Homemade Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin soup

Everyone has their Halloween traditions. Some people fill their evenings with candy, scary tales or simply sit by candlelight sipping apple cider. I prefer to be somewhere in the middle. I like to watch a scary movie by candlelight and eat something that reminds me of Fall. In the past, my recipes have been limited to a creepy crawly dessert. This year I wanted to try something I little different.

I am a sucker for Pinterest. I know, the reality of what you can create vs. what is advertised are always two separate things. But, they had this adorable image of homemade pumpkin soup that I couldn’t resist. (As seen above) I managed to find baking pumpkins in South Florida, which is a miracle unto itself, and took it as a sign that this pumpkin soup was meant to be.

I stayed true to my bad habits and didn’t read through the recipe before starting. I had baked my beautiful pumpkins and then realized I was supposed to fill them with the apple, onion and chicken broth so the ingredients could cook at the same time. Whoops! I adjusted the recipe a little bit and combined everything on the stove top. It tasted good, but it had the consistency of custard, not soup. I thought about adding some more chicken broth, but was afraid it would take away from the flavor.

My husband and I tried the pumpkin soup the first night. It was ok. Definitely not worth the hassle and precious goat cheese. The only problem, we had a lot of leftovers with very little desire to consume any of it. I looked online for recipes to salvage the soup. The best I could find was pumpkin mac and cheese. My only problem, I’d have to use even more cheese and precious ingredients with only a slight hope of improvement. My husband, being the brilliant man that he is, had another solution. He recommended that we mix the soup with Campbell’s tomato soup. This way it stops being a custard and blends with the tomato flavors. It was delicious! The pumpkin was a nice subtle flavor that made the soup very filling and healthy. From my leftovers, I had enough to make three cans worth of tomato soup.

If I had to make it again, I’d cut the recipe in half and serve it with the tomato soup. It’s a great way to hide the healthy ingredients from your little ones and add a hint of fall to a classic meal. So here’s my take on pumpkin soup with my many adjustments.

Pumpkin tomato soup

Pumpkin Soup with a Creative Campbell Spin

  • 1 small sugar pie pumpkin
  • 1/4 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 small green apple chopped
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans Campbell’s tomato soup
  • Milk

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice pumpkin in half. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, scrape out the seeds. Brush the pumpkin innards with 1 Tbs of oil. Place on a baking dish in the oven for 30-45 hour. Test pumpkin by poking with a fork or knife. If it’s soft, then set your pumpkin aside and let cool.

Fill a medium pot with the onion, garlic, apple, butter, chicken broth, half and half, salt and pepper and turn heat to medium low. Don’t let it boil. Once onions are soft, turn on low.

Remove pumpkin from shell with a spoon. Scrape into the pot and add the goat cheese and thyme. Use an immersion blender or food processor to combine the ingredients and make it the same consistency. Set aside.

In a separate pan make Campbell’s tomato soup with milk instead of water. Once the soup is ready, add a ladle full of the pumpkin soup. Taste. Add more and adjust as needed.

Enjoy!

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Homemade Gummy Worms

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I have a few weaknesses. I can walk away from chocolate, cookies, cupcakes, donuts and cakes without any regrets. Place gummies in front of me and there will be no resisting. I love gummy animals, fruit snacks, sugar coated gummies and sour gummies. I don’t care what they are. If they’re unclaimed, they’re probably coming home with me.

Every Halloween I try to make something special. Considering my gummy passion, it made sense to try to create my own gummies. I found an easy recipe online for sugar free gummy worms. They’re ridiculously easy to make. You use sugar free Jello and extra gelatin. You can layer the flavors if you’d like. I decided to use orange and strawberry. You chill them and then slice them into thin worms.

I went the extra mile and created a dirt dessert I used to have as a kid. You mix chocolate pudding with your gummy worms and top with crumbled Oreos. You can add extra ingredients like whipped cream or coconut. The priority is to make it look like you’re scooping a mound of dirt into your bowl. It looks a little unappealing, but tastes delicious. Your kids will love it!

