Pumpkin seeds in bowl

Simple Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Just before Halloween, a few friends and I got together for a pumpkin carving party.  I hadn’t carved a pumpkin in years, and some of them had never carved one!  Thus, it was great fun for us all to go pick out our pumpkins, bring them back, scoop out the goopy insides, and carve faces into the sides.  We all did pretty traditional jack-o-lantern faces, and I think they turned out really well for novices!  In the end, we had five pumpkins carved, but also large amount of stringy material and seeds from five pumpkins lying around.  After our party was over, I sorted through the insides and picked out most of the seeds – of which there were a lot!

Jack-o-lanterns

The jack-o-lanterns my friends and I carved

I didn’t want to throw out the seeds, even though I wasn’t really sure what to do with them!  I did some research, and found that although pumpkin seeds (like most nuts and seeds) are high in calories, they are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals and mono-unsaturated fatty acids (the good kind of fat that helps lower bad cholesterol).  Thus, I was set on finding a frugal, easy, yummy way to prepare them them.

After combing through multiple pumpkin seed recipes online, I combined elements found in many of them to create this recipe.  It is probably one of the easiest recipes I have ever made!  It only takes 3 ingredients besides the seeds themselves: sugar, salt, and pepper.  Almost everyone is guaranteed to have those ingredients, and they are all cheap to buy.   Whether you have leftover seeds from carving a jack-o-lantern or seeds from a pumpkin bought to make a pie, this recipe is a perfect choice for you!  Eaten in moderation, these pumpkin seeds are both nutritious and delicious, and quick and frugal to make!  Enjoy!

Simple Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

You will need:

  • 2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Baking sheet

(Click here for the printable version of this recipe!)

First, gather your ingredients together.  Preheat the oven to 375°, and move a rack in the oven to the topmost position.

Pumpkin seeds ingredients

Add the pumpkin seeds to the mixing bowl.  Try to get out as much of the orange stringy stuff as possible, but if a few strings remain that’s okay.  Add the sugar, pepper, and salt to the bowl.

Pumpkin seeds with spices

Mix the seeds with the other ingredients well, until the seeds are well coated.

Pumpkin seeds mixed

Place the coated seeds on a baking sheet in as much of a single layer as possible.  (If you want, you can line the baking sheet with foil first – it makes cleanup a lot easier!)

Pumpkin seeds uncooked

Place the seeds on the top rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the seeds turn golden brown. Check them carefully as the time nears 15 minutes – you don’t want to overcook them at all or they’ll taste burned!

Pumpkin seeds cooked

Let cool 10 minutes, then remove the seeds and place them in a sealed container.  (They will stick to the pan or foil, so you will have to pry them off!)  These will last for a couple weeks on the counter in a sealed container, just as sticky and delicious as ever!

Pumpkin seeds in bowl

Enjoy this super simple toasted pumpkin seed recipe, and let me know how you liked it in the comments below!

A glass of pumpkin juice

Magical Pumpkin Juice

“Veritaserum. Three drops of this and You-Know-Who himself would spill his darkest secrets. The use of it on a student is, regrettably, forbidden. However, should you ever steal from my personal stores again, my hand might just slip over your morning pumpkin juice.”   –– Professor Snape, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Pumpkin juice – it is a common beverage in the magical world of the Harry Potter book and movie series. Characters drink it with seemingly all meals, and its pervasiveness is such that it is used on more than one occasion to mask the flavor of some potion or another that is unwittingly imbibed by an unfortunate victim.

If you have ever been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando, you might have tasted pumpkin juice there. A friend and I visited a couple years ago, and at that time I bought a cute bottle of their pumpkin juice. However, it was much too expensive and was gone way too soon, so I determined to make my own homemade pumpkin juice to enjoy whenever I wanted! I experimented a bit and finally came up with this pumpkin juice formula that tastes virtually the same as the kind found at the park, and includes my four essential factors for a recipe – simplicity, nutrition, frugality, and deliciousness!

