Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and it seems like each year it’s here and gone before you know it! Did anyone notice how this year they didn’t show The Nightmare Before Christmas at all on ABC Family Free Form??? I was especially disappointed, because that’s one of my favorites. Thankfully, they still had Hocus Pocus and the Addams Family, so I was pretty content while carving my pumpkin.
Pumpkin carving is one of those traditions you either love or hate. I (obviously) love it, it’s something my family would do together growing up and I’m a sentimental sap so I love to keep it going. It’s a creative way to pass an hour or two, a little bit challenging, and you wind up getting a snack out of it! Not only are pumpkin seeds delicious when done right, but they have a ton of health benefits too. So thanks, mom and dad, for helping us carve all those years back and for making us a snack to boot!
If you still have some seeds laying around from your own carving adventure, I’d suggest a few different versions: Chili & Lime if you’re looking for a kick, Italian if you’re looking for something savory, or Fall Spice if you want something warm and sweet. If you have your own way of roasting your pumpkin seeds, I’d love to hear them too!
Le sigh… I can’t believe we’re already at Labor Day weekend. I am all for a 3-day weekend, but this one just means that my favorite season of all time is drawing to a close. Gone are the long days, warm beaches, and cold drinks. Now it’s already dark when I wake up and soon it’ll be frigid outside. I know there are people who are so pumped for all things cozy, #pumpkin, and fall, but I am not one of them. My goal is to savor as much of summer as possible!
There is at least one good thing about the end of summer: the plethora of summer veggies available and at their peak ripeness! I’m talking all the summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes and corn you can handle! I was going to share a recipe for just a tomato sandwich, because tomatoes are seriously so good right now, but I though that’d be a little boring.
So I decided I wanted to jump on the zoodle (aka zucchini noodle) bandwagon for this recipe, but I don’t have a spiralizer. Instead, I used the mandolin to make really thin strips of zucchini then cut those into smaller pieces… and then I got impatient and just thinly sliced them myself. So what we have here is really more of a slaw but just as delish.
The end result was a perfect dish (side or main) that really brings out the best of the summer flavors. Hope you all enjoy your three day weekend, and soak up the sun and veggies while you can!
Zucchini with Roasted Summer Veggies Prep Time: 20 min Serves: 4-6 Total Time: 40 min
1 pint grape tomatoes (mine were the “artisan” variety with yellow, red, and purple tomatoes but any and all variety of fresh tomato will work)
1 orange pepper
1 yellow pepper
2 cloves garlic
Parmesan for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Slice peppers into 1″ chunks (or long strips would be good too)
Toss with tomatoes on baking sheet with olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper
Cook in oven for 20-30 minutes until tender, tossing halfway through
While the tomatoes and peppers are roasting, thinly slice zucchini using a grater, mandolin, or spiralizer
In a large pan over medium heat, heat olive oil and two cloves of minced garlic
Add in zucchini and cook for 3-5 minutes with salt and pepper so that zucchini is very lightly sauteed, turn heat down to low
Once the roasted veggies are done, add all of the veggies and juices into the pan with the zucchini
Toss together in the pan, serve warm with parmesan cheese and enjoy a nice summer evening
Happy Memorial Day everyone! What’re your plans for the long weekend? Going to the beach? Heading to a big city? Chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool? Whatever you do, take some time to remember the reason we have a 3-day weekend and honor those in our military who made the ultimate sacrifice. Spend time with your loved ones and have some fun!
Personally, I’ll be sitting my happy butt on the beach for most of the weekend, avoiding traffic as much as I can, and getting the grill fired up! If you’re cooking out too, I definitely recommend throwing some shrimp on the barbie (and no, I’m not sorry for saying that in my cheesiest Aussie accent). They’re quick to cook and most people I know are thrilled when seafood is on the table.
Pro Tip: when grilling shrimp, use two skewers instead of one. The shrimp like to do somersaults when you try flipping them on a single skewer; a second skewer will keep them in place so you can easily grill both sides.
I marinated my shrimp for about 30 minutes in olive oil, lime juice, garlic, red pepper, and salt to build up some flavor (remember to peel the shrimp before marinating… I maaaaaaaay have forgotten that part). I loved the spinach pesto I used with the pierogies last week, so I decided to make an avocado version while the shrimp were marinating to give it more of a southwestern twist.
These came together easily, leaving plenty of time for enjoying the beach! I served mine over jasmine rice to make it a meal. I hope you all have a chance to try them and have a lovely three day weekend – cheers!
Grilled Shrimp with Avocado Pesto Sauce Prep Time: 30 min Cook Time: 5 min Total Time: 35 min Serves: 4-6
Ingredients: For marinade:
1 lb bag of jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
For the sauce:
1 large avocado
2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup of olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp cilantro
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
If you will be using wooden skewers, place them on a baking sheet and cover them in water – this will prevent them from charring on the grill
If using frozen shrimp, thaw shrimp. Peel shrimp and place them in a large bowl
Add remaining ingredients for the marinade and gently toss to evenly coat the shrimp. Cover and put in fridge for about 30 minutes
While the shrimp are marinating, make the marinade
Slice the avocado in half, remove pit and add to the food processor
Add spinach, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper to the food processor
On the low setting, start the food processor and drizzle in olive oil until you reach the desired consistency – set sauce aside
Preheat grill to 300-350 degrees
Remove the marinated shrimp from the refrigerator and skewer them using two skewers, about 6 shrimp for every two skewers
When all shrimp are skewered, place them on the grill
Cook cover for 2-3 minutes, open grill, and flip to cook the other side for 2-3 minutes more – the shrimp will be done when they are pink and opaque
Remove shrimp from grill; you may either drizzle them with the pesto sauce or remove them from the skewers to toss them in the sauce to fully coat