Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Usually, at this time of year, the family and I are up on our northern trapline, staying warm and cozy in our cabin while the snow falls and the lake freezes over. This year however had some unexpected changes in plans. You can read all about it on my Trapper's Wife, Trapper's Life blog.
Halloween on the trapline either meant staying at the cabin and having our own little Halloween Party, or traveling the 15km by snowmobile or atv to the road and then driving into Watson Lake, Yukon, where our youngest son, Zac, can go trick or treating.  We usually take a smallish pumpkin with us when we head up in early October, something not available in Watson Lake.  We use the pumpkin first for a jack o lantern, then roast the seeds,  and then eat the pumpkin itself. Nothing wasted!
We LOVE pumpkin seeds!  
This year, knowing we weren't going to be heading north, Zac was able to go to the little town of Keremeos, BC, and pick out his pumpkin from the huge assortment available at the fruit stands there. He was after a huge one! He looked over the selection carefully until he found the one he thought was perfect.

Zac patiently waited until this week to carve his pumpkin and wanted to do it all on his own. Well, he is 12 now, after all.  I guess we have to let them grow up sometime, sigh.  He did an awesome job too!  He even cleaned it all up afterwards AND washed the seeds! So proud!
Now we get to the Roasted Pumpkin Seed part!

Because Zac had so kindly cleaned the pumpkin seeds for me, I was able to start off with getting them dry. To clean yours off all you need to do is seperate the seeds from all the bits and pieces of pumpkin flesh and give them a good rinse with cold water. I find it easiest to put the seeds into a
colander and let the water wash over them. When you've got them as clean as you like (it's ok to have little orange strings attached, it's all edible!), then spread the seeds out on a cookie sheet that you have oiled or sprayed with non stick spray. I use parchment paper that I spray lightly on mine. This helps later when you need to move the seeds. You can simply pick up the parchment and let the seeds slide off into the bowl!

Next, pop those seeds into a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes. Set your timer!  This will dry them off as well as begin the toasting process.
When they come out of the oven, put them into a bowl or any container that will hold them. I use a covered glass container so I can shake them up really good.

Now add about a teaspoon or 2 of olive oil and salt. It depends on ow salty you like things as to how much to add. I use sea salt in a grinder, so my measurement is only approximate, but I'd say about 1/4
 Shake or stir the seeds up until they are well coated with the oil and salt.
Now they go back on the cookie sheet and back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
When they come out try to let them cool a bit before you start sampling!

Depending on your own taste, you can add all kinds of flavours to your seeds. Salt is only the beginning. Try cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat! Maybe add some pepper to your salt. How about salt and chili powder? Or maybe oregano and parmesan cheese for an Italian flavour? Your imagination and taste buds are the limit!  Delicious!!
Now, you may wonder if there is any benefit to eating pumpkin seeds. I'm happy to say there is! Pumpkins seeds, especially still in the hull, are a good source of zinc. They also contain vitamin E. The website The World's Healthiest Foods is a good source for information on the benefits of eating pumpkin seeds.
I hope you'll give roasting pumpkin seeds from your pumpkin a try. Maybe start a new Halloween tradition! 
Happy Halloween!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall on the Hill

I think my favourite season has got to be fall.  I enjoy the changing colours of the foliage, the nip in the air, the frosty mornings... From up here on our hillside, I can watch the change of season creep over the valley and the adjacent hillside.  The bright yellow of the willows, glowing against the greens of the pines.  The sounds of honking flocks of geese heading south as they pass in 'V' formation over head.

The road down the hill.

Today the dogs and I headed out for a brisk walk down the hill to the mailboxes and then back up again. I was amazed to find a few confused wildflowers just beginning to bloom. There are a few plants left in my garden as well, blooming away like it's spring. I haven't the heart to cut them down yet, so they've been left to add some colour while they can.  All too soon they will be covered with snow and buried until next May.

These used to be large pale yellow daisies.

A mushroom growing in the roadside gravel.

Back up the driveway.

The Little Shack

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Long time, no write!

