This weekend, we drove to Charlottesville, VA to visit friends. Along the way, we spotted our first pumpkin patch of the year. The trees are still green, and the weather is still [really] warm. Regardless, there they were… glorious orange pumpkins.
Now, it doesn’t take much to get me excited about pumpkins. But, this month’s Recipe ReDux theme brought back memories of days before fall was synonymous with all-things-pumpkin.
September Theme: First Cooking Recollections: Stir up some of your earliest culinary recollections. Did you stand at your grandmother’s elbow to learn to cook? Or did you learn by stumbling through a cookbook by yourself? Share a healthy recipe and the accompanying story about one of your first cooking memories.
I do not have childhood memories of cooking and baking with my grandmother or mother (or anyone else). I remember my grandmother eating lots of Florida-fresh grapefruit and avocado, but she happily ate these foods whole (remember those serrated grapefruit spoons?) and rarely cooked anything besides the occasional pot of spaghetti. My mother makes a tasty Southern-style Thanksgiving, but that’s about where her interest in cooking anything ends. Her running joke is that she would much rather clean a kitchen than cook in it. And, that’s okay… I learned to cook and bake in spite of this, or perhaps because of this.
Although I didn’t have any familial cooking influences, I latched on to other exposures to food, like when a childhood friend’s mother roasted pumpkin seeds. In Kindergarten at the time, I didn’t realize that pumpkin seeds were edible, let alone delicious! But, I do remember tasting these lovely little nutritious nuggets when offered to me. Decades later, I still enjoy roasting up a patch of pumpkins seeds every fall.
Pumpkin seeds are little nutrient powerhouses. They are rich in lots of nutrients–like protein, dietary fiber, heart-healthy unsaturated fats, vitamin E, iron and zinc–and antioxidants. So, grab a handful of pepita or pumpkin seeds for an easy, portable snack or add to oatmeal, baked goods and salad. And because pepitas are pumpkin seeds, they are safe for those allergic to tree nuts and peanuts.
- 2 cups pumpkin seeds, pulled from pumpkins, cleaned and washed
- 2 tsp. olive or canola oil
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet (may need to use two baking sheets). Roast for 10-15 minutes to dry out seeds.
- In a bowl, mix together remaining ingredients (oil through sugar). Add pumpkin seeds to bowl and coat well. Spread in one layer on baking sheet(s). Return to oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until seeds are crispy. Let cool.
PLEASE SHARE: What are your favorite ways to enjoy pumpkin seeds?
And, don’t forget to check out recipes from my fellow Recipe ReDux’ers. You’re sure to find something tasty and mouthwatering!