Tag Archives: halloween

Tessa’s First Halloween!

31 Oct


Happy Halloween!! The Freeman Family will be spending Tessa’s first Halloween sitting on the couch, watching scary movies by the fire, eating home made split pea soup and homemade cookies and handing out candy to visiting trick or treaters. Good, fattening, name brand candy that would make this woman’s blood boil. (No, I don’t harbor any resentment to the houses with cheap tootsie roll and temporary tattoo Halloween handouts… why do you ask??)

For baby Tessa’s first Halloween, she will be wearing her Sheriff onesie (first Halloween costume – she’s going as her Grandpa! haha). In the following years she will be doomed to wear the most fabulous, elaborate costumes that her cosplay parents can craft for Halloween. I seriously cannot wait!

Happy Halloween everyone! Oh, and check out these cute holiday photos we took yesterday…. One of the perks of motherhood is being able to stick your pumpkin sized baby into a baby sized pumpkin. Don’t let anyone tell you different.






Wordless Wednesday – October 30, 2013

30 Oct


Japanese Style Sesame and Furikake Pumpkin Seeds

28 Oct


It’s Halloween time, which means the obligatory roasting of the pumpkin seeds after making jack-o-lanterns! I was trying to find some fun ideas for seasoning my pumpkin seeds, and I realized that seasoning these seeds is kind of like seasoning rice. You can dress it up to be sweet, salty, spicy, savory, anything. The rice (or the pumpkin seeds) are a blank slate ready to be whatever funky flavor you want.

My rice / pumpkin seed comparison made the lightbulb go off. Why not season the seeds with furikake?! (This is my favorite seasoning to put on onigiri – Japanese rice balls – you can see my recipe for those here.)

Furikake is the Japanese all purpose topping for foods. It consists mainly of seaweed flakes and sesame seeds, but different mixtures feature different flavors. In a Japanese household this is as common as salt and pepper. It’s used on eggs, pasta, salad, soups, and sushis / rice… anything really. So why not try it on one of my favorite Halloween time treats?

And OMGee did I hit this one out of the park. I don’t think I will ever roast my pumpkin seeds any other way. These have a very classic and traditional Japanese flavor. If you are a fan of miso soup or soba noodles, you’ll love this recipe, since it uses the basic ingredients to make the broth base for those two dishes.


You Will Need:

Pumpkin Seeds

Sesame Oil


Powdered Dashi

Furikake Seasoning

There are no precise measurements here, because each pumpkin will yield different amounts of seeds. So you gotta just eyeball it. SO! Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Next, wash your seeds under cold water, picking out all the pulp and goop and pumpkin entrails.

Put the seeds in a bowl, and lightly drizzle with sesame oil, gently tossing the seeds till they are coated. This will add flavor and ensure your seeds don’t burn.

Repeat the drizzle and toss process with the mirin. Mirin is a Japanese rice wine that is similar to sake, except it has a much lower alcohol content and a much higher sugar content. This will make your seeds kind of gooey and sticky as they heat up, and makes the furikake seasoning stick to the seeds and get lightly crusted on. The more seasoning you intend to crust your seeds with, the more mirin you’ll want to add. I added about equal part sesame oil and mirin to mine.

Next, take a single serving packet of powdered dashi stock (about 1 tablespoon) and sprinkle / toss it on the seeds. Dashi is considered one of the “five basic tastes” of Japanese cuisine and is made up of katsuobushi and kombu – basically powdered bonito fish stock and seaweed.

Next, sprinkle your furikake – as much as you’d like! – on the seeds. I used Urishima brand Traditional Blend Furikake, which is made up of white and black sesame seeds, salt, seaweed, sugar, soy sauce and green tea powder.

Once your seeds are all seasoned and evenly coated, pour them onto a greased baking sheet, and pop them in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, stirring the seeds up every 10 minutes.


