Pumpkin Seeds

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love making costumes, dressing up, and going to a party where everyone else is in costume too! There are so many fun things to do around this time and so many fun foods and special dishes to make for parties.

I took some time to carve a pumpkin…

I added some feathers to make it really look like an owl! It was pretty fun. I think next year I am going to get some better pumpkin carving tools and make a better carving. If you have any good ideas let me know. I want to make something interesting.

From this pumpkin project, I pulled out 1 cup of pumpkin seeds.

I decided to roast them and try something new this year. I made a mixture of sugar spices to coat the seeds. Here’s the recipe to my spiced up roasted pumpkin seeds.

If you like my cute goose measuring cup you can find a similar set here.  I got my gaggle of geese measuring cups a few years back at Anthropologie and they are no longer available.

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (all pulp removed and washed)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp. sea salt

2 tsp. organic cane sugar

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. smoked sweet paprika

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 tbsp. water

Spread the cleaned seeds out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil and 1/4 tsp. of the sea salt over the seeds and stir them so that all of them are coated.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, until they are golden and crispy.

You can eat the seeds just like this. This simple roast is how I usually eat them. They are really good- nice and simple just roasted and salted.

To spice them up, mix the other 1/4 tsp of salt in with the rest of the spices and the 2 tsp. sugar in a small bowl. Toss the seeds in and add the 1 tbsp. of water – just to help the spices stick to the seeds. Mix it well to make sure all of the seeds are coated.

Spread the seeds out on the baking sheet in a single layer again and bake for about 10 minutes (you want to try to get them dry again so they don’t all stick together). They come out kind of caramelized or candied but they have a nice little spice to them.

Make sure you save your pumpkin seeds! They make a great Fall snack and it’s kind of fun to pick them out of the pumpkin.

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Beer Taste – Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Well there certainly has been a lack of pumpkin beers available this year. I have been looking every time I go to get beer. I guess it is so popular that distributors and stores can’t keep it on the shelves. The past few years I have been able to get a bunch of different kinds from breweries all over the place. This year I have had only a few!

I was very happy when my friend Janeen brought me some Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. This is my number 1 favorite pumpkin beer! I thought I was going to miss out on it this year because I could not find it anywhere.

We had a crazy snowstorm yesterday, so here’s the punkin ale next to my snowy pumpkins. Good thing it’s a really good beer to enjoy in the cooler weather.

Punkin ale is a brown ale with real pumpkins, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s much lighter in color than other brown ales but it has big bold flavors. It’s perfect to pair with fall comfort foods. It is really well-balanced and does not have that overly spicy pumpkin pie flavor. I think it is awesome! It definitely gets my pick as the best of the pumpkin beers every year.

I think they is my favorite punkin beer because it has nutmeg in it. I love nutmeg – It’s my secret ingredient in some of my pasta sauces, it is great with greens like kale, and I like to add a little into some of my treats when I bake. The brown sugar also adds a little something special to this brew.

Punkin Beer was originally made for the Punkin Chunkin event that takes place in Delaware every year. You can check out the event on the Discovery Channel website.

I hope you can find this pumpkin beer this year if you haven’t tried it yet. Good Luck!

Beer Taste – Wolaver’s Organic Pumpkin Ale

It’s pumpkin season! And with pumpkins… you get pumpkin beers! One of my favorite things about fall. But all pumpkin ales are not created equal…some are good and some are not. I have taste tested a lot of pumpkin ales over the past few years and I have picked out my favorites. I’ll be sharing some of my top picks this month.

Wolaver’s Fine Organic Ales are made in Vermont by Otter Creek Brewing Company. Dan and I went on vacation to Vermont a few years ago and visited the brewery. It’s a great stop if you’re in the area and it’s also pretty close to Magic Hat, so you can check out both breweries in one afternoon.

Wolaver’s is a great pumpkin beer. It’s made with plenty of organic Vermont pumpkins and a few spices reminiscent of pumpkin pie. It’s not loaded with spices (as some of them are) making it easy to drink. Sometimes flavored beers are a little over powering and I often think “it’s good, I could drink one, but I wouldn’t want to drink it all night.” The Wolaver’s is NOT like that, it doesn’t have the overly-spiced problem. I would definitely have more than one!

I think this brewery just changed the look of their labels and the names of some of the beers. I have had Wolaver’s pumpkin ale before but it was called Wolaver’s Will Steven’s Pumpkin Ale. It had a darker label with some retro writing on it. I don’t remember it being as good as the current ale so they may have changed the recipe as well. I’m not totally sure about this change but I haven’t seen the old brew around at all and this pumpkin ale seems totally new to me.

I actually decided to try to use this ale in a recipe tonight. I was making braised red cabbage with apples. I thought it needed a little something extra so I decided to add some of the pumpkin beer in the pot as the braising liquid. It came out really good! It was a great fall side dish… look for the recipe tomorrow.

A few weeks ago I commented on the Braaaiiins pumpkin beer from Spring House Brewery. While their version is good, it has a little of that overly-spiced problem. I don’t think I really realized it that much until now that I have had the Wolaver’s. I think this is my second favorite pumpkin beer that I have taste tested… stay tuned for my number one pick.

In case you were wondering… that little birdie in the photo is my new bottle opener. It’s tail is the lever to pop your bottle top. You can find one of your own little birdies here.