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Friday, October 26, 2012

Roasted and Candied Pumpkin Seeds

One of the advantages of carving a pumpkin is having the seeds as a treat too! Pumpkin pie pumpkins have sweeter seeds, but you can do this with any seeds.
seeds from a pumpkin
1 Tbsp of butter or coconut oil
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. white sugar
dash of salt
Remove the seeds from a pumpkin or two, rinse off the pulp and boil in a sauce pan of water for 10 minutes; drain.  Dry off the seeds with a paper towel and place back into sauce pan.  Add the butter or coconut oil, brown sugar and spices.  Cook and stir, coating well for a few minutes.  Spread into a cookie or baking pan.  Roast at 425 for 15 minutes, watch carefully and turn down heat if it starts to burn.  (The burnt ones taste like popcorn :)  Remove from oven and let cool for 3 minutes. 
They are VERY HOT, so be careful. 
Do not let them completely cool or you will not be able to remove them from the pan after hardening.  Sprinkle them with salt and white sugar.  Remove them onto a glass plate or tray and enjoy! 
We break them apart like peanut brittle.

Pumpkin Pie from a pumpkin (dairy free, too :)

Homemade pumpkin pie from a pumpkin (not a can) is something everyone should try making at least once. It isn't nearly as difficult as one would think. I even had success with it as a dairy free recipe.

Here is my very simple and extremely tasty recipe:
2 pie crusts
1 pie pumpkin (the small ones not the carving kind)
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk (almond, cow, or evaporated all work great)
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
whipped cream: optional, and highly recommended
Slice the pumpkin, scoop out pulp and seeds.  Then roast in a pan of water in the oven at 350 for 35 minutes, or steam slices in a steamer until soft. 
Set aside to cool. 
Prepare pie crusts.  Peal off the skin of pumpkin and place in food processor or blender.  Add eggs, milk and spices and puree.  Pour into pie crusts and bake at 450 for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 350 and bake another 30-35 minutes until the center is done.  Remove from oven and serve with whipped cream.
There is something very wonderful about eating a pumpkin pie from a pumpkin!  Yes, it adds a step, but you will feel like you accomplished something special and can justify a second piece! 
You also will have pumpkin seeds you can roast....that recipe is next!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Homemade Honey Lemon and Orange Cough Syrup

A few summers ago I was on vacation with the family. The morning after a miserable night in the hotel with coughing kids, I was up and into an Urgent Care. The doctor on call asked me if I had heard of the benefits of natural honey for coughs? I hadn't but LOVE the natural approach to just about everything so was of course all ears! He gave me a packet of studies to read up on about the overwhelming evidences for natural honey being more effective than every single over the counter AND prescription cough medicine. I went to the nearest Farmer's Market and bought some honey. We were able to sleep that night and I have used honey for coughs ever since. This year I decided to up the attack on coughing and am trying an all natural cough syrup with raw honey as it's base. It takes about 10 minutes, quicker than I can get in and out of Walgreens, and makes 1.5 pints of syrup. The total cost here is about $9. Here is my recipe and how to do it.
1 pt. of raw honey
1 orange
1 lemon
1/2 cup water
Slice the orange and lemon.  Boil in water for 5 minutes to soften the skin and release the pulp.  I mashed mine slightly with a plastic spoon.
Let the lemon and oranges sit in the water to cool slightly, about 5 minutes, then strain.
Pour liquid into clean and sterilized jars.
(My ratio is about 1/3 liquid to 2/3 honey, or 30% to 70%.  Most recipes recommend not exceeding 50% water to 50% honey)
 Mix well and store covered in the fridge for as long as you would normally keep honey around.  (For me it is 3-6 months, perfect for cold season)

For Adults use, 1Tbs; children 50 pounds and over, 1 tsp; and children under 50 pounds, ½ tsp. May be taken four times a day or as needed. 

You can also drink it in a cup of herbal tea as a nice way to soothe your throat and quiet your cough.

*This is recipe and blog is not intended to replace medical advice.  Always talk to your doctor and discuss medical treatment, including home remedies, before use.

Some noteworthy notes:

* *DO NOT use honey for children under two years of age - there is a microorganism in honey, which is otherwise harmless for children age two and older, that can sometimes make infants ill because of their young digestive system. Alternatives include brown rice syrup, barley, and organic fruit syrups; as substitutions in the recipes use the same amount as honey.

* DO USE all natural raw honey if at all possible.  It takes a little effort to find a good source, but is well worth your time.  Natural raw honey is full of wonderful antibacterial properties and has been used for thousands of years for it's health benefits.  Recent studies have shown the unusual antibacterial activity of honey, leading to a greater understanding of the ability of honey to kill pathogenic bacteria through several different mechanisms. In studies, honey was effective against many different drug resistant bacteria.

**DO NOT boil, microwave, or overheat your honey as it kills the good stuff in it and changes it's properties. (Think about it like you would the good bacterias in yogurt ;)

*DO Learn more about honey as a medicine.  There are many many resources out there and reliable studies to read on the use of natural honey.  Take the time to educate yourself so that you can make wise health choices for your family.

Learn more: