Monday, December 22, 2008

Chef Stephanie's December Treat!

Chef Stephanie has blessed us again with another fabulous recipe. I've just about over dosed on sweets so this sounds especially appetizing.

Oven-Fried Cajun Chicken

I don’t know about you, but this time of year I always end up with extra buttermilk in the fridge from baking various Christmas treats. Usually I am wishing I could buy a much smaller container of the stuff – how can you possibly use an entire pint!?

Well, I have a dinner recipe for you to use up the rest of that buttermilk. Turns out not only does it give a nice, tender crumb to cakes, but it also magically tenderizes chicken.

This recipe is so fast to put together, it is perfect for these harried holiday evenings when you don’t feel like you have time to make a proper dinner. And it is delicious, thanks to the crispy panko breadcrumbs (look either in the Asian section or with the other breadcrumbs) which are larger and airier than regular breadcrumbs and give a great texture. If you can’t find them, though, it is fine to substitute regular breadcrumbs. And, you could substitute any spice mix that you want for the Cajun spices, but I love the savory spiciness that they lend. You can use white meat or dark meat chicken too – but my favorite for this type of recipe is chicken legs (usually I use only legs for the recipe) – they stay extra moist and are most reminiscent to me of eating fried chicken at my grandma’s house.

Enjoy, and happy holidays!

Cajun Oven-Fried Chicken
(4 servings)

1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon salt-free Cajun seasoning (such as Spice Hunter)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 chicken breast halves (about 1 pound), skinned
2 chicken drumsticks (about 1/2 pound), skinned
2 chicken thighs (about 1/2 pound), skinned
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish. Place panko in a shallow dish. Dip chicken, one piece at a time, into buttermilk mixture; dredge in panko.

Place chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until done, turning after 20 minutes.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some music for inspiration

Instead of our usual weekly inspirational quote, thought I'd suggest you visit this site, Unable to to work - or pretty much do anything - in silence, this site particularly caught my eye.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

From our favorite Chef: Cranberry-Ginger Upside-Down Cake

How delicious does Nourish Chef Stephanie Ito's cake look. Here's what she's got to say about it.

Two years ago for my mom’s family Christmas, I made this cake – one of my favorite fall/winter cakes. It is really hard to get anyone in my family to try a dessert that is not a pie, but at the end of the day this cake was gone, as were about four assorted pies.

This cake requires a couple of bowls and a hand- (or stand-) mixer to whip the egg whites into stiff peaks. When you fold the fluffy egg whites into the rich vanilla batter, it gives the cake a bit of a lift – making it much lighter than it would be otherwise. Despite the extra dishes to do, this cake is worth it! It is perfect for the December/January holidays, especially with its dark-red cranberry-studded top.

The lovely soft cake serves as a pillow for the caramelized cranberries and ginger on top of the cake (or on the bottom while it is in the oven). The cranberries and brown sugar and ginger turn into a jammy sort of layer, still slightly tart to contrast with the sweet cake. And even better, the recipe is originally from Cooking Light magazine, so it shouldn’t contribute (at least not TOO much) to holiday weight gain.

I made this cake again last night (I make it at least once a year around this time) and served it to friends. Fortunately for me, it makes a pretty generously-sized cake, because I can’t wait to have a piece again tonight for dessert, maybe warmed up for a few seconds in the microwave. Even better!

Happy Holidays!!

Cranberry-Ginger Upside-Down Cake

Cooking spray
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat a 9-inch round cake pan over medium heat; coat pan with cooking spray. Add brown sugar and 2 tablespoons butter to pan, stirring until melted. Stir in ginger; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; arrange cranberries on top of brown sugar mixture.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine 1/4 cup butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with a mixer at medium speed until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter; pour batter over cranberries in prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes; run a knife around outside edge. Place a plate upside down on top of cake pan; invert cake onto plate.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Last day for free shipping!

Today is the last day to receive Free Shipping site-wide. Simply type in Free Shipping in the coupon section at check-out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Our December Pumpkin of the Month!

Here's Audrey, our newest pumpkin of the month! Her mom Jennifer added this note:
I love Hand Picked Pumpkin because the fabrics are so soft and durable for little ones to play their hearts out in! And the fabrics make them fashion forward too!

Congratulations on Audrey and Jennifer on receiving a $50 hpp gift certificate.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Two Easy Ways To Give

Give them the option to shop for themselves!

Available in amounts ranging from $25 to $250, the Hand Picked Pumpkin gift card makes a thoughtful gift for the little ones on your list.

