Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I often tease my husband that he must have had a boring childhood because he doesn’t know 99% of the kid songs I know and he doesn’t get any of my Sesame Street references – and this started way before we had kids. There’s a few times he’s been able to tease me back – and making pumpkin seeds is one of them.

His family always roasted their seeds as a part of the annual pumpkin carving festivities. We never did. And now that I found a recipe I really like, I’m happy to incorporate them into our new family traditions.


This year was Jake’s first time helping with everything – he was unimpressed with the pumpkin and the seeds. Here’s to hoping he grows to love it!


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
(from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table)
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 tsp. paprika
Pinch of cayenne

Rinse the seeds until they’re free of all pumpkin. Place in a pot and add 4 cups of water and the salt. Bring the pot to a boil then turn down and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.

In a bowl, whisk together the melted butter and spices. Add in the pumpkin seeds and toss until evenly coated.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread out the pumpkin seeds in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, then let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad

This weekend, Babywearing International of Central NJ celebrated their first anniversary of becoming a Babywearing International chapter. If there’s one thing that’s saved my sanity during the past year, it’s baby wearing. I feel incredibly fortunate to have found this community so early in motherhood and that my local chapter is so awesome.

Saturday’s celebration was a potluck picnic at a beautiful local park. This salad was my contribution to the feast. It’s something I’ve made before and have been meaning to make again since Jake is currently loving sweet potatoes and black beans. And this is one of the best potluck dishes I’ve found – it can be served warm, chilled or at room temperature and it’s gluten, nut and dairy free so it’s perfect for pretty much everyone.

Stuck with leftovers? It also makes an awesome burrito filling!


Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad
(slightly adapted from Beantown Baker)
Serves 10-12 as a side

3 Tbsp. olive oil
5 large sweet potatoes
3 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Juice of 3 limes
Zest of 1 1/2 limes
1 tsp. salt, divided
Pinch or two cayenne
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cube into bite-size pieces. Toss with olive oil and 1/2 tsp. of salt and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, until tender but not smushing, tossing halfway through. Remove and let cool for five minutes.

While the sweet potatoes roast,  rinse and drain the black beans.

Whisk together lime juice, zest, remaining salt and cayenne in a large bowl. Toss with black beans and slightly-cooled sweet potatoes. Stir in cilantro.

Cilantro-Lime Rice

I think pretty much every food blogger (and Chipotle fan) has already made this. Why did it take me so long? I’m super lazy about side dishes.

And, I ran across a version that used the rice cooker. Because, if we’re being honest, I suck at cooking rice any other way. This came out perfectly, though, and will definitely be in the regular rotation going forward!


Cilantro Lime Rice
(from Shari Blogs)
Serves 4

1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. canola oil, divided
Juice of 1/2 a lime
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

In a rice cooker, combine the rice, water, salt and 1 tsp. of canola oil.  Cook on the white rice cycle.

When done, stir in remaining canola oil, lime juice and cilantro. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Salad Jar

While we’re really only a few days into October Unprocessed, I think I already found my favorite dish of the month. This salad is fantastic. I whipped it up on a day that baby boy was particularly needy so it literally took me all day to get it finished. When Mark walked in from work at 8 pm, he’s like, “Is that dinner?” and when I said, “No, its today’s lunch” he knew better than to ask too many questions (and graciously helped do the dishes when I finally finished). I had really thought about ditching these once lunch time passed and I didn’t have anything more than some burned sweet potato, but I’m really, really glad I didn’t.

Much like the oats I shared a few days ago, I suggest multiplying the recipe and making several at once – it’s just more efficient to cook a few days worth of sweet potatoes and quinoa in one shot if you’ll be eating this for several days.


Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Salad Jar
(from Popsugar Fitness)
Makes 1

1 small sweet potato, unpeeled, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup black beans
1/4 red pepper, diced
2 cups baby spinach
1 Tbsp. dried cranberries
1 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds

For the dressing:
1/4 cup mango, fresh or frozen
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. water

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Toss the diced sweet potato with the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the quinoa to a covered pot along with half a cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the water is all absorbed and the quinoa is tender.

Make the dressing: combine mango, vinegar and water in a blender and pulse until smooth.

Assemble the salad in a jar: Place the black beans at the bottom and then layer on the quinoa, dressing, red pepper, spinach, sweet potatoes, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds.

Cover jar and refrigerate until ready to serve. When you’re ready to eat, shake the jar or dump it into a bowl and toss to combine.

Chinese Restaurant Green Beans

Are you sick of green beans yet? I’m not. Green beans are my favorite and I’m regretting not getting my act together and doing a fall planting. I’m savoring the last of our summer crop.