Overall, the gummy worms were really easy to make. It was nice to be able to control the ingredients. If I made them again I might use a different recipe that uses fruit juice instead of the Jello. I would highly recommend this as a great cooking project to do with kids. It’s very simple and can help make lots of Halloween memories in the kitchen.

gummy worms

Sugar Free Gummy Worms

Ingredients

  • 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 2 packages sugar-free Jello, any flavors
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 package Kool-Aid, any flavor (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients until dissolved.
  2. Pour into an 8×8” pan, lightly sprayed.
  3. Refrigerate until firm.
  4. Cut into “worm like” strips.

The Best Harry Potter Party

The things that really make a Harry Potter party are the small details and decorations. Yes, you can dim the lights, serve some candy and draw a lightning bolt on your forehead, but you need something special to take your party to the next level. I did that with a combination of things – the food, drinks and the decorations.

I transformed our home into Hogwarts – a Magical School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I tried to tie as many of the classes into our meals and created a series of challenges. Get the questions right and you earn a special magical treat.

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For breakfast, I served Transfiguration muffins with our dragon eggs.

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The challenges started with the Defense Against the Dark Arts. My husband had match the spells with what it does. For his efforts, he got a magic wand. Now, our wands were simply pretzel rods dipped in three kinds of chocolate, dark, milk and white, and covered with candy or nuts. To keep with the Harry Potter theme I labeled each wand combination so they would be more like the ones you would find at Olivander’s. Try each one and see which wand you prefer. Have fun with the combinations. The Pear and Troll Whisker actually tasted really good.

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  • Pear and Troll Whisker = white chocolate and Haribo gummies
  • Holly and Unicorn Hair = white chocolate and craisins
  • Mahogany and Dragon Heartstring = milk chocolate and pistachios
  • Ivy and Thestral Hair = dark chocolate and almonds

He had a Flying lesson where he had to match the different Quidditch positions with the types to Quidditich balls used. When he got them right, he received a Nimbus 2000 and a  Firebolt. I used brown paper which I folded and glued together to look like a broom bottom. I filled the Nimbus 2000 bottom with my favorite gummy treats which were individually wrapped with saran wrap and tied closed. I used a milk chocolate dipped pretzel as my broomstick. I filled the Firebolt with my husband’s favorite chocolate treats which were individually wrapped and added a dark chocolate dipped pretzel. This way we had something to snack on during the movie.

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For lunch we had Herbology Sandwiches and Transfiguration Muffins. Herbology sandwiches are a vegetarian sandwiches made with lettuce, avocado, apple, red onion, cucumber, tomato, alfalfa sprouts and topped with vinegar. I used tarragon vinegar my mother had given us for Christmas. It tasted great, but the vinegar made the bread very wet. Next time I’ll use a different type of bread that can withstand the liquid.

*if you look closely you can see the ears and tail on the muffin.

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He had a Charms class where he had to answer questions about each magical object. When he got them right, he got lightning bolt shaped cheese slices and golden snitch wheat crackers. See, not every treat has to involve chocolate and candy. I didn’t want to spend extra money on cookie cutters I’d only use once. Instead, I made my own with a lasagna pan I bought at the Dollar Store. For the simple designs, the homemade cookie cutters worked. For the more complicated ones, it didn’t work very well.

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We had tea time, of course. What better to serve than Divination Tea and homemade Sorting Hat digestives, a British cookie traditionally served with tea. I dipped my cookies in chocolate because that’s my favorite way to have them. I used another homemade cookie cutter for my Sorting Hats. They tasted great, but the cookie cutters didn’t work very well. Because the design is so complicated, I would recommend buying it.

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During his Potions class, my husband had to face the mice and match the potions with what it does. For his efforts, he got a glass of homemade butterbeer. This stuff is highly addictive and full of sugary happiness. I didn’t have rum extract so I simply used rum. I was serving it to adults so it didn’t matter. It tasted amazing. I’m planning on making it again this Halloween.

