Tag Archives: Halloween

Halloween treats & baking tools

Welch’s Halloween Fruit Snacks are available through Nov. 1 nationwide
Photo credit: Welch’s

Halloween is fast approaching—here are a couple treats and tools for those looking for shopping and/or baking ideas.


  • Welch’s Halloween Fruit Snacks: Welch’s created a special fruit snack package just for Halloween: the fruit snacks are shaped like pumpkins, castles, witches, bats and ghosts. The individual pouches are .5 ounces, smaller than standard ones, so they’re a nice change for giving out to Trick-or-Treaters or just giving to your own kids at home (and I must admit, I have enjoyed them personally—these aren’t just tempting to children!). They are “mixed fruit flavor” and come in 28-pouch boxes. Looking for a store that carries them? Visit the Welch’s Fruit Snack online finder.


  • Hershey’s Halloween: this year, Halloween- or fall-themed products from Hershey’s include pumpkin spice kisses, cookies ‘n’ creme skulls, and Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins. Learn more at hersheys.com.


  • Chicago Metallic’s Ghost/Pumpkin Silicone Mold ($19.99 on Amazon.com) enables you to bake or mold 12 small desserts or individual servings. You can use fun Halloween shapes and it’s great for mini cakes, brownies, marshmallows, gelatin, ice cubes, and more. Recipes included.



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Trifecta of food events in Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley Friday, Oct. 28

Food from vendors  in the Oct. 28 Food Trucks A Go Go event: Choke Coach carne asada fries, Ate3One poke nachos, G's Mexican Tacos taco plate, Aunt LaLi's sundae

Food from vendors in the Oct. 28 Food Trucks A Go Go event: Choke Coach carne asada fries, Ate3One poke nachos, G’s Mexican Tacos taco plate, Aunt LaLi’s sundae

There are several food- and wine-related events in the Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley areas this weekend; here are three going on tonight, Friday Oct. 28 — actually they all start in the late afternoon, at 4 or 4:30 p.m., depending on the specific event.

Scotts Valley Dinner & Movie with Food Trucks A Go Go

Food Trucks A Go Go has organized dinner & a movie at Scotts Valley Community Center. The original venue was the outdoor Skypark one block away, but that was changed due to the rain forecast. Dinner service is from 4:30-7:30 pm. The movie, Transylvania 2, begins at 6:30pm. Valley Churches United is hosting a Beer & Wine Garden and is also collecting canned goods. People who come dressed in a Halloween costume and who make a canned good donation will receive a treat. The food truck line-up is Ate3One, G’s Mexican Tacos, Aunt LaLi’s and Choke Coach.

Location: Scotts Valley Community Center, 360 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley


Tanglewood Halloween Popup at MJA

Chef Rachel Hughes of Tanglewood Catering is collaborating with MJA Vineyards for Pop Up in the Cellar: Halloween by Tanglewood at the Westside Santa Cruz wine tasting room. The menu is influenced by Halloween and the wines of MJA. Food will be available from 4 p.m. until it’s sold out; items are sold individually. The menu is Carrot Ginger Soup with a Sour Cream Web ($5), Meatballs in a Red Sauce with Alfredo ($8), Green-eyed Deviled Eggs with Red veins ($6), Bleeding Panna Cotta ($7) and Medusa Chocolate Mousse Cake ($7). There will be a costume contest as well.

Location: MJA, 328 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz


My Mom’s Mole at Food Lounge

My Mom’s Mole is doing a “Dia de los Muertos” night of dining and dancing at the Food Lounge.  Costumes are encouraged. It starts with Happy Hour from 4-6 with dinner service from 5 to 9 pm (or until sold out). There will be rueda de casino (Cuban-style salsa) dance throughout the night. Beverages (beer, wine, cider & cocktails) will be available from the bar. The food choices will be roasted chicken, pulled pork, roasted root vegetables, and wild rice & butternut squash with fall herbs, all served with My Mom’s Mole (vegan), Mole Poblano (Gluten Free), or Mole Verde (Gluten Free).

Location: Santa Cruz Food Lounge, 1001 Center St., Santa Cruz

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More Halloween 2013 festivities in Santa Cruz & nearby, including Los Gatos

Brokolo at Dio Deka, celebrating its 7th anniversary on Halloween

Brokolo at Dio Deka, celebrating its 7th anniversary on Halloween

Here are more festivities to consider for Halloween 2013 in Santa Cruz, Aptos, and Los Gatos, including a wonderful-sounding anniversary party at Dio Deka. See Monday’s Halloween roundup for Santa Cruz, Capitola, and Monterey. Also check out some Halloween treat recipes, both traditional and non-dairy.
Santa Cruz & Aptos

Seascape Village in Aptos will hold a Halloween party from 4-6 p.m. featuring games, trick-or-treating, and snacks.
Location: Intersection of Seascape Boulevard at Sumner Avenue

Downtown Santa Cruz is holding its “Downtown Trick-or-Treat” from 2:30-5 p.m. Local merchants will hand out treats during the family-friendly event.

