Tag Archives: halloween

Halloween Treats from the Kitchen

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! Our final post in celebration of Five Days of Halloween is for tasty homemade treats!

This cookie recipe attracted my attention because it looked like a little pumpkin. When mine came out of the oven, there was nothing pumpkinish about them. In hindsight, I should have been skeptical of a cookie image linking me to a recipe that did not have a picture of its own, but who knew the internet could be misleading?

My initial disappointment over these cookies did not end with my first taste. While very moist and tender, the flavor was lackluster. I was ready to chalk them up as a #fail, but decided to give them one last chance and added the glaze. HELLO!
cookies

The secret to these Tangerine-Glazed Pumpkin Cookies is the glaze and to serve them at room temperature. The mild pumpkin and spice cookie is a vehicle for the citrusy glaze that bursts with flavor. I loaded on the glaze and couldn’t stop myself from licking the bowl when I was done.

The recipe from Health calls for tangerines but my grocery store didn’t have any, so I used oranges instead. I also substituted five-spice powder with pumpkin pie spices.

Here’s how their recipe:

Ingredients

Cookies:
Cooking spray
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder (I used pumpkin pie spice)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon finely grated tangerine zest (I used orange zest)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh tangerine juice (I used orange juice)
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°, and spray 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray.

2. For cookies: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, five-spice powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

3. Beat sugar, butter, and zest with an electric mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla until blended. Reduce speed to low, and beat in the flour mixture just until blended.

4. Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes on cooling racks.

5. For glaze: Whisk together all in-gredients in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Drizzle glaze evenly over cookies. Let cool until glaze is set.

A History of Halloween

Day Four of our Five Days of Halloween celebration looks at the history of this ancient holiday.

The origins of Halloween are approximately 2,000 years old, originating with a pre-Christian Celtic festival called Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”). Celebrated at the end of the harvest season, Samhain was a time to prepare for winter and honor the dead. This was not a holiday for “devil worship” (ancient Celts did not worship anything resembling the Christian devil) and it was not until many years later that supernatural entities came to be associated with the day.

As Halloween traditions grew over the centuries, people eventually began dressing up in costume and trick-or-treating. Mass rituals for soliciting food were common and it is suspected the practices evolved from “mumming,” “guising” and “souling.” These were different methods used for disguising oneself and going door-to-door when asking for food, sometimes wearing costumes to do short performances.

While trick-or-treating didn’t start in the United States until the 1940s, the act of playing Halloween tricks was common by the late 1800s. The pranks started out relatively harmless with tipping over outhouses and egging houses, but by the 1920s, they were becoming far more serious and dressing up to go trick-or-treating was encouraged as an alternative.

For more information on the History of Halloween, watch this short video from the History Channel:

The History of Halloween by Benjamin Radford was a primary source used for this blog post.

The Great Pumpkin

For Day Three of my Five Days of Halloween celebration, I bring you The Great Pumpkin. No, I’m not talking about the Charlie Brown Special, I’m talking about the big squash that is carefully selected for carving into the terrifying specter of Halloween night:

jack-o-lantern
Mine is the one with the eyebrows.

When it comes to jack-o-lanterns, it is important to put serious thought into the pumpkin selected. For maximum success, it is best to have several to choose from:
pumpkins

Consider the pumpkin’s shape in addition to stem:
pumpkins

You know you’re on the right track if other iconic Halloween creatures are attracted to it:
pumpkins

Don’t be afraid to start carving your pumpkin without a plan, those can have the best outcomes. My dad taught me to add personal touches like eyebrows, mustaches and nose holes, I encourage you to do the same:

jack-o-lantern

And never forget the best part:pumpkin seeds

Halloween Magic: CANDY!

When celebrating Five Days of Halloween, one cannot forget the candy.

I know that some people are opting to hand out healthy snacks nowadays, but The Husband and I are Halloween purists and go straight for the candy. Not only do we go for the sweets, but we buy enough candy to feed an army of trick-or-treaters:candy

Each Halloween season when we prepare to make our purchases, we have visions of costumed children coming to our door in droves. The reality? We’re lucky if we see 30 kids. That doesn’t curb our enthusiasm though because the best part about being an adult on Halloween is that you can eat as much candy as you want AND if you’re smart, you’ve bought all of your favorite kinds! Sure, half the fun of trick-or-treating is digging through your spoils at the end of the evening, but it’s kind of nice having your favorite candy in advance. And no one can tell you when you can or can’t eat it…. Come to think of it, I might have a little candy right now, it’s the responsible thing to do.

Halloween Magic: Flying Ghosts

Get ready for a spooky week here at Squeaky Green Machine as we celebrate Five Days of Halloween! What does it take to have a great Halloween? We have a few ideas that we’re ready to share!

Day One is about home decorating inspiration, allow me to introduce Frank the Flying Crank Ghost. This animated ghost was built by The Husband in 2009 and has been intriguing kids (and adults!) ever since:

Inspired by plans in Make Magazine, The Husband created a hybrid design of his own with supplies from the local hardware store, fabric store and Ax-Man Surplus for less than $80. Each year I love watching kids come slowly up the front walk, staring at Frank as he eerily moves in the front window. In all of the years Frank has been making Halloween magic, there have only been a few kids too scared to come knock on the door, I bring the candy out for them. More often, they are intrigued by him and ask how he works.

To make your own Flying Crank Ghost, visit Make Magazine.

