Homemade Christmas & Tamari Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

7 Nov

Working in the kitchen has been a balm for my anxiety. The chopping, the washing, the sauteing all help divert my scattered, restless thoughts away from anxious tangents. The inherent rhythm of chop chop chop chop has become my mantra. Cooking is my meditation. Dinner is my devotion.

We have so many seeds from the pumpkins we grew that I’m planning to roast them in batches with a different set of seasonings each time. In addition to the three fat pumpkins we harvested from the backyard my friend and gardening-partner-in-crime Jake gave us the pumpkin he grew as well. It’s an embarrassment of pumpkin riches.

After cleaning the flesh from the seeds by soaking them in brine overnight, I doused them heavily in tamari, the milder, more complex Japanese soy sauce. I roasted them for 45 minutes at 300 degrees. They came out a bit saltier than I’d like so I’ll need to adjust the amount of soy, but they have a robust, almost smoky flavor.

One of the reasons I’m testing out different spice combinations is because the holidays are right around the corner and I’m looking for gifts I can make cheaply and in batches. This year my friends and I have decided to have an exclusively Handmade Christmas. If it can be found in a thrift store (the only exception), cooked, baked, or otherwise handcrafted, it counts. None of us can afford an extravagant Christmas, and aside from a few stocking stuffers and thrifted goodies I’ve already set aside for Isobel, that goes for family, too.

Going down to one income in this economy is way harder than I thought it’d be. I don’t regret my decision to stay home for a minute, but I do have to admit I had unrealistic expectations about how difficult the financial transition would be. Finally, with two incomes in decent jobs we were making enough money to do more than get by when I quit my job. But I know things won’t always be this way. Anthony is still establishing himself in his career and I’m continuing to make extra money through photography and my Etsy shop. (Speaking of, stop by my shop during the holidays! I always include extra vintage goodies to customers I know personally.)

My friends are all in the same boat, most of them dealing with crushing student debt, lack of employment options, and the dreaded foreclosure. So, in the tradition of making lemons out of lemonade, we’re going the inexpensive route. Handmade can certainly be expensive, but I’m on the lookout for crafts that are inexpensive, easy enough for a novice, and not incredibly time consuming. I have some ideas I’ll share later (once I figure out what I’m going to make), but I’d love to hear any suggestions you have or click on any Pinterest links you want to send my way.

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5 Responses to “Homemade Christmas & Tamari Roasted Pumpkin Seeds”

  1. Bleu November 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    Yum! The seeds sound great! And I agree… cooking can be very therapeutic.

    • LittleBig November 16, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

      I’m trying to slow it down a bit. Some of the food I made is in danger of going bad because I keep making things! Trying to convince myself that cleaning the toilet is therapeutic.

  2. Pen November 7, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    http://www.makeandtakes.com/links/scrabble-tile-pendant-tutorial

    I think these would be beautiful and simple gifts for friends

    • LittleBig November 16, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

      LOVE this idea! So great. Thanks for the link, Pen!

      • tollyfaye December 22, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

        I just found your blog and it is great, I went 2 years ago to a part time job and staying at home mostly, and it was a heck of an adjustment, then the hubby’s job laid off first time EVER. So this year the “mom and dad” gifts under the tree were from thrifting, and lots of gifts were made. . . my sibs embraced it, and I am really looking forward to seeing what they make me!! I really like your blog!! And having boys, we are so into power rangers, and I bought a vcr for $1 it has been the best buy, so many cheap movies out there!!!

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