No tricks…just treats

The support for my blog has been phenomenal. Lately though, I realize its missing something. Writing about what I have for dinner is good and all, but my original intent for this forum was to engage my readers and have them share their own recipes and thoughts on food. You might wonder, well Amy? What is it you want from us? I would really enjoy it if you would share some of your favorite recipes or food memories with me! Here’s a smattering of thoughts about food themed around one of the best holidays of the year – Halloween!

It was around this year last time I blogged about Kitty Litter Surprise, a treat sure to turn any guest’s stomach. This concoction is really just a fun spin on a recipe for no-bake cookies. These treats are easy to make, but be sure to watch the temperature of your mixture. The gross part comes in the presentation. These are best served in a (new) kitty litter box filled with Grape Nuts. You can find a cheap kitty litter box at the dollar store, and while you’re at it, don’t forget the litter scoop for serving!

Last night I went on my first night hike. I met some really fun people and saw some pretty fall foliage in the beam of my headlamp (on the ground as I tried to not trip). I overdressed, of course, and had to remove some layers half-way through the walk. The overheating may have also been caused by the delightful cider and rum I packed in a thermos. I’m a big fan of bringing hot chocolate and spirits to the mountain when I downhill ski. As one of the hikers pointed out, winter and fall are an excuse to drink your alcohol warm. This is also known as a hot toddy. The Wikipedia definition of hot toddy is too funny not to share.

…A hot toddy is a mixed drink, usually including alcohol, that is served hot. Hot toddies (such as mulled cider) are traditionally drunk before going to bed, or in wet or cold weather. They were believed to help cure the cold and flu, but the American Lung Association now recommends avoiding treating the common cold with alcoholic beverages as they cause dehydration.

Lastly on my list of fall food topics, a reader recently asked me about what to do with the innards of the pumpkin after you carve them. Besides the obvious – roast the seeds and add some cumin and chili powder to make them even yummier – I came up with these creative suggestions.

Pumpkin flesh can be used to make soup, pie, or to stuff homemade raviolis if you’re really motivated. Or try this recipe for Diana’s Famous Pumpkin Gut Bread. While looking for good uses for pumpkin guts, I got some great ideas for using the entire pumpkin.

Why make a jack-o-lantern when you can make pumpkin gratin?  Gratin is an ingredient topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter. Just layer in some potatoes, some grated Parmesan, dried oregano and some nutmeg and cook gently in stock or cream or both. Or try this take-on fondue, Creamy Gruyere Pumpkin Gratin.

Or why not make pumpkin soup and use the shell to serve it out of? Due to its high water content, pumpkin freezes well, so if you don’t have time to turn those pumpkin guts into pay-dirt now, freeze them and whip up one of these fall favorites come Thanksgiving.

Thanks to Kira for inspiring this blog post!

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