Although it has always been my dream to live in California, whenever fall rolls around I’m so thankful for the place where we have grown our roots. The crisp air and comfortable temperatures refresh me as a mom. Gone are the days of summer sweating, counting how many hours the kids have been in the sun, and worrying if they’ve drunk enough. We currently are spending hours at the park, visiting every pumpkin patch we can find, and using every excuse to bake fall treats.
With McCarthy and Bennett both at preschool this year our list of snack items has grown due to the fact they think of preschool as snack school. They let me know who brings the cool snacks, what moms wrap them up in special ways (P.S., I think you’re awesome for doing this), and what items they would like to add to their list. The one thing I want my kids to remember me for is balance. I want them to remember that Mom empowered them to make healthy decisions, making foods that are good for them fun and being unafraid of treats. If you are a staff member of Natures Fare, you know very well that Friday is treat day in our house. I excitedly take my kids to pick out a cookie or treat of their choice. I love this day because the boys get so excited about the freedom to choose and plan out all morning what this item will be. They then get in the car, take about four bites (if it’s a cookie), and say, “Mom, can you hold it? I’m done” before starting to snack on the fruit packs or carrot sticks I gave them as a secondary option. Our photographer recently experienced this phenomenon when shooting our family at the Farmers Market. My kids were begging for treats! They spotted a stand that sold baby carrots, we bought some, and they ate the entire bag while we walked! For us, healthy decisions are not about having a lot of boundaries or talks about how certain foods are loaded with junk. We encourage the kids to really think about how the food makes them feel after they eat it and provide other options that are still delicious and fun to eat!
One of the boys’ favourite things to eat or bring for school snack is chips. They are lovers of salty deliciousness. Although there are some great chip options out there now, I do love when food has a bit more nutrition in it. So this fall I decided I was going to start making pumpkin seeds. There are about a million ways of making pumpkin seed snacks, but one of McCarthy’s favorites is what we like to call salty and delicious.
Salt is packed with vitamins and minerals
Coconut oil aids in fighting off unhealthy bacteria, helps to stave off infection, and supplies the body with loads of healthy fatty acids.
Pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses wrapped up in a very small package. They also contain plant compounds known as phytosterols and free-radical scavenging antioxidants,1 which can give your health an added boost.
Here is our current salty and delicious snack…
I make a large amount to keep us going for a while. But this recipe can be easily adjusted.
3 cups of raw pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp of coconut oil
2 pinches of sea salt
- Heat coconut oil in a medium skillet. Place seeds in hot oil and cook until browned. Remove from pan, sprinkle with sea salt, and enjoy.
3 cups of rinsed pumpkin seeds
3 tbsp of coconut oil or Jerseyland butter
3½ tsp of coconut sugar
1 tbsp of ground cinnamon
½ tsp of honey
½ tsp of vanilla extract (you can also use vanilla bean powder)
Prep: 10 m
Cook: 1 h 5 m
Ready In: 1 h 15 m
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C).
- Place seeds in a mixing bowl. Pour melted butter over seeds; stir all ingredients together, leaving 1 tsp of coconut sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon separate.
- Bake seeds in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven, stir seeds, and spread evenly on baking sheet again. Combine 1 tsp coconut sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon in small bowl and sprinkle over seeds. Return seeds to oven for 30 more minutes.
Remove seeds from oven, pour into a serving bowl, and serve warm.