Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Pumpkin Stock

Roasted pumpkin seeds

Hey everyone! I added this on my Instagram page, but figured I should share it here as well!

Roasted pumpkin seeds are one of my favorite snacks not just around Halloween, but the entire fall season!⁣

Start by separating the seeds from the pumpkin guts (save the guts – these can be repurposed too!) Once the seeds are separated, rinse them off and spread on a cookie sheet. Bake at 300° for 30 minutes. Take out, and toss the seeds with some olive oil and sea salt, spread back onto the pan, and bake another 20 minutes.

Once cooled, you’re ready to enjoy!

Pumpkin Stock in Progress

Next is the pumpkin stock. Place the pumpkin guts in a pot with 4-5 cups of water, and boil for about 20 minutes. Don’t worry if you get a few seeds in there either! Strain the guts, and bam! Pumpkin stock for your next fall soup!

Seriously so easy, am I right?!

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Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup

Happy Fall! Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I’m finally getting around to sharing my soup recipe! I tried this out for the first time this year, and loved it! I’m going to be making it again next week to serve with our Thanksgiving dinner, and I am so excited to share it with everyone.

Remember the stock made from pumpkin guts? That’s the base of the soup! Told ya it would come in handy! If you need the recipe for the stock, you can find it here!

For this soup, you’ll need a crockpot and a blender. It takes some time to cook, so make sure you start this with enough time before you want to serve!

As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!


  • 4 cups of pumpkin stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Thyme


In your crockpot, add the pumpkin stock, water, carrots, butternut squash, onion and garlic. Add a few dashes of the spices, and then cook on high for 5 hours. Feel free to stir every hour or so.

Before Cooking

When the 5 hours is finished, transfer the soup into your blender and blend until smooth. This may take a few batches to get all of the soup blended.

Transfer the blended soup back into the crockpot, add about 1/2 to 1 cup of the heavy cream (depending on how creamy you want it) and stir together. Add some more salt and pepper to taste, and cook on low for another 30 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl, top with the roasted pumpkin seeds (if you have any!) and enjoy!

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup

There you have it! A creamy fall soup that you’ll love and want to make over and over again.

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Beet and Tomato Salad

Beet and Tomato Salad

Hello again! Summer is coming to an end, but there is still plenty of time to make this yummy salad. It is light, fresh, and super easy to make!

This was my first time ever cooking with, or eating beets. Ever. I felt like Dwight Schrute from The Office the entire time I was making this salad, and it was great. Since it was my first time trying beets, I wanted to include ingredients that I loved (like what I did with the brussels sprouts), to try and ensure I’d like them. I have to say, the beets tasted better than I thought they would! Definitely making this salad more often.

Fun fact: the beets and tomato used were grown by Austin’s parents!

The beets do need to be roasted and chilled, so make sure you give yourself a few hours head-start! Any questions? Just ask!


  • 2 beets
  • 1 extra large tomato, or 2 medium tomatoes
  • spinach
  • goat cheese
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. Scrub the beets clean, and then wrap in foil, individually.
  3. Roast in the oven on a baking sheet for 45 minutes.
  4. Once the foil is cool to the touch, peel the beets. It should slide off by hand, but a peeler may be needed.
  5. Chill beets in fridge until ready to make salad.
  6. When ready to make the salad, dice the beets and tomatoes into similar sized pieces.
  7. Take a handful of spinach (or more if you’d like), and cut into long thin strips.
  8. Combine the beets, tomatoes and spinach in a bowl. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, followed by a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
  9. Mix ingredients together, and salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Finish with goat cheese and enjoy!
Beet and Tomato Salad

I hope that you all enjoy this recipe if you try it! I would love to hear your thoughts!

If you enjoy this recipe and like what you see, give me a follow here or @thecookingcactus on Instagram!

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Double Fried French Fries

Double Fried French Fries

Hello everyone! So sorry for the long wait in between posts. I talked a little about it on a post on my Instagram story, but for those of you that don’t follow my Instagram (which I would recommend doing!) here’s a quick update before I give you a yummy recipe.

On July 4th and 5th, my small town of Ridgecrest had a 6.4 and 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit. Luckily my little family was safe and our damage was minimal compared to others. We’re still trying to recover on the mental side of things (hence my absence), and that’s going to be the biggest challenge. It took some time to clean up, but things are getting back to normal now and I’m so thankful for the help we’ve received.

Okay. Now that that’s out of the way, how about we get back to cooking and fun stuff?!

Double. Fried. French. Fries.

That’s right, I said double fried. Is there any other way to make fries? I think not. These are hand cut fries, and one of my favorite snacks. This recipe is a little time consuming, but SO WORTH IT!

As always, if you need help with anything just shoot me a message or leave a comment!


  • 9 russet potatoes
  • Vegetable oil (a lot!)
  • Water
  • Salt

Let’s get frying!

