Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pumpkins are On Sale!

It's Fall Fun!

All righty... Halloween is over but the pumpkin patches are still bursting with pumpkins. It doesn't matter why... the main thing is that fresh pumpkins are ON SALE!

Note: If you don't have a pumpkin patch near you... the grocery will work!

Okay... you have picked out a pumpkin and the kids are going to learn some old-fashioned "punkin' stuff!" A lot of kids these days think that pumpkins are just for carving... not! Let's get started... we're going to make homemade Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

You'll need:
  • a cookie sheet
  • vegetable oil
  • salt
  • the cleaned and dried pumpkin seeds
First of all, cut that pumpkin open and clean out all of the seeds. Yep, let the kids use their hands. Cut the pumpkin itself into slices and pop them in a zippy bag (or two or three, depending on the size of your pumpkin!). Put the pumpkin in the fridge for "more with pumpkin" coming later...

Stop and preheat the oven at 250 degrees so it will be ready when the seeds are!

Using a colander (or two) let the kids go to the sink and wash the seeds really good. Then have them pat the seeds dry with paper towels (if it were me, I'd let them use old terry kitchen towels as they work much faster and aren't as messy!).

Let the kids put a light coat of vegetable oil on a cookie sheet. An easy way to do this is to have them measure out a small amount of oil in a small (as in very small) bowl. Show them how to dip a folded paper towel into the oil and smear it all over the pan. Is that fun or what? And it doesn't make a mess!

Now it's time to spread the pumpkin seeds evenly over the cookie sheet. Make sure that there aren't big clumps of seeds... hey, keep your hands off the cookie sheet... let the kids do it! (Yep, this is the hard part :-D... )!

If they want salted seeds, then have them measure out the salt and sprinkle the seeds with salt. Otherwise, they can put the seeds in a paper bag after they are roasted, add the salt and shake it up!

Bake the pumpkin seeds for about 15 minutes. As the "adult helper" you get to stir the seeds so they don't burn and put them back in the oven. Watch them closely... the kids will be prompting you... for another 10-15 minutes until the seeds are golden brown. They're done!

Cool the seeds for a great, fun and very healthy snack. The kids are going to want to share them with their little friends and you can be sure they'll be saying, "look what I did!" The pride in preparing healthy food will become addictive for your child... could there be a better addiction?

Happy Cooking,
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach

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