happy roasty halloween

pumpkins.jpgI love Halloween. Every year I want to go all out, but have been holding back, as it’s been just me, my husband, and our pets. Soon, now that we are expecting our first child, Halloween will become what I’ve always dreamed it would be – that magical, festive, spooky celebration that I remember from my youth, for which I can go overboard with treats, parties, and decorations! This year it’s especially poignant, as I can feel a new life inside me who can’t yet enjoy this favorite night of mine. So one last time, we did the traditional 2 pumpkin carvings, and I’ll enjoy spreading a little love around tonight when the goblins come knocking.

There’s been some interesting news about pumpkin seeds floating around lately, and I also just completed some food research, so the benefits of pumpkin seeds were top of mind during the carving. Here’s a few highlights: pumpkin seeds are high in minerals like magnesium, iron and zinc, which are essential for your health. They promote prostate health, may be beneficial in cases of arthritis due to anti-inflammatory properties, and can help reduce cholesterol levels due to their phytosterol (a plant compound) content. They make a great snack, can be added to trail mix, salads, or a rice pilaf. So of course I couldn’t let these gems go to waste – I looked up some instructions for roasting and got busy.

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I remember having roasted pumpkin seeds as a child, and they were savoury (you can find recipes which have sweet or citrusy seasoning) so I used a bit of sunflower oil, salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne pepper. The most time consuming part was the washing/drying of the seeds – they are sticky, slippery buggers. The lower temperature you roast them at, the more preservation of their healthy oils – but I followed a recipe I found for 325 F for 30 minutes. They are cooling as I type. The house had an amazing aroma of cumin as they cooked. I’m looking forward to snacking on these later.

I hope you all have a fun and devilish Halloween tonight. And if you have any tips on other ways to use pumpkin seeds, please share!

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cranberry breakfast

crancheesebreak.jpg I hope all my Canadian friends had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend! Looking for a way to use up some of that leftover cranberry sauce (aside from making turkey, stuffing and cranberry sandwiches – yum)? Why not try a breakfast of wholegrain bread topped with light cream cheese and cranberry sauce. Even better, you could swirl the cheese and cranberry sauce together, then spread it on. Who doesn’t want cranberry “cheesecake” for breakfast?

I bet you have some more cranberry-use-up ideas – let me know and I can post them here as a helpful list. Plenty of time to also give people in the US some ideas for their upcoming Thanksgiving in November!