butternut & sage crackers

I’ve been looking forward to experimenting with this one for a while now, waiting until an appropriately autumnal time. My husband and I have always grown butternut in our gardens (as I noted in last week’s primal pumpkin spice muffin post, they are as vigorous as they are delicious). In the good ol’ days (when buying bananas at a grocery store seemed a little colonial and gluttonous) we were more loyal locavores, and relied on the sweet hearty squashes to help feed us through the winter. I would slice the neck across into a series of 1/2 thick circles, line them in a glass baking dish, and chop a couple fistfuls of fresh sage. I would spread the sage on the top along with sea salt, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil, baking until the edges of the circles (the skin) was crunchy and the interior soft and creamy.  That warmth, aroma, and flavor was what I wanted to replicate in cracker form. These come close, and the curry I added (just because) really comes through. A slight creaminess is courtesy of that mysterious property of a good butternut to resemble, well, butter.

#vegan #gluten-free #vitaminA

Ingredients:  locally grown butternut squash, organic millet, organic flax seeds, organic raw sunflower seeds, organic apple cider vinegar, filtered water, organic dates, locally grown apples, himalayan pink salt,  fresh sage, organic curry

zukerdoodles

Sometimes, you just really want a cookie. Something warming and chewy and crunchy and flavorful all at the same time. And sometimes, if you are me, you cannot resist trying to screw up a perfectly good thing by making it with vegetables and without grain.  This one took a bit of experimenting, but, as luck would have it, these ended up being delicious: a nutritious snickerdoodle packed with zucchini, sunflower, and hemp seeds. The seeds add a creamy “nuttiness” that pairs well with zucchini, which also has a way of tasting nutty. Instead of rolling them in sugar (one of my favorite holiday kitchen tasks as a little girl), I created a blend of dried date powder and cinnamon.

Ingredients: organic zucchini, organic raw sunflower seeds, organic dates, organic coconut flour, raw hemp seeds, organic coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla extract, sea salt, organic cinnamon  

sunshine carrot cookies

If you’ve ever traveled with a toddler on a group vacation, then you might be familiar with the need to explore a new area much earlier in the morning than you might otherwise want to.  Last week, my husband and I flew to Oregon, where we drove to a nice spot along the Deschutes River for a family reunion of about 18 folks on my mother-in-law’s side. Our bodies loyally remained on East Coast time until, conveniently enough, the day we were flying home. Our son’s body seemed slowest to acclimate, as he was up between 5 and 6 every morning, when my still-sleeping brother-in-law would mumble at him groggily from under a pillow on the fold-out couch when reduntantly asked “what’s Uncle Bobbins doing? Is he sleeping? Is he sleeping?” On the second morning, we attempted to mitigate this kind of irritation by hightailing it to Bend, about 15 miles to the north, where we found very little open at 7 am. Except, that is, Sarah’s Raw & Vegan Cafe, a hidden jem in the back of a chiropractic office that offered a slew of different medicinal smoothies, a bunch of old toys, crayons, and (seriously) a sandbox out back. Perfect.

Not one for sweets so early in the day, my inner child was nevertheless wooed by the prospect of a snickerdoodle– curious what a raw and vegan version would taste like. What is a snickerdoodle without a generous coating of granulated sugar and cinnamon, anyway? At $3 a pop, finding an answer was a bit of an investment.  Fifteen dollars later, I had tried every flavor she offered, and quickly decided I would attempt a nut-free version as soon as I got home.  I even made a visit back the next day to buy a large stash for the flight home, and you can rightly surmise than none of them lasted long enough to see the inside of an airport, or get caught on camera.  I guess I was concerned with the more practical matter of taking home the list of ingredients.

Of course, I had to try to find a way to get some veggies in my version, and had acquired a large bag of small carrots from Elena Day (of Elena Day’s Pies & Produce) the day before our trip. So I revisited an old “carrot cake cookie” recipe attempted from This Rawsome Vegan Life (which is a rather inspiring site, by the way, if you have enough bandwidth to load and scroll past the zillion of food-porny photos accompanying each recipe– you know, in order to actually GET to the recipe?).  I did not manage to achieve the same perfectly crumbly texture that Sarah did (I think I that might require limiting the vegetable content and using more dry sweetener), but the result for these cookies is a crunchy exterior and a moist, chewy interior.  Fionn loves them and can eat several in a sitting, which is a lot for him!

