This doesn't mean I don't love all my readers. I love the comments and the fact that I, maybe even a little, am inspiring others. Makes me smile!
Keep reading folks. I'm here, just busy busy with a non-stop toddler. Seriously, non-stop!
Let's get to kitchen gadget #12. This one is a gadget I first discovered in culinary school. The silicon cooking/baking mat. This handy dandy little mat is quite amazing. Non-stick, reusable, heat proof (I wouldn't put it in the broiler though), and washes well. Versatility is it's #1 plus!
After I finished up in school I moved several times. Among the many moves I lost my silicon mats (among other kitchen items). I thought, for sure, I would not be able to locate another set at a descent price. They seemed so pricey in the high end kitchen stores, the only ones I was able to find them in.
But, a few weeks back my luck struck! I found a set of three (2 large, 1 small) at Costco. They are the perfect size for my set of baking sheets I picked up there as well. And, they were of reasonable cost. I was so very excited!! These are great for many baking applications. Cookies, squares, potatoes, fries, roasted vegetables, and of course, with this time of year, pumpkin seeds.
I absolutely love pumpkin seeds. Actually, I love pumpkin as well. This I did not realize. I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin pie and just assumed that is what ALL pumpkin tasted like. For my very happy palate I found it to be a semi-sweet tasty squash. Delicious!
There are many benefits to pumpkins as well, the seeds too. I love that my little one loves pumpkin seeds seeing as they are high in iron, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin K, and protein. Pumpkin seeds are also a source of ALA which is then converted into EPA (an Omega-3 fatty acid), the conversion, however, is slightly inefficient but adding pumpkin seeds to your daily food intake (yogurt, cereal, as a snack) will boost the amount of Omegas you get, also great for my little one!
The pumpkin I cleaned out yesterday did not get carved. Yes, Halloween is tomorrow and we should have carved pumpkins this past weekend but I wanted to do a trial run for Thanksgiving. This year will mark my very first vegan Thanksgiving. There will be no turkey cooking in my oven this year. Rather, we will be making up stuffed pumpkins. I will do small individual pumpkins, last night I made one large. But, each time I clean out a pumpkin I'm sure to roast up the seeds because I could eat them daily!
We went this weekend to a pumpkin patch about an hour from us. It was a pumpkin patch and fall festival. Lot's of great things for kids to do. My only issue with Marana Pumpkin Patch was the lack of variety, which the website specified, of food choices. The website informed us we were not to bring in any of our own food. I had planned on packing a lunch for the hubby and I, the little one always has food no matter what is posted, and we planned on purchasing food there for BK and my mom. When I called and informed them we would be purchasing food for 2 of our party members they still said we could not bring in a packed lunch. What a hassle. Their idea of wide variety was not my idea, nor is it the idea of many. They did not even offer a vegetarian option. I wonder, for those who have food allergies (lactose, gluten), what they might do in this particular situation. We often go to Apple Annie's to do our pumpkin picking and I believe we go again next year. They not only offer a food option for vegetarians they also allow other foods to be brought in for consumption. We had to try and plan the whole day around the fact that we could not eat at the Marana Pumpkin Patch. By the time we left, hungry, the little one was so exhausted she passed out in the car. This only meant we could not stop for food on the way home. Yes, Marana Pumpkin Patch was fun, but inconvenient for those of us who don't eat the "conventional" way. I wouldn't recommend it for vegetarians/vegans with small children who, like me, need to get home in time for naps. Or, perhaps, pack a lunch and eat it in the car. Re-entry is permitted. If we do go next year that will be our plan.
We did get some great pumpkins! We took a tractor out to the patch and picked our own. We came home with four!
I still have some left. I hope we have time to carve them up for Halloween. It's tomorrow!
The seeds, of course, roasted with some salt and garlic came out excellent. Love them!
If you are able to find these silicon mats at a reasonable price. Pick them up. They are excellent for many baked items. You aren't wasting foil or parchment because you can easily wash these up and reuse them. I think they are great for cookies, veggie/black bean burgers, seeds, and tater tots. Yep, tater tots. I don't have to use any cooking spray, no added oil and they cook up superbly.
Give them a try!
Cheers and happy eating!