Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
I love Fall, not just because of the mild, yet cooler weather (with the exception of the 90 – plus degree temperatures we experienced last week) and the color of the leaves changing (in limited areas of Southern California), but because of all the wonderful festivities that take place in the Fall such as Halloween, family birthdays, and Thanksgiving.
By far, Halloween is one of my FAVORITE holidays, but ironically I married Bebe Dada who loathes Halloween. Our childhood experiences of Halloween differ greatly, which is likely why we feel the way we do about Halloween.
As a child, I dressed-up every year and happily trick-or-treated in our neighborhood with my neighborhood best buddy, A, and Mom and/or Dad in tow. When I was much younger, I remember dressing as Snow White, Peppermint Patty (I think I dressed-up as her because I played her character in a school play and it was an inexpensive recyclable costume) and Casper the Ghost. By the time I was in 3rd grade, A and I coordinated our Halloween costumes because it was fun to be the same character. I remember we were farmers one year and hobos another year. Ah, good times!
By 6th grade, A and I were very serious about Halloween. We decorated old pillowcases to use for collecting candy because we fully believed we could fill the entire thing! Then we got down to business. We would meet after school during one of our regularly scheduled play dates and draw a map of our entire hilltop neighborhood. Then we would plan our route for the night with an estimated completion time of 8:00 PM. We carried the map with us on our trick-or-treating adventure and marked the homes with the best candy so we could go back for seconds. (Greedy, I know… And I don’t think we were fooling the neighbors. They knew we were back for seconds.) You know the good stuff I’m talkin’ about – – – Kit Kat, M&M’s, Snickers, Milk Duds, Starburst and Whoppers; not the small time stuff such as Candy Corn, Tootsie Rolls, Licorice Twists and loose hard candy. Yes, we were candy snobs and very serious about Halloween. Ah, good times!
By the time I got to middle school, trick-or-treating probably wasn’t as cool as getting together with friends for a scary movie or Halloween party.
Yet, I think in 7th grade my middle school friends (who happen to be the same best girlfriends I refer to as the WLA girls) and I went trick-or-treating. My memory fails me (more often than I like these days) but I vaguely remember wearing our black Disneyland Mickey Mouse t-shirts. We all happened to go to Disneyland together and bought the same black t-shirt. Maybe we thought it was cool for all of us to wear the same t-shirt rather than to dress-up in costumes? Honestly, I can’t recall whether the black Mickey t-shirts were for trick-or-treating or if we dressed that way for one of our covert TP (toilet papering) missions. Perhaps we TP’d on Halloween?!? Ah, good times!
As we got older, Halloween continued to be a holiday my girlfriends and I celebrated and enjoyed together. In high school I think one year we all got together at J’s house. I have a vague memory of borrowing someone’s wig made out of real human hair, one that was long, black, messy and crazy, and for some reason I had this wig on and J and I were running outside with lit candles (please, don’t ask – – – I have no idea why we were in this situation) and a portion of my wig slightly caught on fire. It was not a flaming fire (more like hairs being gently singed) and we quickly put it out but it STANK horribly. This was the source of tremendous laughter – the kind that hurts your stomach, makes you cry, and leaves you screaming and rolling on the floor. Ah, good times!
In our college and post-college days we still got together to celebrate Halloween. At certain times of our young adulthood Halloween was a great excuse to dress-up and look ‘hot’ and go out to a club. Other times there was always a friend who threw a Halloween party and it was all about the costume competition. I loved making our costumes with mastermind and crafty, M. My all time favorite was when I dressed-up as Blossom of the Power Puff Girls (a cartoon character). She’s the one that wears pink, and I love pink so I had to be Blossom. Anyway, I convinced two of my best girlfriends to dress-up as Buttercup and Bubbles. Then I convinced two of the guys to dress-up as Mojo Jojo (the crazy monkey and arch nemesis of the Powerpuff Girls) and the Town Mayor. Then another one of our best girlfriends dressed as Professor Utonium (father figure to the Power Puff Girls) and another as Princess Morbucks (vilan but wanna-be Power Puff). Ah, good times!
Faces of those not disguised by bubble eyes have been blurred for their protection, but you know who you are! Heh-heh-heh.
