Happy Halloween!

Ahhh… Halloween. One of my most favorite holidays! I think it’s more about the season than the holiday (now that I am too old to trick or treat unfortunately.) However I do have customs for this holiday that we do every year. I ALWAYS roast homemade, fresh pumpkin seeds which after all the years of doing them, I seem to have finally perfected. (I have included my version of the recipe below) We also usually light a fire, and pour ourselves a glass of wine to enjoy in front of it, along with the seeds. My daughter generally has a “trick or treat” party, which now that she is 12, may be the last of the “trick or treating” part of it… but I’m sure the costume parties will continue. We plan on feeding all the kids hot dogs with homemade french fries (another thing I have pretty much perfected… I am VERY proud of my fries. Heck, even the kids tout them to other kids! I have included that recipe below too) before they go out… they are looking forward to that. We light candles about the house, try to get my older son to stick around and hand out candy so we don’t have to, and my absolute favorite… walking with the kids up and down the street. We have a pretty “holiday” active older neighborhood, so not only are most of the houses lit up and candy ready, but it’s also real safe around here. Down the street, there are 3-4 houses that get together every Halloween, and set out a long table for kids, and one for the adults. At the kids table, they get to put together their own home baked cookies with sprinkles, icing etc. At the adults table, they have a bowl of homemade chili and “witches brew” to drink (Spiked or not) and yes, if you don’t look the age, they won’t even offer that to you as an option. It’s a wonderful tradition that I look forward to every year.

My favorite Halloweens are slightly chilly, and well, kinda windy. Many people don’t like that, but to me, it really isn’t Halloween without the chill and the wind. Plus, the lack of chill would make my fire pointless. Tonight, after the walk, the chili, the roasting of the seeds with wine and the fire, we plan on watching the highly anticipated “Walking Dead” on AMC. It’s supposed to be REALLY good, so I am looking forward to that. The last few days, my daughter and friends have been watching “The Nightmare Before Christmas” over and over and over. Course siting here at the computer, I can only hear it, not see it, so I don’t mind. Plus the music of that movie is just amazing. Thank you Danny Elfman.

Anyway, I will leave you to your Dia de los muertos! We here at the Yak would like to wish you a most wonderful and safe Halloween! We hope you all get the BEST candy on the block, and that most coveted full size candy bar! Let us know below or in the FORUM what some of your traditions are!

Perfect Pumpkin Seeds Recipe:

Ingredients –
As many seeds as you can get out of your pumpkins
1/2 to 1 cup butter, melted (Depending on amount of seeds)

Clean seeds as much as possible, however having a little of the pumpkin “guts” on them doesn’t hurt, actually can add to the flavor.
Boil the seeds in a large pot with a generous heaping of salt on the stove for about a half hour.
Preheat oven to 350.
Strain the water from the seeds, and pour seeds in a bowl. Pour the melted butter on them and stir.
Spread seeds out on Cookie Sheet, trying to get them in all one layer. I cover the cookie sheet with tinfoil just to make cleaning easier.
Toast (Roast) in over about 10 minutes, then gently stir them around with a spatula. Roast another 10 minutes. They are generally done in about 20-30 minutes, but some ovens can take longer, or toast to your preferred taste. I like mine real crispy, and have sometimes let them roast for up to 40 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.
Scrape seeds with spatula into a bowl and add salt to taste. You can also add garlic salt, or another “flavored” spice if you like. I have a friend who likes to add cinnamon and cloves, and another who likes chili powder. It all depends on your taste. Enjoy!

Homemade French Fries: (Deep Fryer Recipe)

Man these are good. I don’t make them all that often, because they are some work, and use a lot of oil (deep fryer), but when I do, EVERYONE looks forward to it. So here we go:

Potatoes. Russet that is. I count on at least 1-2 potatoes per person. We usually have a few left over, but then I have a teenage boy, so I don’t have to worry about leftovers.
Oil. A lot of it. I use corn oil, it is my preferred taste. If you are more fond of another kind of oil, like peanut oil (for the more healthy alternative) go for it.
Large grocery paper bag

Peel potatoes, and cut them into fry shape. Some don’t peel and leave the skin on. I prefer without, but if you like that, then it’s yet another option.
Put cut potatoes in a bowl of ice water, and soak about a half hour. This is the perfect time to get your deep fryer oiled up, and warming to it’s “low” setting.
Once your deep fryer is ready, place the first batch of fries in the basket. Be careful not to place too many, as they tend to get stuck together.
Deep fry for approximately 7 minutes on the lowest setting. Once done, dump batch into a bowl to cool. Repeat batches with the rest of the potatoes.
Once the first fry on all batches is done, heat your deep fryer to high, and let the fries cool.
When the deep fryer is ready on it’s high setting, refry each batch, again for approx. 5-7 minutes. Halfway through, I stir them around (I use the metal part of the basket handle to do this) so they don’t get stuck together. Some like their fries a pretty golden, and some like well done. Look at them and use your judgement.
Once the first batch is done, dump them out of the basket onto a paper bag that you have cut and laid flat. I put the bag directly on the kitchen table so everyone can just help themselves. Pour your salt to taste. (You can use other spices as well if you prefer.)
Repeat this process until all the potatoes are fried, and that’s it! Seriously… YUM!

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