Email a Hand Picked Pumpkin gift card and we will send it to your recipient right away


Choose to mail our brand new paper stock gift card at no extra charge.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Exclusively Yours, 20% off for 5 days only

We are offering our loyal subscribers 20% off all items until Friday, December 5th. Enter promo code holiday08 in the coupon section at check-out or over the phone to receive your discount.

*Offer expires December 5, 2008 and can not be combined with any other offer.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shop local & shop hand-made

One of the biggest rewards of being a small, local business has been meeting and networking with so many other business owners. Meet one of hpp newest friends Wilde Fig.

Monday, November 24, 2008

True Cuddles: Cuddly Top Five

Many thanks to True Cuddles for spreading the word about hpp to our neighbors to the North. Here are True Cuddles Top Five Hand Picked Pumpkin Favorites.

Our Cuddly Top Five.

We wanted to share why we adore this week's Cuddle,
Hand Picked Pumpkin.
Here's our top five!

Celebrity's love 'em too! Angela Bassett's twins wore Hand Picked Pumpkin Hoodies when they appeared on Oprah Winfrey's Valentine's Dayshow. Other fans include Brooke Shields, Courtney Cox Arquette, and Angie Harmon.

Easy Custom Designs! Sewn just for your little one, and perfectly designed by you. Choose your garment, size, color, and trim! Play around with the simple point and click web site and truly enjoy this unique shopping experience.

Pumpkins all-year round! You can e-mail a photo of your little one dressed in HPP and they could be the picked as the Pumpkin of the Month and you'll be entered to win a $50 HPP gift certificate!

Fabric. Fabric. Fabric! You must check out the fabric palette…Gorgeous interlock knit, woven modern prints…Comfy, cozy and cute!

Two looks in one! Hand Picked Pumpkin's best seller, the Collin Hoodie is reversible! Designing your own is double the fun!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shop hpp at our retailers: Sweet Bobby, Columbiana, Alabama

Please join us in welcoming Sweet Bobby in Columbiana, Alabama as one of our newest brick and morter retailers. In their shop, you'll find a collection of our newest tee and bloomer sets, reversible hoodies, overall pants, shirt dress and flare pant.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Only one more week left!

Last call for custom orders guaranteed for holiday delivery. Holiday custom orders need to be placed by Monday, November 24th!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Shop hpp at our retailers: Envy, Huntsville, Alabama

Please join us in welcoming Envy Boutique in Huntsville, Alabama as one of our newest brick and morter retailers. In their brand new baby section, you'll find a collection of our newest tee and bloomer sets, reversible hoodies, flare pants and lap tees.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shop for the holidays while your kiddos play

This Friday, November 14th My Corner Playroom is hosting Parent and Child appreciation day with a $5 Family Open Play. HPP sales representative Nancy Fullerton will be there as well hosting a Hand Picked Pumpkin holiday trunk show. Cross some of your holiday shopping off the list while your kids play!
**Reminder: to guarantee on-time holiday delivery, custom orders need to be placed by November 24th.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Inspirational thought

When restraint and courtesy are added to strength, the latter becomes irresistible.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Our November Pumpkin of the Month!

Here's Claire, our newest pumpkin of the month! Her mom Karmen added this note:

I've been buying HPP as baby gifts and have always loved the colors, patterns and wonderful soft fabrics. I was THRILLED when I found out that the shirt dress was going to come in large sizes. Now I can buy and design dresses for my two girls, ages 2 and 4. I love the brown dress and floral pattern collar for fall and into winter. I already have coordinating dresses for my girls this holiday season and can't wait to design more!

Congratulations Claire and Karmen on receiving a $50 gift certificate.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Many thanks to

Many thanks to for featuring the Flare Pant in their 2008 Gift Guide Gallery!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Free Shipping for Holiday Gifting

We appreciate you!

Site-wide Free Shipping on your entire order good through December 10th. Enter Free Shipping in the coupon section at check-out.

Pass the savings along! Share this email with your friends.

Don't miss our holiday deadline for custom orders. Custom orders should be placed by November 25th to guarantee on time holiday delivery!

Our Top 5 Best Sellers

1. Reversible Hoodie
2. Shirt Dress
3. Flare Pant
4. Hand Picked Bodysuits & Knot Hats
5. Gift Cards

**As seen in 2008 Gift Guide**
Shop local this holiday season. All HPP products are proudly hand-sewn in the USA.

Friday, October 31, 2008


The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. -M. Scott Peck

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I absolutely love receiving Chef Stephanie's email each month with her “the best thing I made this month” recipe and photo. The new and always fabulous dish seems to arrive at the perfect time.

