The Halloweeniests of Halloweens

This year, 2022, has been the Halloweeniests of Halloweens for me.

It started off with buying candy corn in September. Buying Halloween Candy early never ends well for me, but I’m not particularly enthralled with candy corn, so it’s not much of a temptation. Now, peanut M & M’s or Milk Duds, and I’d be in trouble. I decorated the house creepily, mostly for Wyatt, since my only other visitors were Amazon Delivery and Political Flyer people. Wyatt and I made Halloween-themed cupcakes, decorated like Jack-O-Lanterns with candy corn.

Honey, They’ve Shrunk The Candy!

Speaking of Halloween candy, did you hear that manufacturers have shrunk the portion sizes? In an effort to keep candy below a certain calorie count and not raise prices, your favorite candies have shrunk. And some, like beloved Reese’s Cups, have added thin versions of the originals. I think I might actually like this idea! The flavor I love, without all the calories I don’t.

On Monday, I ran out of laundry detergent. Not much of a news flash, I know, but this time I decided to try Verde, a store in South Miami, to refill my laundry detergent. You bring in an empty container and they refill it for you, charging you by the ounce. I hate the idea of all the plastic used in laundry detergent containers! Most of the liquid inside the jugs is water and most of the plastic we attempt to recycle (like 90%) doesn’t actually get recycled. Their detergent is super concentrated, so only 1 ounce is needed per load. I will report back when I see how well the detergent works.

Tuesday, I made a very Fallish dinner of Spicy Pumpkin Soup. I have a favorite Pumpkin Soup recipe, but couldn’t find it, so found a similar sounding one on the internet. Of course, I found the recipe I love after I’d already made the other one. I served it with Trader Joe’s Arugula and Prosciutto Flatbread. I supplemented the flatbread by tossing a cherry tomato, basil and balsamic vinegar salad on top, after it had finished cooking. Delicious and easy!

On Wednesday, Zeke and I hosted A.J. and her family to Burgers and Beer at Riviera, which had a Halloween theme. Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to see them on Halloween, we invited them to come in their costumes, to eat and celebrate. Phoenix was Bam Bam, in an adorable costume Kelley made and Wyatt was Spiderman. They played games, had a costume contest and a dance party.

Mystery Sushi

When we returned home, there was a plastic bag on our bench by the front door filled with the most delicious looking sushi in a plastic container. There was no note, no receipt, so I don’t know who it was supposed to go to, or where it came from. I stuck it in the refrigerator on the off chance someone came by to claim it, but it didn’t happen.

Egg Nog Season Starts Early this year!

There was a container of Egg Nog in the refrigerator as well, but that was no mystery. Zeke usually picks up a container around Thanksgiving and has a glass every night, so Egg Nog Season at our house normally lasts about a month. I told him it was very dangerous to start on the Egg Nog before Halloween!

Thursday, I tried a new technique for carving a pumpkin. Have you heard about it? Jennifer Garner posted it on Instagram. You carve the bottom of the pumpkin and leave the stem intact, which is supposed to make the pumpkin last longer, once carved. She then took a hand blender to remove the seeds, but I just scooped them out with a spoon. I rinsed the seeds, dried them and roasted them (250 for 1 hour) with olive oil, salt and cumin, for a delicious snack.

I had fruit leftover (cantaloupe and mango) from our tailgate, which I turned into a sorbet. It’s a great way to use up fruit, if you have an ice cream maker and the sorbet was delicious. I picked Wyatt up from school and we carved the pumpkin (Mr. Death), made Witch’s Hat Cookies from Oreos and Hershey’s Kisses. On Wyatt’s recommendation, we watched The Nightmare Before Christmas. It was a beautiful and creepy stop-action film. At least it had a happy ending.

Dinner that night was Chicken Milanese. I heard a guy on The View in a cooking segment, say Chicken Milanese needs to become a thing because chicken breasts, which are popular, are hard to cook due to their shape. They’re fat in the middle, skinny on the sides and consequently, don’t cook evenly.

With Chicken Milanese, you pound out the chicken breast to a uniform flatness, which makes them cook evenly. You then dip these chicken pancakes in seasoned flour, beaten egg and milk and then bread crumbs, before sauteing them in butter and olive oil. I served them with Mashed Potatoes. Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Sauteed Mushrooms and a lemon wedge, to squeeze on the chicken.

This is really good!

said Zeke.

Friday, I had a meeting for The Villagers at Deering Bay, which is celebrating 100 years of the original Stone House. The Villager’s House Tour, which has been cancelled the last couple years due to Covid, is back on Saturday, December 10th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m with a Roaring ’20’s theme. I’m on the House Tour Committee; message me if you want tickets, as I have 4 to sell. They are $50 and proceeds help Historic Preservation in South Florida.

Then, I was off to Tallahassee to visit Chris and Courtney for Halloween. I’d gone up to Steamboat Springs last year for Halloween (Peter Pan theme) so Courtney suggested I come up again this year. The theme is Scooby Doo and I am Velma. Alas, my orange knee socks didn’t arrive from Amazon in time.

Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you? Apparently, he’s in Tallahassee this year! I had a great time in Tallahassee- went to a Farmer’s Market, to Bradley’s Country Store for a Sausage Dog, watched the U.M. game on TV, went to Trunk and Treat at some churches and of course, went Trick or Treating on Halloween.

Scooby Doo and Crew hit the streets of Tallahassee. Liam got the hang of trick or treating pretty quickly and went for the lollipops, although Daphne and Velma were rooting for chocolate and Skittles. A UPS driver driving by asked if we’d double-parked our Mystery Van and people seemed to get a kick out of our group costumes.

Creepy Watching

For the Grand Finale of Halloween, we watched a scary movie on Netflix. If you’re ready for a scare, try The Watcher, Ryan Murphy’s new 7 series show about an old house in New Jersey. It’s based on a true story about a historic home that someone (and this is the mystery) is watching and terrorizing with letters signed The Watcher. If you like your mysteries tied up in a nice bow, this show will disappoint, as it finishes open-ended.

And take your car, leave my sweater ‘Cause we’ve got nothing left to weather, In fact I’ll feel a whole lot better. But you’ll think of me, you’ll think of me.

Keith Urban

Up Next: How to keep Berries Fresh

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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