The Ultimate Halloween Candy Beer and Wine Pairing Guide

Alright the weekend is upon us and you are probably wondering how you are going to survive another weekend of candy crazed kids.  In addition, Are you wondering what to do with all that leftover Halloween candy?

Well luckily I have your answer in this post.  Since everything these days is called a “craft” something, I thought it be appropriate that we learn how to pair our craft beers and wine with our kids Halloween candy.  

As I saw many plastic cups in parents hands while walking their kids through the labyrinth of the neighborhood candy maze, I thought it be appropriate to provide these survival guides to get you through the weekend and be ready for next year’s adventure.

I am a believer that just about anything can be paired with beer and wine and as you will clearly see others do share my opinion on this topic as well.  So my recommendation this evening is after the kids have gone to bed or while you are checking their final stash of candy for razor blades and needle, you pull out the candy bars, the sour patch kids, and all of the other goodies you love and finish your evening off right. I could even see a candy pairing party for this weekend so keep your calendars open and enjoy.

Beer Pairing Link:

Wine Paring Link:

12 Things To Do With All Of Those Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

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It’s that time of the year again.  Cold mornings, apple cider, haunted houses, hay rides and the best of all, carving pumpkins.  I love to sit down with the family and try to avoid cutting off a finger each year.  Designing, creating and carving is always a tradition that I look forward to, but the best part of carving process is collecting the seeds.

My youngest daughter Cate loves Halloween.  It’s her favorite holiday and we typically try to cram as much into the month as possible.  We soak up every opportunity to dress up, decorate the house with spooky stuff and get scared.  We eat everything pumpkin from pancakes to cookies and I personally try to sample as many pumpkin beers as possible.  However, as most of you are probably aware, the amount of pumpkin flavored products has gotten out of control.  There is pumpkin flavored everything.  I have seen everything this season from pumpkin vodka and lasagna to toothpaste and breath fresheners. Nothing says clean and fresh like pumpkin.  As you would figure this has led to many products hitting the marketplace that just simply taste bad.  It is proof that some things should just not include a pumpkin flavor and I ask one thing, please stop.

Now I can get back to the purpose of this blog post, pumpkin seeds.  The rewarding thing about eating these delicious treasures is not just the nutritional benefits,  but the hard work you have to put into getting them ready.  First,  you need to scoop out the guts, then separate, then wash, then dry, then bake, then season and finally you get to eat them.  This process is not only time consuming, but annoying and disgusting to most.  I have one daughter, Ava, who hates to dig out the guts and one that loves to dig them out.  Each participate in the process, but they both share the love and appreciation of all that hard work while they’re eating them.

It’s our family tradition and a Halloween ritual like most Americans to carve pumpkins together, make the seeds and enjoy them during those cold fall evenings with a hot cup of tea, coffee, cider or chocolate.  Being a foodie family and getting bored with the traditional salt & pepper seasoning, we have over the past few years gotten creative in how we flavor them.  Last year was Madras curry, spicy cilantro-lime and cinnamon and sugar.  This year was adjusting the recipe and using coconut and avocado oil instead of olive oil.  Whatever your palette desires, I wanted to take it to the next level this year and provide a number of other ways to prepare pumpkin seeds that went beyond simply baking.  Take a look at these sweet and savory ideas and enjoy them this season, like we plan to do.

Happy Haunting.

Sweet Treats

pumpkin brittlepumpkin seed granola

  1. Pumpkin seed brittle from Bon Appetit –
  2. Caramelized pumpkin seeds from the Foodnetwork –
  3. Nut-free, grain-free pumpkin seed granola via Detoxinista –
  4. Apple-pumpkin seed oatmeal breakfast pie from Yummly –
  5. Pumpkin brittle from Martha Stewart –

Savory Eats

pumpkin seedspumpkin seed spinach

  1. Mexican macaroni and grilled corn with pumpkin seeds from Rachel Ray –
  2. Vegan gluten-free pumpkin seed spinach crackers via Yummly –
  3. Baked pumpkin seeds done five different ways from Foodnetwork –

It’s Halloween, do you know where your money is?

While you might not know where the money is flowing this Halloween season the candy companies and retailers know exactly where it’s going. In fact, they are expecting a record breaking amount of your money to be flowing through their stores this holiday season. According to the national retail federation, Halloween spending will reach $8B in 2012 up from $7B in 2011. Over 76 million people will be dressing up this year and records are being broken for both Halloween candy and costume sales. It’s clear that Halloween is easily becoming America’s most popular holiday, but why?

I have a few thoughts:

Escapism – when people are scared, worried, stressed, fearing the future or basically not trying to face reality, what do they do? They find ways to get away from the everyday stresses. Some prefer drugs, some alcohol and some enter their virtual existence and hide behind their screen names. Either way, escaping from reality is a much better place to be than the present day where pain and suffering is a reality. What better way to enter into this alternate reality than dressing up like your favorite character and running around for a evening.

Nostalgia – we all want to remember the good old days. When times were better, safer and simpler. What’s more safe and memorable than your grandma’s cooking and trick or treating. These are memories that stick in our minds like the laffy taffy to our teeth. Especially during times of distress, it’s human nature to look to the past for security and safety. With the financial meltdown of the past three years and an upcoming Presidential election consumers are feeling an overwhelming need to find some bit of enjoyment during this fun, childlike holiday.

Candy – what is more motivating then candy? We all have a sweet tooth and since beggars night is all about getting as much of this sugary stuff as possible, it’s no wonder that we are spending over $2.4B on Halloween candy. It’s both a dentist’s worst nightmare and wet dream.

Superstition and Ritual – a core of our cultural identity, we all have superstitions and rituals that we relate to as a core of our existence. Our foundation as a society and culture is built upon fundamental principles that are learned, shared and communicated from generation to generation. Since Halloween is all about the supernatural and spooky it’s no surprise that this holiday connects deeply with consumers as they try and understand their connection with the physical and spiritual world.

Parties – need I say more, we all love a good party. Especially if there are games and good refreshments involved. The Internet is flooded with recipes, drinks and games that will make even adults feel and act like kids for an evening.

There are many more reasons why Halloween has become one of the largest holidays in the US. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the end of summer than with a whole night dedicated to candy, costumes and trickery.

Enjoy the night and happy haunting.

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