Chicken and Dumplings with Leeks and Tarragon

With the weather quickly getting cooler and the end of daylight saving time right around the corner, I have already started craving heartier dinners – stews and soups, root vegetables, and squashes. One of my absolute favorite fall/winter dishes I just discovered last winter: Chicken and dumplings.

I know there isn’t a lot to “get” about Chicken and Dumplings, but I kind of didn’t get it. I have a vague memory from my childhood of my favorite babysitter in the whole world canning chicken and dumplings and the dumplings were super mushy. Gross. And this was not a dish that was served in my house, so the canned dumplings were all I knew. But then I came across this recipe and it looked so good, and it featured my favorite herb, tarragon. So I thought maybe it was time to give it another try. And was my bravery rewarded!

To me, this is more of a weekend meal, because it is slightly time consuming. That said, I did make it on a weeknight the other day when I had just a little extra time, and I think it took about an hour from start to finish. But, let me tell you, the results are totally worth it. Plus, half of the time to make it is hands-off while it simmers, and it is really a one-dish meal. All you have to do is steam up some broccoli or green beans and you have a complete balanced meal.

The stew is meaty and smooth and savory, and the dumplings are light and not mushy at all. They even retain their light texture as leftovers. So, I hope that you will try my winter favorite, and that you enjoy it as much as my husband and I do!

Chicken and Dumplings with Leeks and Tarragon

Serves 6 to 8 (I usually make half and it is good for the two of us with leftovers)

For the stew:
5 pounds bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 medium leeks
1 large onion, minced
6 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup dry sherry (or any kind of wine...)
4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon leaves

For the dumplings:
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. For the stew: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and the remaining chicken. Remove the remaining chicken from the pot.

2. Add the leeks, onions, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pot and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the flour. Whisk in sherry, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, milk, thyme, and bay leaves. Nestle the chicken, with any accumulated juices, into the pot. Cover and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, about 30 minutes.

3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Discard the bay leaves. Shred the chicken, discarding the bones, then return it to the stew.

4. For the dumplings: Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Microwave the milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl on high just until warm (do not over-heat), about 1 minute. Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until incorporated and smooth.

5. Return the stew to a simmer, stir in the peas and tarragon, and season with salt and pepper. Following the steps below, drop golf-ball sized dumplings over the top of the stew, about 1/4 inch apart (you should have about 18 dumplings). Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the dumplings have doubled in size, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve.

To make the dumplings:
1. Gather a golf-ball sized portion of the dumpling batter onto a soup spoon, then push the dumpling onto the stew using a second spoon.
2. Cover the stew with the dumplings, leaving about 1/4 inch between each.
3. When fully cooked, the dumplings will have doubled in size.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Shop hpp at our retailers: Citrine, West Tisbury, MA

Please join us in welcoming Citrine in West Tisbury as one of our newest brick and morter retailers. At their shop you'll find a collection of crew tees, flare pants, hoodies and shirt dresses.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Peekaboo Picks: Fabulous Finds with Celebrity Style!

Many thank to Peekaboo Picks for featuring Hand Picked Pumpkin in this week's issue: Fabulous Finds with Celebrity Style.

Hand Picked Pumpkin. A Peekaboo favorite, custom clothing you can mix and match for your little pumpkin. Celebrity fans include Angela Bassett, Brooke Shields, Courtney Cox Arquette, and Angie Harmon. Visit to purchase.

Click here to read the entire line-up of manufacture's including some of our personal favorites Skip Hop, Mama Mio, Bugaboo, Appaman and more!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Inspirational thought

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitute is happiness doubled by wonder. - G.K. Chesterton

Monday, October 20, 2008

New Gift Cards Now Available!

New card stock gift cards available just in time for the holidays!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Inspirational Thought

Everyone stumbles over the truth from time to time, but most people
pick themselves up and hurry off as though nothing ever happened. -
Sir Winston Churchill

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How fun is this?!: The Best Party in Chicago for kids

Be sure to visit one of our favorite kid friendly spots, My Corner Playroom, Friday, October 24th for good old fashion holiday fun including Halloween treats, face painting, music, spooky stories, crafts and more.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pregnancy presents Gear & Style: Baby Fashion

Many thanks to Pregancy Magazine for featuring the Hand Picked Pumpkin Pierson Long Sleeve Lap Tee and William Drawstring Pant in their Fall 2008 issue of Gear & Style.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Many thanks to Babble for this lovely review posted this morning

