Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

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When I was little my favorite part of Halloween wasn’t the candy, but pumpkin seeds. I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t love the candy, but I could have that any time of year. The pumpkin seeds were a seasonal treat. I’ve yet to find them in the store prepared the way I like, so they are still a treat that only comes once a year. I’ve made them a few different ways over the years. I have a quick version that is tasty and of course there are some fun flavors as well, but this recipes brings out the flavors and tastes just like my  mom used to make. If you have the time, this is the way to go, and it’s really not that much more difficult!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 pumpkin
  • salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Cut pumpkin and scrape seeds out. Work seeds out of the pulp as best you can. Place seeds in a colander and rinse until the seeds are completely clean.

Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Place oven rack on top shelf.

Measure the seeds using a measuring cup. For every half cup of seeds you have, add 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a medium saucepan. You can add additional salt if you prefer a saltier end product. Add the seeds and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes, then drain.

Coat the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil and add the pumpkin seeds, tossing to coat with oil. Then spread the seeds in a thin, single layer and roast anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, lightly browned. The time depends on the size of the seeds. Remove and allow to cool on a cooling rack before eating.

Source: Simply Recipes

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Have I mentioned that I love bread? I can ruin any good dinner by diving right into the bread basket. I’m a carb fiend! Give me a delicious butter or spread to smear on top of it and I’m in heaven! I’m also a huge fan of dips, if you haven’t figured that out by some of my recipes. So, give me some bread and something to dip it in and I’m in heaven. This one is delicious and so easy. If you’ve been to Carrabba’s you already know how tasty it is. It’s easy enough to treat yourself on a weeknight while you prepare dinner or serve it up as an easy appetizer for guests. Who doesn’t love easy entertaining? Make sure you make extra though if you’re like me because you *may* eat a lot before guests even arrive!

I adapted this recipe slightly, by adding more oil and less garlic. It makes the dip go further and doesn’t make you a social pariah with garlic breath! You can also use all fresh herbs with this, just use more when you are using fresh herbs. Enjoy!

Herb & Oil Dip ~ Carrabba’s Copycat

Ingredients

  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine herbs and garlic in a small dish, until herbs are moistened. Pour olive oil onto mixture and serve with fresh bread.

Slightly adapted from My Baking Addiction

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This dish is quintessential fall to me. The colors are gorgeous and remind me of beautiful autumn colors. The flavors don’t disappoint either, the tartness of the bright cranberries pair well with the earthy elements from the wild rice and vegetables. This salad looks like a treat, but is so healthy for you! It can be made ahead and used as a side dish or lunch, but I’ve adapted it slightly and can be served warm as well {see notes below}. Whether you’re preparing it for yourself, your family, or for a function it wont disappoint in taste or presentation! Feel free to add  your own adaptations to the salad dressing, as the salad itself can really handle many different flavors quite nicely.

Speaking of beautiful colors and presentation, can we discuss these beautiful linens? They’re from Hen House Linens and I absolutely adore them! I first stumbled upon Hen House earlier this year. I had purchased the Bargello Navy dinner napkin to simply use as a prop for my blog photos. I loved the pattern and the color is gorgeous in print as well as in real life. After repeated washings I realized that I loved this cloth napkin and must have more for my own personal use. The color never faded, the stains came out effortlessly, the feel of the linen was just a great as when I first bought it, and wait for it… I never iron it. Never! I’m an ironing addict. I iron sheets. I’ll admit it. That’s what happens when you grow up around a luxury resort. These napkins, they don’t need it. Also, when I love a product I like to do a little research about the company. It’s so easy to do now, so why not? I learned that not only do I like the product, but I also agree on  “The Hen’s” views of hospitality and “gratuitous living.” She writes, “It’s all about making the people you welcome into your home feel comfortable and cared for. (This includes the people that live in that home with you!) It’s that intangible that makes you want to linger at the dinner table or pull up a chair and visit. It’s about hospitality without feeling stuffy or too proper. It’s knowing that this time right now is special.” I couldn’t have said it any better. It’s how I was brought up and it’s how my home operates now.

