Halloween

Halloween 2020

In a surprising twist of events, Halloween 2020 ended up happening six years early.

Apparently if you have an open day and a whole lot of friends whose plans are cancelled last minute, you can throw an adorable ALMOST Pinterest-esque Halloween party. No, there weren’t donuts hanging from trees or apple bobbing, but there was Catch Phrase, spiked cider and squash so I’d say it was a success.

I started off the day in pure pumpkin bliss: pumpkin pancakes (my favorite Kodiak cakes + pure canned pumpkin + spices) and coffee filled to the brim with Bailey’s pumpkin spice creamer.

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Once I heard that people were going to come over after all, I got to the prep. We ended up with quite the feast, thanks to some easy recipes and family brainstorming.

The final spread:

  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Tortilla chips and homemade guacamole
  • Grapes
  • Clementine Jack-o-Lanterns
  • Greek yogurt Spinach dip and pita crisps
  • Candy corn and peanuts
  • Spiked cider
  • Dirt cups (vanilla pudding + orange food coloring and crumbled oreos)
  • Delicata squash roasted with coconut oil, stevia and cinnamon

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We spent the night listening to the monster mash, handing out candy to a dozen characters from Frozen, playing Catch Phrase, and watching “Zodiac.” It was everything I imagined my Halloween 2020 party to be and more.

And just when I thought the weekend couldn’t get any better, I totally kicked butt in the breakfast department on Saturday. I was running early for work so I decided to take myself on a little date to my favorite bagel shop downtown, NYC Bagel Deli. This place rocks my world. I had an everything bagel with two eggs, cheddar cheese, tomatoes and green peppers.

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Please let there be bagel sandwiches in heaven.

Questions:

  • How did you spend your Halloween?
  • What’s your favorite Halloween candy?
  • Have you ever played board games at a party? What’s your favorite?
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Thinking Out Loud: franken fraps and waterboarding

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It’s been a hot minute since I’ve shared the random ramblings that go on inside this (oversized) noggin of mine, so let’s just jump right in.

1) Let’s set the mood. I couldn’t pick between these three songs so you get ’em all:

2) I woke up at the crack of dawn this morning, determined to hit 6 miles before the majority of people would see me dying on the side of the road on their way to work. It was freezing. Winter is coming, Chicago. I’m here to tell you.

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Lucky for me cold weather running is my jam and I made that six miles my b***h 😀

3) I am incapable of washing my face and not making a mess. A total mess. I get water like two feet from the sink, get mascara all over my towels and go to bed with facewash in my ears. IN MY EARS. Did I just not learn how to wash my face right? Was this a lesson they gave while I was in speech therapy? It gives me anxiety when I stay over at someone else’s place because a) why is everyone’s sink so small?! and b) where in the world does their mascara go?! Clearly not on the pristine white hand towels that everyone seems to have.

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4) Speaking of speech therapy, fun fact: I had a speech impediment growing up. I sound like a normal human these days but back then S’s were tricky and I couldn’t for the life of me say the letter R. That was a real treat because my name has an R in it. I even called my aunt rich once and hurt her feelings, having just been called a “witch” by her niece. The word “world” is still tricky for me to say to this day. So let’s just say I’ll never be writing a novel called “The World According to Lauren.”

5) I realized after spending lots of time reading all your blogs and commenting yesterday, that I included the word “literally” in, literally, every comment. Guys I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me. Things were getting real literal in the blog world, apparently.

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6) I haven’t had wine in a full week. That’s SEVEN MOONS’ TIME. Funny how six months ago I didn’t touch wine – but when I was dealing with all that ish this past summer wine became my best friend. Weird how I now notice the time I DON’T have a wine glass in my hand, and not the other way around.

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7) I had a sleepover the other night. At a personal chef’s house. I came home from work and this was waiting for me in the fridge:

unnamed (26)A beautiful Greek salad with my NAME written on it. I felt like the queen of England. I need to continue to make friends with like this. These are my people. They just get me.

8) I can’t wait for Halloween. Scratch that – I can’t wait for Halloween 2020. When I’m a a real adult and can throw real holiday parties where people send out cute Etsy invites three weeks ahead of time and people actually RSVP and you make six hundred adorable Pinterest-inspired apps and have costume contests. Right now is not a good time to be a holiday lover. 50% of people my age want to dress up as a slutty minion from Despicable Me and the other 50% don’t want to do anything. Not a fan of this middle ground. I want apple bobbing and beer tasting, eating donuts that are hanging on strings from the tree in my front yard and handing out candy to kids when they ring the doorbell. So basically I want my Halloween to be straight out of an episode of 7th Heaven.

