By Ashley Kappel
October 14, 2016

Every so often I get cocky and try to do something pin-worthy, like feed my kids different kinds of vegetable every night instead of just the peas I know they'll eat over and over.

This year I decided that pumpkin seeds would be a lovely snack to have around the house. Why not? They're cheap (gift-with-purchase conveniently tucked inside my pumpkin, if you can believe it), they can be seasoned sweet or savory which suits all the picky palates in my house, and they're supposed to be fun, darn it.

I dug out my pumpkin seeds, cleaned the gooey strings off, let them dry, then got to work on this glorious recipe.

Ever been taunted by a bowl of seeds? I have.

Simple, right? They're even called snackin' pumpkin seeds. With only four ingredients, I was pretty sure I had this nailed.

I popped my baking sheet in the oven then headed out to pick the kids up, because these bad boys roast at the painfully slow rate of two cups of seeds in two hours. Whatever. We'll call them dessert, I figured.

When I got home, I snatched one from the oven, burning the very tip of my fingers as only a mom can, blew on it until it was cool enough not to adhere to the roof of my mouth, and chomped down.

Sidebar: What would you pay for a microwave that would heat food up to the proper temperature, then cool it down to the palatable one suitable to toddlers? (Basically lukewarm.) Because I'd trade my hot rollers for that bad boy to avoid hyperventilating every damn night as I huff and puff and blow all the steam off everything on the table. One of these days they're going to find me belly up on the floor, work clothes askance, with my mouth frozen in the "birthday blow" position. On my tombstone you'll find, "Here lies Ashley. She tried."

Back to my snacks. Only they weren't snacks. These pumpkin seeds were chewy, tasteless, and, well, sad.


"But in my salads..." I moaned to the toddlers who summarily rejected the seeds as not treat, "in my salads they're glorious! And... green. Wait a minute."

This is the gorgeousness I was looking for.

Turns out, in a cruel twist, you're suppose to hull pumpkin seeds. As in, just like pistachios, these little jerks come in their own carrying case. Can you eat the shell? Sure! Will it taste like a tougher, less flavorful boiled peanut? You bet your ass it will.

Apparently, I, of the so much time on my hands I get a pedicure once a year club, am supposed to remove the seeds from the pumpkin, clean them off, roll a rolling pin over the seeds, and then cook/season/enjoy/ignite the damn things.

Alternatively, you can boil them all, then individually pinch each seed to remove the shell.

Or, get this, you can cook them for 15 minutes, then spread them between layers of wax paper and beat them with a mallet just hard enough so that you crack the hull but don't squash the seeds. This is like trying to turn off one episode of Sophia the First before freakin' Netflix rolls into the second episode: Impossible. Then, you dump all that business in water and skim the busted hulls off the top. What in the actual hell.

This is how natural pounding pumpkin seeds feels to me.

People. The point of cooking pumpkin seeds is that you take the scraps from the thing you're already doing and make something beautiful from it. Roasting them for two hours in my oven wasn't enough? Now I'm suppose to massage them with the rolling pin before I season them? #Ain'tNobodyGotTimeForThat.

I bemoaned my #FailedIt moment at work and guess what they told me: There are pumpkins that produce hull-less seeds. This is pertinent information that I need to know. That's like me not telling you that there are the same number of calories in my Big Boy burger and your sad salad, so you may as well get the burger so we're both happy and not sharing my fries. That's not true, of course, but now you know how hard my world was rocked.

I'm from a hull-less pumpkin, sucker.

Meanwhile, back in reality, my toddlers are sitting there picking bland hulls out of each others' teeth, talking about how fingers are for picking (a battle I'll pick later). I grab my tiny bowl of sadness that contains nothing but roughage and about three hours of my day, and chuck em. The kids cry because even though they're terrible, they're ours, so we pick them all back up and save them for daddy (love you honey).

Maybe next year we'll grow hull-less pumpkins in our gardens, and maybe I'll become the type of person to wash my children's hair every night. That's what resolutions are for.