How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

How to Roast Pumpkin SeedsHomemade, roasted pumpkin seeds are heavenly.  If you haven’t made them before let me assure you it is super easy, and as an added incentive to make them, they are very healthy for you.

Okay, let’s get started.  Here I have my bowl of pumpkin seeds and the pumpkin guts.  I have no idea the official name of a pumpkin’s insides, so I’m going with guts.  We didn’t have much guts this time, which made it easier to clean out the pumpkin.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds001The first thing I do is to try to remove as much of the guts from the seeds as possible.  You don’t have to be super careful about getting it all off.  You could be there for days separating them if you were nit picky about it.  The top picture is my before, the bottom one my after.   As you can see there is still some stringy stuff and that’s okay.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds002

Next, I rinse them in my strainer.  A lot more of the guts come off when you rinse them and they are not as slimy any more, but there are still a few strings.  It is up to you how much time you spend to taking all of the guts out of the seeds.  I think they add to the flavor so I’m not too worried if there is still some on the seeds.  Roasted Pumpkin Seeds003

After they have been rinsed, I spread them out on a greased cookie sheet.  Spread them out in a single layer so they can roast evenly.  Next, I salt them.  It is hard to say exactly how much salt to use because you never get the same amount of seeds out of each pumpkin.  So, what I do is to give them a good salting, stir them around really well, and then taste one.  If it is not salty enough I add more salt.  Just keep salting until you get the right amount of saltiness for you.  If you get too much salt, go ahead and rinse them off again and start over.  Roasted Pumpkin Seeds004

This time when before I stuck my seeds in the oven I let them sit on the counter for 2 hours while I waited for the pumpkin to cook in the oven.  I usually bake them as soon as I rinse them, but I liked them better this time.  Letting them sit helped them dry out and they cooked much more quickly and evenly this time.  I stirred them a few times during the 2 hour wait so that they would dry out evenly.

You can bake them right away, but it will just take longer.

I baked mine at 350* for about 13 minutes.  I stir them every 5 minutes to make sure that they cook on both sides.  They cook quickly so keep an eye on them, especially the last few minutes.  Take them out of the oven as soon as they get crisp.  You don’t want them soggy or too crunchy.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
I had planned on taking another picture of them in a bowl, but my kids gobbled them up too quickly. If you have extra left over after you sample them, store them in an airtight container for later.

See, wasn’t that easy?  Once you make them and eat some you are going to kick yourself for not making them sooner.

If you missed my post on how to cook your pumpkin check it out  here.


How to Turn a Pumpkin into Pumpkin Pie

How to turn  your fall or Halloween pumpkins into puree to be used in your favorite pumpkin recipes.

If you are like me you can have 5 or 6 pumpkins sitting on your porch the day after Halloween and  have no idea what to do with them now that Halloween is over.    I always felt guilty about throwing perfectly good pumpkins away, not only because I knew I was throwing away perfectly good food, but also because pumpkins here in Alaska are so expensive.  But, I also had no idea how to turn a pumpkin into pumpkin that could be used in a recipe, and so every year  they would sit outside until they were frozen solid and then in the trash can they would go.   One year, my son insisted that I  make him his own pumpkin pie out of his Halloween jack-o-lantern.  I did some experimenting and found out that it was much easier than I had originally thought, and the pie was spectacular.  My son was thrilled that he had his own pie and I was thrilled that I wasn’t throwing away perfectly good pumpkin any more.

The answer to the Halloween pumpkin problem is to puree your pumpkin.  With pumpkin puree you can use your pumpkin in any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin.  It’s super easy to do and will rid you of your pumpkin guilt.  Also, pumpkins are super cheep after Halloween and it can be a great time to stock your freezer with pumpkin for all your favorite holiday pumpkin recipes.

First, I wash the outside of my pumpkin well.  I use a little soap and water.  Make sure to get all of the soap off.  If you have already carved your pumpkin you should still wash the outside.  Just make sure not to get any soap on the inside and  try to keep the inside from getting very wet.

Next, cut it in half and scrape out the seeds, if you haven’t done that already.  Don’t throw out your seeds.  Set them aside to bake later.

Pumpkin Puree009

This is what ours looked like all cleaned out.  If you have a jack-o-lantern with a burn mark or wax inside, just cut out that part.