Ingredients: local carrots, organic raw sunflower seeds, filtered water, organic dates, organic coconut flour, organic flax seeds, raw hemp seeds, organic coconut oil, sea salt, vanilla extract, organic cinnamon, organic ginger, organic nutmeg

#raw, #vegan, #paleo

 

 

Millet & Fig Crackers with Rosemary

These crackers were inspired by the Millet Crackers featured in Ruth Yaron’s Super Baby Food (page 509). As I gushed in my recent book review, I adore the book’s simple, practical language, and brief, to-the-point recipes. Of course, this recipe absolutely fails to uphold the simplicity principle, as her recipe instructions are a mere three and a half lines while mine are at least, um, well, just see for yourself. Crackers are a fickle art; what can I say? In any case, I found this to be a successful experiment in adding essential fatty acids, protein, salt, and sweet without crystalline or liquid sweeteners, nuts, or gluten. A groggy post-nap Fionn gobbled several after sneaking them from the still-warm cookie sheet on top of the oven. Enjoy (and thanks, Ruth)!

Millet & Fig Crackers with Rosemary
Serves 16
A crunchy, sweet, nutty cracker with pepitas, figs, and rosemary.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
92 calories
12 g
8 g
4 g
2 g
2 g
29 g
76 g
1 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
29g
Servings
16
Amount Per Serving
Calories 92
Calories from Fat 35
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
6%
Saturated Fat 2g
10%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 8mg
3%
Sodium 76mg
3%
Total Carbohydrates 12g
4%
Dietary Fiber 2g
8%
Sugars 1g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
1%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup raw millet
  2. 3/4 cup pepitas
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 cup hot water
  5. 4 dried figs
  6. 4 tablespoons butter
  7. 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
Instructions
  1. Remove any stem pieces from dried figs and cut each in half. Place the halves in a glass or metal measuring cup and add 1/2 cup hot water. Add the butter so it can melt. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Grind millet and pepitas in a blender (I use a Nutribullet) until a coarse powder consistency. Place this powder in a medium bowl and add the salt. Then crush the dried rosemary with your hands as you add it to the bowl, stirring everything until thoroughly combined.
  3. Blend the fig/water/butter mixture in a blender until the figs are pretty well blended (some small chunks are okay, but nothing larger than a pea).
  4. Combine the fig slurry with the dry ingredients, stirring thoroughly until the dough is a thick and just a little sticky. With oiled hands, roll into a two equally-sized firm balls, then flatten them to about 1 inch thick.
  5. Put them them back in the bowl, cover with a cloth, and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  6. Roll out a large sheet of parchment paper (at least 2 feet long) and place one of the dough balls in the center. Fold the parchment over the ball and then continue to roll it out to about 1/8 inch thick. Trim off jagged edges and score the rolled dough into 1 by 2 inch rectangles. Delicately move this sheet over to a cookie sheet.
  7. Add the trimmed dough to the second ball and repeat step 7. For any additional jagged edges, you can flatten then into cracker pieces with your hands or roll them into balls and let your kiddo taste-test them.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take the crackers out of the oven and spread them out on the sheet, flipping each over to make sure they cook evenly. Turn off the oven and put the cookie sheets back in the oven, setting a timer for 5 minutes. Check them at this point, removing all the crackers except those that still seem too soft in the middle, putting them back in the warm oven for up to 5 additional minutes.
  9. Let them cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. This recipe will yield about 80 1 by 2 inch crackers. I estimate a toddler serving to be about 5 crackers.
beta
calories
92
fat
4g
protein
2g
carbs
12g
more
Adapted from Millet Crackers from Super Baby Food (p. 509)
http://goodphytefoods.com/

Savory Spinach & Seed Crackers

For the second day of this week’s snack duty, I was infected with both a premature preoccupation with St. Patrick’s Day and a craving for greenness. I can only chalk these urges up to cumulative Vitamin D deficiency. Thus, spinach and shamrocks were nonnegotiable. In researching other spinach crackers, I was disappointed with the dull spectrum of greens characterizing the final products, so I tried a couple tricks- blanching the spinach (which sort of “locks in” nutrients and mitigates color fade by stopping enzymatic action) and combining sunflower seeds with a tiny bit of baking soda, which leverages the same reaction as the Oscar the Grouch Cookies.

"Raw" shamrocks, before baking
“Raw” shamrocks, before baking

Since the Butterfly Beet Crackers made previously this week were a little sweet (but not sweet enough, actually, since I think kids expecting a butterfly shaped cookie felt duped), I risked full-on savory with these shamrocks, playing with cumin and paprika. Olive oil is the only thing making these nonpaleo, technically, so the purists out there can sub lard or coconut oil. Of course, they are much easier to make into squares or triangles (which makes them look like chips), so I would only go the shamrock route if you have plenty of time and an acute need to woo an Irishman. Feel free to adjust the spices and use some different herbs to suit your (or your favorite Irishperson’s) fancy.