I had so much fun designing my daughter's tee-shirt that I have vowed to give the experience of Hand Picked Pumpkin as a baby gift. Customize a t-shirt, bodysuit, hoodie, pants, dress, playsuit, or romper by choosing from a wide selection of contemporary fabrics. Select the color for the garment (pink, blue, white, brown, or kiwi) and then choose fabric for the trim.
The fun part is choosing the fabrics, of course, and there are so many cool ones to choose from. You can use different patterns for the trim on the neck, cuffs, and back of neck. You can even choose the color for the snaps on the cuffs. Every garment is locally hand sewn and the quality is outstanding. Clothing is made from the softest interlock knit and, of course, it's machine washable.
Look forward to seeing your unique creation in three short weeks. Sizes for 3-24 months. Their popular shirt dress now comes in toddler sizes, too.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Inspirational Thought

There are many wonderful things that will never be done if you do not do them. - Charles D. Gill

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Spring/Summer 2009 Collection

Visit us at AmericasMart October 11-14th to view our Spring/Summer 2009 Limited Edition Ready-Made Collection.
Hand Picked Pumpkin
Mama Mia Showroom
250 Spring Street Building 3 -13E109A
Atlanta, GA 30303

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lots of baking to be done

We made our way to Jonamac Farms in DeKalb, Illinois this weekend for our fall family tradition of apple picking (just like their tagline LOL!). Because we always pick more apples than we can eat, we also make it a tradition to try new recipes that involve apples in the weeks that follow. Here's one we plan to make this evening for Dutch Apple Cake from

Friday, October 3, 2008

Inspirational Thought

I found this interesting quote on my Starbucks coffee cup this week.
"Mother-love is not inevitable. The good mother is a great artist, ever creating beauty out of chaos." - Alice Randall

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Featured Guest Chef: Stephanie Ito

A serious believer in at least one treat a day (I'm eating chocolate covered raisins as I type this post!), I am very excited to try Chef Stephanie Ito's, The Very Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookies. Here's what she has to share:

I really do try to exert some control over my sweet tooth. I have learned that a cut-up banana on my morning bowl of (whole grain) cereal means that I don’t have to pour sugar on my cornflakes or eat Apple Jacks. I know a lot of sugar isn’t good for me. But, it is the rare evening that I don’t indulge in dessert. Usually it’s a scoop or two of ice cream or an ice cream bar. You have to have a little treat every day in order not to feel deprived.

This week I HAD to have chocolate chip cookies. There is a recipe I discovered earlier this year that I have made way too many times for my own good since then. These are seriously the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had.

Since I didn’t want to eat all 24 of them, I took most of them to book club this week to foist on my friends. One of my friends from culinary school is in the book club, and when she e-mailed me after our meeting to tell me that the cookies were “a religious experience” I knew what the best thing I had made this month was.

Before I give you the recipe, I want to tell you the four things that I consider to be the secret to this recipe:
1. The pecans (or walnuts if you prefer) MUST be toasted and chopped up nice and fine. I put them on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven when I turn it on to preheat. They’re generally nice and toasty by the time I am ready to stir them into the batter.
2. This is a dough you don’t want to work too much. Don’t beat the butter and sugars “until light and fluffy” – just stir them together until they are combined. This goes for when you add the flour too – just beat the dough until it comes together, no more.
3. BUTTER – never shortening, never margarine.
4. Don’t over bake the cookies. The edges should be just starting to brown and the middle should still be a little soft.

So, here you go. Enjoy! (And don’t eat them all in one day – you will be tempted.)

The Very Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookies

½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick/115 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups (200 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup (130 grams) pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped

Adjust the oven rack to the top third of the oven and preheat to 300˚F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat the sugars and butter together until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda.

Stir together the flour and salt, then mix them into the batter. Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon balls and place 8 balls, spaced 4 inches apart on each of the baking sheets.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October Pumpkin of the Month!

Here's Augie, our newest pumpkin of the month! His mom Kacy added this note:

I absolutely LOVE Augie's western overalls and shirt. I find having two boys, it is hard to find clothes that don't make them look like they are 10 when they are only 10 months and 3 1/2. Augie actually looks like a baby and adorable! The fabrics are so soft and wash nicely. I am also a big western print fan
and I love the fabric choices. Thanks for making such a great product!!

Congratulations Augie and Kacy on receiving a $50 hpp gift certificate!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Connections: TJ-Designs

It's been awhile since we featured a Connection! Today's featured Connection is Tiffany Kuelthau and TJ-Designs. I met Tiffany almost one year ago and am so happy to see her take her idea to market! Here's what Tiffany has to share about her new business.

Describe your product/service?
TJ Designs is a boutique specializing in custom-made accessories for children. Currently we are focused in the hair accessories area, but will soon be expanding our product lines to include items for boys and babies. Our niche is to provide our customers with all the trendy and traditional colors, patterns and styles, and allow them to “build” the accessory they desire, as opposed to having only ready-made options available to them.

