Friday, October 31, 2014

31 Days of Holiday: Pumpkin Seeds

Along with pumpkin muffins, roasted pumpkin seeds (from Sunday evening's carving) are staple for us this time of year.  Nothing screams Fall and Halloween than pumpkin seeds!  My kids love them and it feels good to have a batch on hand to counteract what's coming...lots of candy and sugar, and more sugar. These are great for little hands and easy grab and go snacks, yes please! 
Here is the recipe I used...
3 cups hulled pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or more to taste (optional)
Preheat the oven to 300*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or lightly oil the baking sheet. 

Place the pumpkin seeds in a medium-sized bowl. In a small bowl, combine the oil, curry powder, salt, and cayenne, if using; stir well. Pour over the pumpkin seeds and toss to coat well. Transfer the pumpkin seeds to the pan and spread out into a single layer. 

Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the seeds are lightly browned and crunchy: Shake or stir the seeds occasionally for even cooking. Check frequently during the last 5 minutes; do not allow the seeds to become scorched. 

Transfer the seeds to a medium-sized bowl to cool completely: The seeds will become crisp as they cool. Store in an airtight jar for 1 week at room temperature or for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.
More about this healthy snack:  Pumpkin seeds are nutrient-rich nuts. They contain high amounts of trace minerals such as magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, which are important in brain health and development. Pumpkin seeds are also good sources of iron, copper, zinc and protein. A serving size of pumpkin seeds consists of a quarter cup. The recommended daily value that you get from pumpkins seeds consists of 46.1 percent magnesium, 16.9 percent protein and 17.1 percent zinc. They will also give you 28.7 percent of your daily iron requirement!

 For more of my 31 Days posts, visit my main directory page here!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

31 Days of Holiday: Pumpkin Crafts

My kids love their crafts.  Most days we will settle on painting or clay but lately, we've been all about our seasonal crafts.  One of the things I like most about this time of year is the Fall decorating!  The girls have LOVED making these paper pumpkin crafts over the years!  They eagerly spend hours making several pumpkins to hang throughout her room to make it "Halloween-y".  Grab the orange construction paper, scissors and glue and have at it! 

1.  Cut out strips of orange paper and glue the ends together in the form of a star.  Let them dry for an hour to ensure they are easier to work with. 
Then, slowly gather them in a half moon shape until each meets in the center on the top.  
Staple or glue at the top when you are about 1/2 way through...
Then, one final staple when you are finished.
It should look something like this when you are almost done, it's a good time to run the string through (if you will be hanging it)...
Glue your pumpkin top and you're done!
Instant festive pumpkins for your next party or a super cute way to put tiny treats inside!
For more of my 31 Days posts, visit my main directory page here!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

31 Days of Holiday: Thanksgiving Side Dishes

As soon as the leaves start turning beautiful colors here in New England, I look forward to the upcoming holidays.  I think the time between October through January is my very favorite because it's full of tradition, family time and of course, great food!  Every year, we have a selection of our traditional family recipes that we've used and I always try to introduce a few news ones to mix it up a bit.  A traditional menu item on our Thanksgiving table: Garlic Smashed Potatoes and something new:  Fresh Green Beans with Lemon and Almonds.

First old favorite!  
Garlic Roasted Smashed Potatoes

Serves: 8
1 Medium head of fresh garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons of the butter of your choice
1/2 cup milk
2 pounds russet potatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Drizzle garlic with olive oil and bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add potatoes and cook until tender.  Drain, cool and smash.  
4. Stir in Brummel and Brown, milk, salt and pepper
5. Remove garlic from the oven, squeeze the softened cloves into the potatoes and blend with potatoes.  Use an electric mixer if desired. 

Our family, as always loved these deliciously flavorful potatoes.  The garlic gives it an extra depth that your run of the mill mashed potatoes don't always have!  

Next....something new for us! 
Fresh Green Beans with Lemon and Almonds
Serves: 4, Hands on Time: 15 minutes
  • Ingredients:
  • 1  pound trimmed green beans
  • 4  tablespoons of the butter of your choice
  • 2  teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4  cup chopped unsalted almonds
  • 1/4  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • Directions:
  • 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl.
  • 2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt the Brummel and Brown in a skillet or small saucepan over medium heat. Swirl or stir the Brummel and Brown with a wooden spoon as it starts to foam and sputter. Remove it from the heat as soon as it begins to turn golden brown and smells nutty, about 1 minute.
  • 3. Add the lemon juice, almonds, and salt. Swirl skillet over heat for 30 seconds more to toast the almonds. Spoon the mixture over the green beans.

This dish was a delicious option for a Thanksgiving side dish.  Rich, flavorful and nutty, we all enjoyed these green beans that were tasty and pretty!  

Let me know if you have a favorite Thanksgiving side recipes! 
For more of my 31 Days posts, visit my main directory page here!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

31 Days of Holiday: Thankful Tree

For the past several years, we have been doing our "Thankful Tree".  What I loved about this project, is that you can really make it elegant and beautiful or whimsical and fun....or a little bit of everything.  What's most important is that you really think about the things you are most thankful for because that's what Thanksgiving is all about!

For our craft, we started with some Autumn inspired scrapbook paper and started tracing our leaves.  While the girls got started on that, I printed off the template, available on The Letter 4's blog here.
Then, the girls came up with the things they are thankful for, on the white side of the paper.  Basically, write on the opposite side that you want displayed on your tree.
We cut each leave out...
And numbered our leaves to "countdown" the days until Thanksgiving and after coloring, stuck each leave on the tree with a tiny piece of tape.
Each day, the girls take turns to pull a leave off and ready what they are thankful for, it's been a wonderful tradition for our family.  We started it in 2010 and a November tradition we love and look forward to! 
(Turtles and Tiger Magnets....optional)

Now is the time to get your supplies ready for this special tree!

For more of my 31 Days posts, visit my main directory page here!

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