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Located by our dog’s crate, my husband had to match the Magical Creatures to their description. He earned a chocolate frog for each right answer. I found the chocolate frog mold on amazon.com for a very reasonable price. They’re too cute to pass up. One of my husband’s favorite chocolate treats are orange chocolates. I decided to use an orange chocolate truffle recipe and follow all of the steps except forming the truffles. I simply put them in my frog molds. They were delicious!

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I included a few special touches throughout our home to tie it all together.


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As the official gift, I got my husband the blu ray set of the Harry Potter films wrapped in parcel paper and sent by Owl Post, also known as me sneaking it into our mailbox without him noticing. I designed his birthday card around the Maurader’s Map forewarning him that I was up to no good. He had no idea just how much I was up to until he stepped into our decorated apartment and had enough food and activities to last the whole weekend. Our magical weekend was a huge success. My husband loved it and I certainly think it’s the best birthday party I will ever throw.

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Homemade Dragon Eggs

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Fall is in the air and I couldn’t be more thrilled! There’s something about the season’s sights, sounds and smells that make me feel warm and cozy.  Even though we’re in Florida, we still enjoy a variety of fall themed fun each year. We have to have some comfort foods and soups, cold apple cider, hot spiced cider or caramel apple spice, pumpkin flavored baked goods like pie or bread, a scary movie or creepy autumn tale like Sleepy Hollow, a special spooky treat and fall scented candles to tie it all together. Yes, in our home, fall is an experience!

For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share some of my favorite magical fall treats. Earlier this year I threw a Harry Potter party weekend extravaganza for my husband. It was a ton of fun to plan and come up with all kinds of magically inspired recipes. All of these can be used for Halloween or anytime you get a craving for chocolate frogs.

Now, if you do your research for Harry Potter themed parties you’re going to find some cute decorations, games and lots of chocolate and sugary treats. However, no one ever created a magical meal. Being the Creative Campbell that I am, I had a lot of great ideas. My main priority was to make something special, but healthy. Yes, there would be chocolate and treats, but we couldn’t eat that all day.

Every great magical adventure should start with breakfast. Our weekend started with homemade Dragon Eggs. This is a spinoff of Scotch Eggs. Traditionally, Scotch Eggs are hard boiled eggs coated with ground beef and deep fried. Delicious, but horrible for you. Years ago I watched an episode of Food Network Star and one of the contestants made healthy Scotch Eggs. I’ve made my own adjustments to the recipe and it tastes amazing! I use ground turkey mixed with homemade pesto and sauté it. Trust me, they are filling and delicious. My favorite part about this recipe is that you can assemble the eggs ahead of time.

To make these eggs truly magical, I kept with my Harry Potter theme. If you’ll remember in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire the contestants had to face four dragons – the Hungarian Horntail, Swedish Short Snout, Common Welsh Green and Chinese Fireball. I used construction paper, printer paper (because my handwriting is horrible) and skewers. I typed the names of the dragons in a fun text, printed it, cut them out and glued them onto the construction paper. I cut and folded the construction paper and glued it onto my skewer to create a flag. After the Dragon Eggs were cooked, I put a flag in each of the eggs and served my dish. They looked amazing and tasted just as good!

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Homemade Dragon Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs (whole), 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 8 oz. ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch of garlic salt

Place four whole eggs in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and boil for ten minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and peel. Set aside on a paper towel to absorb excess water.

In a food processor, combine basil, Parmesan, garlic cloves and 1/2 cup olive oil. Blend until smooth. In a mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs, flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic salt, three beaten eggs, ground turkey, and basil pesto mixture.

Cover each egg with a 1/4 of the turkey mixture. Put in fridge overnight if needed. Saute in olive oil cooking around 3-4 minutes per side. Serve warm.