As I got over the clubbing and Halloween party phase of my life, it became fun to buy a lot of candy, the GOOD STUFF, and pass it out to cute little trick-or-treating kids. Now, it’s all about the joy I experience dressing-up Bebe E. Her first Halloween, we stayed home and passed out candy but I dressed her up as a black cat.
This year, Bebe E was a kangaroo. She picked the costume herself (kind of) because she liked the little kangaroo joey in the pouch that she could remove and play with. We took her trick-or-treating in the early afternoon at the Spectrum and she quickly grasped the concept that people put goodies in her little pumpkin bag that she gets to take with her. Other times, people let her choose the candy herself that she would then put in her little pumpkin bag. Of course, we didn’t let her eat any of this candy but she certainly enjoyed the collection of these little treasures. On our walk back to the car, she stopped to check the little treasures in her pumpkin bag numerous times. She’d take 2o baby steps and then stop to check her candy. Needless to say, it took us a while to get back to the car but it was such a joy for Bebe Dada and I to watch her do this. Ah, REALLY great times!
Left:Bebe E happily strolling through the mall holding Dada’s fingers.
Top right photo: At the Apple Store. They ran out of candy although it was before 5 PM, but Bebe E didn’t care. She was still really happy.
Bottom right photo: Bebe E is conducting one of MANY candy checks to ensure that her collected treasures were indeed still in her pumpkin.
Bebe Dada was a trooper this Halloween and ventured out with Bebe E and I to happily trick-or-treat together. He largely did this because I love Halloween so much and it was important to me for Bebe E to get out, get dressed-up and experience Halloween. While I’ve shared quite a bit about my wonderful Halloween experiences over the years, Bebe Dada’s Halloween experience wasn’t fabulous and can be summarized in one sentence. Minus the scary costumes (which I admit as a child I didn’t like either) he enjoyed Halloween up until the day his candy bag was stolen while he was trick-or-treating. End of story.
Last weekend, after Big Onechan and Bebe E carved pumpkins, I roasted pumpkin seeds for us. My Dad used to roast the pumpkin seeds for us when we were little by baking them in the oven with some salt. Until this year, that’s exactly what I always did with our seeds. I seasoned them with salt, roasted them until they were slightly brown and crisp, and enjoy!
Fortunately for us, I happened to stop by my friend’s blog, The Ardent Epicure, and read their Halloween post about, none other than, roasted pumpkin seeds! Yay! I have no idea why I didn’t think to season our pumpkin seeds with something other than salt! The flavor combination of different spices is amazing on pumpkin seeds!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Adapted from The Ardent Epicure
- Salt (of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt)
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Paprika (optional)
- Cooking spray
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cooking oil (Pam Canola oil) on baking sheet lined with foil. Wash pumpkin seeds and spread them on the foil. Sprinkle your favorite spices over the pumpkin seeds. I used a very light dash of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt in addition to plain ol’ table salt and I thought it added an interesting layer of flavor. I was more generous with the garlic powder and went easy on the black pepper and paprika.
2) Bake for 35 – 45 minutes until seeds are well-roasted, browned, and crisp. Because the seeds around the edge of the sheet will burn faster than those in the center, gently shift the seeds on the pan once or twice with a wooden spoon or spatula while the seeds are baking. (This is a technique I also use when baking homemade granola.)
3) Allow the pumpkin seeds to cool, then serve and enjoy!
Pumpkin seeds are such a treat on Halloween and something we enjoy with every pumpkin carved! :)
- Lawry's Seasoning Salt
- Salt, just a dash
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Paprika, optional
- Cooking spray
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cooking oil (Pam Canola oil) on baking sheet lined with foil. Wash pumpkin seeds and spread them on the foil. Sprinkle your favorite spices over the pumpkin seeds. I used a very light dash of Lawry's Seasoning Salt in addition to plain ol' table salt and I thought it added an interesting layer of flavor. I was more generous with the garlic powder and went easy on the black pepper and paprika.
- Bake for 35 - 45 minutes until seeds are well-roasted, browned, and crisp. Because the seeds around the edge of the sheet will burn faster than those in the center, gently shift the seeds on the pan once or twice with a wooden spoon or spatula while the seeds are baking. (This is a technique I also use when baking homemade granola.)
- Allow the pumpkin seeds to cool, then serve and enjoy!
- TIP: Try any combination of your favorite spices: ground thyme, rosemary, etc.