Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Cooking

Party like you're a kid on Halloween with these kid-friendly books and recipes

Do your kids love Halloween candy and costumes, but quaver at creepy decorations and horror stories? If so, we've got your back. Try reading these three Halloween books, which will make you laugh, warm your heart, occasionally make you groan in disgust, but never truly scare you. Children can help make the accompanying recipes based on the stories: Vampire Blood Tomato Soup, Jekyll's Sleep Potion and Frosted Sugar Cookie Pumpkins. Psst: If you don't have little ones around, these recipes hold up for adults, too.

Emily Young, Times correspondent

Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery

by Deborah and James Howe

Is Dracula too scary for your kids? Try Bunnicula — an adorable vampire bunny that sucks juice from vegetables. His new owners have no idea they've rescued a paranormal rabbit, but Harold the dog and Chester the cat suspect something's wrong. After all, "where a rabbit's buck teeth should have been, two little pointed fangs glistened." Animal lovers will especially enjoy the book's quirky humor, as the dog befriends Bunnicula and the cat becomes increasingly paranoid. (In the end, the cat consoles himself with self-help books like Finding Yourself by Screaming a Lot.) This is a chapter book, so feel free to read it aloud to younger kids.

What to make: Bunnicula loves to sink his teeth into tomatoes and drain them dry. In his honor, drink some Vampire Blood Tomato Soup, with a side of Bunnicula Grilled Cheese. (You can even serve the soup in test tube vials to make it look authentically bloody.) Although the recipe calls for red pepper flakes, feel free to keep the soup more mild and kid-friendly by omitting those. Your little ones can help use a bunny cookie cutter to shape the grilled cheese into Bunnicula-themed sandwiches.

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich

by Adam Rex

This zany picture book makes monsters seem like the rest of us. What scares Dracula's son? The dentist, of course. What does a young mummy refuse to do? Go to bed on time. What drives the Phantom of the Opera crazy? Getting It's a Small World stuck in his head. The illustrations of witches and monsters are humorously gruesome, and stories like "Godzilla Pooped on My Honda" veer toward the gross-out category, but none of the tales are very scary.

What to make: Try Jekyll's Sleep Potion. Your kids may relate to the bedtime-phobic mummy, but you'll appreciate the humorous take on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In this witty tale, Dr. Jekyll tries to turn himself into the classic bad boy Hyde. Instead, a mixup with the drink causes him to turn into the most tedious partygoer of all time, nearly boring the guests to death. (This is every adult's fear as holiday parties approach.) You can create your own potion in this nonalcoholic cocktail, which blends gelatin and lemon-lime fizz into a colorful Halloween drink.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

by Charles M. Schulz

In Schulz's classic picture book, young Linus spends his Halloween night in a pumpkin patch, waiting for the mythical Great Pumpkin to appear. His friends dress up in costumes, trick-or treat and munch on caramel apples. They ridicule him for spending his night alone. But Linus' faith in the Great Pumpkin never wavers — even when his only "visitor" turns out to be Snoopy the beagle. This story is one of the sweetest Halloween tales out there.

What to make: Kids will love decorating Frosted Sugar Cookie Pumpkins. Who knows? When he sees your offering, maybe the Great Pumpkin will be honored enough to visit your house this Halloween.

   
Comments
Fall is the perfect time to master cooking dried beans

Fall is the perfect time to master cooking dried beans

By JeanMarie BrownsonAs we head into a cooler time of year, the upcoming months practically beg for slow-simmered foods. Beans, for example. Beans prove an excellent source of lean, inexpensive protein. Their versatility and adaptability means they c...
Published: 09/25/18
Zesty Lemon Shrimp, and more quick bites to make for guests

Zesty Lemon Shrimp, and more quick bites to make for guests

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about hosting, and the dos and doníts for ensuring everyone at your house, including you, has a great time. There are a lot of things that go into the gig beyond food. But all of those become a little easier if youíre a...
Published: 09/25/18
Five ideas for date-night dinners at home

Five ideas for date-night dinners at home

For your next date night with your significant other, try staying in and cooking together. Meals eaten with your loved one are always sweeter. Literally."When we are in love Ö food tastes better," said Rachel Herz, an adjunct professor of psychiatry ...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/21/18
Pumpkin spice haters, back off: It’s okay to crave the seasonal flavor

Pumpkin spice haters, back off: It’s okay to crave the seasonal flavor

All right, okay, enough, I get it: You all hate pumpkin spice. But I’ve got one request as we head into fall: Can you just let us have this? There are many things on which to heap anger and despair right now, but please, that thing does not n...
Published: 09/18/18
A brown rice salad with asparagus thatís a hearty side dish

A brown rice salad with asparagus thatís a hearty side dish

This fresh, hearty side dish will stand out among its richer, creamier counterparts when the holidays roll around. We achieved perfectly cooked brown rice by boiling it in abundant water. Sprinkling the rice with bright lemon juice while it was still...
Published: 09/18/18
Taste test: Frozen Italian meatballs

Taste test: Frozen Italian meatballs

In keeping with our objective of trying to make family meals a little easier this back-to-school season, our judges figured premade meatballs could serve as a basis for a variety of meals. This week, we sampled 10 brands of frozen Italian meatballs f...
Published: 09/17/18
How to be a good host: 7 tips to follow for casual and fancy dinners alike

How to be a good host: 7 tips to follow for casual and fancy dinners alike

A couple of hours into my first time hosting a full-fledged family Thanksgiving, I completely lost it. Elbows deep in the oven, I was trying to rescue a sheet pan that had fallen off the back of the rack and threatened to ruin the entire meal. There ...
Published: 09/13/18
From the food editor: This citrus chopped salad needs a good, homemade vinaigrette

From the food editor: This citrus chopped salad needs a good, homemade vinaigrette

The emulsion was almost complete. Rice wine vinegar, check. A couple of glugs of nutty olive oil, check. Some honey, a dash of soy sauce, salt and pepper. Just one ingredient left to go, and it was a crucial one. Sesame oil. It would offer the unique...
Updated one month ago
Pan-fried sole is a light, delicate dish when paired with lemon-caper pan sauce

Pan-fried sole is a light, delicate dish when paired with lemon-caper pan sauce

By AMERICAíS TEST KITCHENSole piccata, a light and delicate dish that consists of lightly browned sole fillets bathed in a lemon, caper and white wine-laced pan sauce, is a classic for a reason: The fresh, bright acidity of the sauce wakes up the fla...
Updated one month ago
Taste test: New peanut butter snacks

Taste test: New peanut butter snacks

Since many of us are reaching for portable snacks to pack in school lunch boxes, our tasters thought this would be a good week to give some of the new snacks a try. We picked four peanut butter-flavored snacks, figuring parents and teachers would hav...
Updated one month ago