 

Until Next Time, My Sweet

reese's wrapper

I have been mourning the loss of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins from our Halloween candy stash for several days now. They were part of my life for such a short time yet brought so much joy, I’m not sure how to go on without them.

The Reese’s holiday edition peanut butter “cups” are by far my favorite candy ever. I can give or take a traditional peanut butter cup and I won’t even touch the mini cup, but the holiday editions bring out the worst in me and I can’t be held accountable for my actions. I’ve been known to steal them from The Husband’s Easter basket, eating them in private, hiding the wrappers and then lying when asked if I ate them. “No, I most certainly did not, how could you imply something like that?” Of course he knows I cannot help myself and now hides his own to protect them from me.

This past Halloween, I was thrilled to see that Reese’s had upped the ante by producing “mini” versions of the holiday pumpkin. This proved to be an even more tantalizing candy than its predecessor. A perfect bite-sized package of peanut butter with just the right amount of smooth chocolaty goodness. My eyes closed in bliss when I ate the first one. And the second. And eventually the third and fourth – well, you get the idea. I’ve spent hours contemplating the appeal of this candy and what makes it so far superior to the classic cup. But in the end, what does it matter? They are all gone and the holiday edition Christmas trees feel so far away….

I know what you’re thinking, “Why doesn’t she stock up?” Please see above statements, I cannot control myself when they are in the house. They simply would not last but would be consumed at a gluttonous pace in secret and I would be up hours past my bedtime gleefully energized by their sugary goodness, eyes shiny in rapturous joy.

So, until we meet again, my dear friend… a haiku tribute to you:

Peanut butter dreams
With sweet, melting chocolate
Oh, how I love you.

If only there was a Reese’s peanut butter turkey to hold me over until tree season…..

Date Night (for One): Halloween Edition

Yesterday was Halloween and is The Husband’s favorite holiday. A busy work schedule had him behind with decorating, but in the end he pulled it off and many children (and parents!) stood staring in wonder at the house again this year:


Holidays are always over too quickly, so I knew exactly how I would spend my Date Night (for One) this evening.

My favorite scary movie, The Shining.

A little bit of this:

candy
Grown Ups Like Halloween Candy Too

And some time with my favorite pumpkin:
danny

I assure you, I will be watching with the lights on.

Sunday Fun-Day: Farmer’s Markets, Pumpkin Patches and Tasty Treats

Call me crazy, but there’s a part of me that enjoys waking up tired after having a great weekend. The Husband would say that I try to jam something into every free moment of the day and he’s right. But my approach makes for the most epic of Sunday Fun-Days.

We started the day with Friends in Minneapolis at the last Kingfield Market of the season. The air was crisp and fresh. I love that Minnesotans will still go to the farmer’s market in winter jackets, hats and gloves – it was 35 degrees when we left the house. The selection was impressive and I couldn’t stop staring at this vendor’s preserves:

preserves
I considered squeezing some canning into my day but knew it would only end in tears.

The four of us picked breakfasts from three different places (Gai Gai Thai, Chef Shack and Foxy Falafel), reconvening to eat:

foxy-omelette
My Foxy Falafel Breakfast Omelet (vegetarian). YUM!
thai-bowl
The Friend’s Gai Gai Thai Bowl. Two thumbs up, or so I hear!
breakfast-hash
The Friend’s Husband’s Breakfast Hash from Chef Shack. Mm-mmmm chorizo.
walleye-sandwich
The Husband’s non-traditional breakfast, a Walleye Sandwich from Chef Shack. A Minnesota classic.

Every good breakfast deserves dessert. These donuts from Bogart Loves were just what every morning needs:

donuts
Why have one donut when you can have two?

We got home in time to make a last minute batch of Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies for the party we were going to Monday night.* The Husband gave these cookies a 7 out of 10 on the cookie rating scale (that’s pretty good!):

cookie dough

The Mother arrived promptly at 1pm for our Pumpkin Carving Party. We missed The Mom-In-Law but hopefully this post will fill her in on all the excitement she missed.

When you’re having a Pumpkin Carving Party, you need pumpkins. We tried our luck at a nearby orchard called Pine Tree Apple Orchard (fyi – no dogs allowed). With the weather being so nice (by this point it was nearly 60), it seems everyone had the same idea. The pumpkins were picked over and the place was a mob scene, so we just walked around and took in the landscape:

minnesota-scenery
Fall colors.
corn-stalks
There were several “Children of the Corn” references on this walk. OUTLANDER!

We headed back to Minneapolis by way of Stillwater and found a charming pumpkin patch along the way. Doesn’t this look like the perfect scene for a fall, pumpkin-hunting day? We had a great time at Axdahl’s Farm:

barn

pumpkins
This was only a portion of the selection, there were pumpkins everywhere!

It took a while before we found the pumpkins that would become these:

jack-o-lanterns
Boo!

And these:

pumpkin-seeds
Perfect pumpkin seeds.

Perfect Pumpkin Seeds Recipe:  Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Rinse pumpkin seeds with water. I put mine in a colander and swirl my fingers around in them while running water over them, helps catch the last of the pumpkin goop. Place seeds on a rimmed cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and stir to coat. Bake for approximately an hour until golden brown and crunchy, stirring seeds every 15 minutes to prevent burning.

Definitely a Sunday Fun-Day indeed. Can’t wait until next weekend….

* Update post-party: The cookies were a huge hit, they were eaten with gusto. I highly recommend this simple recipe, it is obviously a crowd-pleaser.