Halloween doesn’t have to be all about candy. At Beijing World Youth Academy, primary school students celebrated a healthy Halloween feast with pumpkin dip served in whole pumpkins, vegetable dipping sticks and homemade cheese crackers in spooky Halloween shapes.
This project is easy and fun to do at home or with a group of kids at school. We worked in small groups of four or five students who cooked, prepared and enjoyed their pumpkin feast together.
· 1 smallish pumpkin for every five people
· 1 tub of unsweetened yogurt for every two pumpkins
· A selection of vegetables for dipping (carrots, celery, cucumber, etc.)
· Seasonings of your choice (salt, pepper, turmeric, curry powder, chopped cilantro, etc.)
· 6 cups of plain flour (dumpling flour works too)
· 1 ½ cups of butter (about 300g)
· 3 cups of grated cheese, cheddar or a mozzarella parmesan mix
· 3 teaspoons of salt
Note: This recipe makes about 30 balls of dough at 100 grams each. If you are working with fewer kids, reduce the recipe or put it in a plastic container and freeze it for another day.
· Hot plates
· Toaster oven
· Oven tray
· Baking paper
· 3 large metal bowls
· Potato mashers
· Cheese grater
· Cutting boards
· Sharp knives
· Metal spoons
· Serving Trays
· Vegetable peelers
· Cookie cutters
We made our feast in two cooking sessions with a break in the middle. The first session was preparing the vegetables for dipping and starting the pumpkin dip. After a break for cleaning, we came back and made the cheese crackers then plated up our spread. If you are working with younger children, the initial pumpkin cutting and baking can be done in advance.
1. Cut the top off the pumpkin and remove the seeds.
2. Gently bake the whole pumpkin in a hot oven for about 15 minutes till just a little soft.
3. Use a metal spoon to scrape out the pumpkin meat and keep it aside in a bowl. Make sure the pumpkin shell is still thick and strong enough to support itself.
4. Peel and cook the top of the pumpkin and extra pumpkin meat in boiling water till soft.
5. Strain and put in a bowl to cool then mash.
6. Wash, peel and chop veggies into finger-sized pieces and place on serving trays
1. Add flour, cheese, salt and any seasonings you like (curry/pepper/chili powder) to a big bowl.
2. Add soft butter and mix well with hands.
3. Add about ½ a cup of water and keep mixing, if the dough is too dry, add a little more water till you can feel the dough starting to clump together.
4. Empty the mixture onto a clean table or board and knead it till the dough is smooth.
5. Roll out the dough to about ½ to 1 cm thick (kids can do this with their hands) then cut out your cracker shapes.
6. Put the crackers onto a baking tray and into the oven for just a few minutes till lightly brown.
Note: As you can see, this recipe with white flour, butter and salt isn’t healthy at all, but gives you the opportunity to explain moderation to your kids. A few small crackers with all of those veggies make for a balanced snack.
· Have groups of children take a pumpkin shell and half fill it with the pumpkin mash.
· Have the kids add a few spoonfuls of yogurt and all the seasoning they want.
· Encourage kids to taste their mixture, then add more flavors to their pumpkin bowl.
· Place the pumpkin, veggies and crackers on a serving tray, then sit in groups to share the fun and healthy feast.
Photos courtesy of BWYA