Savory Spinach & Seed Crackers
Serves 20
A deep green, grain-free cracker that pairs well with fresh salsa or a creamy cheese dip. Packed with spinach and essential fatty acids.
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108 calories
5 g
0 g
9 g
3 g
1 g
33 g
220 g
1 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
33g
Servings
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 108
Calories from Fat 78
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 220mg
9%
Total Carbohydrates 5g
2%
Dietary Fiber 3g
14%
Sugars 1g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
22%
Vitamin C
8%
Calcium
4%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup ground golden flax seed
  2. 1 cup sunflower seeds
  3. 1/4 cup chia seeds
  4. 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  6. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 4 tablespoons olive oil
  10. 8 ounces fresh spinach leaves (about 8 cups coarsely chopped). You can also use 1+ cup frozen spinach, as it is already blanched. You want to end up with 1 cup pureed spinach.
  11. 1/2 peeled orange
Instructions
  1. Combine sunflower seeds, flax seeds in a food processor (I used a Nutribullet) until crumbly but not super fine. Put the contents into a medium bowl, and set aside the food processor as you will use it again and don't need to clean it out.
  2. Add garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and baking soda to the ground seeds, and whisk thoroughly to combine.
  3. Add an inch of water to a steaming pot and put the fresh spinach in a steaming basket. It will look like a lot, but cook down. Turn the stove eye on to medium heat, add the lid, and let the spinach steam until just wilted and bright green, about 5 minutes. Do not let it turn to mush. As soon as it's hot, green, and wilted, remove the basket and plunge it into a bowl of ice water for 1 minute.
  4. Retrieve the cooked leaves from the water and put them in the food processor with the half of an orange and olive oil. Purée until very smooth.
  5. Add the green purée to the seed/spice mixture, using a little spatula to get it all out of the processor and off the blades.
  6. Combine thoroughly, kneading any remaining bits into the dough by hand, making sure to work in any clumps of seeds. You want a thick ball of dough, so only add 1 teaspoon or so of water (preferably the water remaining from the steaming) if necessary.
  7. Divide dough in half and shape each into a ball. Place both balls on a large sheet of parchment paper (big enough to cover a cookie sheet) and flatten each into 1 inch-thick square. You may find it helpful to refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow dough to firm up before rolling. Once dough has chilled, heat oven to 350°F.
  8. Working with one ball at a time, roll out one ball of dough on the parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness (but no thinner!) and, using a knife or pizza wheel, cut into whatever shape you like, as long as it's consistent. Squares or triangles would work fine, but I used a shamrock cookie cutter for the sake of St. Patrick's Day, which required using a spatula to transfer to another lined sheet. Uniformity is important to assure even baking, so just make sure each baking sheet contains only squares, or only shamrocks, etc.
  9. Once cut, separate the pieces on the parchment-lined baking sheet so that they are at least 1/2 inch apart.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes and turn the oven off. Flip the pieces upside down on the sheet so that the bottoms don't brown too much, and return to the warm oven for another 8-10 minutes until they are crisp but not browning. Remove from oven and cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. Makes about 75-80 1.5 by 1.5 inch crackers, approximately 4-5 cups.
beta
calories
108
fat
9g
protein
3g
carbs
5g
more
http://goodphytefoods.com/

Oscar the Grouch Cookies

He loves cold weather, stinky things, and loud noises. Who better to celebrate the transition from February to March than Oscar the Grouch? Fur matted with please-I don’t even-want-to-know, is he really not such a bad guy? If you don’t fully appreciate the contrarian that is Oscar, then you can call these Crocodile Nuggets.

If you are familiar with baking using sunflower butter or meal (I wasn’t), then you are probably well aware of the emerald result when chlorogenic acid reacts with baking soda. Chlorogenic acid is present in the stems and leaves of most plants, but peculiarly also in the seeds of sunflowers. This cookie takes advantage of it!

I am going to continuing playing around with this recipe to enhance it. I learned a valuable lesson in the course of modifying the original recipe, which is that sometimes, I need to leave well enough alone. I tried my hand at Against All Alligator Surprise Cookies_InsideGrain’s N’Oatmeal Raisin St. Patrick’s Day Cookies, and ended up with something soft, creamy, sweet and delicious, in addition to being bright green on the inside (see photo to the right). Then I decided that if it was going to be green anyway, wasn’t it disingenuous to NOT contain some kind of leafy vegetable?  I tried a version with spinach, then with chard. They were equally delicious, but a less vibrant green throughout. The recipe below includes that veggie infusion, but as you can see, the cookies are a dimmer, “Oscar” shade of green throughout, even textured a bit like his fur. Still surprisingly creamy and moist. If you want a version that is deceivingly brown and cookie-like on the outside and bright green on the inside, though, go with the Against All Grain recipe.  I will update this if I can manage to retain the emerald illusion WITH the greens.