9) Speaking of Hallween did you all see this??

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The limited-edition Franken Frappuccino is a Green Tea Frappuccino with peppermint syrup, white chocolate sauce, java chips and topped with whipped cream and mocha drizzle. To celebrate the spooky holiday Starbucks is serving these creations for $3 for a grande after 2 p.m. today and tomorrow. I’ve never been a huge frappuccino fan but in the spirit of the holidays I’m definitely going to get one. I’ll let you all know how it goes!

10) I decided to make some money on the side by participating in focus groups in Chicago. Well I’ve been at it for two days now and I am officially qualified for ZERO focus groups. So…either I’m an awesome/unique individual whose life just can’t be quantified, or I’m a loser.

That was a LOT of rambling. If you made it to the bottom I’ve officially succeeded as a blogger, as I’ve kept you entertained longer than a standard YouTube video. My work here is literally done!

Questions:

  • Are you a holiday lover? Do you throw any cool parties for any specific holiday?
  • Will you try the Franken Frap?
  • Anyone else make a complete mess whenever they wash their face?
  • Any fellow speech class peeps?

roasted pumpkin seeds (recipe)

Happy Halloween!!

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How talented is my dad? Such perfect pumpkins!

It’s officially the start of the busy holiday season! Thanksgiving is going to be here before we know it and then Christmas is right around the corner.  It’s the same thing craziness every year, but these next few months is my favorite time of the year.  I love the anticipation of the holiday season (and the fact that holidays are pretty much centered around great food)

Today I’m going to share with you one of my favorite ways to use those pesky pumpkin guts! It’s a messy job, but the finished product is a perfect crunchy snack.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (adapted from Oh She Glows)

First, start out with a big ol’ pumpkin. The bigger the better. I used the seeds from both the pumpkins in the picture above and the smaller one actually had a bigger percentage of seeds, but I wasn’t in the mood to seed 10 small frys. Your best bet is to grab a huge pumpkin and hope for the best!

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Grab a very sharp knife and carefully cut off the top. After that it’s as simple as grabbing all the guts out and putting it all into a giant bowl.  Now comes the fun part…the sorting! Do your best to separate the seeds from the rest of the goop, and you’ll eventually be left with this:

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When you’re left with just the seeds, rinse them VERY well until they’re almost totally clean of any leftover pumpkin. Lay on a paper towel to dry.

Once you have the seeds all ready to go, fill a medium pot with water, add a few shakes of salt, and pour in the seeds.

ImageBring the water to a boil.  Once it’s bubbling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Drain.

Lay the seeds once again on a paper towel and dab them until they’re dry.

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Once the seeds are dry, lay them on a cookie sheet so they are all spread out in one layer. A little overlapping is fine.

Drizzle the seeds with olive oil.  Rub the oil into the seeds and stir them around so it gets evenly distributed.  Finally, sprinkle with sea salt (or table salt, which I think actually works better for this.  The sea salt didn’t stick very well for my batch). Remember, don’t add too much salt–just a few shakes at first.  You can always add more as you taste test, but nothing’s worse than realizing your snack is waaay too salty and you can’t turn back.

ImagePut the seeds in a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes, taking out halfway through to stir.  You’ll probably hear some popping while it’s in the oven–that’s nothing to worry about. When you take them out taste test a few and see if you need to add more salt.

ImageI’ve heard of people adding lots of different spices to their pumpkin seeds: garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, cinnamon and sugar, etc. The best part of pumpkin seeds is they are so versatile so you can make them into whatever kind of tasty snack you choose!

Pour into a cute little dish and serve alongside some candy corn for a treat. This is a great snack to have on hand while you’re handing out candy to all the little ghouls and goblins coming by.  It’s also a really healthy alternative to constantly reaching into the candy bowl.  Even if you alternate candy-seeds-candy-seeds you’re still upping your omega-3 fats, antioxidants and vitamin E and lowering your intake of high fructose corn syrup, Red 3, and Yellow 5. Definitely not a bad thing!

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Question:

  • Anyone dressing up today for Halloween?