Halloween 2010 - Treats and Insanity

I am writing this fast post between sleepover and costume application for my small yet scary Vampire child....Claire.

This Halloween seemed to come on like a huge wave. The water was calm, I turned around and WHAM right in the face! Usually I have a list of planned out treats to make for the various we go to. This year I was not focused at all, I was distracted by life, not ready for the "big game." I am only being overly dramatic because generally I love Halloween, I live to make disgusting treats once a year, like the Kitty Litter Cake or Severed Fingers. This year I was so overwhelmed with great ideas from my Twitter friends, magazines and bloggers that my brain became a scramble of ideas and then my head popped off!!

My first idea was to make Bakearella inspired Cake Pops like eyeballs on a fork. Then my ideas changed when I saw some cake pops that had witch hats made from Oreos. Let me save you from the thought process, anyway I went back and forth and eventually just let it become free form.
The Cyclops were and after thought, I was low on eyeballs so I decided to make a one eyed monster. I had black sprinkles and thought they make goofy hair, perfect! The second is a witch and the kids loved them.

I also saw some fake earwax Q-Tips so of course I made them and, they were my yuck factor.

Last but not least, Lychee "cow eyeballs"
I happened to have a can of Rambutan, I used creative licence and substituted them in for lychee, it worked just fine.
So I am just taking a few minutes to share our creepy treats with you. I'd love to see yours, leave links in the comments for me to see!! Happy Halloween!!

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Mango is a Star

In July The Stir did a nice little piece on Popsicles, and included my Minty Pea Pops as one of the reviewed. One of the other entries was from the Kitchen Enchantress she made a delicious looking mango ice cream. We are going to squeeze the very last bit of summer out of this recipe! The mangoes here have been so utterly delicious and juicy we've been gorging ourselves on them daily! We have giant Raposa here but the common one you will see int he store are reddish, greenish, yellowish and weigh about 1/2 pound. The small yellow mangoes are good too but you would need about 3 for this recipe. (see below for mango types) It would be fun to bring home two or three kinds and do a taste test with the kids. Once I saw the Stir's article I knew we just had to make the frozen treat. We had one more giant jucy mango in the fruit bowl just waiting to be eaten.

The recipe calls for frozen pineapple concentrate as an ingredient. I had a hard time finding this, I wanted organic and could only find orange. I thought I'd substitute orange because I was not in the mood to go to another store.
The surprise was, when I got home I found out I had grabbed raspberry concentrate instead! My first reaction was total disappointment, but we decided to make it work anyway, I was up for an experiment. Her recipe was very easy and fast, just my kind of recipe. I happen to have some very cute Popsicle molds and am always looking for a way to use them, this was perfect!

If you have never cut up a fresh mango it can be tricky but once you learn it makes sense. The pit inside a mango is long and flat, this means that to avoid it when cutting and there is a special technique to cut around it. I found this video and liked how Chef Allen shows how to tackle it. If you are going to dice the mango in the skin please be careful. I advise setting it on the cutting board and not cutting into your hand.
After cutting you should have 2 lobes and the middle with the pit in it. This is the part we fight over, peel it and eat the meat off the pit before you toss it. Now scoop out the meat from each lobe and put it in the food processor and follow the rest of the recipe.

Recipe adapted from Kitchen Enchantress

Creamy Mango Pops

These are so creamy and delicious, you'll want them again and again! If you don't have molds, just pour into a large zip-type plastic freezer bag, seal completely, and lay flat in your freezer for at least 2 hours. When frozen, scoop with a metal spoon to serve!!

2 very ripe meduim mangoes, with the skin and the pits removed
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup raspberry juice concentrate
1 Tablespoon agave nectar (or honey)

1. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until creamy and smooth.
2. Pour into frozen treat molds, and place in freezer for at least a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
3. Remove from molds and ENJOY!
NOTE- I poured a bit of the concentrate into the top of the molds to make the pops very pretty.

Mango Types:

These are medium, rounder mangos with an oval-round shape. Haden mangos have skin that is yellow in color accompanied by a red-orange blush when ripe. They have a juicy and yellow pulp that is sweet in flavor and have moderate fiber.

Availability: March through June from Mexico

Tommy Atkins
Large, oblong shaped fruit with green skin that has some hues of red. Tommy Atkins are characterized by firm, juicy flesh with a smaller pit and moderate fiber. They emit a strong and pleasant scent.

Availability: February through July from Mexico


A large fruit, primarily green colored on the outside, with an occasional red blush. Kents have smooth flesh with minimal to mild fiber and are very juicy with a sweet, rich flavor.

Availability: June through August from Mexico


This large, oval-shaped fruit has green skin with a hint of a rosy-orange blush. Its flesh is smooth, sweet and juicy with mild fiber. Keitts have a flavorful aroma and also have a smaller pit than other green mango counterparts.

Available July through September from Mexico

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Kid Friendly Fragrant Cardamom Chicken

I am preparing for the ABC Kids Expo and Baby Show in Las Vegas this week. I will be at the show making some of my recipes with the Baby Chef food steamer / blender. One of my tasks is to demo the Baby Chef Yogurt Maker before the show. I did successfully make the yogurt, it was delicious, but I had four jars and I wanted to use it another way, so I ran with an idea just off the cuff. (OK the real truth is that I fell asleep and woke up at 4:30 realizing that I had not even thought of dinner.) I did really want to use the left over yogurt though, really I did!

I happened to have some beautiful organic chicken on hand, I immediately thought of Tandoori Chicken. The problem here is that I don't have a Tandoori oven nor do I want to add a bunch of spices my daughter wont eat, nor do I have 24 hours for marinating. As usual I tried to figure out how to best make a dish kids would love, and quickly!
This is a good one to get the kids involved they love to help.
The kids love to crush things in the mortar and pestle, have them crush the cardamom pods. Pull out the green husks, and add a pinch of kosher salt and let the kids grind them or use the bottom of a glass on the counter to crush them.
I succeeded, with light flavors of cardamom, coconut and figs. Yes Figs, I know figs are not usually served with Tandoori chicken but this is so far from Tandoori at this point I felt like I could use artistic licence here. (indulge me) We had some fresh black California figs left from farmer's Market, I hate to see food go bad so I decided to use them. The chicken comes out so moist and I bet if you marinated it overnight it would be even better. We served this with Jasmine rice and sauteed spinach.
This took about 10 minutes to prepare

1 whole Boneless chicken breast, skin on
1/2 cup fresh plain yogurt
2 Tablespoons honey
coconut oil
8 figs cut in from top to bottom in fourths
6 cardamom pods, crushed or powdered or 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste

Line a cast iron skillet or baking pan with foil (for easy clean up)
Preheat the oven to 375˚F
Coat all the chicken with coconut oil and salt, place in pan skin side up.
Spoon yogurt over the chicken coating every part generously. Sprinkle with cardamom and drizzle honey over the top. Surround the chicken with figs place in oven for 15 minutes.
When the chicken comes out let it fest covered for 5 minutes. Slice and serve with pan juice over rice and sauteed spinach.

Notes on Cardamom:
Cardamom comes from the seeds of a ginger-like plant. The small, brown-black sticky seeds are contained in a pod in three double rows with about six seeds in each row. The pods are between 5-20 mm (1/4”-3/4”) long, the larger variety known as ‘black’, being brown and the smaller being green. The texture of the pod is that of tough paper. Pods are available whole or split and the seeds are sold loose or ground. It is best to buy the whole pods as ground cardamom quickly loses flavour.

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