A Few of My Favorite Things with Katina Holland

Fun Halloween Food

October is winding down and Halloween is Tuesday.  We will be participating in Scare on the Square for the kids so please feel free to bring your little ones out.  I will be here until we run out of candy or until 6 p.m., whichever comes first! I also want to mention that no matter whether you go door to door or do harvest festivals at some of the local churches, please be safe.  Make sure the kids carry a light or glow sticks or have reflective clothing, something to make them more visible.  Please go with your kids or make sure they are traveling in a group.  Remember, safety in numbers.  Costumes that are too long can be a tripping hazard as kids are trying to walk so make sure the kids can walk safely in their costumes.  While we are speaking of costumes, make sure any hats fit properly so they don’t fall over your kid’s eyes and limit their vision.  Masks can also limit vision so consider paint or make sure the eyeholes are properly positioned and large enough to see out of.  It will be dark and you don’t want to make it worse for the kids trying to get around town.  Have fun and be safe.

I have discussed Halloween in each column this month starting with the history of the holiday and some personal history about why I like it so much.  This week, I want to share some fun superstitions about the holiday.  

Let’s start with animals.  Bats, cats and owls are all associated with some sort of tale or superstition regarding Halloween.  If you see a bat flying around your home on Halloween, it is said that ghosts are nearby.  If there is a bat in your home, the ghost is the one who let it in and the ghosts are there to visit for the night so be prepared for all the bumps and noises in the dark!  Black cats are of course believed to be a witch’s familiar.  So if you see one on Halloween, a witch must be nearby.  If you hurt a black cat on Halloween, you will have seven years of incredibly bad luck.  And if you hear a black cat meow on your porch or near a window of your home, it is said a death will soon occur in the family.  Many people believed owls would swoop down and devour the souls of the dying.  They believed that turning your pockets inside out would save you from this fate.  

Spirits abound on Halloween night so let’s consider some ways to ward them off.   When driving by a cemetery, hold your breath.  They say this will keep them from being able to enter your body.  Also when passing by a cemetery or a home where someone has died, turn your pockets inside out to keep evil spirits from coming home with you.  If you remember from last week, burn a candle inside of a jack o’ lantern to keep them at bay.  Ringing bells is said to drive spirits insane and they will leave rather than have to hear the noise.  If you walk around your home backwards and counterclockwise three times before sunset on Halloween, it will protect your home from evil spirits for the coming year.  Don’t forget to wear a costume to hide yourself from the spirits as well.  And if you do happen to see a ghost this night, walk around it nine times and it will vanish.  

There are several ways to see the face of your future spouse on this night as well.  Girls carrying a lamp to a spring this night can see their future husband in the reflection.  Completely peel an apple in a single continuous skin, throw the peel over your shoulder and it will show you the initial of your mate.  Bonus: if you cut the apple horizontally and count the seeds, it will reveal how many kids you will have.  If you are already courting someone, while holding hands both of you could throw nuts into the fire.  If they explode, it is not meant to be.  If you put a silver sixpence and a sprig of rosemary under your pillow, you will dream of your future spouse.  Another way to dream about your future spouse is to snip some of your hair and throw it into a Halloween bonfire.  That night you will have vivid dreams of your future love.  One more for you.  Walk backwards down the cellar steps holding a mirror and the face of your future spouse will appear behind you in the mirror.

This week I am going to provide some recipes that are fun for all.  You can always make your food more Halloween just by adding plastic bugs, a little food coloring or careful placement with accessories.  For example, a skeleton on a platter can easily be made by placing a skull at the head of the table.  Spread a flannel shirt and lay an aluminum pan inside.  Then you lay out ribs on both sides and sausages underneath for the intestines.  You can always take it a step further and place jeans with cut outs in the legs.  Place another aluminum pan inside each leg and fill with drumsticks or hot wings.  Voila! Halloween party food table!  Or you can add food coloring to the water while you are boiling pasta and the pasta will absorb the color for fun spaghetti or mac and cheese.  Make your grocery list and meet me in the kitchen for some Halloween fun foods.


Jalapeno Mummies

10 jalapeno peppers, sliced in half lengthwise and pith/seeds removed (use rubber gloves so your hands don't burn from the jalapeno). Leave the stem if you can on some or all of the halves.

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

8 oz Mexican blend shredded cheese

¼ tsp salt

1 package refrigerated crescent rolls (I use Pillsbury)

2 eggs, beaten

Candy eyeballs (can be purchased at Walmart or you can always use a little cream cheese and piece of a black olive for the eyes)

Preheat oven 400° F. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, cheese, green onion and salt until well blended.  Roll out the crescent rolls and separate into 4 rectangles (not triangles) with a perforation in the middle of each. Press your fingers into the perforations to seal them. Using a pizza cutter, cut each rectangle into 10 long pieces lengthwise.  Fill each jalapeno half with the cheese mixture. Wrap each jalapeño half with the dough, leaving a space for the eyes. Use two pieces of dough if necessary. Brush with egg mixture and place on baking sheet.  Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and press the eyes into the cheese where the opening is. Remove eyes before eating if you don’t want the sweet with your spice.  Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from thehopelesshousewife.com.


