One Month Challenge: Apple-Pumpkin Fever, Week Three

Okay, I’m getting a little tired of eating pumpkin.
If I was just eating pumpkin all day long it might improve my chances of turning my skin a new shade of orange. Thankfully, that is not the case! [Editor’s Note: Worst. Intern. Ever.] I’m allowed to eat other things/balance out the eating of pumpkins with apples and other tasty treats.
My recent favorite snack is toasted pumpkin seeds added to trail mix. This recipe is super easy and cost-friendly for those of us on a college budget. You’ll need to purchase any type of nut based trail mix (if you prefer to make it yourself, you’ll want to get pecans, almonds, and walnuts – but remember that nuts can run pretty expensive). The recipe I followed does involve a few outside ingredients but if you’re not interested in doing that, just ignore me for the next couple of sentences.
If you are interested in making this mixture from scratch: combine 2 cups of honey, 1/8 cup orange juice, 2 tsp. of cayenne pepper and 1 tbsp. of cinnamon in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the nuts. To the nut mixture, add 1 cup of pumpkin seeds (uncooked). Combine the honey mixture with the nut and pumpkin mixture and mix well, until all of the nuts/pumpkin seeds are well coated. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet (I would put foil down first and spray it so it’s not as sticky) and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let it cool after it’s finished baking.
You can add dried fruits like papaya and pineapple to the nut mixture, but I just added Crasins. You’re also free to add as much salt as your little heart desires but I hate salted nuts. If anything, add more cinnamon to really enhance the pumpkin flavor. You can see the entire recipe here.
For those of us that aren’t really up for doing that, just add cooked pumpkin seeds to your favorite trail mix. You can try to sprinkle them with cinnamon but unless you bake the seeds in cinnamon, the flavors won’t hold as well.
The great thing about trail mix is that it’s really easy to just grab-and-go. I’ve been running around a lot lately and it’s just so much easier to pack it and bring it with me to snack on, instead of spending money while I’m out. It’s perfect for snacking in between classes or even to bring with as a late night guilt-free snack while you’re cramming at the library.
All right. Back to my struggle with all things pumpkin and apple. There were a few times last week where I broke down and bought a pumpkin spice latte. Now that I’m officially broke after trying to afford those ridiculous things, I’ve decided I’m only having apple-cinnamon spiced tea to suffice the rules of my challenge. One package costs about the same as buying one Starbucks drink and lasts me about eight days longer.
Like I said last week, I’m kind of over the Starbucks craze. Lots of coffee providers (and the packaged grounds that you can pick up in stores) make their own pumpkin-flavored coffees that don’t hurt my wallet (or my stomach) as badly as Starbucks does. Honestly, I just feel better about supporting local coffeehouses (okay yes, while that does make me part of the 99%, I’m not about to go all Occupy Starbucks on any of you).
I’m kind of running out of great ideas to cook with apples and pumpkins. While they might be useful for expanding my cooking and baking repertoire, I’m finding that only a number of spices actually compliment the dishes, which brings me back to that limited food feeling.
On a lighter note, I am beginning to see my waist-line extend, which is awesome considering the colder months are on their way and I need to reserve as much body fat as possible for keeping warm.
I’m a little nervous that this last week might send me into gag-reflex overload. There is a chance I might start gagging after all this pumpkin and apple inside me. Who knows, pretty soon I might be sharing my apple-pumpkin eating frenzy with my good friend, the Porcelain King. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Candy Dish: Fashion and Beauty Overload
Candy Dish: Fashion and Beauty Overload
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