Pumpkin Aren’t Just For Carving

Don’t just carve your pumpkins this year – eat the seeds too!

See our feature on Lohud.com: Small Bites to find out how:

A fun, easy and messy recipe to make with your kids –

Curry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

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Harvesting pumpkin seeds

 

A Ninja in a Shopping Bag

When I asked Liam what he was going to be for Halloween this year he proudly pronounced “a Fairway bag!” Clearly I have been dragging this child grocery shopping too much. Not that it is a bad thing; I think it’s important our kids have a vote in some of the food we buy.

I admit, I also love all the free samples we get when I drag them with me. The people working the deli counters are always handing us slices of something. At some stores we get more elaborate fare from the prepared food section, shrimp, and chicken, whatever they see the boys point at. Matthew’s favorite is the lox counter. Liam and Dylan are more cheese guys. I usually plan to take them around noon and by the time we have reached the register lunch is done – and no dishes to wash!

This week I am cooking a dish we recently tried from the prepared food section, lemon chicken. The store version got mixed reviews; let’s see if they like my version.

Lemon Chicken

Ingredients:

1 lb. boneless chicken breast

1 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt, divided

1/2 tsp black pepper, divided

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1-cup chicken broth

1/2 lemon, cut into thin slices

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp capers, drained

1 Tbsp dried parsley

 

Directions:

Cut the chicken breasts into small bite size pieces, season with the salt and pepper. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and season it with the remaining salt and pepper. Toss in the chicken and coat with the flour, shaking off any excess.

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Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook about 2-3 minutes per side until cooked through. Remove from skillet, cover with foil and set aside.

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Add the chicken broth, butter and lemon slices to the skillet. Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Heat on medium-high heat for about 5-6 minutes until sauce is slightly reduced and lemony. Add in the capers and parsley, cook for another minute.

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Pour sauce over chicken and serve.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “The chicken tastes so lemony! Good job Mommy”

Liam (age 4): “Thumbs up – can I eat it all?”

Dylan (age 4): “I really like those little pickely things”

Move over Fairway, our lemon chicken got rave reviews!

BTW, as of press time of this post, Liam had bowed to peer pressure and decided to go trick or treating as a ninja instead of his original plan.

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Halloween Train

We are riding the Halloween Express this month. First stop: Party City for webs and tombstones. Once our house is decorated the holiday officially kicks off and we don’t get off the train until the big day, Oct. 31. In between, are parties, scare fairs, parades, pumpkin patches, costumes, all leading up to the main event- trick or treating!

Last weekend the train stopped at the pumpkin patch. An hour was spent evaluating each and every pumpkin; the boys were on a mission to find the perfect three. But out of the hundreds to choose from, amazingly only two were just right. So we made our exit after the wheel barrel races got a little out of control and before we were politely asked to leave.

IMG_6477The train made an unscheduled stop at the pumpkin patch at Trader Joe’s where we made our third and final choice. Thankfully, they only had about a dozen pumpkins so this was a brief stop.

Back at home we got to carving. I usually don’t like pulling out sharp knives around my children but Halloween is one holiday that calls for doing just that. Pumpkin carving worked the way most things do around here – about halfway through the project the boys wander off and Brian and I are left holding the bag. Or pumpkin in this case…

When we were done carving, the boys mysteriously reappeared and were ready to claim ownership of their work. To their credit, they did haul their pumpkins a few yards to display them among our other ghoulish décor.

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That night I got three requests to bake a pumpkin pie. I decided to do a remake of a brownie instead. After the pumpkin risotto fiasco I was happy to go sweet this week instead of savory.

Pumpkin Brownies

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1-cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1-cup flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2-cup chocolate chips (optional)

1/2-cup dried cranberries (alternative option)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8x8x2 baking pan with foil or parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs with the sugar and melting butter until combined. Add in pumpkin puree.

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In a separate bowl sift the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder together. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips or dried cranberries. Or both!

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Pour batter into baking pan and spread to corners.

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Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out clean.

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Let cool in pan on a baking rack. Lift brownies out of pan in foil or parchment paper and slice into squares.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “A teensy bit better than the chocolate ones”

Liam (age 4): “They look like Halloween brownies – these are yum yum yummy”

Dylan (age 4): “Much better than the chocolate kind!”

Thumbs up all around!

Worm Pizza

Celebrate National Pizza Month with a Halloween inspired pizza-

Check out our latest recipe at Kidville: Voices from the Ville:

Worm Pizza – Eaters Beware!

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