Halloween Food Fun…

My family loves Halloween.  Carving pumpkins, creepy decorations, random costumes, festive food…what’s not to like?!  In looking back at some older Halloween posts I got very nostalgic when seeing my little shirtless pumpkin carvers and matching costumes (those days are long gone).  Here’s a few of the recipes we’ve been testing out as well as some of my old favorites if you’re looking for inspiration for the big night.

Seems my kids’ school is always looking for fruit treats on Halloween.  I did these yummy and adorable Halloween Fruit Treats a few years ago.  (hollowed out oranges with fruit salad)  The school seems to think the health factor will balance out all that candy they’re going to haul in later in the night.  And the teachers know the kids are already on a high from the parades and costumes and don’t to deal with candy overloads as well.  I was in a middle school this week where I actually heard a school administrator announce over the loud speaker “Due to the recent violent activity there will be no more candy allowed in class”.  I knew candy was scary, but what kind of violence?  Stealing other’s candy?  And why do they allow candy in middle school anyways?  I was told there is a big difference between elementary and middle school rules regarding food.  Uh oh…

Another fun idea is the witches fingers.  You know…breadsticks with an almond for the nail.  These are great with soup or alone on a veggie and dip platter.  Again works at school celebrations as well as Halloween night potluck.  Last year it was all about the mummy potatoes.  We had so many potatoes left over from our pumpkin patch dig that I really needed to get creative.  And this was an easy and filling appetizer before heading out into the trick or treat darkness.

This year I’ve been experimenting with spaghetti nests.  You know…baking cooked spaghetti in muffin cups for a nest like presentation.  Yes, it could be easily dressed as a nest in springtime but for Fall it’s all about the mummy factor.  I’m adding a few olive and caper eyes and a pool of sauce (pesto or marinara) and this will be offered as a pre-candy course.

The ultimate test for me this year was the gelatin brain.  This was funny and tricky on many levels.  My father in law has a running joke that he was born the year of the brain (like the chinese zodiac).  This irritates my 7 year old daughter to no end.  He signs cards and gifts to her “love, the brain” and she yells back “You are not the brain!”  So when I saw this gelatin mold a few weeks before my in-laws visit I had to try it.  I am not a gelatin fan for many reasons.  Because my daughter is vegetarian I attempted the gelatin brain with a gelatin substitute.  I made it the night before “the brain’s” arrival, but it didn’t set.  My daughter and I snuck out to the store to get the old Jello gelatin with the understanding that, a) I tried, b) the joke was more important than her being able to eat it and c) Jello is gross.  This time it worked and everyone had a good laugh.  I found a photo and recipe of a gelatin brain that is super disgusting, so for Halloween with friends I’ll be making this one.  Let’s cross our fingers it works.

If you don’t feel like waiting for an 8 hour gelatin mold, or hollowing out 20 oranges, a few simple spiders or plastic skeleton (swimming in hummus, above) go a long way to dress up just about any food.  Cookie cutters are a great way to get festive too.  My sister sent us a few new ones this year.  With over 120 cutters can you believe I didn’t have tombstones, a scary cat or vampire fangs?  Now I do!  We made a batch of sugar cookies to test them out today  And let’s not forget to roast the pumpkin seeds after all the carving efforts.  Trick or treat!

 

 

 

Share

Halloween – The Aftermath

So after trick-or-treating for hours on Halloween night, my kids came home and counted their candy.  Scary thing is that after hours of trick or treating, each with their own friends, they both had 74 pieces.  Although my son had a tube of toothpaste so he said he won with 75 items.  My daughter had been saying she would get more because “if you wear a cute costume, instead of a scary one, people give you more candy”.  Well, apparently, not true.  Yesterday we turned in the candy to my son’s orthodontist who pays $2 a pound.  They each kept 3 pieces to eat.  My son had 4 pounds and my daughter 3 pounds.  Knowing he couldn’t eat more than a few pieces of plain chocolate with his teeth hardware, he said he picked more lollipops thinking they would be heavy.  I guess his stretegy worked.

Here are our pumpkins still standing.  My husband really did a great job this year.  And no, he doesn’t use stencils.  The kids looked at photos with him online and they chose they’re favorites.  The kids were better at pulling out the guts from the pumpkins than in years past.  I did the usual roasted seeds.  This always seems fun, but not many have been eaten.  They are hard to chew.  Luckily my mom came for her annual Halloween visit, so I send seeds back with her to Poppa.

Instead of eating all the candy collected, here are the cute spider cupcakes we enjoyed.  We made a few for friends and neighbors too.  These are easy, but quite a hit.  Simply make your favorite chocolcate cupcake recipe, add thin pretzel legs (I dipped mine in chocolate) and lots of sugar eyes (we buy ours at Cake Art in San Rafael).  Be sure to break the pretzels before inserting.  I thought I could put one pretzel straight thru for both sides of legs, but the cupcake came apart in two.  A friend of ours made them for a kids’ soccer game last weekend, and unfortunately dropped them on her garage floor getting into the car.  Now that’s sad and scary.  So be careful transerring.

Hope your Halloween was happy.

Share

Happy HallowGreen – Roasted Organic Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

From Lisa Barnes

You might think someone that promotes healthy eating wouldn’t like a holiday where begging for candy is involved. But I do. The “trick” at my house to avoid the (what’s on sale in the big bag) candy “treats” is that the Halloween candy gets “turned in” to mom and traded for a non-candy item of choice (usually a toy – but this year my son has already earmarked a pair of sweat pants). The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays goes back to the Middle Ages. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of “souling,” when people would go door to door, receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (All Hallows Day).

Fast forward to little ghosts and goblins (or firemen and princesses) going door to door expecting candy. A lot has changed! If you want to see something scary on Halloween read some of the wrappers on your child’s candy. There you’ll see partially hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, alkali, chemicals, artificial colorings and more. To decode these items and see a list of healthy sweet alternatives read the full story at Kiwi Magazine.

If you have ideas of a greener holiday check out this great article from the Lansing State Journal for suggestions on recycled costumes, fair trade chocolate treats, partyware, decorations and battery-free flashlights. For those looking for greener, non-candy items to pass out to trick-or-treaters here is an abbreviated list of suggestions from GreenHalloween.org:

  • seed packets
  • coins
  • pencils
  • stickers
  • polished rocks, sea glass or seashells
  • card games, tricks, jokes
  • barrettes
  • balls and spinning tops
  • mini pumpkins

Speaking of pumpkins and staying away from candy…how about making the most of the jack-o-lantern by roasting the seeds…

Roasted Organic Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

My favorite part about carving a pumpkin at Halloween is getting my hands into the pumpkin to pull out the seeds and stringy goop. My son does not share the enthusiasm for the slimy, gooey mess. And my daughter just wants to eat the goop and seeds right out of the pumpkin. The reward for mom picking thru all the stringy stuff is enjoying the roasted pumpkin seeds while watching the candle flicker in the jack-o-lantern.

1 cup organic pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon olive oil

Seasoning options:

½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon curry or
½ teaspoon granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Heat oven to 300°F. Cut off top of pumpkin and scoop out insides. Rinse pumpkin seeds in colander with cold water. Remove as much of the pumpkin strings and flesh from the seeds as possible. Try to blot excess water with a kitchen or paper towel. In a small bowl combine seeds, oil and seasonings of choice. Stir until coated. Spread out seeds in a single layer on foil lined baking sheet. Roast until golden brown and dry, about 40 minutes. Stir seeds with a spatula, every 10 minutes during cooking. Let cool on a paper towel and store in an airtight container.
~~
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
[Permanent Link] [Top]

Share