Pumpkin Seed Fever

This pre-Halloween weekend is turning into a busy one - its all-pumpkin all-the-time. 

I picked up a few more pumpkins at Trader Joe's (cheapest, best pumpkins around!), cleaned out a total of 4 (felt like 100), then carved and cleaned up the seeds for roasting.

I've never roasted pumpkin seeds on my own before. I only have memories of making them with my mom every year as a kid. Thanks mom!

As its my first time, I wanted to try at least two different flavors, something completely different than what you typically expect of a pumpkin seed - sweet and salty pumpkin seeds. I found a bunch of different recipes for both Cinnamon-Sugar seeds and Old Bay seeds. I decided I had to try them both

The process I used is identical for both flavors, only the last step of which seasonings I tossed with is different. So, first things first:

Cinnamon-Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Old Bay Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds (this is all I had left, but you can easily increase the amounts for however much you have)
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp salt

What to do next

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. After rinsing and patting the seeds dry, I placed them on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets and drizzled the oil over them.
  3. Toss with a spatula
  4. Bake the seeds 15 minutes (tossing every 5 minutes)
  5. After removing the seeds from the oven and while still warm, add your seasonings of choice, tossing again with the spatula.
  6. You're done! Eat and Enjoy!

Cinnamon-Sugar on the left, Old Bay on the right

So easy and yummy. I thought the Cinnamon-Sugar seeds would be my favorite, but the Old Bay seeds really surprised me and are delicious! Such a great treat at 9am - this is what I get for having two little girls who wanted to make pumpkin seeds as soon as they woke up. Glad it's Sunday!

I hope you try these and love them as much as I do.

Happy weekend-before-Halloween!

Fall Feasting

I've been baking and cooking up a storm lately. Between apple picking and wanting to try out a bunch of new recipes, I've been keeping my kitchen very busy!

The latest, and most amazing soup I've made in a long time, was inspired by one I found in InStyle, not quite where you'd expect to find a great recipe. Missy Robbins' Tuscan Kale and Root Vegetable Ribollita had such a yummy looking picture that I just had to try it.

This is my spin on it:

My version of the Tuscan Kale soup I found in InStyle magazine

This recipe has a mix of root veggies that I wouldn't typically think about using (celery root and parsnips, anyone?!), but they were so great together that I'm keeping this one in my recipe file.

My spin on it included ground turkey, cannellini beans instead of gigante beans (as a result of not finding gigante beans in any store), and reducing the amount of parmesan cheese and olive oil to keep the calories down. And I'm not sure how big the original servings were (4-6 as per the original recipe), but I'm going to get approximately 10 servings out of it - LOTS of soup!

Ingredients (my version):
½ lb sourdough baguette, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 lb ground turkey
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, diced
1 small celery root, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
3 small carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about ½ cup)
3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 1½ cups)
½ tsp crushed red pepper
2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes
½ bunch Italian parsley
1 rosemary sprig
1 sage sprig
5 thyme sprigs
1 ¼-lb piece Parmesan rind
1 lb. Tuscan kale, stems removed and leaves torn (about 4 cups, loosely packed) - I used a 10-oz bag of kale from Trader Joe's, already prepped and no need to trim
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions (my version):
1. Preheat oven to 200°F.
2. Spread torn bread on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until crisp but not browned, about 1 hour.
3. While bread is baking, cook ground turkey on high in a non-stick pan, no oil needed! Lightly salt and pepper the meat while its cooking. Hold to the side.
4. Once turkey is cooked, heat olive oil in a large stockpot over low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened and translucent. Add garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in root vegetables, red pepper, tomatoes, and ground turkey.
5. The original recipe said to gather parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme into a bunch and tie with kitchen twine. I don't own kitchen twine so I laid them into the pot and stirred around them to keep them together. Miraculously, it worked! Add to the pot along with the Parmesan. Add 8 cups of water to cover the vegetables; bring to a simmer over moderately high heat.
6. Cover and reduce the heat to low; simmer until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes.
7. Discard herb bundle and Parmesan rind.
8. Stir in kale and beans. Cook until kale is wilted and beans are heated through.
9. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
10. Spoon soup into bowls, add dried bread to individual bowls until it's soaked. This step is perfect for my family as my husband usually gets home late and eats dinner after the rest of us. The bread doesn't have to get soggy if you add to individual bowls as you need it, instead of to the pot as the original recipe says to do.

I hope you try this out and love it as much as I did. Let me know what you think!