Halloween Fun Food

So Evan wants to live in a haunted house. For real. Every year it’s the same conversation about how the inside of the house needs to be really dark and scary. Thankfully he’s satisfied with some outdoor giant webs and spiders and he’s pretty psyched about the new black cauldron that we’ll fill with dry ice this year.

Having a pumpkin ale and a few laughs…modelling the latest reaper wear from J. Creep.

Pumpkin coffee tables from Crypt and Brimstone

You couldn’t pay me to take a photo like this of a real spider.

Our basement window well has turned into a crypt

Styrofoam balls (cut with serrated knife), painted black and joined with toothpicks, plus some black pipe cleaners.

He’s also psyched about Halloween food, like hot dog mummies, spider dip, witches’ hats and, of course, the puking pumpkin. I took the photos below a couple of years ago, before it had even occurred to me to start writing a blog. I was just one of those weird people who takes pictures of her food. Okay, I’m still am.

Mummy Dogs

Chocolate digestive biscuits (or any round chocolate cookie), Hershey’s Kisses and decorator icing tubes (don’t get the gel kind, it doesn’t dry hard).

Layer refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, grated cheese, black olives and salsa in whatever order you want, ending with salsa on top. Pipe sour cream into a web pattern. You can cut a small hole in the corner of a Ziploc bag and use that to pipe the sour cream.

Lightweight…

All Green Guacamole
There’s no real recipe here, keep tasting as you go.

2-3 ripe avocados, finely chopped green onion, tons of chopped fresh cilantro, juice of 1 lime.

Mummy Dogs
If Pillsbury Crescent Rolls are a guilty pleasure, here’s your excuse to buy them.

Cut hot dogs into 2-3″ pieces
Roll out Crescent Roll dough and use a sharp knife to cut into narrow strips. Wrap the dough around the hotdogs, but not too tight. Don’t forget to leave space for eyes. Bake according to package directions until golden. Dot with mustard for eyes after they’ve cooled down a bit.

Hello Summer! Whole Grain Summer Berry Crisp

I changed my header photo. Like it? Strawberries from my garden, blueberries from the store. Well…that’s not technically true. The strawberries are really from Bob’s garden. He deserves all the credit. I’ve been so lazy this season and haven’t really done much gardening at all (I’m guessing that armchair/backseat gardening doesn’t count).

So with all of these amazing berries staring at me how could I not make a dessert? I mean, Evan likes the crisp part of apple crisp, so this might be a good way to get him to start eating berries. Right? Bob rolled his eyes. “Yeah, you keep telling yourself that.”

Okay fine, whatever. I made it because I wanted it. But I truly did have hopes that Evan would try some. I did make it small. And whole grain. And not a huge amount of butter or sugar.

And Evan didn’t eat any of it. But it was f*cking awesome. Every last bit of it.

Whole Grain Summer Berry Crisp
This is dead simple. Layer the berries in the bottom of the pan. Add a splash of orange juice. If they’re not as sweet as you like, you can sprinkle with sugar to taste. Cover with the topping, dot with butter and bake at 350ºF until bubbly.

2 cups 5 grain rolled hot cereal (or rolled oats if you prefer)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups mixed berries
splash of orange juice

Homemade (Nut Free) Granola

Let’s see….on a sunny mountain during spring downhill skiing, in the car with your girlfriends on the way to your X-C ski weekend, on your next flight somewhere, on a warm rock during a great hike, on the field after your kid’s (or your) <insert sport here> game, in your kid’s lunchbox, at the kitchen table after school, on top of yogurt for breakfast…. there are so many ways to enjoy granola! And a myriad of ways you can personalize it. It’s so much cheaper to make it yourself than to get store-bought. For me, with nut allergies, store-bought granola is generally a no-go so I didn’t grow up eating it and have only recently been turned onto it.

The ingredients are as complex or simple as you’d like them. I started with 5-Grain rolled hot cereal, but you can use plain rolled oats of course.

Most people would add sliced or whole almonds, walnuts, peanuts etc, but since that won’t work for the nut-challenged, I discovered that roasted soy nuts work very well. They’re not really nuts, just roasted and salted soybeans. (Of course, that won’t work for the soy-challenged, but hey, I can’t please everyone!!)

Dried fruit adds different textures and interest. I used dried blueberries and cranberries. Shaved coconut would be a good addition too.

But what makes is really great, and super clumpy and cluster-y is the use of peanut butter (soy nut butter for me). I got the idea from Dinner with Julie. When you pour the melted nut butter over the cereal just work it in a little bit and you’ll get these awesome clumps which makes it great for snacking by the handful. Like this:

If you like your granola finer use a bit less nut butter and honey and keep working it in until it gets distributed more evenly. Like this:

Then bake it until it gets toasty. When it’s still hot, pour on the dried fruit and nuts and stir it around before letting it cool.

If you really want it to be a decadent snack with your fave tv show a good energy boost during your long, difficult hike, scatter chocolate chips over it when it’s still hot in the pan. O..M..G.

Let it cool completely and then store it. Everyone stores their granola in 1950’s bar ware, right?

Homemade Granola (Nut Free)

The amounts below will make your granola pretty clumpy. You could make it less clumpy by using about 1/3 cup soynut/peanut butter and 1/4 cup honey. Also, my soynut butter is sweetened already so I tend to use less..some recipes call for both honey and brown sugar. If you use unsweetened PB, you may want to add a bit more. The recipe below is certainly not cloyingly sweet by any means.

3 cups 5-grain rolled cereal/rolled oats
1 cup small pieces of dried fruit
1/2 cup whole roasted soy nuts (or whole or slivered tree nuts)
1/2 cup soy nut butter/peanut butter
1/3 cup honey (it’s also yummy with maple syrup)

In a small saucepan over med-low heat, slowly melt the soynut butter (peanut butter) and warm the honey. In the meantime, dump the rolled cereal/oats in a large mixing bowl. Add shredded coconut if you’re using it. When the nut butter and honey are all liquid-y, pour it over the cereal and stir to combine. When as well distributed as you’d like, spread it out on a cookie sheet with sides.

Bake at 350° for about 20-30 min or until golden, depending on your oven. Take out of the oven and sprinkle the dried fruit and soynuts and stir them in while the granola cools. If you scatter chocolate chips over the top at this point, leave them for a minute or two so they melt over the granola. Swirl them around over the top of the granola with a knife and then leave it to cool completely (it shouldn’t look shiny at all). It will kill you to not eat any at this point but trust me, you do not want all that good melted chocolate going to waste smeared on the pan. You can always stick the pan in the fridge to speed it up if you are so impatient! Store in your favourite container on the counter.