In Portugal, we don’t celebrate Halloween or, as we call it, “Witches’ Day”. Once in university, under the influence of the American media, I had a Halloween party where people dressed up like witches, ghosts and vampires, but that was the extent of it. Hence, when as a little girl I kept seeing movies where children knocked on strangers’ doors and got candy as a greeting, I knew I was deeply deprived of an extraordinary affair just because I was born “in the wrong country”.
Then, I grew up and would not care less about such date. Even when I moved to Canada, where I could finally participate on Halloween festivities, I was in downtown St. John’s, a childless ghost town on Halloween, and that was just fine with me.
Now that I am 20 minutes removed from downtown, and that I have a child, things have changed. Not only the number of children trick-or-treating exponentially increases each year (we ran out of candy last night!), we actually make an effort and carve pumpkins, have a simple costume and buy candy ahead of time. For the first time last year – probably induced by pregnancy hormones – I, with Chris’s help, started baking homemade treats for the neighbours’ and friends’ children.
On Saturday, we had a Halloween party hosted by a family that follows a vegan-gluten-free diet. I never willingly made a vegan-gluten-free food and my preliminary online search was not having any yummy results. That prompt me to a Facebook plea which lead me to find the Paleo Mom site and this Almond Coconut Bar recipe. They where easy to make and extremely tasty. I shaped them like tombstones so I had a little mountain of delicious almond-chocolaty crumbs which Chris and I could not stop munching on. Next time I will also carve R.I.P. with a toothpick for a more obvious Halloween connection (a very good suggestion from a friend).
For last night, I made popcorn balls following the recipe by my friend and foodie extraordinaire Andreae Callanan. I should have known better and not attempt to make the things when the word “syrup” appeared in the text, and when I had to look online to see how a popcorn ball looked like. Regardless, here I was popping corn and melting sugar at 8 in the evening to find out that you need about a cup of corn to make 5 quarts of popcorn and that I do not own a syrup thermometer! The thermometer in the drawer is for meat and does not measure pass 220F. Still, I continued and poured the syrup on the popcorn. The syrup solidified so fast that I was only able to shape a handful of balls. Chris arrived to a maple scented house and a very sad Paula. He re-named the balls, candied popcorn and gave his stamp of approval. I was able to go to bed not feeling as blue. Now, I hope to have a candy thermometer on my socking.