Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Two Ways


I was a little hesitant to post these recipes since now that Halloween is over and most of you are probably done digging into pumpkins, but you know what? Pumpkin season is not over! So, for those of you who are still planning on cutting into pumpkins (or butternut squash!) for your cooking and baking needs, this is for you!

After carving our massive pumpkins, I had a good 4 cups worth of pumpkin seeds. Since we already had enough sweets in our house, I didn’t want to make these sweet, so I hit up my spice cabinet to see what I had. Since I had so many pumpkin seeds, I figured it would nice to try more than one recipe, so I made two different kinds: Rosemary Garlic and then Spicy! For both recipes, I recommend that after rinsing them, lay them in a single layer on a towel to dry over night.

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Recipe From The Edible Perspective
Ingredients:

– 2 cups rinsed and dried pumpkin seeds

– 1 tbs. olive oil

– 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

– 1 tsp. sea salt

– 1 tbs. rosemary (you can use dried or fresh, but fresh would be better. Sadly, I only had dried at the time…)

– pinch of pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, add the pumpkin seeds and then all of the other ingredients. Stir ingredients together until the pumpkin seeds are well-coated. Spread onto an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, stirring the seeds with a spatula every 15 minutes.

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

– 2 cups rinsed and dried pumpkin seeds

– 1 tbs. olive oil

– 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

– 1 tsp. sea salt

– 1 tsp. cayenne pepper

– 1 tsp. red pepper flakes

– Optional: 1/8-1/4 tsp. chili powder

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, add the pumpkin seeds and then all of the other ingredients. Stir ingredients together until the pumpkin seeds are well-coated. Spread onto an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, stirring the seeds with a spatula every 15 minutes.

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies


Happy Halloween!! I hate when Halloween falls on a weekday, especially a Monday! Even though I have to go to work, I am looking forward to a evening of fondue, handing out candy, and watching the Ghost Hunters live investigation. The Hubs and I carved our pumpkins this weekend. We try to do more elaborate patterns every year. I think we really outdid ourselves this year. Not surprisingly, I did an owl and Hubs did one of his favorite actors, Vincent Price. Here’s a picture!

Aren’t they cool?! I also wanted to do one other thing this weekend: Make these sugar cookies! Yeah, sure, I wanted the cookie cuz, well, it’s a cookie, but what I really have been wanting to do is try my hand at royal icing. It was a little time consuming as I had to pipe one thing, wait, come back, pipe more, wait for that to dry, etc. But, it wasn’t has hard as I thought it would be. I still have a long way to go with my decorating skills. These were actually supposed to be jack-o-lanterns, but after trying to pipe and paint a face (even Hubs tried!), it looked like a 5 year-old decorated them so I decided to leave the rest as just plain ol’ pumpkins! Working with royal icing is a little tricky and it requires some time, patience, and some baking tools you may not already have in your kitchen (small piping tips, piping bags, etc.). If you are short on time or don’t want to using royal icing, feel free to whip up some buttercream frosting or you can always use store-bought frosting and decorations!

While you may be over pumpkin-shaped things, this sugar cookie recipe is a great basic sugar cookie recipe to have in your arsenal for any occasion!

Sugar Cookies

Makes approximately 3-4 dozen depending on your cookie cutters

Cookie recipe from Allrecipes

Ingredients for the cookies:

– 1 1/2 cups butter, softened

– 2 cups white sugar

– 4 eggs

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

– 5 cups all-purpose flour

– 2 tsp. baking powder

– 1 tsp. salt

Directions:

1. Cream together the sugar and butter in a large bowl until smooth. Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least one hour (or overnight).

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut your dough into shapes using the cookie cutters of your choosing. Bake on a lined or non-stick cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 6 minutes or until cookies start to turn a light golden brown on the edges (bake longer for a crispier cookie). Let cool for at least 15 minutes before frosting.

Ingredients for the royal icing:

– 4 cups powdered sugar

– 2 tbs. meringue powder

– 6 tbs. water

– Optional: almond extract (I added a couple of tsp. of this to mine to give it a better flavor).

If you have never worked with royal icing before, I highly recommend that you all check out Brown Eyed Baker’s tutorial on how to work with royal icing. I got both the recipe and directions from Michelle’s site. Her step-by-step tutorial was extremely helpful!