Pumpkin Puree002

Next, cut it into smaller pieces that you can fit  into a casserole dish or two.  Pumpkin Puree003

Arrange the pieces in your casserole dish.  I had to use two dishes, one for each half.  You don’t need to worry about making the lid fit on,  just cover each dish with aluminum foil.Pumpkin Puree004

Now, bake the pumpkin at 350* until it is all nice and tender down to the shell.  I baked mine for a total of 2 hours and 10 minutes.  Set your timer for 1 hour and 30 minutes  and check it every 15-20 minutes until it’s done.   You should be able to stick a fork into the pumpkin next to the shell and have it pull away from the shell easily. Pumpkin Puree005

Let it cool until you can safely hold a piece in your hand without burning yourself.  Now, scrape the pumpkin away from the pumpkin shell and into a big bowl.  If there is water left in your  baking pan, don’t throw it away.  You may need it in the next step.  Pumpkin Puree006

Next, puree your pumpkin in your blender or food processor.  I could only do about half of the pumpkin at a time in my blender.  If it isn’t wet enough to puree well, add the water left over from your baking dish.   I also had to mix it for a few seconds and then scrape the sides of the blender once, before I could continue pureeing it.  Pumpkin Puree007

Lastly,  I put the puree into zip lock bags, to freeze and store for later.  Two heaping cups of puree is comparable to a small 14 oz. can of pumpkin.  Most recipes call for 2 cups of pumpkin or a small can.  You may notice that your puree is a much lighter color than canned pumpkin is.  That’s fine.  I have never had mine as dark as what I get from a can.

I had a total of 13 cups of puree.  I divided the extra cup I had between the bags.  A little extra in your recipes won’t hurt.  Pumpkin Puree008

When you are ready to make your favorite pumpkin recipe, just take a bag out of the freezer to thaw about an hour before you are ready to use it. Don’t drain off any water that may have separated from the puree when thawing. Use the whole bag.

Stop back tomorrow and I will show you how to roast your pumpkin seeds.  They are one of my favorite snacks.  (Link Here)


Peanut Butter, Banana, Oatmeal, Gluten Free Cookies, Oh My!

peanut butter gluten free cookies  (17)

Our family isn’t gluten free, but we have some very good friends that are.  Sister Darling (we call people that we go to church with Brother and Sister) is a fabulous cook, and Hannah who practically lives at the Darling’s house, has been begging me to get this recipe from Sister Darling so we could make these wonderful cookies ourselves.  I finally got the recipe and Hannah was so excited  that she made these cookies for a BBQ the next day.  Everyone loved them, and they were  such a hit that we made them again a couple of days later.

One of great thing about these cookies is that you don’t have to feel too guilty about eating them or feeding them to your children.  They have very little sugar and very little oil.  And, for those of you with egg sensitivities, these are egg free as well.  You may be thinking that with all the things these cookies are missing what is in them.  Well, only the two best combinations of flavors in the whole world: peanut butter, and chocolate, and made better with bananas.  Mmmmhmmmhmmm!  My mouth is watering.  Trust me,  you are going to love these.

Okay, let’s get started.  First, peel 3 bananas and add them to your mixing bowl.peanut butter gluten free cookies  (2)

Mash them really well.peanut butter gluten free cookies  (3)

Next, add a  heaping, 1/2 cup, over the top of the cup,  peanut butter.peanut butter gluten free cookies  (4)

Now for the coconut oil.  Add 1 tablespoon.peanut butter gluten free cookies  (5)

1 teaspoon of baking powder, next.peanut butter gluten free cookies  (6)

Now, give a couple of good shakes of the cinnamon into your mixing bowl.  Don’t be shy.peanut butter gluten free cookies  (7)

Look at that dark molasses, isn’t it beautiful?  Add 1/8 of a cup.peanut butter gluten free cookies  (8)

I love all those  rich colors together.  peanut butter gluten free cookies  (9)

Now,blend everything up together.  peanut butter gluten free cookies  (10)

Next, add 2 and 1/2 cups of oats.  I used regular oats, but quick oats are fine if that is what you have.peanut butter gluten free cookies  (11)

Finally, my favorite part, the chocolate chips, add some, as much as you like.  Don’t let this picture fool you.  There are NO raisins in this bowl.  You could use raisins instead of chocolate chips if you are the type of person who likes to ruin recipes by using raisins.  Just kidding.  (or maybe not, I hate raisins.)peanut butter gluten free cookies  (12)

The dough will be very moist and sticky. Drop the dough, by the teaspoon full, onto a greased cookie sheet.  peanut butter gluten free cookies  (13)

MMMmmmmmm, the dough tastes great as well.peanut butter gluten free cookies  (14)

Promptly place the cookies in the oven and bake for 12-13 minutes at 350 degrees.  Let cool.peanut butter gluten free cookies  (16)
Now enjoy!  Help yourself to two.  Remember, these are healthier cookies.peanut butter gluten free cookies  (1)
I have this sign hanging in my dinning room and I think it is a motto all the world should take to heart.peanut butter gluten free cookies  (15)



Peanut Butter, Banana, Oatmeal, Gluten Free Cookies

3 Ripe Banana (mashed)
½ Cup (heaping) Peanut Butter
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/8 Cup Molasses (or Honey)
2 ½ Cups Oats
Chocolate Chips

Mash bananas, and then add the next 6 ingredients. Mix well. Last add the chocolate chips and stir into batter.
Drop by the spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350* for 12-13 minutes.


