The Origin of Halloween

All Hallows Eve, Halloween, is the day when the dead are said to walk amoung the living. It is also a day that is good for making psychic or spiritual connections.

Typically in Autumn, when the "dying" season begins, is a time of reflection and thought for those who have passed away. In Northern Britian, the words ghost and guest (giest) are the same. In isolated Celtic villages, the dead relatives skulls were painted, therefore allowing them to rejoin their families during the October feasts. Halloween is celebrated in many ways through various other cultures, everything from dressing up to wander the night with the dead, to children going door to door for candy. In the United States, communicating with the spirit world is Celtic descended, while the activities descend from the British Isles, include partying and nighttime mischeif.
In the 19th Century, the parties were play acting and costumes and some fortune telling. While in the Victorian Era the tradition of bobbing for apples was revived. Other parlour games were also played such as biting a doughnut that is hanging from a string.

These are of course only a few of the traditions that are carried out by different cultures of people. All in all, Halloween is a day of remembering our relatives who aren't with us anymore, and a beginning to the winter or dying season.

Pumpkin Soup

4 pounds of peeled pumpkin, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 apples, chopped
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon nutmeg or 3 t. curry powder
1 t. salt
2 cups water

Place pumpkin, apples, onion, stock, nutmeg and salt in the water in a heavy saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer 40 minutes until pumpkin is tender. Puree in a blender or processor. Return to pan and add 2 1/2 cups milk and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with cilantro if curry is used. Serve.

Popcorn Balls

These are fun to make and fun to give--wrap them in orange tinted cellophane or clear wrap and tie with a ribbon. This makes about 18 three inch balls. Unless you have a really large pot, make these in two batches.

1/2 cup solid margarine
2-10oz packages of large, white marshmallows
Orange paste food coloring

Melt margarine in a large pot. Add marshmallows, turning to cover with oil well, and cooking slowly to melt completely. Stir in tiny amounts of food coloring with a toothpick until the color appeals to you. When completely melted, remove from heat.

20 cups popped, fresh plain or colored popcorn (don't use microwave corn) 1 cup candy corn (optional)

Stir in popcorn and candy, covering well with melted marshmallow until marshmallow turns to stringy threads. Let sit a few minutes.

Extra butter

Butter all popcorn ball-maker's hands liberally, and begin to pack mixture into balls. Adults mind that the mixture can still be quite hot, so put aside a pan in which to set balls down if children find them too hot. Let balls thoroughly cool, then wrap them up!

Hot Spiced Cider

In a medium size pan, an old coffee maker, or using your microwave, heat the cider to the desired temperature. Add 1 shot glass of Cinnamon Schnapps, and enjoy!! To make this a non-alcoholic drink, instead of the cinnamon schnapps, use a cinnamon stick while heating the cider.
Just a reminder to all of you from me, please consume alcohol safely, and do not drink and drive. Please use a designated driver, call a cab, whatever you need to do, but lets all keep safe and happy. Also a reminder that this recipe does contain alcohol and it is against the law to serve to minors.

Pan de Los Muertos, Bread of the Dead

The most traditional form of this Mexican holiday bread is made into a round shape with a cinnamon or anise flavored star shape on top, tinted red, blue or purple and sprinkled with sugar. But you can also make the dough into shapes. Serve with milk or hot chocolate, and offer some to your departed ancestors so they may breathe in its essence and be nourished, before you gobble it up yourself!

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
10 drops anise extract

Mix all of the above until smooth. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a cookie sheet. With clean hands, mold the dough into a round shape with a knob on the top (which will be a skull) or into smaller round shapes, animals, faces or angels. Place dough on cookie sheet.
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 T. flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 T. melted butter

Mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and melted butter for the topping. Sprinkle topping on dough and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When cool, decorate the skull shaped knobs, animals or faces with icing sugar to make eyes, nose and mouth.

Delicious Pumpkin Cookies

For recipes that call for cooked pumpkin, save your pumpkin scraps from the carving, cut them from their rinds and steam or boil until they are soft.

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar

Cream butter and sugar together, then add egg and blend well.

1 egg
1 cup cooked pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend in pumpkin and vanilla.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Blend together dry ingredients: flour, powder, soda, salt and spices, and add to pumpkin mixture.

1/2 c. walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips

Stir in nuts and chips, and drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for fifteen minutes, cool and eat!