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Best roast pumpkin seeds, sugar v carving pumpkins and more

Best roast pumpkin seeds, sugar v carving pumpkins and more

egg carton pumpkin

Pumpkin time is reaching a fever pitch. I thought I’d save you googling all the same things I did in the last three days.

This is the best recipe for roasting pumpkin seeds (it involves boiling and then roasting, I can attest it makes a huge difference).

Cooking with pumpkin? Find a sugar or pie pumpkin, don’t use a mammoth $4 jack o’ lantern one. Good discussion here about the differences.

I was feeling uninspired on my pumpkin carving this year, and found this site had the best pumpkin stencils. You have to pay, but they are by far the most user-friendly, and you can spend forever choosing which ones before you commit.

Someone made the best pumpkin-related finger food at our co-op’s Halloween party this year: peel a bunch of mandarins, tuck a small piece of celery in the top for a stem. Ta da! ‘Pumpkins’. Love it. Here’s a photo, including some brilliant ghost bananas too. Genius.

Not feeling like wrestling a pumpkin? Make one out of an egg carton.

Finally – looking for good pumpkin recipes? We love Cooking Light’s pumpkin muffins (I add chocolate chips, ahem), the Pioneer Woman’s pumpkin cinnamon rolls, and swapping the butternut squash for pumpkin in my pasta and cheese (recipe pending…sorry, I know, it will be up here as soon as it’s been published!). I use canned pumpkin puree all the time, because I have seen sugar pumpkins for sale about three times in my entire life.



Magically turn a mason jar into a lunchbox

Magically turn a mason jar into a lunchbox

I love Cuppow‘s mason jar lid inserts for drinking coffee and smoothies, and now they have inched further into my heart by creating the BNTO jar insert for holding salad dressing, dip, milk, sauce, or, as they so neatly put it ‘separating wet stuff from dry stuff’. You can order a BNTO insert straight from Cuppow, or if you’re in Canada, through Greenmunch. It’s worth noting that Greenmunch cleverly sells single giant wide-mouth jars too.


Disclosure: None. I was not compensated for this post, and I don’t even have my hands on a BNTO yet, but I will get one. Oh I will. 

All images/video courtesy of Cuppow


Very Cool Thing: Eat Your Books + giveaway!

Very Cool Thing: Eat Your Books + giveaway!


I’m standing in front of my fridge, staring at the contents. I got it together to have pork ready to go, and I know I have some sage in the garden.

What was that recipe I made once? Which book was it in? It involved pork and sage… what was it. Hmmm.

This happens to me, oh, three times a week. I do sometimes wonder what the point of those piles of cookbooks are if I don’t use them. It’s not that I don’t want to, I know the perfect thing is in one of them. It’s just… which one?

Enter the most useful online service I’ve seen in ages: Eat Your Books.

It is this simple: enter your cookbooks, cooking blogs you use, dog-eared cooking magazines propping up the rice cooker into their easy system and you can then search by ingredient, recipe name or cuisine. A list will pop up with all the recipes in your collection that fit.

How brilliant is that?

No, the recipe is not online, as this is an indexing service. However, telling me where to find it is nearly as valuable.

For example, I popped in 32 of my cookbooks, and then ticked off 19 different food blogs I have read at some point. I now have 23,355 recipes to hand. Well, technically I always did, but now I can actually find one of them. Quickly.

You can add five cookbooks to your library for free, but to get the best use out of Eat Your Books, adding your whole library is worth it. It’s $2.50 a month or $25 a year (USD). Personally, as soon as I understood the concept, I scrambled to pay my annual membership straight away*.

I love being able to sort my recipes by ‘buzz’, which means how many people have made comments about each one. It’s a great way of discovering what may have looked a bit lack lustre on the page (or screen) but in fact loads of people make it and love it every week. Not only that, you can then lose a few hours by checking out other users’ libraries and oh… right. I was supposed to make dinner.

Eat Your Books has generously offered up a lifetime membership to their service to one of my readers. Go forth and enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I found Eat Your Books through a friend’s blog and approached them myself about hosting a giveaway. *I paid for my annual membership myself, which was extended to a lifetime membership for hosting the widget you see in the sidebar.


Ginger mint green smoothie

Ginger mint green smoothie | Erin at Large

Ginger mint green smoothie | Erin at Large

We’re big fans of the green smoothie in this house… the boys are not terrific leafy green eaters when it’s on the plate, however blended in a glass with some mango, it’s fine. I’m not arguing, as long as it goes down I’m fine with it.

Our roof garden provides the greens these days, and I pick a couple leaves of curly and dinosaur kale each morning when I’m up there filling the bees’ water dishes. Today I also grabbed a sprig of mint – what a fresh lift!

Ginger mint green smoothie
makes 2 & half pints (2 adult servings plus a small person serving)

4 large kale leaves, ribs removed
1 cup frozen mango chunks
1 piece of fresh coconut meat (we buy ours frozen from Organic Lives)
1 banana
a few grates of ginger root
1 tbsp or so of real maple syrup
3 or 4 fresh mint leaves

+chia seeds

+hemp hearts


  1. Blend the kale and a good portion of water first to liquefy.
  2. Add rest of your ingredients, plus fancy add ins like chia seeds and hemp hearts. Blend! Add water if necessary to get to the consistency you like.



On Treehouse: Lemon oat blueberry muffins

On Treehouse: Lemon oat blueberry muffins

lemon oat blueberry muffins


Elliot loves blueberry muffins. Whenever Mummy needs a coffee, Elliot needs a blueberry muffin. Even if I try and sneak through a place he calls ‘banana loaf drive-through’ when he’s sleeping in the car, there’s a more than 60% chance he’ll wake briefly to tell me he wants a blueberry muffin.

Blueberry muffins from pretty much anywhere means cake. It’s too bad, because blueberries are actually quite good for you. I set about making a blueberry muffin I didn’t mind giving to Elliot often, and I came up with this one. It has whole grains and oats for staying power, and maple syrup instead of refined white sugar. I bake them in a mini muffin pan to make it easier to pack into bento boxes, but also because I toss most of them in the freezer and the small size means they defrost quickly. Enjoy!

My recipe for Lemon Oat Blueberry Muffins is over on Treehouse TV Parents.