Sunday, October 21, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

October is my favorite month of the year, because it means Halloween is coming! Halloween is my favorite holiday! the decorations, the smells, the fun foods, the parties - its all just a wonderful time!

The other day we had a pumpkin carving night at our house! Caveman and I hosted and invited his brother and little sister over to carve pumpkins with us. 4 large pumpkins around 1 table! It was a fun time! The best part was the bonding over something fun and not just sitting in front of the TV zoning out and ignoring each other.
The 4 pumpkins! (Ours are the two in the middle: Tardis and Face Hugger)
Other than the fun, and mess, that comes with carving pumpkins, I love this time because of the seeds! Roasted pumpkin seeds are one of my favorite fall treats! For the last couple of years, we haven't had a pumpkin because we've always been moving in October, so this is the first time we've had a pumpkin and pumpkin seeds since our first year together! Roasting pumpkin seeds is easy to do and once they are done, they are delicious to eat!
Pumpkin Seeds
Olive Oil
Kosher salt
Cayenne Pepper
The first thing you need to do is thoroughly rinse the pumpkin seeds and ensure all the pulp is removed. Once that is done, it is best to lay the seeds out on a backing tray, single layer, and let them dry over night. Now that you have a bunch of dry seeds, its time to combine the ingredients in a large bowl. I like to use 1 teaspoon of olive oil for every cup of seeds that you have. once the seeds are lightly coated with olive oil, add the seasonings of your choice. I like a little kosher salt and some cayenne pepper! Gives a bit of a kick and warms up the body, perfect on those cold Fall days! You can use any kind of seasoning you prefer. 4 Pumpkins yielded us over 7 cups of pumpkin seeds!

Once you've coated the seeds and dashed them with your favorite seasoning, place them on a baking sheet win tin foil over it. Make sure the seeds are laid in a single layer and not doubled up, for proper cooking. Next, bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Before long your house will smell like the delicious spices you used to coat the seeds!
the left over seeds after cooking 2 larger batches!
When you are baking the seeds, be sure to let them cool completely. Then, store them in an airtight container. 
One of 3 containers we filled!
Delicious fall-time snack! Always a favorite of mine this time of year and now it provides an excellent mid day snack while I'm at work! Let me know if the comments below what kind of seasonings you like to use on roasted pumpkin seeds!

Peace and Good JuJu,

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Chicken

Bacon! Who doesn't love bacon? Well - to be completely honest, I'm not the biggest fan of bacon. However, I have found some meals that make bacon the perfect complement to an amazing meal! And a big hit at my house is Bacon Wrapped Chicken! 

I love this recipe so much that I've tried a variety of different pairings with it! I can honestly say that there is no wrong way to pair this item! Its delicious with everything! So let's get cookin'!
Chicken breasts cut in thirds (think of chicken tender size)
Bacon slices
Salt and Pepper
Garlic Powder
Chili Powder
Brown Sugar
Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degree. I like to cover a sheet pan with aluminum foil and then spray lightly with an olive oil spray.

Next, you will cut the chicken breasts into tender sized pieces. Generally that means cutting the chicken breast into 3 slices. Once its all sliced up, season the chicken with a dash of salt and pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder.

Now, you will wrap a bacon slice around each piece of chicken. If you need to, cut the bacon slices in half. I find it is sometimes easier to do this if the chicken piece is small. After it is wrapped up, roll the combo in some brown sugar and place on your sheet pan. Sprinkle a little brown sugar over the top, but only if you missed a spot originally. Too much brown sugar can be a bad thing in this case!

Now, bake your bacon wrapped chicken at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Make sure your chicken is cooked thoroughly and the bacon is brown and crispy!

I serve this with a salad, mashed potatoes, pasta, or even some brown rice and veggies. It all depends on your mood for the evening! So give a try for yourself and tell me how you like it!

Peace and Good JuJu,

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How to plan a wedding in 28 days!

While not ideal, it is possible to plan a wonderful wedding in just 28 days!

As I stated in an earlier blog, on Friday July 28th during the 6:30am walk to the bus station so we could go to work, Pre-Hubby turned to me and asked "So, you think you could find a wedding dress in a month?" and the ball started rolling! There were factors that went into making this quick decision (and no, i'm not pregnant!) but I don't regret it one bit! Before I got to work at 7:30 we had picked a date, made a tentative plan, called my mom, called some of his family, and started the process of planning a wedding!

And the most difficult of all the planning? The Venue. Since we were originally planning a wedding for a year from now, we had chosen a venue that wasn't cheap, but also wasn't super expensive like most places. It was beautiful and on the water. As soon as we bumped the date up, that venue went right out the window. Why? 2 reasons:
  1. The venue was almost $1000 to rent for 5 hours. Planning a wedding in 28 days, when we had just nearly drained our savings to move 2 weeks prior, left us with maybe $1000 for the WHOLE event.
  2. It was already booked! Duh - people book these places a year in advance!
So, I resorted to plan B - a beautiful park near the water. It shouldn't be that hard to find a park that has a covered picnic area and a small bit of privacy for us to throw a quick ceremony and enjoy time with family. With so many options available, I figured I'd find just want I needed in no time. WRONG! I called at least 10 different city park offices and looked up/researched/questioned over 100 different parks from Mukilteo all the way to Lakewood. Boy was it hard! Most places were booked all day or all day except for 1-2 hours. and that just wouldn't do.

I kept my bestie updated with all my struggles in finding a park and she reminded me of a beautiful park in Steilacoom that she had looked at with her sister-in-law when she was was planning her wedding. I knew it was a bit of a drive from where we live (about 2 hours) but in relation to most of the people that would be coming, it was a great location. When I called and asked if it was open for the morning (I originally wanted a wedding at 11am) I was told they were booked. I started to get discouraged until she said "But the location is available from 5pm until the park closes at 10pm"..... Really? I know it is in the evening, but its RIGHT on the beach and its beautiful and its open?! AND... its only $80 for the rental?? SOLD!

This whole process took about 4 days to complete. From calling all the places, researching options, finding the right one, and then having Pre-hubby drive all the way down to the venue to check it out and pay the deposit. The best part was that when he got to the location - he LOVED it!

And then it became real! there was no turning back! We'd locked down a venue and the rest would just fall in to place.... sorta!

That's all for this week! Next week - the dress! And man was it a gorgeous dress!

Have a great day everyone!

Peace and Good JuJu,