Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

It’s fall y’all! And that means pumpkin everything! In our house, after the traditional carving of the pumpkins is done, I like to roast the seeds for snacking! (The pumpkins used where from our little trip to the Holland Farms Pumpkin Patch in a previous post.) Pumpkin seeds are great for you and you can try a variety of seasonings on them. I tried two different versions, one a little sweet and one a little salty. (Please excuse my poor photography skills, I snapped the pictures after the fact.)

IMG_0898Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

This first step needs to be done before any other seasonings are attempted. The seeds are very wet and need to be dried out before adding the flavoring.

Remove all the pulp from the seeds. Rinse and drain. Pat dry with a paper towel.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with wax paper and lightly spray with non-stick butter. In a single layer, add the pumpkin seeds. Roast for an hour. Transfer to a bowl.

  Honey Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

1 cup of seeds

1 tbsp. butter, melted

1/2 cup of honey

1 tbsp. molasses

Season Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix butter, honey, molasses, and salt in a large mixing bowl until combined. Add seeds, mixing until all seeds are coated. Place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, turning after about 7 minutes, or until browned. Seeds will harden as they sit, so don’t worry if they still seem sticky.

  The Everything Seeds:

2 cups of pumpkin seeds

1 Tbsp of butter, melted

1 Tbsp of olive oil

1/4 tsp of garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp cracked pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and oil together until well combined. Mix in pumpkin seeds. Add seasonings. In a single layer, on a foil lined baking sheet, bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.

Store seeds in airtight containers. Enjoy!

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Homemade Macaroni and Cheese Cups

Ah Mac n cheese. The ultimate comfort food. And a southern holiday staple I found out last Thanksgiving. Cheesy, gooey goodness covered pasta. Brings back memories of childhood. In a cold night, nothing feels more like home than macaroni and cheese. This version is slightly more grown up, but still a family favorite. 

  
Macaroni and Cheese:

1 lb. bag of elbow noodles

2 cups of milk

1/4 cup corn starch

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Pepper

Dash of paprika

Dash of cinnamon

Handful of Italian shredded cheese blend

2 handfuls of Colby/Monterey Jack cheese blend

Garlic and Herb bread crumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan with non-stick butter. Boil macaroni noodles until al dente. Drain; set aside.

In a saucepan on medium heat, mix milk and seasonings. Mix corn starch with enough hot water to make a liquid paste. Mix with milk mixture. Be careful to not let the milk scald, so keep heat on medium and stir frequently. The corn starch will help thicken up the sauce. Add in the cheese, reduce to low and let simmer until all ingredients have blender well. For cheesier sauce, just add more cheese!!

  
Mix sauce with drained noodles. Spoon into prepared muffin pan. 

   
Sprinkle bread crumbs on the tops of the Mac n cheese muffins. Bake for 15 minutes. 

Slide a knife around the edges to loosen, gently remove from pan and serve!

  
Kid tested and approved! 

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

Mexican food is not the same without a big bowl of chips! But what to do when you’re out of tortilla chips? Make your own! I use corn tortillas and they come out nice and crispy. Almost as good at the Cantina chips from our local favorite Mexican restaurant, because honestly those are just the best right?

  
Corn Tortilla Chips:

Corn tortillas

Non-stick spray butter

Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a pizza cutter, slice tortillas into triangles. 

  
Spray cookie sheet with butter. Add slices in one layer on cookie sheet. Spray again with butter and sprinkle with salt.

  
Bake for 10 minutes, flipping after 5 minutes. And viola! Crispy chips perfect for nachos, chips and salsa or whatever else you’re craving! We had ours with our Chicken Taco Bowls.

  
Enjoy!!!

Asian Lemon Glazed Chicken Tenders

I love chicken. It’s so versitale and can be used in so many recipes. And chicken tenders? Talk about kid-friendly! So to satisfy the inner child with a grown up version! Oven frying the chicken ensures all of the flavor with less fat, and the lemon glaze makes them finger-licking good!