Why did you create it?
I created this company for a few reasons. First, I was always looking for something a little different and unique for my daughter, from the standard bows and headbands I was seeing in the marketplace. So, I simply started making all kinds of hair accessories for her on my own, and that ultimately led to opening my own boutique! The second reason I started this business, was my drive to do something entrepreneurial, while still being a stay-at-home mom. One of my dreams is to build a business from home that is fulfilling to me personally, and that will always allow me the option to stay at home with my two children, Taylor & Jack.

Why do you produce locally? (made in the USA)
Right now, I’m a small shop. Yes, it’s just me! I love to take the time to make something beautiful by hand. Quality is extremely important to me, and I make every accessory as if I were making it for my own daughter to wear.

What are you most proud of?

Of course, I’ll always be most proud of my family, and the life we have together. Outside of that, I’m most proud of actually taking a leap of faith and giving this a true shot. As my family and many friends will tell you, I’m always full of entrepreneurial ideas, yet nothing materializes! So, after a long process of debating whether or not to open a boutique or just keep this as a hobby for my daughter and some of her friends, I thought it seemed like the right time for me to try something, so I did it! It was a lot more work than I ever imagined, so I’m equally proud of the dedication it took to get this done, all the while being a full-time mom to a three year old and two year old!

What is your big thought (next bit step) for your company?
There are two things that I would consider “next big steps”. The first is aligning myself with some boutiques, allowing me the opportunity to introduce not only my hair accessories to a wider audience, but my new product lines as well. I can see partnering with different boutiques to create coordinating accessories to come out with new seasonal lines. The second “big step” is that I would like to expand my product lines, and introduce some boys accessories to start with (can’t forget about my little Jack, and all the other boys out there…) When your two year old son requests a headband every time your daughter wears one, you know you better get cracking!

Monday, September 29, 2008

New wovens now available!

Outline stripe chocolate and fandango stripe cocoa have been retired and replaced with two new fun prints, tie and jump rope. Be one of the first to design-it-yourself with one (or both) of them!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Inspirational Thought

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. - Robert Collier

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blog Talk Radio

I had a great time chatting with Laura and Amy of Mums The Wurd last Sunday evening. If you click on their Blog Talk Radio Page you can hear us chat about Halloween, costumes, allergies and all things moms talk about.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Shop hpp at our retailers: The Good Life, Burmingham, Alabama

Please join us in welcoming The Good Life in Burmingham, Alabama as one of our newest brick and morter retailers. At their shop you'll find a collection of lap tees, drawstring pants, flare pants, hoodies, and playsuits.

Friday, September 12, 2008


We are at the center of a circle whose circumfrance is determined by our own self-imposed limitations. -Gandhi

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Shop hpp at our retailers: The Dreamwear Shoppe, Gevena, Illinois

Please join us in welcoming The Dreamwear Shoppe in Geneva, IL as one of our newest brick and morter retailers. At their shop you'll find a collection of lap tees, crew tees, drawstring pants, flare pants, hoodies, shirt dresses, and our pocket tee and bloomers gift sets.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Shirt Dress now available on-line in 2T, 3T and 4T

Hand Picked Pumpkin is turning 2-years-old this month! So what a perfect time to announce the arrival of our toddler sizes! Due to so many requests for bigger sizes we are now offering our very popular shirt dress in 2T, 3T and 4T. Be one of the first to design-it-yourself!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

September Pumpkin of the Month

Here's Max our newest Pumpkin of the Month! His mom Emily added this note:

"In his "ride 'em cowboy" overalls from HPP, Max is the wildest buckaroo this side of the Mississippi. And, as a mama equally allergic to sports-themed and heavy equipment-themed baby boy clothes, I'm especially appreciative of the fabulous, gender-neutral fabrics and styles HPP brings to the table."

Congratulations Emily and Max on receiving a $50 HPP gift certificate!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Inspirational thought

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. – Rumi

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Featured Guest Chef: Stephanie Ito

Featured Guest Chef: Stephanie Ito has gifted us with another wonderful treat, Height-of-Summer Gazpacho. Here's what she has to share:

