Autumn at the Movies

Fall means getting prepared for some heavy-duty nesting. It means having blankets to snuggle in and warm treats to enjoy. It means evenings in watching movies after days outside gathering in pumpkins, squash, and apples. It means enjoying stuff like this while watching a movie from beneath cozy blankets:

Before you think you can't afford such luxury treats or don't have the time to make them yourself, consider that I spent about 20 minutes of hands-on time putting this mix together … and that's counting the time spent cleaning pumpkin seeds and laying them out to dry! It just took a little planning ahead and there was a perfect fall movie snack ready to be enjoyed by me and my family.

We began with the pumpkin seeds because there's more time required from start to finish to make them. Besides, when you are done, your nest will smell beautifully spiced and have the extra toastiness that a warm oven gives off. I have included a dairy and a dairy free option for making the seeds. I've noted that pumpkin seeds are called for, but let me tell you a little secret: you can also use the seeds from butternut or acorn squash. I hope this little bit of news will have you roasting the seeds in both sweet and savory varieties all season long!

Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Seeds

  • 2 c. pumpkin seeds
  • 2 T. melted butter or canola oil
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice

Rinse the seeds well and get as much of the pumpkin pulp off of them as possible. Pat dry with paper towels or allow to dry overnight on a smooth surface.

Toss the seeds with the butter, sugar, and spices.

Heat the oven to 300° F. Spread the coated seeds on a shallow baking sheet (I line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat to make cleanup easier), turning from time to time, for about an hour, or until they are nicely browned and crunchy.

  • Yields: 2 cups seeds
  • Preparation Time: About an hour and ten minutes

When the pumpkin seeds were about halfway done, I popped popcorn in the microwave and put together the peanut butter popcorn. It's super simple to make and best enjoyed while it's still fresh and warm. Toss the popcorn with the pumpkin seeds and you have a mixed snack that's got autumn written all over it. Trust me, you're going to love this combination.

Microwave Peanut Butter Popcorn

  • 1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 3 T. maple syrup
  • 6 c. popped popcorn, plain
  • Fine sea salt, to taste depending how salty you would like it

In the microwave, heat the peanut butter and maple syrup in a large glass measuring cup on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir the mixture and if it's not pourable, continue microwaving for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating period.

Pour this mixture evenly over the bowl of popcorn and immediately stir with large spoons and toss like a salad until the popcorn is evenly coated. Be careful not to crush the popcorn while stirring. Sprinkle on the sea salt to taste. Place the popcorn on baking sheets to cool and dry. Serve when the stickiness factor is to your liking. Best enjoyed within a few hours of making it.

  • Yields: 6 cups popcorn
  • Preparation Time: About 10 minutes

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