Happy Halloween! Whether you’re spending the evening passing out treats or taking the young ones for a costumed stroll around the neighborhood, your kitchen is soon to become a repository for piles of fun-sized goodies. But before the kids chomp it all down, borrow a handful for your own use – and share in the sugar high.

Fall Recipes: Get Creative with Halloween Candy

 

Sweet Salad
Remember Waldorf salad? This easy-to-prepare candy bar apple salad has the same idea – luscious flavors doused in a creamy dressing. Rather than the Waldorf’s classic combination of grapes, walnuts, and marshmallows, this one uses apples, SNICKERS®, and vanilla pudding to create a caramel apple–flavored treat.

Substitute with abandon to suit your tastes (or your pantry). Some suggestions include using a mixture of SNICKERS and HEATH Toffee Bars, pears rather than apples, and different flavored puddings.

Delicious Drinks
When your little monsters return home with bags stuffed full of colored candies, look no further than Skittles®-infused vodka. With each flavor individually bottled and ready to drink, you won’t have to search for a sweet end-of-day treat. But if chocolate and peanut butter is more your style (or you’re only in the mood for a quick nip), try a peanut butter cup martini.

Bite-Sized Baking
No matter your preferred taste – sweet or salty, nuts or toffee – trick-or-treat bags are sure to offer a complement to every craving. Use sugar-loaded confections to create candy-recycler blondies, Halloween candy cookies, white chocolate candy corn cookie bars, peanut butter and toffee candy bark, or frozen peanut butter cup banana pops (the fruit makes them healthier, right?). With these desserts on hand, you’ll wish All Hallows’ Eve came around more than once a year.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Have any Halloween-inspired treats made it into your recipe box? Share them in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala.

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October 31, 2012

I’m a New Englander to the core, and turning on the heat for the first time each fall takes some adjustment. When I need to cool down (if only briefly), there’s no better treat than this healthy banana ice cream. No ice cream maker? No problem. All you need is a blender or food processor.

Here are two ways to create flavor combinations that will entice banana lovers and tolerators alike.

Core Ingredients
2 bananas, frozen with peels on for about 15 minutes (they should have some give when you squeeze them, but still retain that frozen consistency)
Honey, to taste

Batch 1 (for banana tolerators, or fans of sweets)
Also add peanut butter, NUTELLA®, and chocolate chips, to taste

Batch 2 (for banana lovers, or those who prefer simpler flavors)
Also add peanut butter, to taste

Feel free to create additional flavors by adding pumpkin puree, nuts, strawberries – whatever you want.

Directions
1. Peel the bananas, using a sharp knife to cut off the ends and slice through the frozen peel.
2. Cut each banana into thirds and place in the blender or food processor.
3. Add the honey and blend until the mixture has the consistency of ice cream. If needed, scrape the sides of the blender or food processor with a spoon, then blend again. Add in any other ingredients and blend once more.
4. Scoop into bowls immediately, or place in the freezer until chilled to your liking.

Makes approximately two servings.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

What’s your favorite healthy treat? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @ruelala.

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October 24, 2012

Been hoarding canned pumpkin puree since the Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2011? Yeah, me too. These recipes are a perfect opportunity to use some up – without falling back on pie.

Don’t get me wrong. A good pumpkin pie is the king of autumn desserts. But compared to these dishes from our copy team’s pumpkin party? There’s no contest. Click on any (or all) of the savory and sweet titles or thumbnails below for a printable card you can add to your recipe box.

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
Serves 8–10

Ingredients
1 pound dried cavatappi or penne rigate pasta
1 quart whole milk
1 stick butter, divided
1/2 cup flour
8 ounces apple-smoked Gruyère cheese, grated
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground mustard powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (optional)
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

Directions
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until just al dente. Drain, set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Meanwhile, heat milk in a small saucepan over low heat, being careful not to let it boil or burn.
3. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add flour and whisk constantly until combined, about 2–3 minutes. Add in the milk, whisking until smooth and thick, about 3–5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Gruyère, Cheddar, and Gorgonzola cheeses, pumpkin puree, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, ground mustard, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper.
4. Add the pasta and stir until evenly coated. Pour into one 10” x 14” baking dish, or use two slightly smaller ones.
5. Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter in the microwave, then mix with the panko and Pecorino Romano. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta and bake for 30–40 minutes, until top is golden brown and bubbly.

Continue reading “Fall Entertaining: Pumpkin Party Recipes” »

October 17, 2012

Fall Entertaining: Throw A Pumpkin Party

 

Our copy team gathered last night to celebrate autumn with an all-too-seasonal pumpkin party. From sinfully sweet treats to hearty, savory delights (emphasis on the former), the writers brought some serious culinary competitors to the well-adorned table. Here are some quick tips to help you throw a gourd-themed bash of your own:

Décor
Start your décor off right with these beautiful DIY Pumpkin Planters that are so easy to make (plus you have seeds left over for a quick-baked snack). Add themed serving platters and – of course – more pumpkins, and the mood will pretty much set itself.

Activities
Pumpkin carving, while the ultimate October activity, is logistically tricky. Instead, pick up some medium-sized pumpkins and set out paint pens, mod podge (equal parts glue and water), tissue paper, stick-on moustaches, and whatever else appeals to you, then let your guests decorate to their hearts’ content. No messy goop to clean up, and everyone gets to create their own take-home favor.

Food
A variety of dishes is the key to hosting a successful meal, so decide on a theme and ask guests to bring a favorite to share. Our spread included baked brie with pumpkin butter, salad topped with pumpkin seeds, pumpkin-stuffed ravioli, and enough delicious, pumpkin-infused baked goods to cover a tabletop. Offer mulled cider, red wine, or pumpkin spice martinis, and you’ll be glad that, by the time your guests say good night, you’re already at home.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Have a great pumpkin-themed party idea? Share it in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala.

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October 10, 2012