Not that long ago, I posted about the long-standing antipathy between autumn and I. I complain about the weather, and autumn, she turns my toes blue. We are never going to get along. It's just not going to happen.
But as a photographer I have to admit, fall puts on a pretty good show around here. I've spent a lot of my days lately roaming through woods, across pumpkin patches and occasionally into streams, shooting portraits and there has been no shortage of gorgeous backdrops for me to choose from. Sadly, I haven't actually focused very much attention directly on that scenery, it's all been on the faces in front of it. Even scouting locations, I strolled through scarlet gardens and forests painted gold, and looked only for places where the light would be right, the foliage not so flamboyant as to be distracting.
Until yesterday. Yesterday I went for a walk in the woods. A proper walk with no other purpose but to enjoy the scenery and the company. Our bellies full of hot coffee and peanut butter cookies, with no particular destination or direction, we clambered up and down hills, shoved each other towards puddles (ok, maybe that was mostly me) and just laughed and talked. I've been down a lot lately, feeling hard done by and like happiness was for other people. But yesterday I was happy. For a little while, everything seemed possible. Not even possible, simple. The world was there for the taking, I just had to reach out and grab it and enjoy.
I was still cold. My nose ran, my cheeks were rosy. I wore big long socks and boots and mittens and at times, both of our jackets. But the rain held off and the sun even came out for a bit, and just for the day, autumn and I called a truce.
In celebration of that truce, I offer you Things I Made with Leftover Pumpkin.
Recipe 64 of 100: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
The kids ate the pumpkin seeds so fast, I didn't even get a chance to photograph them. Here are some pretty leaves from the walk.
I roast pumpkin seeds every year - the kids enjoy them so much, we start carving 'practice pumpkins' in late September, just to have more seeds to roast. My recipe varies slightly every year, as I've never thought to write it down until now, but as these turned out quite well - one of my better batches, I think - now is as good a time as any to record the recipe, right?
2 cups of fresh pumpkin seeds, washed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of mesquite seasoning
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, toss the seeds with the olive oil, coating thoroughly. Add seasonings and toss some more. Spread seeds in one even layer across a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the seeds are golden brown. Stir the seeds every so often while they're baking, so that they toast evenly.
Recipe 65 of 100: Pumpkin Muffins
I lifted this recipe directly from Smitten Kitchen, so I won't repost the whole recipe here. The recipe is a cinch to make, and makes your kitchen smell like you are a proper baker.
*So, at the end of her recipe, she has a bunch of notes about things she forgot, or did wrong. I have one of my own to add - I totally did not put any baking powder in. It's at the beginning of the recipe, but the instructions start with the wet ingredients, and when she got to 'whisk in the flour mixture' I simply whisked in flour and went on my merry way. Apparently it is impossible to mess these muffins up.