Los Gatos
Dio Deka
is celebrating its 7th anniversary on Halloween! A beautiful restaurant in Hotel Los Gatos, Dio Deka is offering complimentary appetizers–spanakopita and meatballs–and music on its outdoor patio on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013. Music is being provided by the Los Gatos DJ Company, which specializes in top 40 and classic hits. Guests who dine in the restaurant itself will receive a complimentary glass of champagne to toast Dio Deka’s success.
I had the opportunity to dine at Dio Deka a couple months ago, and I highly recommend visiting this fine restaurant. Some highlights were the exquisite appetizer platter Pikilia, which included Keftethakia (moist, flavorful lamb meatballs and citrus-infused yogurt) and dolmathes (grape leaves stuffed with ingredients including braised beef cheeks and mushroom puree), and Brokolo (see photo), a unique and savory dish featuring charred broccoli, a slowly cooked egg, chili flakes, and more. I also enjoyed the side dish Gigantes, which was a generous portion of crisp-fried gigantes beans flavored with urfa pepper and smoked taramas. I never would have ordered this without my server’s recommendation, so I have him to thank. And of course, the talented Executive Chef Jeff Fitzgerald!
Location: 210 Main St., Los Gatos, (408) 354-7700.

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Restaurants & bars for Halloween 2013 in Santa Cruz and nearby, Part 1

: Restaurant 1833 is serving a 4-course prix fixe dinner on Halloween

Restaurant 1833 is serving a 4-course prix fixe dinner on Halloween

Halloween is almost here, and there are some spooktacular celebrations occurring—including something for everyone, such as a kid-friendly atmosphere, a fancy prix fixe dinner, or options with dancing and a bar. Here are a few celebrations to consider for Halloween 2013 in Santa Cruz and nearby areas. I’ll be publishing more options in the next day or two.

Santa Cruz & Capitola

Hotel Paradox is hosting a Halloween party from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and include dancing, a DJ, a drink ticket, and access to the snack bar. Buy tickets online.
611 Ocean St., (831) 425-7100

Margaritaville has announced a “costume contest with awesome prizes” for Halloween night, plus drink specials all weekend.
231 Esplanade, Capitola (831) 476-2263

Santa Cruz Wharf Restaurants
Selected Santa Cruz Wharf restaurants are inviting kids dressed in costumes, with their parents, to come trick-or-treating on Halloween. The scheduled time is 4-6 p.m. Read more at the Santa Cruz Wharf site.
Santa Cruz Wharf, (831) 420-5273

Hula’s Santa Cruz invites you to celebrate Halloween with a Spooky Pumpkin Tini, and at Charlie Hong Kong  Halloween means it’s Thai Butternut Squash Soup season. CHK started serving the delicious soup on Oct 26 with local Windmill Farms organic heirloom butternuts; the annual season lasts until January or February depending on the squash harvest.

A few Santa Cruz restaurants are closed on Halloween, including Bittersweet Café and Bistro.

Restaurant 1833, located in the Stokes Adobe House which some say is haunted, is hosting a fabulous party on October 31, 2013. Chef Levi Mezick will be offering a special Halloween four-course prix fixe menu in the dining room featuring Pumpkin Soup with pumpernickel bread crumbs; Beet Salad with hazelnuts, duck prosciutto and bulls blood; Braised Pork Cheek with cranberry puree, mustard greens and banyuls; Pan Roasted Rainbow Trout with haricot vert, fingerling potato and herb butter. Dinner will end early…from there, Restaurant 1833 has partnered with 831 Magazine for an unforgettable night of live music, cocktails on tap, and of course, ghosts and costumes.

Price: The four-course prix fixe menu is $40 per person excluding tax and gratuity. The Halloween party is free before 9:00pm with an escalating cover charge starting at $10.
500 Hartnell St., Monterey, (831) 643-1833.
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Dairy-free Halloween recipe for Coffee Toffee from Santa Cruz chef Lauren Hoover-West

Participants making treats at a Halloween class for teens led by Lauren Hoover-West

Participants making treats at a Halloween class for teens led by Lauren Hoover-West

Santa Cruz chef Lauren Hoover-West has graciously shared her recipe for Coffee Toffee, a yummy dairy-free treat for Halloween or any occasion. According to the chef, half of America can’t eat dairy, and of course those folks need recipes too!

