Roasted Pumpkin Seeds {Recipe} ~ Happy Halloween!

  We're getting into the Halloween spirit today by baking up some yummies! It's a Fall tradition of mine to make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and I feel as though I've perfected the recipe this year! Plus, in past years I have epic-failed at making roasted pumpkin seeds. I either completely forget about them in the over while baking or I just get lay and let them dry out too much before baking. This year I am determined!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Fresh pumpkin seeds, rinsed
Olive oil
Salt
Seasonings (optional)

  Easy-peasy snack to make! Heat the oven to 300F. Clean any pulp bits off your seeds and toss with a small amount of olive oil in a bowl. I used Mardona's garlic olive oil, yum! Sprinkle on salt and any desired seasonings (cayenne pepper, curry powder, garlic salt, etc.) For these I used fine ground sea salt and a few dashes of chili powder. Spread a single layer of seeds on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes. Enjoy your fiber-packed snack with your family!


~ Sam

Bloggers Wanted ~ Mohawk Rug Giveaway Event


Hop on board this free giveaway opp, just in time for Fall and Winter!
Flora from Samples Freebies Fun, Glenda from Mommies Point of View, Karren Oh! My Heartsie, Lisa from Planet Weidknecht and Bing from Ice Fairy's Treasure Chest Teamed up to up to Co-Host the $100.00 Mohawk Rug Event which is being sponsored by Mohawk Home

This is a FREE event to join! Want more info? Find more HERE!

~Sam

A Visit to the Corn Maze {Photos}

This year I promised myself (and Jace) that I'd visit our local corn maze, which I've seen in past years but never made the time to go! This weekend was Thunder Road Farm's last few days in operation for the 2012 year, and was also Trick or Treat in the maze weekend! We woke Daddy up early (he works nights) to go visit, here are a few pictures:


Chicken Meatballs {Recipe}

  In trying to become more frugal with food yet still eating healthy I've become quite crafty! It takes a bit of imagination to include all (or most) of the major food groups in family palate-pleasing dishes while living on the cheap, but it can be done.

  With that being said I'm trying to use up whatever we have in our cupboards before buying new to make sure we're not wasting food and money from spoilage. I've had two pounds of ground chicken sitting in the back of my freezer for a few months and, to be honest, I was quite intimidated. I know, sounds stupid. It's not a rack of lamb or anything, but I've never cooked with ground chicken before! Does it taste the same as beef? Have the same consistency? Can it be used in the same recipes? I'd heard about chicken meatballs, so I found a basic recipe and expanded on it. Let me tell you, I don't think we'll be going back to ground beef meatballs for some time! These are soooo good! Without further adieu, here's my adapted recipe:

Easy Chicken Meatballs

Ingredients:
1lb ground chicken
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon minced garlic (or two cloves, minced)
Dash of dried onion flakes

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine well with fork. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a flat cookie sheet with aluminum foil. With hands, form meat mixture into 1" balls and place on lined cookie sheet. Cook in oven until internal temperature reaches at least 170 degrees, about 20-30 minutes. Enjoy with your favorite noodles and sauce!

Uncooked chicken mush.
As round as they're going to get.
Jace enjoying his chicken meatballs with peas and noodles!

~Sam

California Family Vacation! {Photos}

  Sorry for the hiatus, everyone! My little family and I just got back from a week and a half-long vacation visiting my family and friends in Southern California, and we had a blast! This was Mark's furthest trip from home, not to mention his first time on an airplane, and he loved it!

Venice Beach, CA

Campus Book Rentals ~ Save time & money, and do some good!

  By now I'd bet that pretty much all college students are well underway with their Fall semester, with tons of cash already spent on textbooks. It's been quite a while since I last attended college, but I remember the prices for required textbooks being completely outrageous. Then, once the school year is over, you can resell your now-outdated books back to your college bookstore for a tiny fraction of the purchase price.  Really? How fair is that?




Thankfully Campus Book Rentals comes to your financial rescue! (For the next semester, at least.) At Campus Book Rentals, students and their financiers can save up to 90% off by renting textbooks vs purchasing them outright, and there are so many perks!

Candle Warmers, Etc. & Fire Prevention Week: October 7-13

  With the cooler weather rolling in and the hot summer days gone my mind automatically wanders to the upcoming Holidays. What's the first thing I think of to set the mood? Candles! A warm home with the aroma of pumpkins and spice is so inviting and cozy, I feel a little humble just thinking about it. However, with any open flame comes the risk of fire, and with little munchkins in the house it's not a risk to take lightly. Candles are one of the leading causes of household fires, but fortunately there are measures you can take to reduce your chances of a dangerous fire in your home.
  Fire Prevention Week takes place from October 7th-13th, and the folks at Candle Warmers, Etc. take pride in Going Flameless and practicing Candle-Sense by creating the original safer alternative to traditional open-flame candles.

Fruit Fly Solutions

Autumn is, without a doubt, my favorite season of the year. The leaves change color, the temperature drops, pumpkins can be seen everywhere, and the air is filled with the unmistakable aroma of wood-burning stoves. (Fairly common here in Maine, at least) Unfortunately, with that warm and cozy home comes a hoard of insects trying to stay warm as well. My worst this year seems to be fruit flies, for which in all honesty I'm thankful. Thankful that it's not wasps or big 'ol houseflies again, but still not to thrilled to welcome our unwelcome guests. This is probably because we've been purchasing more fresh fruit to have on hand for snacks and lunches.

Even though these pests aren't really dangerous to have around, they're still just that: pests. so what can be done about them? There are many ideas and home-fixes floating around:

*To prevent fruit flies, try washing your fruit outside the home (at a makeshift station) and make sure to throw away or wash all bags the fruit came in.

* Never keep food scraps/compost material in an open container, like a trash can. Leftover food is an attractive breeding ground for fruit flies, so make sure to dispose of it regularly outside. Compost scraps should also be taken to a compost pile away from the house regularly/daily. This goes for overripe fruit also, as it is a HUGE attractant to the flies.

* Keep kitchen surfaces clean and dishes washed. Little bit of food on unwashed dishes can be just as bad as food scraps in the trash, so don't let them pile up. Make sure to wipe up crumbs from tabletops, counters, and floors. No need for harsh chemicals, a vinegar and water solution works perfectly well!

To get rid of fruit flies already in your home:

* Take a jar and fill the bottom up (about 1-2 inches) with apple cider vinegar. NOTE: White vinegar will not work for attracting fruit flies. Add just one drop of dishwashing liquid (fruity scents work best) to the vinegar and lightly swish around. The dish liquid will break the surface tension of the vinegar, making it so the flies cannot just sit on top of the liquid in the jar. Stretch a piece of plastic wrap across the open top of the jar and secure with a rubberband. With a toothpick, poke small holes in the top of the plastic, just small enough for the tiny flies to fly in. Be careful not to make these too large or they will fly right back out! Place the jar near your problem area (next to your fruit) and watch them flock to it!

This jar method has worked wonders for our kitchen. We're now fruit fly-free, and I find new dead flies in the bottom of the jar every day. If you'd rather catch and release the flies, you can use the jar method with a piece of overripe fruit instead of cider vinegar. Simply take the jar outside when full and open to release the flies. I tried this method first, but found that even with small holes the flies still found their way out after a while.

I hope this information is as useful to you as it was for me, my kitchen will never be without a "fruit fly motel" again!

~Sam