I cooked these up as a side dish to go with some pork potstickers. It was a great combo and two of my favorite Chinese food dishes. It mmade me feel like we had gotten takeout – such a nice fake out!


Chinese Restaurant Green Beans
(from Sweet Makes Three)
Serves 2 – 3

1Tbsp.  reduced-sodium soy sauce
1Tbsp. honey
1Tbsp. water
1Tbsp. unsalted butter
2Tbsp. olive oil
12 oz. fresh green beans, trimmed
½ tsp. salt, to taste
1Tbsp. minced garlic

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey and water. Set aside.

In a pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the green beans and salt and toss to coat. Cook 7-8 minutes, until beans are slightly browned and shrunken. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Add in the soy sauce mixture and toss to coat. Cook for about 30 seconds, until the sauce becomes glaze-like. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately.

Green Beans in Peanut Sauce

This was sort of a thrown-together dish – something to go with the Thai-spiced chicken skewers and something that would use up some more green beans. It ended up being one of my favorite things of the week.

I’m always a fan of quick sides and this fits the bill. It was the perfect accompaniment to our dinner and a dish I know I’ll be making again soon!


Green Beans in Peanut Sauce
(adapted from The Taste Place)
Serves 2

1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 lb. green beans
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. ginger

Over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the beans and cook for about 3 minutes, until crisp-tender.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over green beans, toss and cook until heated through.

Baked Green Bean Fries

Green beans are the new tomatoes. And by that I mean we have about a metric ton in the garden. Our go-to is to saute them with garlic, salt and pepper but with so many I’ve been trying to prepare them other ways so we don’t have green bean burnout.

When I told Mark I was making these, he was like, I don’t know about those. They were, thankfully, well received. I like that they were baked, not actually fried, and that it was a great way to sneak in some veggies where we would have normally done potato fries.


Baked Green Bean Fries
(slightly adapted from Smarty had a Party!)
Serves 2

2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp. backyard brick oven seasoning
1/2 lb. green beans
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
Sriracha mayo, for dipping

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Wash and trim the green beans.

In one bowl, whisk together the panko and seasoning. In another bowl, whisk together the flour and eggs.

Dip the green beans into the egg mixture, roll in the panko and place on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with sriracha mayo for dipping.


You know how I said we had zucchini in the garden? That lasted for, oh, five minutes. Once again, our plants died off without producing much.

Tomatoes, though, are going strong. We’ve never had so many. Which is both awesome – I love it – and a pain in the butt – Mark doesn’t eat fresh tomatoes. Bruschetta is one of the only ways Mark will eat fresh tomatoes (salsa being the other), so I’ve been making this in force.


(Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer

3-4 tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh shredded parmesan
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 baguette, sliced

Mix all ingredients together, except bread, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Toast baguette slices before serving.

Cheesy Zucchini Bake

We have zucchini in the garden this year. I feel like shouting it from the rooftops because our zucchini never seems to work out. Having an abundance now is a huge novelty and I’m happily working through some of the recipes I’d saved from previous years.

This side is pretty simple, but it’s a great one to have in your repertoire – easy, fast and delicious.


Cheesy Zucchini Bake
(slightly adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen)
Serves 2-3 as a side

1 large zucchini, cut into half moon slices
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. Herbes de Provence
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 cup shredded mixture of provolone and mozzarella, divided
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spray a small baking dish with non-stick spray.

Toss the cut zucchini with the basil, green onion, herbs, parmesan and half of the shredded cheese until evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to baking dish. Bake for 2-25 minutes.

Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese over the top and bake for 10-15 minutes more, until the cheese is nicely melted.

Grilled Honey Mustard and Dill Potato Salad

Yes, another grilled recipe. I hope you’re not sick of them yet! I’m loving grilled-up sides right now. It’s so nice to have all the cooking done outside and not be heating up the house.

Mark’s not usually a fan of potato salad, but he liked this warm version – probably because it doesn’t really feel like potato salad. Perfectly cooked potatoes tossed with a honey mustard and dill dressing? Not traditional, but very, very yummy. This one is definitely in the “make again soon” file.


Grilled Honey and Dill Mustard Potato Salad
(from Chris Loves Julia)
Serves 6

2 lbs. fingerling potatoes, quartered
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
Salt, pepper and olive oil

1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
2 sprigs fresh dill, roughly chopped

Boil the potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes and then drain. When cooled slightly and dry, toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Add to a grill basket and cook, stirring every five minutes, for about fifteen minutes or until browned slightly.

Add the browned potatoes to a medium bowl and toss with chopped red onion. Let sit for 2-3 minutes.

Whisk together remaining ingredients to make the dressing. Add to potatoes and toss to coat. Serve immediately.