Katelyn Sander

Celebrate Halloween differently this year

Spice of Life

Halloween is just one week away. But the holiday this year – like so many other things – is going to look different, with many kids not being able to trick or treat like they’re used to.

So, we wanted to offer up some recipes for spooktacular treats that you and your family can make at home! Even if the day isn’t what you’re used to, make it something special. (Bonus: we threw in a special cocktail recipe for you too!)

Halloween Jalapeño Popper Mummies

These little mummies will win over the hearts and stomachs of your whole family! They’re just so darned cute you won’t want to eat them but, trust me, once you have one, you’ll definitely be back for more! A fairly quick and easy recipe too, so you can welcome your little ghouls into the kitchen to help you put them together.

Ingredients:
  • 10 jalapeño peppers, sliced in half lengthwise and pith/seeds removed (use rubber gloves so your hands don't burn from the jalapeño). Leave the stem if you can on some or all of the halves.
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 oz jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 scallion (green onion), finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 package refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Candy eyeballs (can be purchased at Michael's or on Amazon)
Instructions:
  • Preheat oven 400°F. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, jack cheese, scallion, and salt until well blended.
  • Roll out the crescent rolls and separate into 4 rectangles (not triangles) with a perforation in the middle of each. Press your fingers into the perforations to seal them. Using a pizza cutter, cut each rectangle into 10 long pieces lengthwise.
  • Fill each jalepeño half with the cheese mixture. Wrap each jalapeño half with the dough, leaving a space for the eyes. Use two pieces of dough if necessary. Brush with egg mixture and place on baking sheet.
  • Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and press the eyes into the cheese where the opening is. Serve immediately.

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

The flavours in this Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup go so beautifully together. It’s the perfect dish to warm you from the inside out this fall. And, bonus? It’s super-healthy and low in calories…who doesn’t love that?

Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped (2 fat carrots UNCHOPPED for Instant Pot method)
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 1 medium; 3 - 3 1/2 lbs) (scrubbed but left whole for Instant Pot method)
  • 2/3 cup canned coconut milk
  • 3/4 tsp mild curry powder (or more if you like it spicier!)

Optional Halloween Spiderweb Topping (you may need slightly more or less depending on the size of the bowls you're using):

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1% or fat free (or dairy-free yogurt if you're DF)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp canned coconut milk
Instructions:

Stove Top Instructions:

  • Heat a medium-large pot to medium heat. Add coconut oil, onions, and carrots. Sauté until vegetables have softened.
  • Add broth and squash, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove lid, and let simmer until squash is tender (if you can easily smash one against the side of the pan, they're ready). Add curry powder.
  • In batches, puree soup in a blender, making sure you remove the centre of the lid (and cover with a clean towel while blending!). Return to pot.
  • Stir in 2/3 cup coconut milk and heat through if necessary. Portion soup into bowls.

To make the spiderweb:

  • In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt and 2 1/2 tbsp coconut milk. Put the mixture into a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag and snip off the tip with a pair of kitchen shears. Make circles of yogurt in each bowl, then use a tooth pick to make lines going from the centre to the outside of each bowl.
  • If you really want to do it up, throw a clean plastic spider on top (real spiders not recommended).

Easy Caramel Apples

A classic Halloween activity – which is definitely off the table this year – is bobbing for apples. Instead of getting sopping wet and enjoying a plain apple, this year, we’re making delicious (and super easy!) caramel apples. You can make these fancier with toppings like chocolate, sprinkles, and chopped nuts, or just go the classic route.

If the full apple is too much for your kids to eat, you can always chop them up as well!

Ingredients:
  • 8 Granny Smith apples (or any other variety)
  • 4 (4.51 oz) bags of soft caramels
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • Assorted toppings such as chopped nuts, sprinkles, or melted chocolate for drizzling
Equipment:
  • 8 lollipop or popsicle sticks
Instructions:
  • Wash and thoroughly dry the apples then press a lollipop stick firmly into the top of each apple. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
  • Unwrap the caramels then place them in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat. Add the heavy cream and cook the caramels, stirring occasionally, until they melt and the mixture is a smooth consistency. Reduce the heat to low.
  • Dip each of the apples into the caramel mixture, shaking off any excess and scraping any caramel off the bottoms of the apples. Roll the apples in your preferred toppings then place them on the lined baking sheet. Refrigerate the apples for 15 minutes or until the caramel has firmed up. Serve the apples immediately or store them in the fridge until ready to serve.

Spooky Grasshopper Cocktail

After the kids go to bed, it’s time for you to sit back and enjoy your favourite horror movies with a spooky cocktail. With its bright green colour, this minty grasshopper cocktail will certainly tick all the boxes.

Ingredients:
  • Ice
  • 25ml crème de menthe
  • 25ml white crème de cacao
  • 25ml single cream
  • Mint sprig, to garnish
  • 25g melted chocolate, to garnish (optional)
Directions:
  • Start by making the garnish. Take a sprig of mint, strip off the leaves at the base, and dip the stalk in the melted chocolate, holding the upper leaves gently. Leave to set on a plate or tray.
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice then pour in the liqueurs and cream. Shake hard until the outside of the cocktail shaker is cold, then strain into a cocktail glass or small coupe. Garnish with the chocolate-dipped sprig of mint.

Weekend Hikes

Before you give in to your sweet tooth, why not plan a family hike to enjoy this beautiful fall weekend? Take in the colours, breathe in the fresh air, and celebrate those warm rays of sunshine! Here are a few of our favourite spots to explore in the GTA.

Evergreen Brick Works

Conveniently located in Toronto, the Don Valley Brick Works has an expansive green space, covering over 40 acres, that is open for all to enjoy this fall. Wander around the shale and clay quarry and the trails, while enjoying the Toronto skyline backdrop in the distance. While hiking, explore the ponds and look for wildlife in your surroundings – each route varies in length. Best of all – the fall leaves will provide the perfect background for your Instagram worthy photos.

Rouge National Urban Park’s Mast Trail

One of the most impressive Toronto areas to hike is the Mast Trail, that starts at the Glen Rouge Campground located in Rouge National Park at the border of Scarborough and Pickering. It is an approximately 5km hike, roundtrip that leads hikers through a 200-year-old former logging route. It features beautiful Carolinian ecosystems and trees that change to bright colours throughout the fall. Be sure to check out the Mast Trail ridge walk and staircase – you’ll want to bring your camera for this one!

Humber Arboretum and West Humber River Valley

Located in Etobicoke, the Humber Arboretum grounds cover 250 acres and are filled with beautiful forests, flowers, and ponds. Its trails are a mix between hard-packed, paved, and grass routes, offering options for hikers of all levels and experience. The easy trail is 10kms long, winding through the West Humber River Valley and follows along the Humber River. The trail passes through ornamental gardens and woodland, consisting of over 1700 species of trees – the fall colours will be plentiful! Though it is close to the city, the area is filled with wildlife and the lush environment provides an isolated atmosphere and quiet experience throughout. 

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