 

Oscar the Grouch Cookies
Yields 12
These nuggets are better than they look. Due to the reaction between baking soda and the chlorogenic acid in sunflower seeds, the interior of these cookies will turn green after cooling, which makes for a nice surprise for kids. The sunbutter makes them creamy and just sweet enough.
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Cook Time
16 min
Cook Time
16 min
170 calories
23 g
16 g
8 g
3 g
2 g
67 g
124 g
17 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
67g
Yields
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 170
Calories from Fat 71
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
13%
Saturated Fat 2g
9%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 16mg
5%
Sodium 124mg
5%
Total Carbohydrates 23g
8%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 17g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
5%
Vitamin C
3%
Calcium
3%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 large egg
  2. 3 tablespoons hot water
  3. ½ cup unsweetened sunbutter
  4. 6 medium pitted dates
  5. ½ apple, with skin
  6. 3/4 cup chopped spinach (about 1/3 cup purée)
  7. 1 tablespoon honey
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. ½ cup finely shredded coconut
  10. ¼ cup coconut flour
  11. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  12. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  13. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  14. 1/3 cup dried currants
  15. 1/4 cup pepitas
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the halved, pitted dates into a glass or metal measuring cup and pack down. Add the hot water and let sit 5 minutes.
  3. Combine the egg, sunbutter, greens, applesauce, vanilla extract, and dates (with their liquid) in a food processor. Process for about a minute until smooth.
  4. In medium bowl, measure out and combine the coconut, coconut flour, ground flax, arrowroot flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Stir until fully incorporated.
  5. Add the purée mixture to the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine.
  6. Add the currants and stir to incorporate. Let the mixture sit just a couple minutes so the coconut flour can absorb a little of the moisture.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Each cookie should be about 2-3 bites in size. Gently flatten tops of cookies with a spatula. Add a few sunflower seeds to the top of each cookie for decoration.
  8. Bake for 16 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Cookies will turn green once cooled and will continue to get a deeper green after 2 hours.
Notes
  1. This makes between 24-26 "three bite" cookies. The nutritional information assumes a toddler serving of 2 cookies.
Adapted from Against All Grain
beta
calories
170
fat
8g
protein
3g
carbs
23g
more
Adapted from Against All Grain
http://goodphytefoods.com/

‘Love Train’ Beet & Rosemary Crackers

Remember those flimsy baseball card-sized paper valentines kids used to bring to everyone in your elementary school class out of obligatory, parent-enforced egalitarianism? In fact, do you remember Lisa Simpson’s regrettable decision to give Ralph Wiggum an “I Choo-Choo Choose You” card? If not, here is a 5 second clip on YouTube that was obviously recorded by someone standing in front of their television screen. Ah, the 90s!

In keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme this week, I wanted to use beets in a more savory finger-friendly context than the might-as-well-be-cupcakes ‘Love Bites’ Beet Muffins I posted a few days ago. Inspired by Daily Bites’ Beet & Rosemary crackers, I gladly nabbed some sprigs from our monster rosemary bush and played around with a nut-free version that also beefed up the beet content. Consequently, the result is darker in color and rich in sunflower and flax seed goodness. It’s grain and sweetener free, and would pair well with hummus or any dip that your little one fancies. You could use coconut oil instead of olive oil if you want a purely paleo version.

I had recently acquired a few new cookie cutters from a thrift store, so made both regaular rectangular crackers with this recipe as well as some choo-choos, just to see if it made a difference in toddler-receptivity. The recipe below is the simpler, standard rectangle version. You’re welcome!

Of course, without the train, you’ll need to make a new name for them, like “Flamingo Biscuits,” or “Vampire Blood Crackers,” or “Purple Princess Crackers,” depending on the interests of your little one at the moment.