So, why am I waxing poetic about Hen House Linens? Because through a funny little story (I placed an order, my blog was recognized, and then I gushed on and on to customer service) we realized that my readers needed in on these linens. So, one lucky reader is going to win a set of 4 dinner napkins in the pattern of their choice. I’ve gone ahead and given you six ways to enter, and if you use Twitter you can actually enter once a day for each day of the contest! For those that don’t want to take any chances and want in on some of these gorgeous linens {they do SO much more than just dinner napkins and table cloths!} from now until October 5th The Way to His Heart readers can use the code “HEART” and receive 15% off their order. I may be taking advantage of that for me, I mean for those on my holiday gift list!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hen House Linens provided me with samples of their dinner napkins and are sponsoring this giveaway, but as always the opinions expressed here are solely my own. This giveaway is for residents of the contingent United States and will end on October 1st, 11:59 pm EST. Physical address required for shipping; no PO boxes. You must be 18 years or older to enter.

Cranberry Walnut Wild Rice Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups wild rice blend (such as Lundberg)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, add water and rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Rice should be tender. rain if necessary. Let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine carrots, parsley, scallions, and cranberries. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, ginger, salt, and pepper together. Set aside.

Heat walnuts in a small skillet over medium heat. Toast until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Once rice has cooled, combine with vegetables, walnuts, and dressing. Serve immediately or chilled.

{If you’d like to serve this warm, add cranberries, walnuts, and other vegetables to saucepan after it has set for 10 minutes and cover for an additional 5 minutes. Omit salad dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste}

Serves 6

Nutritional Information

Per serving, a generous 1 cup: 300 Calories, 42g Carbohydrates, 5g Protein, 15g Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 105mg Sodium, 6g Fiber

Source: Hannaford Fresh September/October 2014

Funfetti Almond Spritz Cookies

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I’ve always thought of spritz cookies and butter cookies to be pigeon-holed into the “Christmas cookie” category. December rolls around and you break out the cookie press and some green and red sprinkles and food coloring and go to town. What happens to that cookie press the rest of the year? It usually gets tossed in a cabinet and forgotten. When I finally purchased my OXO Cookie Press last year I was bound and determined not to let that happen. I’m against gadgets that I only use once a year, if that.

Well, it happened. Even though we loved using the cookie press, we kind of forgot about it. Then September rolled around and OXO and Cookies for Kids’ Cancer started promoting their “Be a Good Cookie” campaign to raise funds for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I’ve taken part of this wonderful fundraiser before. It’s one of my favorite fundraisers and one of the reasons I love blogging. Get the word out on awareness, raise some money, and bake!

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I started thinking of so many great spritz cookie flavors, which I’ll be sharing this year in my effort to keep that cookie press out of storage and in regular rotation. The recipe that we decided to share as part of the “Be a Good Cookie” campaign are these Funfetti Almond Spritz Cookies. The best part of spritz cookies are the sprinkles and why not add them to the batter, instead of just on top? My four-year definitely agreed! Since it is also my mom’s birthday today, we opted for a lovely almond flavor since that’s one of her favorites. We made some fun heart and buttercup shapes and it was a celebration in our house! These are perfect for any day of the year, especially the rainy day we decided to bake some up. I hope you all will keep reading and check out OXO and the rest of the great recipes that bloggers have come up with in support of the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer “Be a Good Cookie” campaign.

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OXO supplied me with the cookie press and baking kit, but as always the opinions expressed here are solely my own. OXO will also be donating $100 to every post dedicated to the Cookies For Kids Cancer Campaign in September.

For every stickered item sold, OXO will donate 25 cents in support of pediatric cancer research as part of its $100,000* pledge to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Look for specially marked OXO products at participating retailers in September. You can find the list of eligible products here. My recommendations are the cookie press and the cookie spatula. I never knew I needed a cookie spatula until one entered my life. Now, I can’t do without!

CFKC Sticker

* In 2014, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer through specially marked baking tools, bake sale matches and other fundraising efforts. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer fund pediatric cancer research.

 

Funfetti Almond Spritz Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (two sticks), room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/4 cup sifted flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 Tbsp rainbow sprinkles

Pre-heat oven to 400F.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and almond extract and beat until just combined. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and mix until the dough has just come together and is moistened. Slowly, with mixer on, pour sprinkles into batter so they distribute evenly.

Add dough to your cookie press and press dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until edges are sightly golden brown. Cool on pan for a few minutes and then remove cookies and place on a wire rack.

*If you don’t have a cookie press, roll dough into a log and slice and bake. This dough can also be frozen.

Yields 80 cookies

Slightly adapted from Food.com