Living in the south, I tend to get my nuts & seeds fix from pecans.  This is perfect when you’re eating sweet potatoes under a magnolia tree.  In season – from the farmers’ market – pecans are to die for, but my pallet and my wallet have grown tired of them as summer approaches.  This week, I’ve re-discovered pepitas (pumpkin seeds popular in mexican cooking). They run about $6/lb at our higher-end super market and come raw or roasted & salted. They’re pretty, greenish and a little bigger than sunflower seeds.  They’re versatile and tasty too.

Before (bottom) & After Toasting

Toast them:

  • Spread a thick layer on a baking sheet, spray lightly with coconut oil cooking spray and toss.
  • Toast in the oven at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until golden.

Use them for:

  • Salads
  • Curry*(along with chopped pineapple and toasted coconut)
  • Chicken or turkey mole
  • Trail mix
  • Paleo Oatmeal*
  • Granol-ish:  Sprinkle toasted pepitas and coconut over blueberries and drizzle with coconut milk
* Modified versions of these recipes are in the works. They need some substitutions to be solidly paleo.

Try this toasty sprinkle:

Mix toasted pepitas, sunflower seeds, and unsweetened coconut with a little cinnamon and ground clove. Add a little cayanne pepper for a sweet & spicy kick if it suits you.


How I make lunch

This is not really a recipe, but I find myself telling a lot of folks about my lunch-building process lately, so I thought it might be useful.  This is how I make my work lunches. They’re no masterpiece, and I know some people are not entirely cool with eating 5-day-old chicken, but it works for me.

Every Sunday I get home from grocery shopping, and prepare…

(1) Enough chicken breast of a week of lunch, seasoned with whatever I’m in the mood for. (Italian, greek, tex-mex…)

(2) Week’s worth of salad.  I avoid delicate greens and veggies that get mushy, so usually use: parsley, napa cabbage, spinach, parsley, watercress, bell peppers, carrots, celery, seedless cucumber and avoid: tomatoes, regular cukes, run-of the mill lettuce, baby spinach.

(3) A bottle of home made salad dressing, again, the recipe varies at whim.

Then, in 5 1-gallon zip-lock bags, I layer up…

(1) The chicken, cooled and chopped up.  This goes at the bottom so it doesn’t mess up your veggies.

(2) The salad stuff.

(3) A handful of nuts – almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, whatever.  Sure, these are a *little* soggy by friday, but I’m lazy enough not to care.  Sometimes I’ll do half an avocado sliced in Monday and Tuesday’s lunch instead of nuts, but they won’t make it till Friday.

I leave my salad dressing and a big bowl at work, and grab a bag every morning on the way out the door.  At lunch time, I dress my salad in the bag, shake it up, dump it in my bowl, and make my co-workers jealous.