Asian Lemon Glazed Chicken Tenders:

3-4 chicken breasts

3 cups Flour

1 cup Milk

1 Tbsp vinegar 

Pepper

Lemon Pepper Seasoning

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Dash of Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray pan with non stick butter spray. 

Mix flour and seasonings together. I don’t measure out the seasonings, I just dump as much as I want of each for flavor. 

Mix milk and vinegar together. Let sit 5 minutes. (You can also use just 1 cup of buttermilk) 

  Cut chicken breasts into strips. Dredge in the flour mixture to the milk back to the flour. 

  Put on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 min, turning once and baking for another 15 minutes. I spray the tops with the butter spray to add to the golden crust.

Move to a bowl and toss with glaze (recipe to follow). Serve with your choice of sides. 

Asian Lemon Glaze:

Lemon Jelly (can be found in the jam aisle)

Soy Sauce

Vinegar

Pepper

Honey

Dash of ginger

Mix jelly with soy sauce, 1 tbsp of vinegar, pepper, honey and ginger. Again, I’m horrible at measuring out. I just eyeball it and add what tastes good. 

   
 
Your kids (and the kid in you) will love it!!

Pan-Fried Porkchops with brown gravy over Southern Style Potatoes

There’s something magical about gravy doused pork chops. Especially in the South. Crisp crust on the pork chops, sitting atop a warm bed of southern style potatoes, bathing in rich brown gravy….yum! Now that your taste buds are begging for a treat, here’s the recipe!

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Pan fried Pork Chops:

4 large bone-in pork chops

Worcestershire sauce 

Soy Sauce

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Steakhouse seasonings 

Directions:

Marinade pork chops in liquid for about 30 minutes. Rub seasonings onto pork chops. 

  
Heat skillet to medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil. Cook chops 10 minutes on each side, or until done. 

Cook southern style potatoes according to the package. 

Mix brown gravy mix with drippings from the pork chops. Cook as directed. Sautéed mushrooms would be a great addition to the gravy.

Place a small mound of potatoes on a plate, add pork chop and top with gravy.

   
   
Enjoy!!

Grayton Beach, FL

Fall days in Florida are typically spent at the beach. Our Saturday was spent at one of America’s most beautiful beach, Grayton Beach State Park, FL. 

  
Sand dunes cover most of the state park, providing a barrier to the beach. Hidden in the dunes are birds and other creatures who call this place home.  

   
We started our trek along a one mile walking path that took us through Sand oaks, magnolia trees and pines. 

   
    
    
   
It was a gorgeous day once we hit the beach. The breeze had stopped and red tide hadn’t touched this portion of sugar sand.

Beach goers were sunbathing or walking along the crystal waters. The few brave ones ventured out into the cool waters to play along the waves or  walk the sand bar.

 

   
The afternoon was spent at Western Lake, kayaking in the brakish water. For kids never been on kayaks, they did a great job.

  

   
And we learned not to molest any alligators.

   
 
We finished our fall day with a perfect fall evening activity. 

 
A perfect ending to a perfect day.

Smothered Baked Potato with Mushroom Pork stew

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As it starts to cool down, a warm pot of stew just hits the spot. This recipe is great because I have the option to either add the potatoes to the stew or smother a baked potato with it. Since my kids tend to be picky, I gave them the stew on the side and I had mine over a baked potato. A very filling, very hardy fall meal.

Smothered Baked Potato with Mushroom Pork Stew

5-6 Baking Potatoes (Depending on the number of people you are cooking for)

2lbs pork for stew meat

2 tbsp. Paprika

1 tbsp. Garlic Powder

1 tbsp. Onion Powder

1 tsp. Pepper

1 lb. Sliced Mushrooms

4 whole tomatoes, diced

1/2 chicken broth

1/3 cup of Sour Cream

Salt for flavor

Directions for Baked Potato:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Clean potatoes and poke holes to help steam escape. Microwave for 5-10 minutes or until slightly soft. Place on a baking sheet, spray with butter non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt (or if using Sea Salt, roll the potatoes). Bake for another 10 minutes or until soft.

