Thursday, October 29, 2009

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

When you carve those pumpkins you're gonna need to do something with those seeds, don't throw them away! Roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious and nutritious, and you can cook them in so many different ways.

      Basic recipe:

        1/2 c. washed and dried pumpkin seeds
        1/4 c. olive oil
        salt and pepper to taste
        Saute pumpkin seeds in olive oil for about 5 minutes, they should have a more golden brown color and they will start to pop when done. Place on a paper towel, salt and pepper immediately.


            • For starters, you can cook any amount of seeds at the same time. It may take a bit longer, and you will need a bigger pan, but you can cook your entire batch of pumpkin seeds.
            • For a sweet treat add a few tablespoons of brown sugar, dash of cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg to the pan. You can sprinkle with salt when finished, skip on the pepper.
            • For a spicy rendition, sprinkle with paprika, and a tiny bit of cayenne pepper, you can even add a dash of cumin for a spicy chili taste. Salt and pepper.
            • For some garlic fries pumpkin seeds, add 1 T. of minced garlic (for every 1/2 c. of pumpkin seeds) and chopped parsley, fresh if possible. Salt and pepper.

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            Pumpkin ideas!

            Need any ideas for what to do with your pumpkins? Well look no further!! I found images of some of my favorite pumpkin decorations from jacko-lanterns, to painted images, mod podge, paper mache, and more, I think you can definitely find a few you like. I love the non cut-out pumpkins because they last so much longer. Anything that is cut out will last about a week and a half, but those are of course fun because you can use the seeds for a tasty treat, and you can light them up. Some of the non cut-out ideas can also be used around thanksgiving, or all of autumn. I hope you enjoy, I'm carving my pumpkins today, so now I definitely have some thoughts to work off of. Check out for her templates and how-tos (a lot of these came from Martha), the candlestick, scarecrow, raven, and cat templates can be found here, they're called the Farmer's Field.

            {these pictures are unfortunately not my own work, credit can be given to Martha Stewart, Country Living, google search engine, and better homes and gardens}
            Don't you love this one with the buttons, and the wizard of oz witch look, some people are just so dang creative!!
            Happy almost Halloween!!

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            Tuesday, October 27, 2009

            Mini Pumpkin Pie

            2 c. flour
            1/2 t. salt
            **1/4 c. sugar
            2/3 c. shortening
            8-9 T. cold water

            For instructions and step by step pictures go here.

            Normally this crust recipe is split in half for a top and bottom, you can still keep in half, just so it's easier to manage rolling out. The largest circle cookie cutter I have was stlightly too small for a cupcake, so I had to roll it out just a bit more. You can also make these in a tart size, therefore use a smaller circle cut out.
            Bake just the crusts at 425 for about 6-8 minutes.

            15 oz. can of pumpkin (Libby’s)
            2 eggs
            ½ t. salt
            ½ t. cinnamon
            ½ t. ground nutmeg
            ¼ t. ground cloves
            ¾ c. milk

            Mix the pumpkin, eggs, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Slowly add the milk.
            Fill crusts with filling, and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).

            *Whipping cream

            This idea is from Bakerella, an amazing blog that I know you'll love!!

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            Monday, October 26, 2009

            Cream of Corn

            1 onion (2 c. chopped)
            3 stalks of celery
            3-4 ears of corn (about 2 c.)
            ¼ c. butter
            ¼ c. olive oil
            ¾ t. salt
            ½ t. beef bullion
            3 T. flour
            1 ½ c. cream
            2 c. milk

            In a large pan sauté onions, celery, butter, corn (after being cut off the cob) and olive oil, until vegetables soften, 10-12 minutes. Add bullion, salt and flour, mix well and continue to stir over heat for about 3 more minutes. Slowly add cream, stir until all ingredients are fully combined. The soup should be very thick, keep stirring over medium heat, and add milk in ½ cup increments. Let the soup come to a boil, then take off heat. After a few minutes, use hand mixer or a food processor to puree the soup. If using a food processor (or blender) you may have to process in batches. After all lumps are gone, return to medium/high heat and let simmer for a few minutes, serve hot. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with corn.
            *to keep vegetarian, you can substitute garlic salt for the bullion

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            Corn Chowder

            3 large potatoes (peeled and chopped)
            1 onion (2 c. chopped)
            3 stalks of celery
            3-4 ears of corn (about 2 c.)
            ¼ c. butter
            ¼ c. olive oil
            ¾ t. salt
            ½ t. garlic salt
            3 T. flour
            1 ½ c. cream
            2 c. milk
            ¾ c. parsley (chopped)

            In a medium pan boil potatoes in water and add about ½ t. salt, this will take about 20 minutes. Stir every few minutes. In the mean time, start on the base of the soup.
            In a large pan sauté onions, celery, corn (after being cut off the cob), butter, and olive oil, until vegetables soften, 10-12 minutes. Add garlic salt, salt and flour, mix well and continue to stir over heat for about 3 more minutes. Slowly add cream, stir until all ingredients are fully combined. The soup should be very thick, keep stirring over medium heat, and add milk in ½ cup increments. Add the parsley and cook until soup comes to a boil. Add potatoes (after draining). Let simmer for a few minutes, serve hot. Salt and pepper to taste.
            *For more of a hearty chowder, you can add carrots, and also bacon, at the same time as the onions, celery, and corn.

