Saturday, October 29, 2011

Remembering my Favourite Halloween

One Halloween when I was about 12 or 13 I dressed up like a hobo.  There was a closet in our basement filled with old clothes,  and I found one of Dad's old suits and a fedora that looked Halloween ready.  The suit was too big for me, but I figured that was good because I  could wear my winter coat and ski pants under it.  After all, it was Saskatchewan and we had cold temperatures and snow that Halloween.  I used some of mom's makeup to create a dirty, stubbled face, slicked back my hair with bryl-creem  and creased up that hat to make it look old and battered.   I found a long branch in the backyard and tied a gingham table cloth into a knapsack at the end of it.  My friend T was supposed to be going with me, but she wasn't ready yet, so I decided to hit a couple of the neighbour's houses while I was waiting for her.  At one house they made me sing a song while standing on one foot with my eyes closed.  I did it without falling over, and I got a chocolate bar and a hearty slap on the back going out the door.  I walked back to T's house, and off we went.  We must have been to 20 or 30 homes in our neighbourhood when, as we were leaving another house, the woman gave me a gentle little kick to the backside.  She was the mom of a school friend, and I turned around yelling "Mrs. S, what did you do that for?"  She told me she was just following the sign on my back!!!  She pulled it off and showed me.  It said "kick me, I'm a bum"  and had been stuck to my back for all the world to see.  That's what the slap on the back was....I was getting my sign!!!   I still laugh remembering yelling at T, asking her why she didn't tell me about it and her saying she thought it was all a part of my costume.    Ah, those were the days!  

Back then you got homemade popcorn balls, candied apples, and homemade candy too when you trick or treated...all checked very carefully by your parents before it went into your mouth.    These days, anything homemade is suspect and thrown away for good reason.  I know a lot of people take their kids to community Halloween parties rather than trick or treating.  If you do this, and need to bring a treat or snack, here's a recipe that might work not just for the kids, but the adults in the crowd too:

Goblins With Pumpkin Dip

1/2 cup sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
20 flour tortillas (10 inch size)

Pumpkin Dip:
8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
2 cups icing sugar (1.5 cups is plenty for me)
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar, set aside.  Cut tortillas with a ghost shaped 3 1/2 inch cookie cutter.  Place on baking sheets spray with non-stick cooking spray (Pam).  Spritz the goblins with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mix.  Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool on wire racks.

In small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, icing sugar, pumpkin pie spice, ginger and vanilla extract.  Add the pumpkin gradually, beating until smooth.  This dip can be served warm or cold (heat the dip in a 350 degree oven for about a half hour), but I like it cold best.  Makes 40 goblins and 3.5 cups of dip.  The dip has 24 calories per tablespoon.  The ghosts are about 54 calories each.  

Almonds are a good source of calcium.  If you are the one at home handing out treats and feel tempted, here's a recipe that is both a treat and relatively good for you:

Sugar Spiced Almonds
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups unblanched whole almonds

Combine the first six ingredients in a bowl.  Add almonds, toss to coat.  Spread into a greased 15 inch x 10 inch x 1 inch baking pan.  Bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.  Cool.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes 2 cups.  A 1/4 cup serving is 193 calories.

Do you remember Peeps?  Those hideously ugly marshmallow chicks available at Easter?  Well, they make them for Halloween too.  You can get them in ghost, spooky cat or pumpkin shapes.  I like the ghost ones....just the right size to float in a cup of hot chocolate, and these Peeps are only 28 calories!!!   If it's chilly, you might want to warm up your kids (and adults too) when they get home by serving them a spooky hot chocolate.    Use 2 tablespoons of mix to one cup of boiling water and don't forget your spooky marshmallow Peeps!!!

Hot Chocolate
6 2/3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
3.5 ounce package of regular (cook and serve) chocolate pudding mix 
1 cup instant chocolate drink mix (Nestle Quik or Nesquik as it's called now)
1/2 cup splenda or other non calorie sweetener of your choice
1/2 cup powdered non dairy creamer 
1/2 cup cocoa

In a very large bowl, combine all ingredients (I have also processed it in a food processor to make it finer and more like store bought mixes).  Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 3 months.  This should give you 30 servings (2 tablespoons of mix to one cup boiling water).  Each one cup serving is about 153 calories.  If you float a spooky Peeps in the cup of hot chocolate it will be 181 calories!

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