Pumpkins, Hotdogs, and Ta-Tas

2 Nov

Happy Sugar Hangover Day!  Halloween is always such a fun holiday, and it has always been a fun tradition in my family to celebrate with food, fun, and friends.

I should probably explain the Ta-Tas.  Many of you probably know that October was Breast Cancer Awareness month – all you really had to do was watch a football game to see all of the bright pink shoelaces, chin guards, and lovely gloves.  Well, to kick off Halloween weekend, Coos Bay held a 5k called “Fight Like a Girl” for Breast Cancer.  It was everything Coos Bay had to offer – cold, slightly wet (although it didn’t rain while running, thank goodness!), and some of the best t-shirts I’ve ever seen – on MEN.  “Save the Ta-Tas,” “I’m a breast man,” “Save Second Base” were a few of the better ones showing their support.

The run was a lot of fun, and the Captain of the air station shaved his head in front of everyone for getting over 50 people from the Coast Guard to come out to the race.  I had to smirk a little when I heard one of the LT’s comment on how watching an enlisted take clippers to a Captain’s head was not something you see everyday.

But the best part of the run was the fact that I RAN the whole time, thus meaning I had an excuse to eat whatever I wanted for the rest of the day!  Oregon was playing USC in football, so a friend and I held some chairs down at a local sports bar, put little “O” tattoos on our cheeks, and thoroughly enjoyed fries dipped in ketchup and mayo with hoppy beer between cheers celebrating the Ducks spanking the Trojans.

So where is the cooking in all of this, you may ask?  Well, while I’m out running for healthy boobs, and indulging in pub gastronomy, poor Rob had to work.  Saturday duties at the air station are never a ton of fun, but it’s nice that we are still able to see each other because I can go visit him.  So, I brought over dinner – Sesame Noodle Salad.  A little sweet, a little spicy, creamy and fresh all at the same time.  Having lived in Southern California for such a long time (where there is a large Asian population), I loved learning about all the different Asian flavors as well as experimenting with them at home.  One of my favorite things is the pickling process – Japan and Korea, especially, pickle vegetables as a way to preserve, but they end up giving dishes so much of a unique tang and spiciness (I also like how Scandinavian countries are also into pickling, so it’s in my blood).  So, bringing a bit of a Scandi-Asian fusion to the dish, I included my Pickled Cauliflower.  Rob texted me with one word: “delicious.”

But the weekend wasn’t over – we still had one of the most fun holidays of the year to celebrate!  And more traditions to carry on.  My mom says, from as long as she can remember, she has had hot dogs on Halloween.  Therefore, for as long as I can remember, I have too.  Rob was all for carrying on the tradition, especially since it meant that he got to put his new fancy grill into action.  But, knowing me, I couldn’t stop at the hotdogs.  I had to include the sides – Herbed Potato Salad, and Homemade Baked Beans.  The coolest thing about homemade baked beans is that you can totally make them special and unique by adding a hot spice, or a smoky spice, green chilis, molasses, herbs, even a touch of beer.  We did our beans in a slow cooker – super easy to throw in all the ingredients together, let it cook, and smell the house up with yummy, bacony, sweet, spicy, smokey goodness.

Rob carved the pumpkin (and a small bit of his hand), I cut the potatoes, and our giant bowl of artificially flavored sugary treats were almost completely gone.  Our Trick-or-Treaters were refreshingly old-fashioned; there were bed-sheet ghosts, green-faced witches, a princess or two, and lots of “Thank yous!”  My favorite was a very, very small Luigi who emphatically said, “Thank you!  Bye!” waved and blew me a kiss.  So cute!

Our festive Pumpkintinis topped off the night, and we thoroughly enjoyed the fact that our Halloween was more Casper The Friendly Ghost-like rather than Nightmare on Elm Street-esque.

That being said, don’t wait for next Halloween, or the next Save the Ta-Tas 5k to try out these recipes.  Experiment, and enjoy!

Sesame Noodles with Raw Veg (serves 4-6)

  • 1-2 handfuls of Soba Noodles (or use spaghetti or angel hair if you can’t find the buckwheat Soba)
  • 3 giant tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp dark sesame oil (keep it in the fridge… it lasts longer)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 large tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 squirt Sriracha hot sauce (or more if you want it more spicy)
  • 1/4 c water
  • 3 carrots, shredded (I just use a vegetable peeler)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c pickled cauliflower
  • 3 radishes thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 c parsley, roughly chopped
  • s&p

In a large pot, boil Soba noodles according to package instructions (usually only 3-5 minutes).  Drain, and rinse with cold water (to stop cooking).

In a blender, combine the peanut butter, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha, soy sauce and water.  Blend until smooth (add more water if it is not a smooth consistency).

Mix chopped vegetables, soba noodles, and desired amount of sesame peanut dressing, and taste for seasoning.  Enjoy room temperature or cold!

Slow Cooker Baked Beans (serves 6-8)

  • 3 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 c water
  • 6 tsp tomato paste
  • 3 oz slab bacon, diced and crisped
  • 1 med white onion, finely diced and sauteed in 1 tbsp of bacon drippings until translucent.
  • 1/2 c Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp Ancho chili powder
  • 4 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 3 springs thyme
  • cracked pepper

Set the slow cooker on HI.  Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, and cook for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally (and it smells so good, I dare you not to taste it along the way!)

Serve with your favorite BBQ dish, southern meal, or make a delicious rendition of Beanie Weenie!


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