Pumpkin Puke 

4-5 large avocados

Lime juice

1 diced tomato, more or less to taste

1 tsp garlic powder

¼ teaspoon salt 

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ medium diced onion, more or less to taste

This is great on a table as an appetizer.  First, take a small pumpkin and cut the top and hollow out the seeds.  Cut into the side of the pumpkin a grimacing face.  The idea here is to make the pumpkin look like he is actually vomiting.  Once done soak the pumpkin in bleach for at least 2 hours to kill any bacteria.   Then rinse well.  If not ready to serve the same day, keep the pumpkin submerged in cold water in the fridge to preserve the pumpkin.  Cut each avocado in half and remove the pit.  Scoop out the meat into a bowl and mash well.  This can easily be done with the back of a fork.  Add garlic powder, salt, cumin and cayenne to the mashed avocado and stir well.  Try a bite to see if it is seasoned the way you want, you can always add more to it here if you wish.  Add chopped tomato and onion and stir.  Squirt some lime juice over it and stir one last time.  Serve on a long plate with the pumpkin on one end.  Arrange guacamole on plate to look like it came from the pumpkin.  For a truly sick looking pumpkin, use a green pumpkin!


Pizza Skulls

This is a favorite of my kids.  I mean what kid doesn’t like pizza?  You put it in the shape of a skull and it makes it even better for them. 

1 (13.8oz) can refrigerated pizza dough

Pizza sauce

Shredded Italian blend cheese

Pizza topping of choice, usually in my house it’s hamburger meat, pepperoni, and Canadian bacon or even just plain cheese. 

Haunted skull cupcake pan (it has 6 cavities)-I have had mine for years, but I did look it up for you and you can still get these on Amazon.com.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray skull pan with cooking spray and set aside.  Unroll pizza dough and press into a 15x10-inch rectangle. Cut into 6 strips. Drape each strip into skull cavity. Sprinkle with cheese, top with about 1 Tbsp of sauce, and pizza topping. Top with more cheese. Fold dough over and press seams to seal. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.


Cheddar Eyeballs

8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 stick unsalted sweet cream butter, cut into 6 pieces

1 tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp salt

1 cup flour

1 6 oz bottle pimento stuffed olives drained

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Combine butter, cheese, cumin and salt in a food processor or stand mixer until well blended.  With machine running, very slowly add the flour.  Stop the machine as soon as a ball of dough forms.  Scoop a Tbsp of dough and roll it into a ball.  Push an olive into the middle of the cheese ball leaving only the stuffed end showing. Place on baking sheet. Repeat until all dough is used.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  

Recipe adapted from Ghoulish Goodies Cookbook.


Pumpkin Puree

This is so much better than the canned pumpkin from the store and has so many more nutrients as well.  Bonus, it’s easy to do!

1 5 lb pumpkin

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Using a sharp knife, cut off the top of your pumpkin. Slice it in half and then into quarters. Feel free to smash the pumpkin (not too hard) on the ground if you are having difficulty cutting it.  Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. If you are saving the seeds, rinse and pat dry before roasting.  Place your pumpkin skin side down onto a baking tray. Roast for about 45 minutes or until the flesh is nice and soft. You can insert a small knife to check if it's done.  Remove from the oven to cool slightly. Scoop out the flesh into a blender or food processor. Puree the pumpkin until whipped and smooth. Depending on your pumpkin, you might need to add a splash of water to get it moving. I had to do that for my puree.  Refrigerate your pumpkin puree in an airtight container until ready to use.  Store any extra puree in ice cube trays in the freezer to be used at your convenience.  Now you have fresh puree and you can use it to make pancakes, muffins, soup and of course pie!

Recipe from spendwithpennies.com


No Bake Pumpkin Pie

Now that you have the puree, let’s make something with it!  

2 cups crushed gingersnap, as fine as you can get it (if you don’t like gingersnap, you can always use graham cracker for the crust)

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 packages (3 3/4 oz each) instant vanilla pudding mix

1/2 cups milk

2 tsp cinnamon

¾ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Pecan halves, for garnish (optional)

In small bowl, stir together gingersnap crumbs and melted butter until crumbs are evenly coated. Pat over bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie pan. In medium bowl, whisk together pudding mixes and milk until thick and blended. Stir in pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Spread evenly over gingersnap crust. If desired, garnish with pecan halves. Cover and refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight. 

Recipe from readersdigest.com


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