Friday Five: It’s a Pumpkin!

Singing Owl of RevGals says…

All Hallows Eve (Halloween) is near. As a child, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. We didn’t yet worry about razor blades in apples or popcorn balls or some of the other concerns people have with Halloween these days. Halloween was a chance to be mildly scared, and better yet, to dress up and pretend to be something we really weren’t. Let’s talk about that a bit, but then let’s add in some food ideas for this year. Where I live the leaves are falling, the temperature is chilly and pumpkins are for sale everywhere, along with many kids of apples. What’s more, the “Holiday Season” will soon be upon us. ACK! I could use a new idea for dessert. So, here we go…

1. How did you celebrate this time of year when you were a child?
Usually with some kind of PTA carnival at school. My parents opted out of participating after many years of organizing and planning them. By the time they had survived four kids’ worth of carnivals… they just dropped us off at school!

2. Do you and/or your family “celebrate” Halloween? Why or why not? And if you do, has it changed from what you used to do?
It depends on what is going on for the church or neighborhood. We have done the neighborhood “trick-or-treat” thing. We’ve gone to a holy version of Halloween called a “Harvest Party” with hordes of kids wearing their parents’ bathrobes and towels tied on their heads (all of us representing some “biblical costume.” My favorite was the family covered in “leaves” made from trash bags… they were Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel.) We’ve gone camping and been out of town.

The photo here is from two yeas ago, when The Harpist was “Cyradis” (you have to have read David Eddings… it is too long to explain.) Reedy Girl was a DORITO! (Note the Orange Hair!) This year, for the first time, we won’t have anyone going out in costume to get candy. However, Reedy Girl may go dressed as an umbrella to school on Halloween this year. (I PROMISE pictures for that if it happens!!!)

2 (1/2?) Candy apples: Do you prefer red cinnamon or caramel covered? Or something else?
Eh. I like apples au naturel. Or in a pie. Or made into applebutter.

3. Pumpkins: Do you make Jack O’ Lanterns? Any ideas of what else to do with them?
We have carved and decorated them in the past. I don’t know about this year. Should be interesting. I’ve always wanted to go to the pumpkin chucking contest here in Maryland, though! And the day after Halloween, the elephants at the National Zoo in Washington, DC get to smash pumpkins and eat them. I’ve always wanted to go see that, too.

4. Do you decorate your home for fall or Halloween? If so, what do you do? Bonus points for pictures.
Not really. Usually just a jack-o-lantern.

5. Do you like pretending to be something different? Does a costume bring our an alternate personality?
I don’t know if that’s really the case. (Or if it is, I am stranger than you think…) One year I was a blue crayon (a blue leotard and tights, a cardboard tube decorated to look like the wrapper, and a blue flowerpot on my head.) Another time I was a bag of jelly beans (balloons inside a clear garbage bag, tied with a ribbon.) Another time my beloved and I wore boxes painted to look like “dice” and had signs around our necks saying “I’m lost.” (“Pair of dice – lost” Get it?? – har de har har.)

Bonus: Share your favorite recipe for an autumn food, particularly apple or pumpkin ones.

Baked Apples and Squash (You’ll find this on our table EVERY Thanksgiving!)

  • 1 lbs tart apples (Granny Smiths are good)
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 3/8 cup cup currants
  • 3/8 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp butter, chunked into small pieces
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • nutmeg, salt and pepper

Peel, quarter lenthwise, seed and cut crosswise the squash into 1/4 inch thick pieces. (About 3 cups). Cook in a large pot of water until almost tender, about 3 minutes. Drain.

Peel, quarter, cut crosswise and seed apples into 1/4 inch thick slices. (About 3 cups).

Combine squash, apples, and currants in a 9″ square glass pan. Season generously with spices.

Combine maple syrup, butter and lemon juice in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 10% power until butter melts. Stir. Microwave until bubbly. Stir and pour over pan. Toss squash and apples to coat evenly.

Cover pan with foil. Bake at 350 degrees until squash and apples are very tender, stirring occasionally (about 1 hour). Cool 5 minutes before spooning into serving bowl.

THANKSGIVING DAY BONUS: This recipe can be made a day ahead! Allow to cool on counter after baking. Cover with foil and put in fridge. Rewarm in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes OR (if you use a microwave-save pan) in the microwave.

Enjoy! Bon Appetite!


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