I’m not going to provide specific directions as they will vary depending on the cookie you are trying to decorate. But, to make my pumpkin cookies, I made a large batch of the royal icing, reserving about a cup to be used as the stem and vine. The rest I dyed orange using gel food coloring. While the icing was still thick, I scooped some into my piping bag (and also reserved about 1/2 cup for the lines on the pumpkins) and using a #3 tip from Wilton, I outlined my pumpkin cookies. I let that dry for a few minutes. Then, I added a few more tablespoons of water to my icing to thin it out for flooding. Following Michelle’s instructions, I then flooded each pumpkin with the orange icing and let them dry for a few hours. Then, I just piped on the lines and the stem. Let them dry for another hour before eating.

Notes:
– You can find meringue powder at craft stores in the baking section.

Herb-Scalloped Potatoes

It’s Friday AND it’s Halloween weekend! It is bittersweet for me. On the one hand, it means that it is time to carve pumpkins, hand out candy, eat candy, and watch the Ghost Hunters Live investigation. And on the other hand, it means that after Monday, I have to take down the Halloween decorations. Where did October go?!!

Today I bring you another great recipe from my bridal shower book! This recipe for herb-scalloped potatoes comes to you from my B.F.F., Crystal! Crystal and I have been friends since we were freshmen in high school. She was my maid-of-honor and I am so excited because she is getting married in January and I get to be her matron-of-honor! I don’t eat potatoes very often because of the carbs, but these potatoes sounded too good to pass up! They are a little time consuming to put together (it took me almost 30 minutes to prepare), so if you are going to make them, make sure to plan ahead! These scalloped potatoes are really flavorful with all of the herbs and are much healthier than their cheesy cousin!

Herb-Scalloped Potatoes

Serves 4-6

Ingredient:

– 3 average-sized potatoes (I used Idaho), scrubbed and sliced into 1/8-inch disks

– 1 can chicken or vegetable broth

– 1/2 cup skim milk

– 1-2 tbs. olive oil

– 3 garlic cloves, minced

– 3 tbs. flour

– 1/2 tsp. dried thyme

– 1/2 tsp. dried basil

– 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary

– 1/4 tsp. paprika

– 1/2 tsp. salt

– several pinches of black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease (or spray with non-stick spray) a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Layer the potatoes in the pan, allowing them to slightly overlap. Lay them across the short way first overlapping them a little less than half of each potato slice. In each subsequent row, overlap the potatoes by about one-quarter of each potato slice.

2. Pour about 3/4 of a cup of the broth over the potatoes, reserving the rest for later. Pour the milk and drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes, making sure to coat each one (I think I needed 1 1/2 tbs. of the oil).

3. Scatter the minced garlic over everything and then sprinkle 2 tbs. of the flour over all of the potatoes. Drizzle as much of the remaining broth as you need in order to moisten all of the flour (avoid washing away the flour when you pour the broth). Sprinkle the last tbs. of flour, the herbs, paprika, salt and pepper. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Notes:
– To make these potatoes vegan-friendly, use vegetable broth and unsweetened soy milk.
– If you aren’t too worried about salt, you may want to add just a pinch more than a 1/2 tsp. I don’t usually like for things to be too salty, but I needed just a tiny pinch more salt :)

Apple Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

My good friend, Amanda, and I have been talking about having a fall-themed baking party since September. First, we said we were going to make like 4 or 5 things. Then a few weeks ago, it turned into 3 things. Then, two weeks ago, it was just two things. Come Saturday, the day of our baking party, it was one thing. Grad school gets in the way of all our fun! Not only did we only end up making these cupcakes, but we took a shortcut by using boxed cake mix and kicked it up a bit. Some people don’t like to admit to using box mix, but I am not one of those people my friends. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy making my own cake from scratch, but when you are short on time, why not use a box mix? We didn’t end up getting together until the evening and had two other important things on our agenda: 1. drink lots of wine and 2. watch trashy TV.

So, all in all, our baking party was certainly not the baking extravaganza that we had hoped it would be, but these cupcakes came out pretty good!!

Apple Spice Cupcakes

Makes approximately 12 cupcakes

Ingredients for the cupcakes:

– 1 box spice cake mix

– 1 1/3 cups water

– 1/3 cup vegetable oil

– 3 large eggs

– 1/2 cup sour cream

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

– 3 apples, peeled and diced into small bite-size pieces

– 1 tsp. cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

– pinch of salt

– 1/2 lemon

Ingredients for the frosting:

– 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened

– 4 cups confectioner’s sugar

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

– 1- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (add more if you want to really taste the cinnamon)

– 1 stick unsalted butter, softened

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the cake mix, vegetable oil, eggs, water, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Mix until well-combined. In a separate bowl, add the diced apples, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice. Mix well. Add the apple mixture to the cupcake batter. In a muffin tin lined with baking cups, distribute the batter evenly amongst each cup. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool for at least 15 minutes before frosting.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the vanilla extract. Add the confectioner’s sugar 2 cups at a time until it is well-combined with the cream cheese. Add the cinnamon and mix until it is thoroughly mixed in with the frosting, but try to avoid over-mixing the frosting.

