It’s Halloween. Then Thanksgiving. That means it’s officially the middle of pumpkin season. If you’re carving pumpkins, cooking pumpkins or just have some for decoration it means you’re swimming in pumpkin seeds along with the potential for an unbelievably tasty and healthy snack food.

But here’s the problem. Recipes for roasting pumpkin seeds can be a daunting task. I clearly remember one recipe that wanted you to prepare a special brine and soak the seeds before putting them in the oven at a very low setting and guarding them for hours. And for what? A simple, salted seed.

That’s why I invented a shortcut. I am NOT a chef. I don’t like spending hours in the kitchen. But I love real food. And good flavor. So here’s my answer to the annual pumpkin seed glut. It will take you less than one hour from start to finish. And most of that time you can spend outside the kitchen. Bonus: it makes your house smell cozy and delicious.

Here’s what you do with 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups of seeds:

1. Preheat your oven to about 300-ish degrees.

2. Separate your seeds from the pulp (duh). This is a great task for kids…if you have them…and they love pumpkin seeds.

3. Put the seeds in a colander and rinse them. Take care to make sure all pulp is gone.

3. Pour the wet seeds onto a cookie tray with sides.

4. Sprinkle approximately 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt. Quality is everything. I prefer Simply Organic. Or put some really good sea salt like a chardonnay-smoked salt in a mortar and pestle and use that. For an online source of awesome salt visit The Salt Traders (It’s a fun site for “window” shopping too.)

5. You can put your seeds in the oven like this or have fun adding another layer of flavor. Try sprinkling 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper and/or paprika. I leave some plain, add some Garam Masala to some, and Ancho Chile Powder to the rest (in addition to the cayenne).

6. Stir the seeds with a spatula. If you added different spices keep them separate.

7. Put the tray in the oven for approximately 40-45 minutes. Stir the seeds at 15 minute intervals (you will only be bothered to do this twice). Hint: on the second stirring sample a couple seeds and adjust your spices to your taste. See? Spices are all about customizing your food…your way. Remove when the seeds turn slightly brown and toasted.

8. In 40-45 you will be snacking on some scrumptious seeds. Bonus: the heat from the spices will help keep your taste buds out of the candy. Another bonus: when you share them people will think you’re a brilliant cook. After all, compare your seeds to the blanched, iodized-salted seeds from a bag. Which ones would you prefer?

Your fitness in the kitchen will be our spicy little secret.