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Blessed Samhain – from Fairy Berry and us

Before anything else, I just wanted to wish you all a blessed Samhain.  Hold close the ones you love, and remember well those who have already passed from this world.  As the world enters the dark half of the year, gather close to share stories and memories, and soon we’ll return to the light.  Brightest blessings, may your lives be filled with warmth, caring, and many wonderful new memories to share in the future.

Now…  I want you to say hello to Fairy Berry.  The girl was just thrilled when I finally let her see the ponysona costume I’d created for her.  As I helped her into each piece, she’d run to the bathroom to see how it looked:  and with pants, sweater, two wigs, and ears, that was several trips to check out her reflection.  So she was quite happy to show it off while I snapped a few pictures before she headed to school this afternoon.  It’s totally adorable on her, and the wings worked just as I’d hoped:  they actually flap as she walks, skips, and hops along.  😀

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Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – DIY

We roast pumpkin seeds every year.  Along with carving the jack-o-lanterns, it’s part of our rituals on the eve of Samhain (or Halloween, if you prefer).  As we were boiling our seeds, a few questions started coming in on FB – where I’d been sharing videos.  So I figured a blog post was in order.  Which brings us up to date.  😉

Home made, roasted pumpkin seeds are my very favourite Halloween treat.  Candies, chips, chocolates may be nice…  but nothing beats the yummy crunch of pumpkin seeds done right.  And to be honest?  I find the process of harvesting the seeds, washing, boiling, drying, and roasting them to be very zen.  I just enjoy the whole thing, which only adds to their natural goodness.

Tonight we’ll cover the basics, and by the end you’ll be on your way to developing your own way of seasoning and enjoying home roasted pumpkin seeds.

We were rather grateful that Damon had purchased two great big pumpkins this year, as we discovered our first one was partially rotten inside – which meant we wouldn’t be harvesting anything from it.  It still made a good jack-o-lantern, but I wouldn’t have trusted anything to be edible.  Thankfully our second pumpkin had such a wealth of seeds that we’ll have as many from one pumpkin as we often get from two!

So, the obvious steps to this process:

  • harvest your seeds
  • wash your seeds

freshly harvested and washed pumpkin seeds

Now, this next step is the one that seemed to generate all the questions:

  • boil your seeds

Yes.  I boil my seeds.  I didn’t always though, and I had the same problems many people report when doing their own home roasting.  The seeds were tough, and inconsistent.  I started boiling them six or seven years ago now, and it makes a world of difference.  My pumpkin seeds are crispier, lighter, and more flavourful.  It’s definitely worth the extra step.

I use a medium sized sauce pan, and add a couple of inches of water.  Roughly enough to cover your seeds and allow for an extra inch or inch and a half of water.  Bring it to a boil and add your seeds.

This is also when I add my seasonings or spices.

We try something different almost every year.  It’s fun to experiment with different spices or seasonings.  This year we kept it pretty simple and went with a tablespoon of garlic powder a teaspoon of salt.  Seasoning salt works nice, and things like dill pickle popcorn seasonings are even pretty good.  Try taco blends too.  There are lots of options – I’ve yet to find a dud.  LOL

Click the links below to watch the progression of our seeds as they boil:

All told, they boiled for about 25 minutes.  You’ll notice the colour change, then keep boiling until most of the liquid is gone (the steam clouded the iPhone lens):

seasoned and boiled - pumpkin seeds

At this point you have two choices.  You can pop them directly in the oven (on a buttered, oiled, sprayed cookie sheet or on parchment paper)…  or you can dry them first.  If I know I’ll have time to babysit them I’ll often pop them in the oven.  Kid kid has a hard time having the patience needed to dry them out any other way.  So at 350 degrees it will be between an hour and an hour and a half – and do watch them carefully because cooking time varies.

We didn’t get started on the process until the evening (we usually start on them in the afternoon), so it means I get to do them up the leisurely way – which I prefer.  I spread them out on a sheet to dry, and then put the girl to bed.  Which is where we are now:

the boiled pumpkin seeds, spread on a cookie sheet to dry overnight

Tomorrow morning, when they’re nice and dry, I’ll pop them into the oven at 350 degrees for about fifteen minutes.  The house already smells yummy from having them boil, but tomorrow will smell even better as they roast.  I’ll pull them out to cool for a wee bit, and we’ll have my favourite treat.  Some we’ll bag up in a ziplock to keep in my bag as a treat for when we’re out and about and happen to feel snacky.  But most of them will get eaten before they have a chance to be bagged…  though…  I will stash away a small handful or two, just for me.  LOL

So that’s it!  That’s how you make the very best homemade roasted pumpkin seeds – from scratch.  Follow the steps I’ve outlined here, and they’ll be perfect, every time!