It's been a mighty long time since I posted to this here blog.  My bad! Life around the Little Shack has been crazy over the past year. Not much to report on improvements though, which I am very disappointed about and somewhat fed up with.
But, new things have been happening which have put a spring in my step and made the lack of project completions at least bearable.   I don't have time at the moment to update on everything that has transpired, but I am excited about one thing I wanted to share with you all. I started a new blog! Yes, yes, I know.  How can I start a new one when I haven't posted to the old one for so long? Crazy, I know. But, there you have it!
My new blog is actually  a sort of journal for myself as well as a hope that it may help or inspire others in my position.  I have been struggling with losing about 20 pounds for some time now.   I've tried various diets to no avail.  My new blog will be following my losses and feelings during the process, along with ideas, recipes and hopefully some inspirations!
I hope you'll pop over for a visit to check it out. See you there!

Click on the 'Little Shack on a Diet' to visit my new blog!

Monday, August 26, 2013

In The Red!

I have been painting up a storm here at the Shack!  And all in my favourite colour! Red!!
First up were the Adirondack chairs I've had for a few years and never painted, but have enjoyed immensely.  As well as the top of my 'deck table'.

Then, I did the window trims outside on the Shack.  They had been the same wood as the rest of the house, but I felt they needed to pop a bit more, so....

 So now the deck is all spiffied up!

Next, I headed over to the guest cabin and painted the 'shutters' and door...

Then back inside the Shack to tackle the basement stairs.  This is a project still in the works...

You can see in this next picture that the 'riser' still needs to be done.  It will be covered with bead board like the picture after this one.

Eventually, the bead board will be installed on all the risers and then I can get creative with what to put on them.  There are some pretty cool ideas to be found on the internet.  Here are a few I kinda fancy!

Full stairs

And my personal favourite...

Now, I'm off to find other things to paint In The Red!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Progress! Things Are Rocking!

After almost 6 years of living in the Shack, and 3 years of having had the product to do the job in the house... I FINALLY sealed the rock around the bathtub!  Yay for me!  It looks lovely and feels good to have it done.
I can't take credit for the actual rock work.  It was already in place, and is one of the many 'different' things we loved about the Shack when we bought it.  The tub is one thing we have all's huge!  Great for long, relaxing soaks.  But, the rocks had never been properly sealed and looked dull and kinda dusty.  It was one of those things you want to get done, plan to do, but keep putting off.  My opportunity arose this week, while the rest of the Shack dwellers are away doing various holiday type things with family.  It's just me and the critters at home at the Shack for the week, and I'm enjoying the time alone and have a list of things I plan to accomplish.
This was the first on the list!
Here's the product I picked up ages ago....
It went on very easily.  It was kinda like painting with water, only milky in colour.  I had to work quickly so it didn't all just run down the wall, and then used the brush to dab at the drips.  I did 2 coats, and still have tons left for any future projects. Clean up was a breeze.  Just wash it all with water!
You can see here how glossy it is.  This is the ledge at the front of the tub where the product was able to sit and not run off, so it got a bit more coverage than the rest.  I wanted the rock to look wet, and it sorta does.

One of the cool things about this rock is the fossils in it!  I think we've counted 7 in all.
 Now I need to finish the project up with a 'neat' application of silicone sealant around the edge of the tub.  The previous owners did apply a thick, gloppy, clear layer, which was rather disgusting. It was a chore to get off, but it's gone and now I can apply the almond coloured stuff I got.
 I have never been able to figure out the people who built the Shack.  They put a lot of thought and effort into certain  'artsy' aspects of the building.  Like the antique bottle bottoms used like bricks in the wall behind the woodstove upsatirs...

...or the beautiful railing made out of a tree trunk .
(This is upside down and on the wrong side of the stairway by the way...Temporarily here while the other wall is 'under construction'.)

I just can't understand having these wonderful, original ideas, using them, but not finishing the job 'right'.  So much of the work done on the Shack was messy or poorly done.  It's our biggest challenge-righting wrongs.
It has made this journey so much more difficult than we had first anticipated.  There are still tons of things we'd like to change in the Shack, and the to-do list never ends.  But money is always a factor, as well as skill and time.  Oh well...back to my list!


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