California Culinary Academy graduate Hoover-West, author of the cookbook “No Wheat No Dairy No Problem,” regularly teaches classes at New Leaf Community Markets’ Westside location. Her November classes are Allergy-Friendly Holiday Cooking (Nov. 14, includes turkey and many sides), Holiday Pies: No Wheat, No Dairy, No Problem!, (Nov. 20, includes Apple Pie, Citrus Curd Tart and Sweet Potato Pecan Pie), and Raw Vegan Holiday Desserts (Nov. 22, includes Cheesecake and Raw Pumpkin Pie). Each class costs $40 and is from 6-8:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required. See complete New Leaf Westside November schedule.

Read more about Lauren at her web site.

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Coffee Toffee

Note: this recipe can be made low glycemic index, which is easier on the body and won’t cause sugar spikes/crashes, by using coconut sugar


1 cup Coconut Oil
1 1/3 cup Coconut Palm Sugar/Coconut Sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP. filtered water
1 TBSP. Molasses
2 tsp. instant powdered espresso, optional
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. sea salt or himalayan salt
8 oz. chocolate (dark or semi-sweet), finely chopped or chips


Grease a cookie sheet (approx. 9×13 inches) and set aside.

1. In a medium heavy-bottomed pot stir together, with a silicone spatula or wooden     spoon, all ingredients except for the chocolate.

2. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon until it reaches 315 degrees. You will need a candy thermometer. Quickly remove from heat.

3. Pour mixture into the cookie sheet and spread with a silicone spatula to smooth out into a rectangle that is about 1/8 inch thick.

4.  Cool 20-30 minutes on the kitchen counter.

5. While cooling the Toffee, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a glass bowl over simmering water. Cool the chocolate for 5 minutes off the heat.

6. Pour melted chocolate over the Toffee and spread evenly to cover the Toffee.

7. Let the chocolate set/harden at room temperature for about 4 hours. You can put it into the refrigerator to speed up the process, but it may be dull or bloom (turns white).

8. Break into pieces and enjoy! Store in an airtight container at room temperature.


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Chomping Monster Cookies and other Halloween recipes

Chomping Monster cookies require only 4-8 ingredients to make

Chomping Monster cookies require only 4-8 ingredients to make

Looking for easy Halloween recipes? Here are two provided by Pillsbury, with a link to one additional recipe. I’ll publish at least one more—including a dairy-free treat from a local Santa Cruz chef—in the next few days.

Chomping Monsters
(see photo)

24 servings


1 package (16 oz) Pillsbury® Ready To Bake!™ refrigerated chocolate chip cookies (24 cookies)
1 ¼ cups white vanilla baking chips
1 container ready-to-spread frosting (any white variety)
Gel food colors, if desired

Optional Decorations
Red or black string licorice
Miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Large marshmallows
Candy-coated chocolate candies

Heat oven to 350°F. On ungreased cookie sheet, place cookie dough rounds 2 inches apart. Bake 12 to 16 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium microwavable bowl, microwave 1 cup of the white vanilla baking chips uncovered on High 45 seconds. Stir; if necessary, microwave in 15-second increments, stirring after each, until chips can be stirred smooth. Cool 5 minutes. Stir in frosting until well blended. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the frosting mixture to attach decorations. Use gel food colors to tint remaining frosting in desired colors. Spoon each color of frosting into resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut 1/2 inch off one corner of bag, and pipe on bottom of 1 cookie. Press another cookie, flat side down, on frosting at an angle, cookies touching on one side and about 1 inch apart on the other, to look like open mouth.

To decorate, press remaining white vanilla baking chips in frosting for teeth. Use reserved frosting mixture to attach eyes, using decorations as desired.

Spider Web Cookie Pizza
16 servings

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated chocolate chip cookies
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips
½ teaspoon vegetable oil

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 12-inch pizza pan with foil; grease foil with shortening. Cut cookie dough into 1/4-inch slices; arrange evenly in pan. With floured fingers, press slices to form crust.
Bake 16 to 20 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Use foil to lift crust from pan. Carefully remove foil from crust; place crust on serving platter or tray. Spread cream cheese mixture over crust.
In a small resealable food-storage plastic bag, place chocolate chips and oil; seal bag. Place bag in bowl of very hot water. Knead bag several times to melt chips. Cut small hole in 1 corner of bag. Working from center to outer edge, pipe chocolate to form spiral design over top of cream cheese mixture. Working from center of spiral to outer edge, draw tip of knife lightly through spiral to form web design.
Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. To serve, cut into wedges or squares. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pizza.

Another Halloween recipe from Pillsbury is for Crescent Mummy Dogs.

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