Pumpkin Seed Season

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Happy almost Halloween!

It’s time to get costumes ready, carve pumpkins, buy miniature versions of candy bars and brush up on the Thriller dance choreography – I learned it for the first time this year thanks to my zumba class.

Another great thing about Halloween is pumpkin seeds that come from the guts of all pumpkin carving creations. Seasoning and roasting these little guys is a non-sugary treat that can be an annual tradition. In years past I’ve just oiled and salted them and been good to go, but this year we decided to split the batch in half and do the traditional salt on one half and something a little more adventurous with the other.

I, of course, liked the spicy version, so this recipe is for that. You can use any combination of spices you like, get creative! I’ve even seen a recipe out there for maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice…

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
2 cups pumpkin seeds, rinsed
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp onion salt
1 tsp ground chipotle pepper
1/2 tsp cayanne pepper
A pinch of fresh cracked black pepper

Gut your pumpkin! We kept the mess contained in a large rubbery storage bucket.

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Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Separate out the seeds from the goopy orange stuff and rise them in a colander.

Transfer them to a large bowl and add the oil, tossing to coat, then add the spices tossing again to make sure there aren’t any big clumps of spiciness.

Spread out the seeds on two covered sheetpans.

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Bake 25-30 minutes until toasty and slightly brown.

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Allow the seeds to cool completely before storing them in an air tight container or eating all of them in one sitting.

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Halloween might be the kitties’ favorite holiday so far…

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Anytime Carrot Cake

This week I had less time to make treats. I really didn’t think I’d be so busy, my calendar didn’t say I was going to be. But activities and events just slowly added up, and soon enough I was struggling to find time to bake! Catastrophy!

But I did manage to make this cake, and I made it for the sole reason that it can be eaten almost any time of day (well, and it is also delicious). It has all the elements of a carrot cake but its a little more dense and less sweet – that may be due to its lack of frosting, but you can always add some if you want!

You can actually do a ton of substituting, swapping, subtracting and adding with this recipe, just be smart about it. If you don’t like raisins, leave them out. No pineapple around? Substitute some apple sauce or other fruit puree. Swap walnut for pecans, go crazy, I don’t care.

Anytime Carrot Cake
2 1/2 cups grated carrot
1 cup walnuts, chopped up a bit
1 cup pineapple, chopped, fresh or canned
1 cup raisins (I used golden raisins)
1 cup coconut, unsweetened if you want to skip the extra sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Grate your carrot and preheat your oven to 350!

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Combine the carrots, walnuts, pineapple, raisins and coconut.

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Basically just throw in everything else on the list and stir it alllll up.

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Now grease a 9 or 10 inch pan and pour in your batter.

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Bake 60-75 minutes until dark brown, it may look like its over-baked… But don’t worry, it is perfect! Take it out of the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes before taking it out of the pan.

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Slice and eat anytime and all the time.

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“Yum!”

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Sweet Potato Fries and Brioche Beginnings

Well I finally got sick this week. It was that I-don’t-want-to-do-anything-make-your-boyfriend-do-everything kind of sick. Stuffy nose, aches, high temperature, coughing… The works. But I did manage to get in the kitchen a bit, of course.

I’m feeling better now, I’ve just got a leftover stuffy nose and a little cough. But I had the energy today to make a gorgeous brioche. How are people not obsessed with this bread? It has all the amazing qualities of challah plus butter. Hellooo?! This bread is awesome. I’m still working on my own recipe for it, but I’ll post once I get it nailed down. Soon! I promise. Here are some pictures of today’s final product:

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This week I got some beautiful sweet potatoes at the farmers market. In the past I just roasted them with some olive oil, salt and pepper and they were delicious, but this week I wanted fries. Un-fried fries of course, the “healthy” kind that go in the oven. These fries have plenty of spice and a little cornmeal to keep them crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Yum.

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Spicy Sweet Potato Fries
3 large sweet potatoes
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp corn meal
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Chop your potatoes into fries. Sweet potatoes can be really oddly shaped, but try your best to make your fries about the same size – 3/8″ to 1/2″ thickness. Put them in a gallon ziplock bag or large tupperware.

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Put everything else on the ingredients list in the bag, close it and shake to coat.

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Spread out the fries on a couple of sheet pans – without airflow between them they will not get crispy. Bake 15-20 minutes until crispy. Then eat with desired dipping sauce. Yes, that is ketchup mixed with hot sauce…

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We had potato night, kind of by accident, because I made this soup as well. In the following picture you can witness Pete trying to take a fry and eat soup at the same time.

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All those potatoes made the kitties sleepy…

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