boo! scare up some pumpkin seeds

Halloween is right around the corner, but the partying has already started. We had the annual Boo Bash at school. Costumes, cupcakes, candy and chaos. My younger guy was all fired up for it. We made cupcakes with sprinkles and he got in character to be a vampire. It served as another reminder that my older guy really graduated from the elementary school last June. Sigh.

This is the surprise in the garden that showed up this week. A few dianthus flowers decided they needed one more showing.

It’s usually the middle of October when we carve a jack-o-lantern for the front steps. We place a lit candle inside the pumpkin creation and watch from the living room window as the carved pumpkin glows and flickers. Cleaning out a big pumpkin to prepare for carving takes some work.

You can have some fun, carve a jack-o-lantern, and make a healthy snack all at the same time. The inside of pumpkins contain pumpkin seeds that should never be thrown out. Rinse them off, pat dry, and toast in the oven.

Pumpkin seeds are good for you and you can use a wide variety of flavors to create a snack to your taste.

You can use salt, smoky paprika or a combination of good dried herbs. It’s easy to make your own dried herbs. The taste is much different from what you get in glass jars at the store. Who knows how long the spices have been in those jars before they started spending time in your kitchen cabinets?

Follow these directions from my post in the Food section at Parade and make your own dried herbs.

Scatter pumpkin seeds on a sheet pan and toast in the oven at 350 F for about 7-10 minutes.

Season the pumpkin seeds when they come out of the oven and are still warm. That’s when the seeds are going to absorb the flavors you’re adding.  Mix the seeds with other nuts, like peanuts and cashews, and make your own party mix.

Store toasted pumpkin seeds in an air-tight  container for about one week. See if they’re even around that long. You’ll grab the toasted pumpkin seeds by the handful and they’re sure to disappear quickly.

By the way,  was launched one year ago with the help of Molly O’ Neill, former New York Times food writer and all-around great person, in one of her writer workshops at her website Cook n Scribble.

I say thank you to her, once again, for listing my blog in the blog roll at her site with writers who are at the top of their game.

Be sure to head over to Food at Parade for this week’s topic. Oh, and trick or treat.

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