Bracing For The Hordes

Tonight’s the night when a horde of goblins and ghosts, witches and warriors, pirates and Power Rangers and other assorted characters will ring our doorbell in search of sweet treats.

And horde is no exaggeration. We live on what seems to be one of the most popular thoroughfares for trick-or-treating. We have a mountain of candy ready to be deposited in eager hands and treat bags. But no matter how much we buy, it seems like it’s never enough.

While I enjoy seeing all the costumes and prodding the kids to say thank you, I’m a bit jealous of friends who say they only get a few trick-or-treaters, only buy one bag of candy and always have leftovers.

But constantly running to answer the door bell is good exercise, and maybe it’s best that there’s never any leftover candy, as I’ve been indulging in treats of other sorts lately.

At the top of the “treat” list would be this chunky version of guacamole that has become a favorite weekend indulgence. Its consumption wasn’t limited to the weekend this past week, however, as I whipped up a batch to serve with tacos for a midweek meal.

In honor of Halloween, let’s call it …

Goblin Guacamole

In a medium bowl, combine 1 medium tomato, diced; one avocado, peeled, pitted and diced; 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion and 1 tablespoon (or more, depending on heat tolerance) finely diced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.

(I know I’ve shared this tip before, but it bears repeating: Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce come in a can; use what you need for a recipe, then freeze the rest in a plastic bag.  When another recipe calls for it, use a sharp knife to slice off what you need.)

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, a dash each of garlic powder and pepper and ¼ teaspoon seasoned salt. Drizzle dressing over avocado-tomato mixture and mix well to coat.

Serve with corn tortilla chips or as a topping for southwestern fare.


Hubby Bryan and I recently hosted our annual Oktoberfest party, serving up bratwursts, sauerkraut and spätzle (homemade noodles). Some of the guests also got into the spirit of the occasion, contributing ethnic-appropriate fare such as a reuben dip (still need to get the recipe for that one), appetizer-size sandwiches laden withBlack Forestham and a hearty noodle and corn casserole.

While not specifically German in origin, friend and avid baker Myra Palmer satisfied all the sweet tooths with these delicious cupcakes. Bryan and I snagged two of the cupcakes for later consumption and discovered that microwaving them for just a few seconds turns the center into warm, molten goodness.

Molten Chocolate Cupcakes

In a 1-quart saucepan, heat ½ cup whipping cream over medium-high heat until hot, but not boiling.  Stir in 1 cup dark chocolate chips.  Stir until melted and mixture is smooth.  Refrigerate about 1 hour, until thick.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat 1 box SuperMoist devil’s food cake mix with 1 cup water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil and 3 eggs.  Mix on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed for two minutes.

Fill 24 paper-lined cupcake tins about ½ full.  Spoon 1 teaspoon of the cold chocolate mixture in center of each cup.  Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.  Cool about 1 minute then remove cupcakes to cooling racks.  Cool another 10 minutes, then frost with ready-made chocolate frosting.  Garnish each with a quarter strawberry.