Saturday, November 3, 2012

Roasted Pumpkins and Seeds

I don't love Halloween but I certainly don't hate it. I respect the fact that MANY people have spiritual misgivings about the holiday, but I am just not in that camp.  Mostly because we don't treat Halloween as a spiritual holiday and try very hard to stay away from the gore and the ghosts.  (see what Pastor Mike Madding has to say about "disputable matters" of faith in his sermon series True Religion)

As the mother of boys, I have always encouraged them to play pretend and am thrilled that they love to dress up and role play.  On Halloween night we enjoy trick-or-treating which I frame as an opportunity to dress up and get to know our neighbors.  The boys love the candy of course and I am usually the mom lagging behind, talking to someone or other, while the kids run ahead and probably fail to say either trick-or-treat or thank you as they collect their reward.  Interestingly, beyond the first night or two, I seem to be the only one gorging myself on Halloween candy...

So when Halloween is over, I have no qualms about putting the leftover candy in the freezer and hacking into those oh-so-cute sugar pumpkins that never were carved.  Right now I am enjoying some Christmas music (it starts now and lasts until January) and the aroma of Old Bay seasoned pumpkin seeds roasting in my oven.

If you've never roasted a pumpkin or seeds before, it is easy in theory.  Cut your pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast in the oven.  It's the cutting into the pumpkin that can be difficult, so please, please, please be careful!  Once your pumpkin is split in half, scoop out the stringy innards and discard everything but the seeds.  Give the seeds a quick wash and pat dry with a paper towel.  Spread the seeds into an even layer on a cookie sheet, toss with a tsp. or two of oil, and roast at 400*F for 15 minutes.  The pumpkin halves go cut side down in a baking pan with an inch or two of water in the same 400*F oven for 45 minutes to an hour.  Once they're cooked, pull them out, let them cool, and scoop out the yummy pumpkin meat.  You can cube or puree the meat for use in so many recipes, just substitute your own puree for the canned variety.

I am a bit of a pumpkin junkie, so it never goes to waste.  However you can freeze the puree or concentrate it into a yummy pumpkin butter.  Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

Pumpkin Puree Baby Food (from Wholesome Baby Food)
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds 10 Ways - this Marylander goes for the Old Bay seasoning
Roasted Pumpkin Sage Soup
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Pumpkin Pancake Squares (a great grab and go breakfast)
Pumpkin Fluff Weight Watchers recipe
Pumpkin Spice Latte - better than the coffee shop version
Pumpkin Cream Cheese (this link has a ton of other pumpkin recipes that look scrumptious)
Slow Cooker Pumpkin Custard Oatmeal

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