Another work week is in the books, which means it’s time to kick back and relax. Winter is here, hopefully you have braced yourselves. As I sit here writing this post, and the snow is falling outside, it reminds me of the Halloweens of my youth. The ones where you would have the coolest costumes ever, but your mom would make you wear your winter coat over them. Every year at Halloween, my mom would make a spiced cider for everyone. Over the years I’ve made this cider a few times, played around with the recipe, and turned it in to something we really enjoy. Also, because it’s Halloween, you could always feel free to add a few spirits to your cider. Get it, spirits refers to both alcohol and spooky ghosts! It’s really a clever joke. While this is not a healthy recipe, very sugary to be exact, it’s Halloween, and we are taking a break from the usual “diet”, because we all need to splurge once and a while.
In addition to the cider, we thought we would share our recipe for roast pumpkin seeds. We carved pumpkins last weekend. Carving pumpkins has become one of our Halloween traditions. We always save the seeds and roast them with spices for a fun healthy snack. Both this week’s recipes are super simple. They are perfect for a party. Make a pot of cider, have some roasted seeds out, and await the arrival of children begging for candy. Let’s get started on the cider.
Jeff’s Spiced Cider
1 Gallon Apple Cider (We like the pure pressed kind. The kind that’s all cloudy)
1 7oz bag of Red Hot Cinnamon Candies
1 Orange, sliced
5 whole cinnamon sticks
1 Tablespoon whole cloves (Do NOT use ground cloves, or if you do, don’t use a whole tablespoon)
1 pinch freshly grated Nutmeg
1.) This is a very simple recipe. Combine everything except the red hots in a large pot. Over medium heat, bring the cider up to just shy of a simmer. You’re looking for about 190 degrees. Just the right temperature to drink.
2.) Once the cider is hot, add the red hot cinnamon candies. At this point, you need to stir constantly until the candies are dissolved. It will take about five minutes. Once the candies are dissolved, reduce the heat to low so the cider stays warm. Let the cloves and cinnamon give up a little more of their flavor. The cider is ready to drink now, but it will be better in about 15 minutes.
3.) You can make this cider in advance. At this point, you could transfer it to a different vessel and save it until you are ready to use it. In the past, I have made the cider in advance, and put it in a crock pot to heat up.
4.) Transfer to a mug and enjoy. I like mine with a little whiskey, or cheap scotch in it. Enjoy!
As for the pumpkin seeds, they are only slightly harder than the cider.
Here’s the run down.
2 cups pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1.) Clean all the pumpkin guts off the seeds. After that, spread the seeds out on a paper towel to dry a little.
2.) Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
3.) Once the seeds are dryer, place them in a bowel. Add the oil and toss to coat. After that, add all the other spices and toss to coat.
4.) Spread the seeds evenly on a greased baking sheet. Add them to the oven. Roast them. Ours took about 30 minutes, and at fifteen minutes we gave them a stir.
5.) Let cool slightly and enjoy.
Well, that’s it for today’s recipes, but turn in on Tuesday when we will be offering one more mid-week Halloween recipe. In the meantime, stay healthy!
Also, we didn’t forget about this week’s contest. If you posted on our facebook wall, we put your name in a hat. We drew the winner this morning and are pleased to announce the winner is Nate Dostal! So Nate, when you read this, send us a message on facebook with your address and we will get your gift card out to you right away. Everyone else, don’t be discouraged! We will have more prizes in the near future.