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            Friday, October 23, 2009

            halloween cupcakes

            Because cupcakes are just so darn popular right now, I thought to myself, maybe I should find cupcake ideas for just about everything, and not just for me, but for all of you as well. Unfortunately we still have a week or so until halloween so these are all just ideas, not actually treats made by me. As we near the holidays (especially thanksgiving, because I love it so much, it's a holiday surrounded by food, that's it, not shopping or presents, just cooking and being home, duh I'm gonna love it) I will be showing off my talents as best as I can. For now, I just want to help get everyone's holiday creativity flowing.

            {None of these are from me, a few searches on google led me to all these tasty treats and they're from all over. I know credit can be given to Country Living, Sprinkles, Martha Stewart, and Amy Atlas though}

            Here's a recipe from country living:

            Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes or Cake:
            2 1/2 cups flour
            2 tablespoons flour
            1 cup cocoa
            2 tablespoons cocoa
            1 tablespoon baking powder
            1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
            2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
            3/4 teaspoons fresh-grated nutmeg
            3/4 cup buttermilk
            1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée
            1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
            2 1/4 sticks butter, softened
            1 1/2 cups (firmly packed) dark brown sugar
            1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
            5 large eggs

            Prepare cake pans: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter three 8-inch cake pans and fit each bottom with an 8-inch circle of parchment paper. Lightly butter the parchment paper. Set aside.
            Make the batter: Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, with an electric mixer set on medium speed, until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and light. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, blending well after each addition.
            Bake the cake: Divide the batter among the pans and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean-- about 35 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan for 20 minutes. Remove cakes and cool. (For cupcakes: Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in standard cupcake tins and fill each with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for 22 minutes.)
            Assemble the cake: Trim each of the layers. Place one layer on a cake plate and top with one third of the frosting. Repeat with the second and third layers. (To ensure that the cake layers do not shift, cut three skewers to 1/4 inch shorter than the full height of the cake and insert them before icing the top layer.) Refrigerate until ready to serve.

            Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:

            1 package (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
            1/4 cup butter, softened
            1 tablespoons fresh orange juice
            1 teaspoons grated orange zest
            1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
            4 cups sugar
            1/4 teaspoon orange food coloring

            Blend the cream cheese, butter, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla in a large bowl, using an electric mixer set at medium speed, until smooth.
            Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and creamy -- about 3 more minutes.
            Add the food coloring and gently stir until the color is uniform.
            Chill the frosting until ready to ice the cupcakes or cake.

            Here's the cake, the cupcake option is up a few pictures (with the orange frosting and the orange and black bow tied around it).

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            Wednesday, October 21, 2009

            halloween favors!

            Halloween is just around the corner and I have a few more ideas for you!! Amy Atlas and Martha Stewart (two of my most favorite people ever) both contributed to these favor ideas. Heidi found the idea last year for the broomsticks and did them for all the kids in the family, definitely a hit :)

            Broomstick favors:
            what you need:
            brown paper lunch bags
            candy of course
            twine/string/tape anything to tie them with
            Pumpkin favors:
            orange lunch bags
            again, candy of course
            green/black floral tape, even electrical tape would work
            Easy right!!
            Amy Atlas used the pumpkin favor bags in her halloween dessert table set up just below.

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            Sunday, October 18, 2009

            Halloween thoughts!

            It's nearing a holiday, and I want to make sure I give you the best ideas that I've come across with enough time to follow through. And hopefully with me posting these ideas, I'll also be motivated to do some myself!
            Amy Atlas is one of my favorite party planning, dessert table, wedding layout designers, I've ever seen. She has done same amazing things, and people seem to be using her ideas all over the place! She's most famous for her dessert tables that she sets up. The design of the table and decorations are all her, and also the recipes and dessert ideas are original as well. Unfortunately, I don't have many of her recipes, or how-tos, but the pictures can give you a good enough idea, she has a website, and a blog, that I hope you take a look at. Here's halloween at it's best!

            I'll search out some of the recipes and ideas, and post them later! I hope you're having a very happy weekend, because I sure am!!

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