Regardless of whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not, you’re bound to love this decadent juice.  It tastes like a cross between liquid pumpkin pie and apple cider, and is the perfect autumn treat!  I look forward to making it around this time every year, when the grocery stores start stocking canned pumpkin again.  It’s perfect to have for dessert, or simply as a treat whenever you want!

Magical Pumpkin Juice

You will need:

  • 5 cups apple juice
  • 1 can (15 oz.) plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • Pitcher

(Click here for the printable PDF version of this recipe!)

Gather your ingredients together.

Ingredients of Pumpkin Juice

Place the apple juice in the pitcher, then dump in the can of pumpkin.  Mix the pumpkin in well to get rid of any lumps.

uPumpkin Juice without spices

Add the spices to the pitcher…

Spices in Pumpkin Juice

…then mix them in very well.  The spices will want to float on the top, but with some vigorous stirring all but a little of the spice should mix throughout the juice.

Spices mixed into pumpkin juice

Refrigerate at least an hour or two (the juice tastes much better cold!) before serving.  Make sure to stir the juice up before it is poured each time, as the pumpkin tends to sink to the bottom.  The longer the juice stays in the fridge, the better it tastes – the spices have time to really blend with the juice, and after a day or two it will taste even better!  If you’re making this for a party, make it the day before in order to get the best taste from your pumpkin juice.

A glass of pumpkin juice

As you down this pumpkin juice, imagine that you are a witch or wizard drinking it in the Great Hall of Hogwarts! Enjoy this magical beverage, and if you try it be sure to let me know how you liked it in the comments section!  Finite Incantatem!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love the autumn season.  Here in south Florida, where I live, the trees unfortunately do not change colors (at all), and the temperatures remain much the same as they did in summer until the very end of October into November, when they might fall a few degrees.  Because of this predicament, we Floridians have to slightly psych ourselves into thinking it’s fall by buying fake autumn leaf wreaths and lighting pumpkin scented candles around the house.

Fall wreath

Ironically, my fall wreath is hung around my air conditioning controller, which in the upper left reads the outside temperature as 90°!

Although as you can see, I do have a fall wreath up, I don’t light candles – instead, I bake pumpkin cookies!  They make your house smell amazing while they’re cooking, and definitely create an autumn atmosphere while being consumed.

I created this recipe because a), I was just in the mood for pumpkin cookies!, and b), I have a ton of boxed cookie mixes to use up.  A while back, I bought a bunch of them in a BOGO sale at the grocery store; although as prepared with the directions on the box they are quite unhealthy, I bought them as quick desserts to make for parties or church get-togethers where I knew I wouldn’t be the one eating them.  However, I began to wonder if I couldn’t just use the box mix and add my own ingredients to it to make it healthier for my own pleasure.  I experimented a bit, and voila! This recipe was born.  Enjoy!

Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

You will need:

  • 1 17.5-ounce package chocolate chip cookie mix
  • 1 cup canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 egg (or 2 egg whites, if you want to cut down on cholesterol)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp. extra light olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. cloves

(Click here for a printable PDF version of this recipe!)

Preheat the oven to 350°, and gather your ingredients.

Ingredients for Pumpkkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Place the pumpkin, egg, applesauce, oil, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl…

Liquid ingredients for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

…and combine them together well.

Combined liquid ingredients for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

Add the cookie mix and the spices, then stir them into the pumpkin mixture.

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookie mix

Drop heaping tablespoonfuls on a lightly greased baking sheet, flattening them slightly with the back of a spoon.  In the oven the cookies will rise in height, but not spread out any more.

Unbaked pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

Bake 12-15 minutes, until the cookies are slightly browned on the top and bottom.

Baked pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

This recipe makes 32 medium cookies.  Enjoy the taste of fall as you consume these treats!  They are perfect served warm out of the oven, or cold from the refrigerator.  And, best of all, you’d never know that these rich cookies were “healthy!”