With just a little bit of summer remaining and heirloom tomatoes still flooding the farmer’s markets, at least in my neck of the woods here in Chicago, I am excited to share my best discovery of the month with you. I am calling it Height-of-Summer Gazpacho, because I discovered it at the height of summer. Like last month, I have already made this dish three times in the last few weeks, and am planning on having it for lunch again today. It has quickly become my favorite lunch – a big bowl of flavorful gazpacho with a piece of whole grain toast slathered with cream cheese. I can hardly wait the three hours until lunchtime.
My husband doesn’t eat cucumbers, so I have never really found a gazpacho recipe that we can both get behind. This one uses zucchini in place of the cucumber, so it has a less pronounced flavor and really lets the tomato and avocado shine through. There is a hearty amount of red wine vinegar in this dish too – it might sound like a lot, but it adds a tremendous amount to the flavor – with its tartness it brings out the sweetness and flavor of the heirloom tomatoes I have been getting at the Evanston Farmer’s Market.
The original recipe that I adapted this from called for a bunch more ingredients – olive oil, feta cheese, basil, pine nuts, cumin seeds – but with produce at the peak of its season I don’t think you need all those other things. If you are feeling inspired, feel free to garnish the gazpacho with cheese, nuts, herbs, etc. as you desire. But, rest assured, it will be delicious in its unadorned state.
Bon appétit!

Height-of-Summer Gazpacho
Makes 4-6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes

3 large heirloom tomatoes
1 yellow pepper
1 large zucchini
1 ripe avocado
1 large shallot
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Lots of freshly ground pepper

Coarsely chop all the vegetables and puree them all together in a food processor, or in batches in a blender. Stir in the vinegar, salt and pepper. Chill four hours or until cold. Couldn’t be easier!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Apparel Feature in Baby & Children's Product News

Many thanks to Baby & Children's Product News for our Apparel Feature, Hand Picked Pumpkin offers retro fabrics.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Shop hpp at our retailers: Jillian Maddie, Farmington, NM

Please join us in welcoming Jillian Maddie in Farmington, NM as one of our newest brick and morter retailers. At their shop you'll find a collection of lap tees, crew tees, drawstring pants, flare pants, hoodies, shirt dresses, crew bodysuits, hats, yoga pants, pocket tee and bloomers, blankets and burps.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Inspirational thought

I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. - Stephen Leacock

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shop hpp at our retailers: Choices, Sudbury, MA

Please join us in welcoming Choices in Sudbury, MA as one of our newest brick and morter retailers. At their shop you'll find a collection of our pocket tee and bloomer sets, crew playsuits and hoodies.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Shop hpp at our retailers: Winkie's, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

Please join us in welcoming Winkie's in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin as one of our newest brick and morter retailers. At their shop you'll find a collection of our long sleeve pocket tees, long sleeve crew bodysuits, hoodies, blankets and burp cloths.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Between The Shows By Tina Barry

Many thanks to Tina Barry for featuring Hand Picked Pumpkin in her new article, Between the Shows.


Homebase: Oak Park, Illinois

DESIGNER: Allison Case

Sizes: 3 months to 4T

Allison Case launched Hand Picked Pumpkin, a wholesale and retail collection in 2006, to offer discerning buyers "stylish, comfy clothing proudly manufactured in the USA." Each item is crafted from durable cotton interlock for ease of movement. They're simple, comfortable and modern.

Hot pick: To her girls' collection for Fall 2008, Case is adding the Audrey Shirt Dress (up to 4T). "This great bridge dress is made of 100 percent cotton interlock knit and is trimmed with woven accents at the collar and chest. It's terrific worn alone or paired with flared pant," she says.

Tel: 708-524-1812

Monday, August 25, 2008

Many thanks to Hot Moms Club: Beautiful Clothing!

Many thanks to Natalie Klein of Hot Moms Club for this review of Hand Picked Pumpkin.

How often do you get to design your children’s clothing? Here’s a company that lets you do just that! Well, sort of. Hand Picked Pumpkin lets you choose the colors and designs from a variety of different outfits, hats, blankets, shorts, skirts, hoodies...You’ll feel as if you’re designing the clothing yourself. They’ve got a great online tool at Hand Picked Pumpkin that lets you point and click your choices and see what your clothes will look like. The knit fabrics are comfy and with my son now crawling, he needs the roomy fit and comfort of these clothes to get around.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Many thanks to LilSugar

Many thanks to LilSugar for this review posted last week:

Undoubtedly a staple in every person's wardrobe, hoodies say a lot about those who wear them. Now you can customize one to fit your child's fashion needs at Handpicked Pumpkin. The reversible sweatshirts ($64), available for tots sized 3-24 months, allow mamas to choose the inside and outside knits as well as interlock woven accent fabrics. From retro designs like Farm Kids and Rodeo Music Blue to mod swatches of Jim Dandy Orange and Floral Fusion, the finished garments have the "wow" factor and are machine-washable.

Monday, August 11, 2008

August Pumpkin of the Month!

Here's Brynn our August Pumpkin of the Month!

