Halloween Treats

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Left pumpkin Dario’s, right pumpkin mine
Each year Dario and I get excited to carve our Halloween pumpkins (well, I get excited and Dario is semi-forced to participate).  I love lighting them up and bringing them to life in the darkness!  It brings back great memories each year we do it.  And you have to admit, those pumpkins look pretty darn good!  It’s a lot of hard work and a big mess, but the reward of seeing your pumpkin glowing on Halloween night is a awesome sight to see!
In addition to providing your house with the perfect holiday decoration, pumpkins can also provide a delicious Halloween treat!  Most people think of Reese’s cups and candy corn as the favorites on this sugar-filled evening.  But, as long as I can remember, my family always had a big bowl set aside while we were carving to hold all the pumpkins seeds.  Afterwards, my mom would wash off any extra pumpkin “guts” and toss the seeds with a bit of olive oil and Nature’s Seasoning and then finish them off in the oven.  Salty and crunchy, these roasted pumpkins seeds are a huge part of why I love Halloween and pumpkin carving so much.
As a huge supporter of following holiday traditions to the tee, I’ve made these same roasted pumpkin seeds for Dario and I every year.  I really don’t think Halloween would be the same without them – sitting on the couch, watching Hocus Pocus (for like the 5th time) and munching on these crunchy little treats!  Plus, these pumpkin seeds not only taste awesome, but they trump the regular candy treats in nutrition….by far.  One oz (one serving) of unhulled pumpkin seeds contains only 126 calories, 1.7 g monounsaturated fat, 2.5 g of polyunsaturated fat, 5 g of protein, 74 mg of magnesium and 261 mg of potassium.  Not bad!  Here’s my recipe for homemade roasted pumpkin seeds:
  • 2 cups cleaned raw pumpkin seeds (save from carving pumpkins and rinse well in a colander).  You may have way more or less depending on how many pumpkins you carve.  Adjust the amount of seasonings if you have more or less to work with.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Seasoning Mix (1tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp dried oregano and 1/2 tsp paprika).  Feel free to sub in 2 tbsp of your favorite seasoning blend!
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Make sure pumpkin seeds are fully rinsed and cleared from any leftover pumpkin “guts.”  Lay them out on a sheet pan in a single layer.  Roast in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until seeds begin to dry off.  Take seeds out of the oven and toss with olive oil and spice mix until all the seeds are thoroughly coated.  Put pan of seeds back into the oven and roast for another 25 minutes, stirring every once in a while, or until the seeds are lightly golden brown.  Don’t let them get too dark or else they’ll have a burnt, bitter taste to them.  After the seeds have cooled, you can store them in an airtight container or bag for about a week….though I doubt they’ll last that long!

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