Baked Pumpkin Seeds

imagesCA05MYR6For a simple autumn treat, make some baked pumpkin seeds (you can also do this with acorn squash seeds).

After all the pumpkin carving or pie making’s done, don’t throw out the seeds.

Separate the seeds from the stringy pulp (don’t rinse or remove every last bit of the pulp — the pulp adds flavor). Place the seeds on a cookie sheet, stir in about 1/4 cup of melted butter, sprinkle with a small amount of salt and then bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Enjoy!

And if you’re wondering what to do with the leftover stringy part of the pumpkin guts, visit my real-life friend Diana’s blog for a tasty recipe:  Pumpkin Gut Bread

Happy autumn to you and yours!

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Easy Hot Spiced Apple Juice/Cider

By Debi

My favorite recipe for hot spiced apple cider is one of those throw-it-together-as-you-go recipes, but I’ll try to explain the process as best I can.

First, I take a large jug of apple juice (a gallon if we’re entertaining). Then I pour the juice into a large pot on the stove (or into the slow cooker if I don’t want to use a burner). Heat to a simmer.

Then add the following ingredients to the pot:

  • about one cup of frozen orange juice concentrate (this ingredient is a MUST)
  • approximately two teaspoons (more or less) of EACH of the following: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cloves (whole or ground)
  • and sometimes I add about one cup (or less) of cranberry juice cocktail

Let it all simmer for awhile (half an hour at least). The smell wafting through the house while the cider is simmering is simply heaven. Mmmmm …

Serve the hot spiced cider in mugs. For a nice touch, add a whole cinnamon stick to each mug.

Having a large pot of cider simmering on the stove when company arrives is a sure way to make them very happy that they chose to come over to your house.

Spaghetti Pie – Make-Ahead Recipe

by Debi

Just for fun, here’s one of my family’s favorite freezer-friendly recipes, Spaghetti Pie (reprinted from my book, Frozen Assets: Cook for Day, Eat for a Month, SourceBooks). This recipe can easily be double or tripled.

My original Spaghetti Pie recipe called for a full pound of ground beef, but now I only use half a pound per pie. I find half a pound to be more than enough. This recipe could also be made with ground turkey, Italian bulk sausage, TVP (texturized vegetable protein), or no meat (or meat substitutes) at all.

SPAGHETTI PIE (from: Frozen Assets)
(6 servings)

  • 6 oz. dry spaghetti noodles

  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine

  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

  • 2 well-beaten eggs

  • 1/2 lb ground beef

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

  • 1 (8-oz.) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes (don’t drain)

  • 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed

  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 cup cottage cheese

  • 1/2 cup cheese (your choice: mozzarella, cheddar, American, or Moneterey Jack), shredded

Cook spaghetti noodles. Drain. Stir margarine into hot noodles until melted. Stir in Parmesan cheese and eggs. Form pasta mixture into a crust shape in a buttered 9-inch pie plate. In skillet, cook ground beef and onions until meat is browned. Drain. Stir into ground beef, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar , oregano and garlic. Heat through. Spread cottage cheese over bottom of spaghetti crust. Top with tomato/meat mixture. Sprinkle grated cheese over all. Cover pie pan with foil; label and freeze.

To Serve: Thaw. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes at 350 F. Remove foil and bake for 5 minutes more until cheese is lightly browned.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deborah Taylor-Hough is the author of a number of popular books including the bestselling Frozen Assets cookbook series, Frugal Living for Dummies®, and A Simple Choice: A practical guide for saving your time, money and sanity. She also edits the Simple Times e-magazine.

Browse My Books:


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I have a new personal blog!

I’m avoiding homework today. No particular reason. Just trying to clear my head a bit, I guess.

Anyway, what do I do for fun or to clear my mind? Well, if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know the answer to that question:  I make blogs.

To keep a long story fairly short, I’ve decided to start a completely new blog which has no particular point other than to share current life events and other random things that have no place else to go: Photos, flash fiction, poetry, rants. Whatever.

So, to all of you — my long-time faithful followers and any newbies — please feel free join me on my newest blogging adventure!  I honestly have no idea where this journey may take us.  That’s why it’s an adventure.

Debi’s New Random Blog

You can subscribe to email updates to the new blog, too, so you’ll always stay up-to-date.  Really hope to see you there!

The New-and-Improved Simple Times Ezine

After being on haitus for nearly a year, Simple Times is back … and better than ever!  Now in an easy-to-read online magazine format with more great content and weekly updates.

Get the latest news from all around the web on saving money, living simply, homemaking, parenting, education, cooking, and more!

To see an issue of Simple Times, click HERE

You’ll find a subscription form on the page … be sure to enter your email address so you won’t miss any future issues!

The Simple Times Newsletter is dedicated to the pursuit of simple living.  The purpose of Simple Times is to provide inspiration, encouragement, motivation and practical help for those who (for whatever reasons) are choosing to simplify their lives.

This free publication — published since 1995 — will appeal to people from a wide array of backgrounds and lifestyles: working parents, single folks, stay-at-home moms (and dads, too!), homeschooling families, voluntary simplicity adherents, “involuntary” simplicity (due to corporate lay-offs, stagnant wages, etc.), or anyone else who would like their life to be less busy, less cluttered, less complicated, or less expensive.

Whether your personal definition of simple living focuses on saving money for your regular family expenses (food, clothing, utilities, etc.); saving time and energy through easier housekeeping and cooking techniques; or moving to the country to homestead your own little piece of heaven, Simple Times should prove to be fun and helpful.

Regular topics will include:

  • Frugality
  • Simplified housekeeping
  • Decluttering tips
  • Enriching (and inexpensive!) educational ideas for children
  • Using leftovers
  • Freezer meals (recipes, tips, questions and answers)
  • Inexpensive, creative and simple recipes
  • Food prep and storage
  • Shopping tips
  • Craft projects (for kids and adults)
  • Interviews
  • Recommended resources
  • Book reviews
  • and lots more!

To sign up, just visit the Simple Times page and enter your preferred email address into the subscription box.  Easy peasy!