I love fall for all the obvious reasons: colored leaves, crisp air, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, carved pumpkins, caramel apples, fall break, harvest of gardens and the smell of roasted chili peppers.  This year I didn’t garden because I was pregnant.  I admit a little sad that I’m not canning/roasting/freezing/drying anything.  (I could have stocked up at farmers markets to still do all of this, but learning to take care of an infant is taking all my energy!)

I feel like I missed summer as I stayed indoors to survive the heat while pregnant.  Plus I slept A LOT during the entire pregnancy.  I never really got my energy back like all the books and Internet sites said I would. 

Now, I feel like I’m missing fall as well as all my efforts are being given to my family.  By no means am I complaining.  I don’t want it any other way.  However, when it came to my stepsons’ fall break, I wanted to capture a bit of fall. 

This desire wasn’t out of full selfishness.  This year the boys spent Halloween with their mother.  When the boys don’t spend a holiday with us, we try to do something new and special for them.  We carve pumpkins and go to a corn maze and pumpkin patch every year, but this year we also roasted pumpkin seeds, made caramel apples, and made healthy pop and chicken salad.  T even went through his first haunted corn maze with Dad!

This year I didn’t carve my own pumpkin.  I enjoyed watching and taking pictures of the boys carving their pumpkins.  My husband carved a pumpkin for our baby, Squeaks.

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The next day, while my husband was at work, the boys and I made a healthy lunch based off of recipes T brought home from school.  Unfortunately, we left the brochure at the store, so I can’t give proper credit for the source of the recipes.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds - my recipe
4 C rinsed pumpkin seeds
1 T worchestershire sauce
3 T melted butter
Sea Salt to taste
Mix all ingredients
Spread pumpkin seeds on non-greased baking sheet
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until seeds are golden brown.
For slower roasting, decrease temperature to 250 degrees and bake for an hour or so.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of recipes to roast pumpkin seeds.  You can use herbs, spices, sauces, or keep plain.  I like to make up a recipe each year to try something new.  I give this recipe a thumbs up!

Healthy Pop (school recipe)
12 oz Frozen, 100% fruit juice
2 ltr carbonated/sparkling water
Mix and enjoy!

T’s teacher suggested the kids use Sunny D to make orange pop.  It’s not as healthy as 100% juice, but it’s what he wanted to use.  Since it wasn’t frozen concentrated juice, we used 16 oz of juice.

Healthy Chicken Salad on Crackers (school recipe)
12 oz can chicken
1/4 C shredded carrots
1 C plain, fat free yogurt
1 box of raisins
Mix and serve on crackers.  Enjoy!

Instead of using a can of chicken, I boiled and shredded two chicken breasts.  Also instead of buying shredded carrots the boys shredded the carrots themselves.  It’s fun for them and cheaper for me!  T was so excited by it all, he made our plates and served us!

While it was tasty, it was a bit bland for me.  I would suggest adding a Tablespoon of honey to enhance the sweetness; or adding spices like red pepper or greek seasoning to offset the sweetness.  I would also use plain Greek yogurt to add some tart!  Personally, I prefer spice and herbs over sweet.

Caramel Apples - store bought caramel wraps
2 packages of caramel wraps, which I found in the produce section at the store
(it comes with the sticks)
10 apples
Follow the wrap instructions

I feel like I cheated by doing caramel apples this way, but the ease and little clean up made cheating worth it.  The caramel apples were still scrumptious!

The day was fun and memorable.  I got a bit of fall.  The boys got a special day.

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