Halloween is definitely one of our favorite holidays in our family (the only one better is Christmas of course!) Yesterday we celebrated the beginning of Fall and upcoming Halloween by going to the Pumpkin Patch to get our pumpkins, mums, and hay bale for outside.
The girls love decorating for Halloween as much as they love decorating for Christmas, and every year we add to what we have. I have a feeling that one of these days we will be that crazy house in the neighborhood that people drive by on purpose. Once we got home from our adventures at Pumpkinville, we set to work getting the house decorated. The kids and my husband got to work on the yard while I got to work on dinner. Here's a sneak peak at what they have come up with so far:
Meet "Mr. Bones". Yes we named him.
Huge hairy spider- we are going to light him up somehow.
This was my contribution last year- some days it's so fitting!
There are more decorations out than this, and still more to come I am sure. We also have purple lights up, tombstones in the garden, strobe lights, and the girls want a fog machine. Daddy's all for this of course! We don't (and won't) do anything gory or gross, but my kids like the creepy decorations, that's for sure!
Since it was a chilly, drizzly day it was perfect for a comfort food meal. I had come across a recipe for a vegetable pot pie that I wanted to try. I made some huge changes to the recipe- not just to make it dairy free, but I also changed some of the veggies called for because they aren't very popular with my kids. This is adapted from one found on FamilyFun.com.
There are quite a few steps to this, but it really is not as hard as it seems. You have to cook the vegetables, make the filling, add the veggies to the filling, make the topping, and bake. But since there are a few separate steps, the ingredients list needs to be separated as well.
1 package frozen vegetable medley with peas, corn, carrots, and green beans
6-7 small red potatoes, peeled and chunk ed
Broccoli- about a cup
1 large carrot sliced (we like carrots)
1 small- medium Onion- quartered and sliced
1 cup Mushrooms- sliced
1 cup Soy creamer-plain ( or non dairy milk)
3 and 1/2 Tablespoons Earth Balance Dairy Free margarine
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
Salt and Pepper
1 and 1/4 cup Vegetable broth ( you can use chicken if you want)
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
FOR THE TOPPING:
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup soy milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.Start by preheating the oven to 400ºF (so you don't forget!). Put the potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and frozen veggies in a pan with enough water to cover.Salt the water (if desired), bring it to a boil, and then allow the vegetables to continue boiling for about 4 minutes. Drain the vegetables and set them aside.
2.While the veggies are cooking, melt the butter slowly over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the sliced onion and mushrooms. Sauté them, stirring often, until they're soft. Stir in the flour and cook the mixture, stirring continuously, for about another 30 seconds.
Add the vegetable broth, creamer, salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic powder. Continue to stir until the sauce thickens.
3.Add the vegetables to the sauce and combine. Add more seasoning, if desired. I found it needed a little more salt and pepper. Let the sauce and veggies come to a gentle boil for a couple minutes while you put the cornbread topping together. Be careful not to burn it though.
4. Make the corn bread topping. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the soymilk, egg, and oil and stir until evenly blended. Transfer the filling to a casserole dish. (I sprayed my casserole dish lightly with cooking spray first, to prevent sticking)
Spread the batter over the filling. Make sure it covers it completely- mine didn't and I had a couple holes-oops!
Bake until the top is golden brown and the sides are bubbly- about 25-30 minutes.
Next time I will take more care to make sure the topping is spread evenly so it looks pretty.
Serves about 8. (or a family of 5 2 with leftovers)
While it was baking away in the oven, I got to work decorating the inside of the house for Halloween.
This is still a work in progress since I need something to go behind the wine bottles, but I love it already.
Once it was done, we sat down as a family and watched "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" while we ate our dinner and had hot apple cider. It was the perfect end to a perfect Fall day.
(This recipe was heavily adapted from the original found here. I omitted the cheese, dairy milk and made a few other changes)