Her mom Nancy added this note:
Brynn is excited that she can wear hpp like her little sister now that the shirt dress is offered in bigger sizes. I love that this dress can be dressy or casual while still being comfy. I plan to design coordinating dresses for both my daughters for the holidays."

Congratulations Brynn and Nancy on receiving a $50 hpp gift certificate!

Friday, August 8, 2008


The only limits are, as always, those of vision. - James Broughton

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Playgroup Breakfast Pizza

Passed along by our Chicago Sales Representative, Nancy Fullerton, this Playgroup Breakfast Pizza recipe is sure to be a hit at your next get together!

1 lb pork sausage or ground beef
1 pkg(8) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 1/2 cup frozen or thawed loose packed hash brown
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
(Many times I use two cups(one bag) of Italian mixed
shredded cheese instead of the Cheddar and Swiss))
5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese(optional)
fresh vegetables(optional)

In a skillet, cook sausage till browned, drain off
excess fat. Separate crescent rolls into eight
triangles. Place in a ungreased 12" pizza pan with
points toward the center. Press over bottom and up to
form a crust, seal perforations. Spoon sausage over
crust. Sprinkle with potatoes. Top with Cheddar and
Swiss cheese.

In a bowl beat together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper.
Pour over crust. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and/or
vegetables(bell pepper, brocolli) of choice.

Bake in 375 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

One Goodie Feature Today!

One goodie a day and one great price, that's's speciality. Today you'll find our Collin Reversible Hoodie and brand NEW Audrey Reversible Hoodie on sale for $42.95.

We thought we'd match this very special offer today. Email after you order your Reversible Hoodie at and we'll send you a special code for 20% off coordinating bottoms, William Drawstring Pant and Audrey Flare Pant.

William Drawstring Pant

Audrey Flare Pant

Friday, August 1, 2008

Inspirational thought

Our belief in one another is what unites us and encourages us to be our best. - Sarah McLachlan

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Nourish Personal Chef + Catering Feature: Black Bean and Mushroom Bowls

I basically ran out the door to pick up ingredients for this fabulous dish from our feature chef, Stephanie Ito of Nourish Personal Chef + Catering the moment I opened her email. Here's what Stephanie has to share about her favorite dish from the month of July, Black Bean and Mushroom Bowls:

This month I surprised myself by the recipe that I chose as “the best thing I made this month”. I made it at the beginning of the month, and then again less than three weeks later. That NEVER happens in my house. I am always trying new recipes, and I like a lot of variety and not to eat the same thing all the time. But, this recipe is so delicious and satisfying and healthy that I wanted to have it again. The first time I cooked it for myself and my husband for dinner, I ate it that night and then the next FOUR days for lunch. And I am not a fan of leftovers - this was definitely an exception to that rule.

I might not have made this recipe at all, not being a big fan of black beans. But, I made this in burrito form (the original recipe that I adapted to get to the bowls) for one of my clients. One of the cardinal rules of being a chef is that you have to taste everything – to make sure the seasoning is right and everything tastes good. I was surprised when I LOVED the filling. Since there are also a lot of mushrooms in the dish, the texture of the beans (which is what I object to) was not overpowering.

This is an easy meatless meal that is a snap to put together. It takes one skillet and a rice cooker or saucepan. On its own it is even vegan (if you don’t add cheese and sour cream like I like to). Using purchased salsa as one of the ingredients adds a lot of flavor with a minimum of fuss, so it is perfect for a weeknight meal. (I like the Frontera Grill and Salpica salsas for this dish if you can find them in your grocery store.) When I made this dish this week for dinner, it took about 20 minutes start to finish. This recipe can also be adapted in lots of ways. For example, when I made it this week I didn’t have any red peppers on hand, so I used chopped baby carrots instead. Use your favorite vegetables, and enjoy this easy weeknight dinner! I think I’ll have the last of our leftovers for dinner tonight too.

Mushroom and Black Bean Bowls
Adapted from Bon Appétit, January 2003
Makes 4 generous servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
2 red bell peppers, cut into strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
10 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
10 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
¾ cup purchased tomatillo salsa
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 cups cooked white or brown rice

Additional ingredients for garnishing (optional):
Reduced-fat Mexican Cheese Blend
Reduced-fat sour cream
Chopped Avocado
Chopped Tomato


Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add next 3 ingredients; sauté until onions are soft, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté 5 minutes. Stir in chili powder. Sauté until juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Add beans and salsa, sauté 3 minutes. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

In each bowl, mound about ¾ cup rice and top with the mushroom mixture. Garnish as desired with cheese, sour cream, avocado and tomato. Enjoy your burrito-in-a-bowl!