Mushroom Pork Stew:

I cut the larger pork pieces into smaller bit size pieces. Place in a bowl and mix seasonings. Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add a little bit of oil to brown the pork in. Cook for 10 minutes or until browning. Remove pork from pan. 

Add mushrooms. Saute until slightly firm and browned. I heavily pepper my mushrooms when cooking. Add more oil as needed. Remove when finished.

Lightly sprinkle the tomatoes with salt.  Add to pan with 1/2 cup of chicken broth.

Simmer until tomatoes have cooked down, about 10 minutes.

Add back in the mushrooms and pork. Let simmer on low for another 10 minutes. Add a tablespoon of corn starch to hot water to make a paste. Mix in the last 2 minutes of cooking. It helps thicken up the sauce.

Remove from heat. Add in sour cream and mix until blended.

Split open the potato, top with stew and cheese if desired.  

A perfect Monday night meal that is easy and filling. My own twist on a great comfort food dish!

Seaside Musing

  As much as I love to travel, having a quiet Sunday in my own town is the best. Panama City Beach was overrun with Pirates this weekend, and we celebrated the ending of the invasion watching the sun set over Capt. Anderson’s Marina and the fireworks show. 

   
The pirates have landed!

 
It was a perfect Sunday evening. Fall breeze, fish coming into the market, and boats bobbing in their stalls. Fireworks lit up the sky, perhaps a spirit or two was released? 

 
All in all, a perfect night with my family. I’m truly lucky to live here.

   
 Happy Sunday y’all!

English Muffin Pizzas

Friday nights mean family fun night. And what’s more family friendly than pizza? Especially when the kids get to make it themselves! Here’s a kid-tested, kid-approved recipe!

  

English Muffin Pizzas:

Package of English Muffins

Pizza Sauce

Toppings; pepperoni, Canadian Bacon, pineapple, olives, etc.

Italian Blend Cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice muffins open. Top with sauce and your choice of pizza toppings. Finish off with the cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, until heated through and cheese melts.

  My kids made them themselves, which made family time more enjoyable. The best thing with this recipe is being able to try many different options. Have fun and enjoy!

Sausage, Mushroom, and Egg Scramble

It’s goes without saying that eggs are pretty much a staple for breakfast (or breakfast for dinner!) and I am extremely picky on how I like my eggs. I am not a huge scramble egged fan, especially restaurant style scrambled eggs, but my kids beg for them. So, I add in a few ingredients and viola, I have a scramble that is tasty, filling, and full of protein!

While I know scrambled eggs are a no-brainer in how you cook them, I take a little extra time with mine.

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Sausage, Mushroom, and Egg Scramble:

1lb. Sausage (I use the maple, but any flavor will do)

1 lb. Mushrooms

6-8 Eggs

1/2 cup milk

Directions:

Preheat pan on medium heat. Brown sausage and partially drain; set aside. With the left over grease from the sausage, saute the mushrooms. I usually pepper mine up pretty good while cooking, but that is a personal preference. After mushrooms have soften; usually 5-10 minutes with frequent stirring, set aside.

Beat eggs together with milk until smooth. Let rest 2 minutes. Add to pan, scramble until cooked through. I do each ingredient separately to insure the eggs are cooked through and not gooey. Mix sausage, mushrooms and eggs together.

My kids top with cheese, I just add extra pepper. This went great with our French Toast Sticks! This is also a great meal for those trying to elimanate carbs but still have some flavor in their meals.

The great thing with a simple recipe like this, is that you can add whatever veggies and meats into it. For a more Mexican flair, add chorizo, peppers and jalapenos; top with cheese and salsa. Use your imagination and have fun!