Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Halloween Recipe

I am feeling lots better! I think my body fought off the flu or whatever it was that tried to bring me down.

Are you enjoying this holiday weekend? Having a bit of candy or special Halloween treats? Or avoiding them altogether?

Halloween used to be a huge binge festival for me. Hey, give me an excuse to buy BAGS and BAGS of teeny little innocent candy bars, and I will do it! I'd start buying them in September and somehow I'd end up having to run out the day before Halloween to buy more anyway. And of course I HAD to buy the "special" brown-and-orange bakery cupcakes and cookies (because, you know, they taste so different from the regular ones) and I HAD to buy the Halloween Oreos too.

I don't do that now. In fact, I haven't bought any Halloween candy at all yet. Yes, I will hand out candy to trick or treaters tomorrow (and I don't mind at all if you decide to hand out apples or granola bars or pencils!) but I doubt I'll eat any of it. I say "doubt" because I know nothing is 100% for me. What I mean is, I am still an addict. I know I could slip up. I have a lot of confidence, but not OVERconfidence. I am a little nervous about a couple of parties we are invited to today and tomorrow. I have no idea what is being served (they are both dinner parties) and while I might bring a salad or veggies of some sort to one, I don't have that option at the other. I have been on plan every single day in October, and staying on plan has gotten easier and easier. However, if I end up eating something "triggering" at one of these parties, I know myself well enough to know it may take me a day or two to reign it in. Not giving myself an excuse, here. But I know how I am. And I think it would be best to just avoid eating off plan, however, if there is lasagna being served, it is likely I will eat at least a small portion. And because it is PMS time right now, I know I may struggle. Anyway, it's life. I'll get through it.

In the meantime, here's one of my old favorite recipes that I used to make for our family dinner on Halloween night. Someone gave me this recipe when I was a young mother cooking for a bunch of little boys. The kids all loved it; it's festive and delicious and pretty good for you, too! Since I am eating low carb, this is not on my plan right now but I will certainly make it again someday. There is nothing cuter than a Jack-O-Lantern full of food in the center of the kitchen table! Hope you enjoy it!

Jack-O-Lantern Dinner

Take a medium sized pumpkin, wash it, cut the top off as if you were making a Jack-O-Lantern and remove all the seeds and strings. Save the top/stem.

In a frying pan, brown 1.5 pounds of extra lean ground beef with one small chopped onion (You may also use ground turkey). If there is extra fat, drain it off. Season with black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste. I like a little dried parsley in there as well.

Add one can of Healthy Request (or reduced fat) Cream of Mushroom soup (you can use cream of chicken if you prefer), 2 Tbsp soy sauce, and 2 Tbsp brown sugar. Heat through for about 5 minutes.

Add 1.5 cups of cooked rice (we always used white, but brown rice is obviously healthier. My kids prefer a mix of half white, half brown) and one small can of sliced water chestnuts (drained).

Put the mixture inside the cute pumpkin and put the lid on a little crooked (so there is a bit of space to vent). Draw a Jack-O-Lantern face on the outside of the pumpkin with a black marker. Put the filled pumpkin on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven so the pumpkin is approximately centered (you may have to lower your oven rack to do this). Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until the pumpkin is tender when poked with a fork.

Set it on the table with the lid on (cute!) but let it cool for 10 minutes or so. To serve, use a large metal spoon and dish out the insides. Be sure to scoop/scrape out the pumpkin flesh as well because it is delicious and very good for you! Tastes excellent with the meat/rice mixture.

To healthify this dish further (after using very lean meat and brown rice), you can add sauteed diced celery, peppers, chopped spinach, or any other veggies you like.

Happy Halloween!


Kelly L said...

I am a food addict and I start buying candy in September too - already have gone through a couple of bags.. Low carb is a good way of life - I need to get that will power back - you have come a long way - Well done.

Love to you

Angela G said...

That recipes sounds really great. I copied and saved it so I can try it.

I'm really impressed with your journey. Your pictures are incredible.

Baby Stepping said...

Hmmmm, the rice is the only low-carb no-no in that recipe. Could you substitute "riced" cauliflower?

Mind Over Fatter said...

Very neat idea! I've done this with pumpkin soup and it;s been a big hit at the party!

Spaghetti Cat said...

Sounds yummy!

Vickie said...

I know someone who makes vegetable stew in her pumpkin. Very much the same directions except raw veggies and I think she cooks it a little longer.

Colin 7 Kelly said...

Hello and what an inspiation you are! I have just spent nearly an hour reading lots of your blog and really enjoyed all of it. You should be very proud of what you have achieved!
Both me and my wife have just embarked on our 'lifestyle change' journey and we have also decided to 'blog' about it in the hope it will hold us accountable.
We would appreciate your support and any advice you may have.

Please take a look at who we are and we would love you to subscribe to our blog so that you can leave encouraging comments.
Our blog is

Please feel free to take a look.

Keep up the good work

Kelly & Colin x

MargieK said...

I'd love to try this! I don't have little boys anymore, but I have a grandson on the way!

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

Total sweetness on the costumes fitting!! Good for you for making good choices at the party too. Smoked salmon... yum!! Happy Halloween!