Tuesday Tip: Measuring Shortening

Measuring Shortening | @HipVegetarian

Here’s a cooking tip that my mother taught me: how to measure shortening.

Measuring Shortening | @HipVegetarian

If you need a half cup of shortening, then fill your liquid measuring cup with a 1/2 cup of water. Then scoop in enough shortening to left the water level up to 1 cup.

Measuring Shortening | @HipVegetarian

Need a cup of shortening? Then scoop in enough shortening to raise the water level to 1 1/2 cups.

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The End of Fall

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

Pumpkins during the Fall season are simply beautiful.

However before they lose their luster, I always bake them to freeze so I can make soups throughout the rest of the year.  Take them to the slaughter-house, I say!

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to start the process before they start to mold from the inside out.

This year I gutted my Blue Hubbard pumpkin and filled it with about a quarter-cup of water, baked it at 350 degrees until the skin was tender enough to be pierced by a fork.  I found this to be much easier than cutting the pumpkin into sections before baking or peeling  it raw.

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Don’t Throw Those Seeds in to the Weeds!

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I lower my head in shame thinking of all the pumpkin seeds I’ve thrown away over the years — never once thinking that I could turn them in to something delicious.

Thanks to my friend Valerie over at 29 Days of Pumpkin I am now saving those seeds.  I love her recipe Toasted Brown Sugar Pumpkin Seeds. When I made them the first time I ate the whole batch by myself.

Not a proud moment.

What I love most about this recipe is the addition of black pepper. The little charge of spice is a nice balance to the brown sugar’s sweetness.

Today I am working on cooking all my left over pumpkins, and have been collecting the seeds.  I’m just about ready to make my last batch of Toasted Brown Sugar Pumpkin Seeds for the season.

I think I’ll have to package them up to share with family so I don’t eat them all…by myself…again.

Toasted Brown Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups raw pumpkin seeds, unwashed
1/2 cup or 1 stick butter/margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsps vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice or
can replace with cinnamon

Line 13 x 9 baking dish with aluminum foil and lightly spray with no-stick  cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Set pan aside.

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat and add brown sugar, vanilla, salt, pepper, and your choice of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon. Stir for 1 minute, and remove from heat.

Add pumpkin seeds to mixture and stir until thoroughly coated. Spread out in thin layer in baking dish, and bake in oven at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove from oven and spread on wax paper to cool.

Thursday Tip: Organizing Your Shopping List

If you’re like me, the hurdle to cooking is organizing my shopping list.  The task of looking through recipes and then writing down what I need is, well, just daunting.  Luckily I discovered a system that works for me.

I noticed that some websites like Vegetarian Times have recipe boxes for me to store recipe choices.

Within my recipe box I can click one or more recipes and the web site will create a shopping list for me.  From there I just glance through the shopping list, mark off the items I already have in-house, and voila! My shopping is completed.

Simple as that.

What organizational tip to you have when it comes to cooking or working in the kitchen?