 

'Love Train' Beet and Rosemary Crackers
Yields 20
This recipe yields about 80 1 inch by 1.5 inch crackers.
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
110 calories
6 g
0 g
9 g
4 g
1 g
29 g
185 g
1 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
29g
Yields
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 110
Calories from Fat 76
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 185mg
8%
Total Carbohydrates 6g
2%
Dietary Fiber 4g
14%
Sugars 1g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
3%
Iron
5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup steamed chopped beets
  2. 4 tablespoons water remaining from steaming beets
  3. 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. 1 cup golden flax seed
  6. 1 1/2 cups sunflower seeds
  7. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  8. 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder (optional)
  9. 1 teaspoon sea salt (fine)
  10. 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  11. 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (for decorating)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the sunflower seeds and flax seeds. Pulse until a coarse meal forms.
  3. Add the rosemary, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Pulse until everything is a fine meal. Remove mixture and place into a medium sized bowl. Do not wash the processor bowl.
  4. Drain the beets, reserving any liquid, which should be a deep magenta. Add the drained beets
  5. the to the food processor, along with the 4 tablespoons of the reserved beet cooking liquid, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil to the food processor. Process until the beets are pretty thoroughly pureed.
  6. Use a spatula to scoop out the beet mixture, adding it to the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until everything is combined, and a ball of dough begins to form.
  7. Pat the dough into a rectangular shape on a large piece of parchment paper, using generously oiled hands. Top with another sheet of parchment paper and roll out to about 1/8-inch thick rectangular shape. Transfer the dough, parchment paper and all, to a baking sheet. Remove the top piece of parchment and sprinkle a tiny bit of coarse sea salt on top (if salt's your fancy). Trim any jagged edges off with a knife or pizza cutter and save it for another round of rolling. Using the knife or pizza cutter, score the dough into cracker shapes, depending on whether you prefer a square or rectangle.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until firm to the touch and light brown around the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven off. Separate the crackers along the pre-cut lines and space them out a little bit on the baking sheet so the air can circulate around them. Place the pan back in the hot oven for 5 minutes (longer if, like me, you only managed to roll them to somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inch). This step helps to crisp up the crackers a little more.
  9. After 5 minutes, remove the crackers from the oven and cool completely. I wait at least a couple hours and preferably overnight just to be safe.Crackers will continue to crisp up as they cool.
  10. Store in an airtight container after they are completely cooled.
Notes
  1. Nutritional information assumes a toddler serving of about 4 crackers.
Adapted from Daily Bites Blog
beta
calories
110
fat
9g
protein
4g
carbs
6g
more
Adapted from Daily Bites Blog
http://goodphytefoods.com/

A Funeral for a Deflated Pumpkin

If you happen to know anyone buried at Arlington National Cemetery, then you know that part of the “honor” is a long, long line.  Loved ones in mourning wait months between death and the ceremonial funeral to actually take place.  In that spirit (or one of utter laziness), I let our uncarved autumn pumpkin slowly rot for nearly four months on the front stoop. Every time I walked in and out of the house, I would think, “I really need to do something about that thing. It’s hideous.  The next rain will reduce it to an organgelatinous (wow; I just made a word!) slurry on which to slip and break my hip.”  I don’t always think in rhyme, but something about the sunshine on this February afternoon but a spring in my step, and I finally got around to giving our once festive-and-contextual pumpkin a proper funeral.  By that I mean that I gingerly lifted it by its soft underbelly, plopped it in a bucket, and walked it around back to the compost pile, where I proceeded to eviscerate it aggressively, scooping the seeds from the somehow-still-bright-orange innards. The yield was commendable, and I patted my now-stained hands on my back at my resourcefulness.

If you’ve looked at more than a couple of the recipes on this site, you know that I love pumpkins. If anyone loves her beta carotene, it’s me, and I hoard our garden’s butternut in the basement until April, breaking one or two out for a special occasion, when I’m sick of sweet potatoes, or kubochas (my favorite) are hard to find. Kubochas have a dense, dry flesh which, even after fully baked, will hold into cubes for inclusion in a frittata without getting all sloppy, as a butternut can do.  Seminole pumpkins (a recent staple in our house) are somewhere between a Kubocha and a butternut. But I digress. Decorative pumpkins, on the other hand, have a generally insipid flesh, and aren’t really worth eating. But I was determined to salvage something of the sad little guy, and set about toasting the seeds. After rinsing a couple times, letting soak in saltwater an hour, and then draining before spreading on a baking pan covered in melted coconut oil, a little more coarse sea salt, black pepper, and chipotle poweder, I put them in the toaster oven (on 400F), and scuttled back to my computer. It is a work day, after all.

Wouldn’t you know? 400F was too high, and 15 minutes too long.  If I had to do it all over? I would have added some sage leaves, kept the temperature to 350F, and gotten off my butt to check and turn them after 10 minutes.  At least the worms in the compost bin will get a proper feast fitting of a wake.