Nourish Personal Chef + Catering provides customized meal services in the Chicago area, offering the convenience of ready-to-eat meals with the taste and nutrition of home-cooked food. We can save you hours each week that you would normally spend preparing meals and going out to eat! We use only the best and freshest ingredients to ensure that your meals are not only delicious, but also well balanced and healthy.

Our services are designed for busy people in all walks of life: professionals with no time to cook, families with children and hectic schedules, older adults who have special dietary requirements, athletes with specific nutritional needs, new parents, and those who just don't enjoy cooking but do enjoy good food! All meals are made just for you - based on your likes and dislikes - and special requests are always welcome.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Connections: Playful Chef

Today's featured Connection is Lisa Ligon and Playful Chef. I met Lisa last week at the Chicago Gift Show...and immediately fell in love with her cooking kits for kids. Here is what Lisa has to share about her very successful business.

Describe your product/service?
Playful Chef Cooking Kits for Kids. Our kits come in a snazzy backpack and include 11kid sized tools, a tool belt apron, and six laminated recipe cards.

Why did you create it?
To help kids learn healthy eating habits through the fun of hands-on cooking projects.

Why do you produce locally (made in the USA?
Unfortunately, we have to go overseas to get a product that was reasonably priced. Playful Chef is both toy and FDA tested to ensure we provide a safe experience for parents and their kids.

What are you most proud of?
I've gotten so much positive feedback that kids LOVE their Playful Chef kits, and that it incredibly rewarding.

What is your big thought (next bit step) for your company?
In 2009, we will be launching the Playful Chef Cultural Series, featuring food traditions and recipes from around the world. Our first sets will be The French Baker & The Mexican Fiesta.

Thanks for sharing Lisa!

Friday, July 25, 2008


The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor. - Vince Lombardi

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Summer Sidewalk Sale!

In celebration of our wonderful summer weather, we're having our first SUMMER SIDEWALK SALE!
Good thru Sunday, July 26th at 6pm, Hand Picked Pumpkin is offering 25% off all orders. To redeem this very special offer, enter SIDEWALK in the coupon section at check-out.
Happy shopping.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Connections: Resa Design

Today's featured connection is Resa Troyer of Resa Design. Resa called me last year to talk about my experience at a celebrity swag event. Since then we've exchanged emails about all aspects of running a small business. As a small business owner I am so grateful to have so many new friends like Resa to exchange ideas with. As you'll see from her site, we've got very similiar taste in fabric too!
Here's what Resa has to share with us about Resa Design.

Describe your product/service?
Resa Design offers baby accessories and clothing made for YOUR BABY in YOUR STYLE. No ducks for sheep allowed! Only super modern and stylish prints on everything from bibs to "un-cheesy" Sibling Tees. Hand made by mom’s in the USA.

Why did you create it?
When my son was born in 2004, the baby market was a sad sad place to shop. I couldn’t find accessories that fit my style and were affordable. I was looking for a compact changing pad that would fit in my very un-diaper bag (aka purse). I couldn’t find one, so I made my own. I’ve always kind of ran that way. Can’t find it, make it. Most of our products have developed this way. Resa Design became a ‘real’ company in 2005 after I gave away so many changing pads and a blanket I made at the time, people were asking to buy them. The rest is water under the bridge.

Why do you produce locally (made in the USA)
I’m a control freak. Seriously, the thought of even having our products sewn in someone else’s house keeps me up at night. Ok, well I don’t really loose sleep, but I do think about it a lot. I am proud to employ other moms, grandmas, and right now some college students. We want to continue doing this as much as we can. At some point, we might need to look into larger manufacturing options, but this wouldn’t work for all our products. If you own a Resa Design product purchased between 2005-2007, it’s most likely that I made with my own hands. I kind of think that’s part of the fun of it all. Besides, the business side of Resa Design, makes my head spin.

What are you most proud of?
Besides my wonderful husband and two creative boys, I’m proud that I stepped out and started this company. I remember the days of it’s inception. Late nights brainstorming with my husband. At one point he said, “Just do it. Take the chance. If it fails, we haven’t lost that much money really.” It was a chance I’m glad we took. I can’t count how many mom’s have told me how they wish they could step out and follow a dream they have too. I hope that I’m a role model to other parents, and young women, to follow your gifts and see what they have for you.

What is your big thought (next bit step) for your company?
If I told you I’d have to..... Just kidding. Right now we are trying to figure out how to grow without loosing control (told you I’m a control freak). We are working on a redesign of our web site, hiring local mom’s to support us, and we do have some new products in the works. Be on the look out for a blanket that’s worth keeping, more custom items, and great new fabrics.

Thanks for sharing Resa!