Monday, October 28, 2013

Look What I Found at the Dollar Store | Halloween Edition

It's been a very long time since I've done a dollar store round up, so I hope you enjoy this one! I haven't done a thorough Dollorama trip since our move to Manitoba, and Halloween crafting was just the excuse I was looking for.

You might know I'm not a fan of most seasonal decor, and the main reason behind that is that I would much rather invest my decorating dollars into something that will hang around for longer than a couple of weeks.

But, if I can source something or DIY it without allocating too much of my vase-allowance, I'm on board. Something that won't look out of place in our house, that will be useful in years to come, and can also double as party decor for those impromptu neighbourhood get togethers.

Those pumpkins? Started as this...

Three gourds, and two packs of mini-gourds set me back $10 ($2 each), along with some rhinestone stickers ($1 each) some faux flowers ($1), napkins ($1 each) and craft chalkboard paint ($1). Straws were $4 from HomeSense, so the total investment for this Halloween vignette was around $20. Not too shabby, especially since the "chalkboard" (painted canvas), straws, flowers and napkins can all be used throughout the year, and the painted gourds will make an appearance in many Octobers to come.

But that's not all I scored at the dollar store! These glass carafes ($1.25 each) were perfect for decanting my vinegars into so that all the jars match in my pantry, but would also be great filled with water and food colouring to resemble potions and blood for some Halloween creep-factor.

The plastic jars are also great for craft supply storage (or for Halloween, fill with spiders or eyeballs) and best of all, they cost just $3 for three.

This set of black frames was only $3! I thought they were separate frames but are in fact all attached, which turned out to make the perfect "wreath" to hang on the front door for Halloween! I'll share that finished project later on this week!

And these doodle-rific notebooks made the Halloween cut off purely because her eyes and face terrify me - but they are cute none the less and for $2, who can complain about creepy eyes?

Have you found any dollar store finds perfect for Halloween?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Addictive Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (Vegan & GF!)

One of my favourite activities around Halloween is to scoop out pumpkin innards and sort the pumpkin seeds during pumpkin carving. It's been a long standing tradition that my mom and I would roast the seeds and while they roasted, we would carve our pumpkins. Last night we had a bunch of our neighbours over for pumpkin carving, and I was thrilled to carry on the tradition in Winnipeg. Since we had a number of good sized pumpkins, I had a lot of pumpkin seeds to sort through and roast. And are they ever tasty.....

I modified my mom's recipe to make it vegan-friendly, but the recipe listed below is her original recipe, with substitutes listed in brackets, and the ones I used in bold.

Seasoned Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup rinsed and paper towel dried fresh pumpkin seeds with shell/husk
1 tbsp butter (or Earth Balance or vegan Becel margarine)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (or Braggs Aminos or Soy Sauce or vegan worcestershire)
Good shakes of both garlic powder and seasoning salt to taste


Preheat oven to 375 F.

Melt the butter in the micro or a sauce pan, the  add the rest of the seasonings and stir to make your coating.

Once well mixed, toss with the pumpkin seeds in a bowl until coated.

Spread thinly on a parchment lined baking sheet. Shake a little more seasoning salt on top. (Warning: these are salty - almost salt & vinegar chip salty, so adjust to your taste).

Bake for about 30 minutes or until light golden, then stir and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown. Take out, stir again, let cool and serve. Bet you can't eat just one! They are incredibly addictive. Such a yummy treat that can be made year round, but I prefer to reserve it just to Halloween so it's something to look forward to every year.

I made both vegan and non-vegan versions last night, and must admit that the Braggs amino (soy sauce) version tasted every bit as delicious as the normal recipe, so give either one a go. I wish I had tried coconut oil instead of margarine, or even no oil at all, to see how it would work. Next year!

Do you roast pumpkin seeds? Do you like them salty or sweet?