Joyous Samhain and Happy Halloween!

I Miss Friday Afternoons!

With Halloween parties, Samhain, and Yule all just around the corner it feels like I’ve got a million projects on the go.  I’ve got four costumes to put together (the girl needs two – one for our group theme, and one for trick or treating and school).  I’m also collaborating with someone on my Yule gift for Damon, and I’m in the planning stages for some holiday crafting.

Autumn has always (at least as far as I can remember) been my favourite time of year, and now that it is officially here I’m starting to feel like myself again – all the holiday crafting and planning definitely helps with that.  The last few weeks had been filled with a lot of anxiety.  This time of year never used to include sending my girl off to school, and I really miss having her around.  Now that we’re getting into a routine again, while I still miss her a ton, at least the stress of transition is over.

I have to admit, I really preferred kid-kid’s pre-k schedule to her kindergarten schedule.  Yeah, okay… so there isn’t a huge difference.  We’re on afternoons still, and Thursday is still early dismissal, but now she goes five days a week instead of four.  You have no idea how much I treasured our Friday afternoons – just the girl and I.

Fridays have been my favourite day of the week for a couple of years now.  Yeah, I like that Friday night is sleepover night and the girl is off at my parents place…  but even more than that?  I loved Friday afternoons.  It was the one day a week when the girl and I would spend a few hours baking or crafting or playing card games.  The mornings are filled with routines, getting ready for the day type of stuff and then getting lunch made.  Friday afternoons were all about the girl and I just doing something fun, for the sake of fun.  I really do miss that.

So I’m glad I’ve got holidays to plan for.  Things to sew.  Things to bake.  Things to create.  Things to make.  It keeps me busy and takes my mind off of Friday afternoons.  Not sure how exactly to fit those afternoons in anywhere else during the week, but I have to try something.  Chances are, if I’m missing them, the girl is too.

Blessed Samhain!

What a fabulous night.  Trick-or-Treating with the kid is absolutely epic.  She was so awesome.  I really am a super lucky mommy.  I feel doubly blessed to have a husband who is perfectly content with me putting candy out on the step, so that the three of us can spend Halloween together.  I have lots of pictures to edit and share…  but for now, will share one my sister took for us on Saturday (the night of Denyse’s annual get-together):

The Last Saskatchewan Pirates - Hanging Near the River Saskatchewan.

The Last Saskatchewan Pirates

 

As we enter this season of slumber, gather close those you treasure, share stories and food, and enjoy the quiet. Celebrate lives well lived, and remember well those who have already crossed to the other side.  Blessed Samhain!  …and a Happy Halloween too.

Happy New Year!

For those of you who celebrate based on the Celtic calendar, have a wonderful new year!  Together we enter the dark, but within it is the promise of light and new life.  Share your table, your harvest, and your cheer with those around you, and may you be blessed throughout this new year.

The wee girlie and I, being silly.

Peaceful Blessed Samhain!

I’m posting earlier in the day than usual, but there is much to do today, and I likely won’t have another chance to sit at the computer later.  I’m also cheating a little…  The picture I’m sharing is one from yesterday AND is one my mom took.  But I didn’t think anyone would mind.  😉

Cinderella and her mouse friends

Be safe and blessed while you celebrate Samhain tonight.

For those who celebrate Halloween, have a ton of fun.

For those who don’t celebrate the season, just enjoy your evening.

We celebrate Samhain, and have a little Halloween fun too.

Samhain (pronounced Sow-en) is the Celtic new year.  The celebration of the beginning of the dark half of the year.  It’s a festival of the bounty received from the years harvest, and a time of remembrance.  So say a prayer for those you have lost, and celebrate their lives, their love was a gift and this is the festival of thanks.  It’s not about ghouls and ghosts and vampires or the creepy things that make up the frivolity of Halloween…  but we enjoy that part of it too.  So get all dolled up, go out trick or treating, let out a witchy cackle, and then settle in, hold your family close, warm yourselves with a glass of hot cider, and remember the blessings of the past year.

Much love everyone!

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