  • Peel your potatoes.
  • Set a large bowl off to the side so you can place the cut potatoes into it when they’re ready.
  • Next is cutting. I like to have thinner fries, so here’s how I cut mine: slice your potato in half lengthwise. Place both halves cut side down so they have a flat surface. Slice lengthwise into thin slices all along the potato. Take those slices, and cut into smaller, fry-like shapes and set aside in the large bowl. Repeat for all potatoes.
  • When potatoes are all cut, they should resemble this:
Sliced Potatoes
  • After all the sliced potatoes are put into the bowl, fill with water until they are all covered and set aside for 2-3 hours.
  • When the potatoes are done soaking, drain the water. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Now we’re ready to fry!
  • For this I would recommend a deep fryer, but if you do not have one, a large, deep pan will work. Fryer: fill with oil to the max fill line and set to 350°. Pan: fill halfway with oil, and heat until the oil reaches the same temperature.
  • When oil is ready, take a handful of the potatoes and slowly add them to the oil. Do not just drop or throw them in as the oil will splash more and can burn you.
  • Cook until the potatoes start to get golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from oil and place on a baking sheet to cool.
Right to Left: Un-fried Potatoes, Frying Process, Once Fried Potatoes
  • Repeat until all of the potatoes have been fried once.
  • When the potatoes have all been fried, it’s time for the double fry that makes them crispy and delicious.
  • Same process of frying, but instead of cooling on a baking sheet alone, place a cooling rack over the baking sheet. I find this helps keep them crispy.
  • While the fries are on the cooling rack, salt to taste immediately.
  • Continue the frying and salting process until all have been double fried.
  • Once all the fries are done, you’re ready to serve them up with a juicy cheeseburger or eat alone!
Double Fried French Fries

We served ours with a cheeseburger since we just got a new grill. Let me tell ya, SO GOOD!

Double Fried French Fries and a Cheeseburger

And there you have it! A little time consuming, but you get the satisfaction of knowing you did everything by hand- something I love!

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Roasted Crispy Potatoes

Roasted Crispy Potatoes

Hi everyone! The 4th of July is tomorrow, and this is the perfect side for your BBQ!

To cut my potatoes, I used a mandolin to help get even slices. Don’t worry if you do not have one though- you can still cut your potatoes into thin slices with a sharp kitchen knife!

Best part is- it is extremely simple to do! There are only 6 ingredients and little prep.

Between the prep and cooking time, it takes about an hour, and you won’t regret it. This recipe is good for 2-3 servings, so if you are planning on making this for a party I would definitely double it.


  • 6 red potatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic salt
  • Italian seasoning

Let’s Get Cooking

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 350°.
  2. While oven is preheating, rinse off your potatoes.
  3. When potatoes are rinsed, cut into thin slices. If you have a mandolin I would suggest using that, but if not, grab your favorite kitchen knife!
  4. Once the potatoes are sliced, place them in a large bowl.
  5. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes until they are mostly covered. Season with the salt, pepper, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning.
  6. Toss all the ingredients together until potatoes are evenly coated.
  7. Spread out over a baking sheet lined with foil.
  8. Bake in oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Potatoes are done when they are slightly golden and crisp.
  9. Enjoy!

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Mussels and Clams in a Garlic Butter White Wine Sauce

Mussels and Clams in a Garlic Butter White Wine Sauce

So last night I had a craving for seafood. Mussels and clams to be exact. Austin has never had mussels, so clearly we had to have them for dinner.

I wanted to do something that is seemingly fancy, but actually pretty easy to make. I like mussels and clams because they do not take a long time to cook, and you hardly have to do anything at all.

For both the mussels and clams, the trick is to remove them from the heat as soon as they open up. Since they open at different times, just leave a bowl with a lid near the pan so you can easily transfer the open shellfish while the others cook.

It seems like a lot, I know. If you have any questions about the recipe, shoot me a message or leave a comment and I will gladly help!


  • 1/2 pound mussels
  • 1/2 pound clams
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 3.5 tbsp. butter
  • white wine (about 2 cups, your choice of wine)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • pasta (optional)


  1. Start by rinsing your mussels and clams. This helps to get sand out of them so it does not end up in the dish.
  2. In a large pan, heat 1/2 tbsp. of butter and add the diced onion. Cook the onions until they start to turn translucent and remove from pan. Set aside for later.
  3. In the same pan, add 1 tbsp. of butter, the olive oil, and minced garlic. Cook on medium.
  4. When the garlic is browned, add 1.5 cups of white wine to the pan and bring to a low boil.
  5. Add the clams and 1 tbsp. more butter to the pan and cover. Check after 3-4 minutes to see if any clams are opened, and if so, set them aside in a covered bowl. Keep steaming the clams until all are opened.
  6. When all clams are open, add more of the white wine if needed. (You want to make sure the entire bottom of the pan is covered in wine.)
  7. Add the mussels ad remaining tbsp. of butter to the pan and cover. Mussels cook faster than clams, so check in about 3 minutes to see if any are opening.
  8. Once the mussels start to open, add the onions and clams back into the pan.
  9. Mix together to make sure all components are covered in the sauce.
  10. When everything is opened up, you are ready to enjoy!

These can be eaten on their own, or you can serve over pasta like I did. If you serve with pasta, be sure to pour some extra sauce over the top- you wont regret it!

Mussels and Clams in a Garlic Butter Sauce Served With Pasta

Please let me know what you think of this recipe! I would love some feedback!

If you like what you see, give me a follow here or @thecookingcactus on Instagram!

Thanks for stopping by The Cooking Cactus!

Sautéed Broccolini

Sautéed Broccolini

Hi everyone!

I shared this recipe on my Instagram account, and had to share it here as well! This is another easy recipe, but full of flavor!

If you have not tried broccolini, don’t worry. It tastes basically the same as broccoli, except it is a bit more mild and definitely more tender. It is a nice change from broccoli because the smaller stalks and florets tend to soak up more of the flavors you are cooking with.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!


  • broccolini
  • grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese


Heat the olive oil on medium heat and add the garlic and onions. When the onions start to turn color add the broccolini and butter. Once the broccolini starts getting tender, add the tomatoes. Cook together for about 2 more minutes and season to taste. Top with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

If you like what you see, give me a follow here or @thecookingcactus on Instagram!

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