Adventures in Carving

by Christina Meyer-Jax, Tastemaker in Residence

I’m going to just flat out admit it…I'm not a fan of carving pumpkins. However it is a huge favorite of my children (insert defeated mom sigh). I’ve worked hard over the years to do a work-around on this well-loved holiday tradition.  

This has included: 

-Painting pumpkins and buying half of the craft store in googly eyes and pipe cleaners in hopes this would be far more fun then carving!

-Invited 20+ kids over for a scavenger hunt for pumpkins I hid around our neighborhood, followed by festive fall games and snacks (yup and painting pumpkins)

-Pumpkin-themed baking day and apple cider pressing

You may say, Wow that is a lot of work too, why don’t you just carve it?

I think the issue is in the lead up. I love going to the patch and finding our perfect pumpkin. Fall days, crisp leaves, it’s beautiful!  However then you need to let the squash warm up in the house before carving. Depending on the size of the pumpkin, you now have a solid 30-45 minutes of scraping out the guts until you can no longer feel your fingers. And as enthusiastic as my kids are about carving the pumpkin, they seem to all of a sudden have homework to finish during this part of the activity!

Now the fun begins! We hand our children knives and carving utensils and pray that this does not end in an ER visit.

Ok no more really does end up being a great showcase of family creativity. My kids and husband are the artsy ones in the family, so their jack-o-lanterns look great. I lean on the skills that work for me...roasting pumpkin seeds!

This is my favorite snack to make during the fall! It’s high in fiber, and a good source of many micronutrients like iron, magnesium, and potassium.

There are so many ways you can personalize this versatile seed that go beyond pumpkin spice! Here is my favorite recipe that makes me happy we go through the adventure of carving pumpkins!

Sweet and Chili Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


1 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tsp olive oil
1/3 Tbsp chili powder (adjust to your taste)
1/4 Tbsp cinnamon 
1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp celtic sea salt (adjust to your taste, I like things salty)


  1. Place pumpkin seeds in a large cast iron skilletover medium heat or put on baking sheet with oven set at 400°
  2. Stir frequently, for 5-8 minutes, until seeds make a crackling noise, some will even pop (may take more or less time depending on how dry your seeds were before you started)
  3. Remove pan from heat and stir in olive oil, then chili powder and salt
  4. Cool and serve

Makes 1 cup of spicy pumpkin seeds