons of maple syrup, and a few very generous sprinkles of cinnamon and nutmeg. Deeelish! So refreshing and healthy.

4) Make a pumpkin spice latte at home!

I did this a couple weeks ago, and it was tasty! I didn't love the recipe I used, but I did like it. If I try it again, I may tweak it a bit.

(photo source)

I haven't done this yet, but it's on my list of ideas for using up that pumpkin. So easy!

Now, onto a quick recap of my first marathon!

I ran the Mohawk Hudson Marathon this past Sunday, October 9th. It was unseasonably warm for October (temps reached over 80!) but in the end, the heat wasn't too terrible although I did feel it during the race. All in all, it went fairly well. I finished in under four hours (3 hours, 51 minutes, and 17 seconds to be exact - works out to be an 8:50 mile pace), and people tell me that under four hours is great. I secretly hoped to run a little faster (my training runs had been around an 8:30 pace), but hey, what can you do? I didn't feel like I was having the best of running days in general (and that sometimes happens, right runners?), and I am also pretty sure that I started out too fast which led me to slow down quite a bit in the second half. So clearly I have to better learn about that whole pacing yourself thing. ;) Haha. I was just so excited in the beginning and couldn't help but go faster! It was a very well organized race, and the scenery along the way was great too (a good "distraction" while running!). Much of the race takes place on a bike path that follows along portions of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers. The trees were gorgeous fall colors with a lot of bright oranges, reds, and yellows.

And the other thing that helped make things more bearable was my wonderful family and friends! My mom, dad, aunt, sister, brother, future in-laws, fiance, and four friends all came to cheer me on along the way. That helped immensely! I saw some of them roughly every 4 or 5 miles, and it was a huge boost every time I saw them. They made awesome signs for me and handed me my beloved sport beans to keep me energized. Everyone provided amazing support, and I am so thankful for it!

A few pics...

(photo source)

This was early on when I still looked normal and was "hanging with the guys" (in this picture at least!) at a faster pace (that sadly, I could not keep up).

This is my wonderful fiance, Mike, who ran with me for the last 5 miles! He was not planning to do that, but when I had seen my family at the 14-mile mark, I had spoken the words "it's not going well" to my sister and Mike. So Mike figured I could use a little support to get through the last 5 miles, and he was right! When I turned the corner at mile 21 to go on for the last 5 miles along the bike path, Mike was there to join me. He ran with me despite the fact that he didn't plan to and therefore didn't have appropriate running clothes or footwear! If that's not a sign of true love, I don't know what is. ♥

Phew. I'm tired in this pic. That's my awesome sister next to me! :) She, unfortunately, couldn't run the marathon like she was planning to due to a leg stress injury. Here's to wishing her a speedy, smooth recovery! She was wonderfully supportive during my training and on race day. Thanks, sista!

My finisher's medal!

Will I run another marathon? I'm not sure. Within 5 minutes after the race, I'm pretty sure that I told everyone I'd never do another. Now that it's 5 days later, I'm not quite as sold on not doing another... But, for the time being, I do think I'll focus on my preferred distance, which is the half marathon. I've done two so far, and they were much more enjoyable for me. But don't get me wrong; the entire experience of training and completing a marathon was quite rewarding, and I am glad to have done it! 

Tell me, have you ever run a half or full marathon? What are your thoughts on these distances?

And also tell me, what do you do with your leftover pumpkin?! Curious minds like mine wonder what other great ideas are out there for using this delicious ingredient!!


  1. You're very welcome, sista! I was so glad I could be there. And I expect you to do the same when I run mine someday. ;-) And blog readers, Colleen didn't mention working through an ankle sprain early in her training and humongous toe blisters during the race!!

  2. I have seen quite a few pumpkin recipes and the ones you mention sound great too. I still haven't seen canned pumpkins here unfortunately - would love to try some of those baked good.