Make-It-Yourself Pumpkin Seed Snacks!

Those expensive bags of toasted pumpkin seed snacks are so easy to make for yourself at home.  They cost a lot of money and you truly can do it – it’s simple. Here’s how:

  • Cut out the top of a fresh pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and strings into a bowl of water.  Wash the seeds and discard the strings and fiber (this goes in my chicken bucket, but could also be put in the compost pile).
  • Drain the washed seeds and put back into a bucket or bowl and pour one quart of water mixed with one cup of salt over the seeds, or make enough solution to cover the seeds you have.  Let stand overnight.
  • The next day, drain off the salt water and oil a jelly roll pan or a cookie sheet with sides. Pour in the soaked seeds and put in the oven at 250° and bake them until the seeds are the color of light brown toast.  (I give them a stir every once in a while.)
  • Cool and enjoy; the entire seed is edible, so no shells to pick up.

I take the cleaned out pumpkin, fill it with a piece of floral foam, soak the foam and arrange fresh flowers in it for a table decoration. If you are afraid of leakage, insert a small vase in the pumpkin and fill it with flowers.

Or, I split the pumpkin, put it on a cookie sheet with sides and a little water and bake split side down in the oven until it’s very soft. I then flip the halves over, scoop out the flesh and bake fresh pumpkin pie, cookies or cake.  The cooked pumpkin can be frozen in bags for use over the winter – instead of buying the canned stuff!



Sweet Summer

In winter, our homes are closed to the outside air, and sometimes the indoor air can get a little stale. To remedy that problem, I make a homemade simmer for almost no out of pocket money, and I also share this with family and friends as gifts for Christmas, or ‘just because’.

I dry orange, lemon and apple peelings during the year on a cookie sheet lined with a paper towel. It sits on top of the refrigerator where it’s nice and warm and the stuff dries quite well.

To make a batch, you would need about 1-1/2 cups each of the dried peelings and mix that with the following:       

  • 1 Tablespoon of WHOLE allspice
  • 3 Tablespoons of WHOLE cloves
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks, broken into smaller pieces (I use the hammer on these)
  • Several STAR ANISE (if you have them, but if not, it still smells really good without)

Break up the dried peelings into smaller pieces, mix with the spices and store in a glass jar until needed.

To use: put a spoonful or two in a pan on the stove and heat to scent the air, or use one of those electric ‘simmer pots’ that can be purchased almost anywhere.

A small canning jar filled with this mix, tied with a big red bow makes a wonderful last minute gift for teachers, your fellow co-workers, or friends you just want to remember at a special time.

(I take a quart jar of this mix to the Black Hills Stock Show every year and have a simmer pot going in my booth when we are open. People follow their noses to the scent and can’t believe something so simple can smell so good. And, I actually use year-old, or older spices for all this. It’s a good way to clean out the cupboard!)



A Foam Mattress For The Pooch

A reader sent in a hint about her "make-it-myself" doggie beds.  She has several elderly dogs since she does rescue work. (May God Bless her for this!) Dog beds are expensive, but she had gone to a yard sale and found a foam mattress topper for $10 and proceeded to cut it into chunks to fit into dog beds.  She says they work quite well, keeping the dogs comfortable, and after two years’ time are still in very good condition.  She said that the cost of four ‘new’ dog beds would have been over $200, so she’s saved a good amount of money and her furry friends are sleeping like kings!



Juice Lid Ornaments

A reader reminded me that kids need to "Do things with their hands – besides play video games!" She suggested that parents could have the kids make inexpensive Christmas ornaments for grandparents with nothing more than the lids from the frozen juice you prepare for breakfast, a nail, and some odds and ends.

Her instructions:

  • Make a star, Christmas ball or any other pattern you choose to fit the inside of the lid from a piece of paper, and tape it to the lid. Using an old breadboard or piece of scrap board, a nail and a small tack hammer, let the kids poke holes around the pattern using the nail and hammer.
  • Glue a piece of felt or fabric on the back of the lid to prevent scratches, and then let the kids decorate the edge of the lid with lace, left-over chunks of fat yarn, little colored buttons, odds and ends of rick-rack from Grandma’s sewing basket, twisted pieces of colored paper – anything that the kids can dream up. 
  • Use the nail to poke a hole at the top of the ornament to put a piece of yarn, ribbon or twine through to make a hanger, and you’re finished!

 
Wallpaper The Drawers?

A reader writes:

My kitchen drawers were showing their years, and since I can’t afford to replace the kitchen, I needed some way to spruce things up. My daughter had recently put some scrubbable wallpaper behind her cookstove and had some scraps left – so I took the ‘bits and pieces’ home and lined the inside of my drawers with them. It sure does make them look better – and now they are easier to clean!



It’s No Yolk!

A reader writes:

I make homemade angel food cakes, but of course there are the yolks to deal with for another day. I put them all in a quart canning jar and put a little water over the top before placing in the refrigerator for another use.  The yolks do not go bad this way, and I can use them in a sponge cake in a couple of days, thus not wasting the rest of the egg.



Apples To The Rescue

A reader writes:

If the brown sugar, cookies or marshmallows get hard, a cut half of an apple placed in the jar with any of these for a day or two. It will restore the softness, and then you can ‘use all you buy’!



P.S.: Please be sure to mention the "Farm And Livestock Directory" when you respond!