Notes:
– I used Duncan Hines box mix for this recipe. If you use a different brand, I recommend following the directions for that specific cake mix, then add in my additions of the vanilla, sour cream, and apples.
– Most cake mixes say that the mix will make 24 cupcakes, but because you are adding the apples to this, you have to account for the fact that they are going to release moisture while baking, so you need more of the dry mix to account for this. This recipe should give you about 12 cupcakes.
– The frosting recipe might make more than you need for just 12 cupcakes, but I wanted to give these a generous frosting so I made sure to have extra!

Crockpot BBQ Shredded Chicken

Crockpot BBQ Shredded Chicken

Ah, Monday. We meet again. Oh, how you torture me with your long work day. All I wish is for you to go by quickly so I can go home, get in pj’s, and watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills…

We had another pretty lazy weekend and I am not complaining! With only a week to go until Halloween, there has been quite a lot of great scary movies on! I’m not usually a fan of scary movies, but when October comes, I just get sucked in. But, really, I mostly just like the classic horror films, like Halloween. Obviously, the first is the best one, but for whatever reason, I always watch all of the sequels every year, including the one with Busta Rhymes where he says things like, “Happy Halloween, B#%&@!” I mean, the movie is so stupid, but I can’t look away. ‘Tis the season!

Now, enough rambling and onto this BBQ shredded chicken…In continuing with my lazy weekend, I just didn’t feel like spending the day in the kitchen yesterday. It was time to pull out the Crockpot again! This BBQ shredded chicken really couldn’t be easier to make, which makes it perfect for lazy days or long work days!

Crockpot BBQ Shredded Chicken

Crockpot BBQ Shredded Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 6 Chicken Breasts
  • 1 bottle of BBQ Sauce (We like Sweet Baby Ray’s)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  •  salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Clean and trim fat off the chicken breasts. Add to slow cooker. In a bowl, whisk together the BBQ sauce, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Cook on low for 5 1/2 hours.
  2. After 5 1/2 hours, remove chicken and shred using a fork. If you don’t want your chicken to be too liquidy, you can pour out the liquid into a bowl and save for later. Or you can leave the liquid in (I do recommend leaving at least a little bit of the liquid in to avoid drying out the chicken). Add the shredded chicken back to the slow cooker. Add the remaining BBQ Sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low for an additional 30 minutes. Serve.
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Crockpot BBQ Shredded Chicken

Low-Carb Pumpkin Muffins

I noticed last night that it seems like I am posting a pumpkin recipe every week lately. This was not intentional, but see, when I kept hearing about pumpkin shortages, I got scared. I’m not sure why because I live in the South. But, that didn’t really matter to me. I HAD to get to the store to get as much pumpkin as possible. So, see, I have a lot of cans of pumpkin puree in my pantry and they need to be used to make way for my husband’s cans of Chef Boyardee….

I’ve been having a craving for a good muffin lately. But, at the same time, I’ve also been feeling pretty carb-heavy the past few days. Perhaps it was those gooey chocolate drop cookies I made over the weekend. I had to compromise. A muffin loaded with white flour and sugar was not an option. A low-carb muffin was the way to go. I actually attempted (yeah, attempted) to make these muffins earlier in the week. I tried to make them using flax seed meal as my “flour” and I added way, WAY too much pumpkin. And let me tell you folks, they were NOT good. I had an entire batch of yuck on my hands. I couldn’t eat them, so in the trash they went. Now, I’m not the type that likes to give up, no, not me.

I think the big issue with my first batch was that the batter was too wet. It needed something other than just the flax seeds, so I opted to use some almond flour. Almond flour is a wonderful alternative for low-carbers and it’s gluten-free! I had hoped that these muffins would have risen a little more than they did, but they were still pretty good and I would make them again. These muffins are not only tasty, but because of the almonds, flax seeds, and pumpkin, they are also really healthy so you can enjoy these little guys any time of the day! If you want to kick these up a bit, you can add nuts, raisins, or cranberries. Or enjoy them with some cream cheese spread on top! Either way, these are muffins you can feel good about eating!