Did you like my recipe?  Do you like my blog?

Follow me on Blog Lovin so you can be notified each time I post.

Follow on Bloglovin

Funeral Potatoes

Cheesy Funeral Potatoes 12

These potatoes are to die for, but that’s not why they’re called funeral potatoes.

Have you ever heard of funeral potatoes before?  Chances are if you have that it was from a Mormon.  I’m a Mormon, or as we like to say, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Every religion has their traditions and subcultures that come about as people worship and socialize together, and we are no different.

I grew up in south-east Idaho, very close to Utah, and in our area when someone dies the women of the church always cook up a big dinner to feed all of the family and friends that have traveled to attend the funeral.  For some reason, ham along with cheesy hash brown potato casserole became the staple dinner to prepare and serve at funerals.  After a while,  cheesy hash brown potato casserole became known as funeral potatoes (probably to distinguish it from all of the other potato casseroles us Mormons like to make, and because funeral potatoes is easier to say than cheesy hash brown potato casserole.)

And, there you have it, the mystery has been unfolded.

Here are your ingredients, along with salt and pepper:  2 lb. bag Country Style Hash Browns, Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, Cream of Chicken Soup, butter, and onion.

Cheesy Funeral Potatoes 0

First, melt your 1/2 c  butter.

Cheesy Funeral Potatoes 2

Next, add one can of cream of chicken soup to the butter.Cheesy Funeral Potatoes 3

Now, add 2 cups of  sour cream.  I just add the whole 16 oz. carton.Cheesy Funeral Potatoes 4

Mix it all together really well.  Cheesy Funeral Potatoes 5

After, you mix up the soup mixture, get out your biggest bowl.  It’s much easier to mix it all together in a large bowl.  Now pour your 2 pound bag of hash browns in.  It doesn’t matter it they are thawed or frozen.
Cheesy Funeral Potatoes 6

If your hash browns are still frozen you will want to take a minute and just chop them apart with a fork.Cheesy Funeral Potatoes 7

Once you have the hash browns separated, add 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.  The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  I don’t use that much of either, but it up to you and your tastes.

It’s also time to add your  onion.  I just grate my onion over the bowl with the cheese grater.  Some of my kids think they don’t like onion, but when I  grate it up they don’t notice it is in there, and I still get the flavor.

Cheesy Funeral Potatoes 8

Now, add the soup mixture to the hash brown mixture, and stir, stir, stir.
Cheesy Funeral Potatoes 9

Next, transfer it all to a greased casserole dish or a 9 x 13 cake pan.Cheesy Funeral Potatoes 10

Bake it until it is bubbly and  nice and golden brown.  Bake at 350* for 45-60 minutes if your hash browns are still frozen, and if they are thawed decrease the baking time to 30-45 minutes.   I usually bake mine until they are a bit more golden brown on top, but it was late and my kids were hungry so I popped them out of the oven a couple minutes early and they were still wonderful. Cheesy Funeral Potatoes 11

Mmmmmm, my mouth is watering just looking at them.  These are an Easter favorite, around this house, with ham of course.Cheesy Funeral Potatoes 12b

Some people like to add corn flakes on the top, but not me.  You could, but don’t.  Please don’t.   In my opinion corn flakes should not be added to the top of anything, especially potatoes.Cheesy Funeral Potatoes 13

Try them, and let me know what you think.


Cheesy Funeral Potatoes

½ cup Butter, melted
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups Sour Cream
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
2 pound bag of Country Style Hash Browns
½ cup Onion, grated
2 cups Cheddar Cheese, grated

Mix melted butter, cream of chicken soup, and sour cream together.
In a separate bowl mix hash browns, onion and grated cheese together. Then, add the soup mixture to the hash brown mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to a greased casserole dish or a 9 x 13 cake pan, and smooth the top.
Bake at 350* until bubbly and golden brown on top. Typically that is 45-60 minutes if hash browns are frozen and 30-45 minutes if hash browns are thawed.
Serves 8

This recipe freezes well, so if you are making this for a smaller crowd you can place it into two smaller baking dishes and freeze one for later.


 Did you like my recipe?  Do you like my blog?

Follow me on Blog Lovin so you can be notified each time I post.

Follow on Bloglovin

Pin It on Pinterest