And voila! You have some Japanese-tastic roasted pumpkin seeds! Enjoy! (I’m munching on them now as I post this!) ^_^ Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Patch at Holland Farms

27 Oct


Since this was baby girls first Halloween, I wanted to make sure the traditional picking out of pumpkins was a special one. Yes, yes, I know that she is but a wee thing, and won’t be picking out her own pumpkin and blah blah blah… BUT! It’s oh so important to start family traditions out right. And this is a family tradition we want to stick. Not to mention, my beautiful best friend Shauna was visiting us from California and just picking up pumpkins to carve from the grocery store just wouldn’t do. So!

I did some rummaging around the ol’ Google machine for some local pumpkin patches. Apparently, Pensacola’s idea of a patch of pumpkins consists of carting a bunch of tiny gourds to a church parking lot and charging ungodly amounts of cash for them. (Who has two thumbs, was raised in an agricultural community and has been spoiled for fresh produce and country hijinks? THIS GIRL!)

After asking among the Emerald Coast Crunchy Moms on Facebook, I finally found Holland Farms in Milton, Florida. This place is a peanut farm that has a genuine pick your pumpkin from the patch field. Here’s our visit in photos!

First, this is my best friend Shauna! We worked together at Disneyland, were roommates, and we were the maid of honors at each others weddings! She’s amazing and filled with happiness and pixie dust. While I was unable to convince her to move out to Pensacola with me, I was somehow able to persuade her to come and visit for a week!


I’ve been to plenty of farms in my day, being raised in the Central Valley of California and all. That’s pretty much cow and crop country. But I’ve never been to a southern farm. Or a peanut farm. So a southern peanut farm was quite the treat. The laid back, down home, leisurely quality of the place was relaxing and fun. We took some cutesy photos on the front porch rocking chairs before embarking on our journey. See? I am particularly smitten with the photos of my handsome husband and beautiful baby girl.



Once we paid for our wrist bands, (which covered the hayride to the pumpkin patch, one pumpkin per person, a corn maze and access to tons of other things that would have been awesome were we all five – corn kernel playpen, miniature zip line, swings, petting zoo, etc.) they handed us a cup of boiled peanuts and sent us on our way. Now, I’ve never had boiled peanuts before. And we spent a good 15 minutes or so eating our cups of mushy legumes and trying to decide if they were delicious or disgusting. After finishing off the lot of them, we still don’t know.



Since we were at a peanut farm handing out bucket loads of boiled peanuts to visitors, the ground looked like this:



After munching our peanuts, we boarded the tractor pulled hayride and took a really fun 10 minute trip through sunflower fields, corn fields, wooded areas, and peanut farmland. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the southern countryside was gorgeous!





Baby girl fell asleep on the hayride. That bumpy road must’ve felt sooooo good!


Finally, we arrived at the pumpkin patch! I was kind of hoping that I could go all barbaric Christmas tree farm on these gourds, and pick the healthy, living, vine-attached pumpkin I wanted and then chop it off myself. But they had already cut the ripe ones from the vine, so it was essentially the same as the church pumpkin patches back in Pensacola, only minus the parking lot in the middle of the city. Regardless, it was a heck of a lot more fun and scenic! Anyhoo, one of my pumpkins is pictured below. I’ll give you a million dollars if you guess which one.



These are the pumpkins that Shauna and Jonathan picked!



After picking our pumpkins, we headed back to the farm on the hayride. Baby girl fell asleep on the return trip too.


When we got back to the farm, we decided to run through the corn maze really quickly. It was small, but I still somehow managed to get lost / turned around. Shauna got nervous but kept her bearings. Jonathan was a rugged outdoorsman and fearlessly led us through the tiny maze and back to civilization.




And that was our trip to the pumpkin patch at Holland Farms in Milton, Florida! Happy Halloween ya’ll!

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Cosplay in Hanford, California

1 Jul


These were last years Halloween costumes! I had dressed as Esmeralda  for Halloween when I was 18 years old, so this was another case of pulling out a costume my mom had made me years ago, and then making Jonathan a costume to match!

We made Jonathan’s Phoebus costume mostly out of Eva Foam and scrap fabric / recycled costume pieces we already owned. Our friend Eliza took the photos for us around The Bastille and the old Hanford Courthouse buildings in Hanford, California on Halloween day, before heading out to a costume party.