GREEN SPIDER EGGS
12 large eggs
1 small avocado
1⁄4 cup canola mayonnaise
1⁄2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
25 to 30 small black olives
1⁄2 teaspoon tomato paste
1. Place the eggs in a large pot with enough water to cover them by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from the heat, cover and allow to stand for 13 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.
2. Meanwhile, place the avocado in a bowl and mash with a fork until fairly smooth. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, salt and relish and stir to combine.
3. Peel the eggs and slice lengthwise in half; remove the yolks and place them in the bowl with the avocado mixture; mash until fairly smooth.
4. Place the whites, cut side up, on a platter. Fill a plastic bag with the avocado mixture and snip one small corner off. Push the filling towards the corner and pipe the mixture into the egg whites.
5. Quarter 6 of the olives lengthwise for the spider bodies; place on top of the avocado mixture. Cut about half the remaining olives in half lengthwise, and cut those halves across in very thin slices for the legs. Place 4 on each side of the spider bodies. Repeat until all spiders have their 8 legs.
6. Place the tomato paste in a small plastic bag and make a tiny snip in one corner. Pipe red eyes on the spiders. Makes 24 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 59 calories, 3 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 122 mg sodium
VANILLA SPICE HOT MULLED CIDER
For an adults-only version, add rum.
1 vanilla bean, about 3-inches long
1 cinnamon stick
8 cups cider
4 whole allspice berries
1 whole clove
2 bay leaves
1 strip orange peel (2-by- 1⁄2-inch wide), white pith removed
1. Score the vanilla bean lengthwise, exposing the seeds. Add, along with cinnamon stick, to a pot containing the cider.
2. Place the allspice, clove, bay leaves and orange peel in the center of a 4-inch-square piece of cheesecloth; gather the corners and tie the satchel closed; add to the pot.
3. Bring the cider to a boil; immediately reduce to a gentle simmer and cook 30 minutes. Keep warm over very low heat or in a slow cooker. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 160 calories, 0 protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 0 fat, 0 saturated fat, 33 mg sodium
GARLIC-PARMESAN ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
A tasty way to roast the seeds inside your fresh pumpkin.
1 cup pumpkin seeds, cleaned and patted dry
1 large egg white
1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄4 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Spread the seeds out in the baking sheet pan and roast, stirring once or twice, until golden and dry, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Whisk the egg white until frothy; add the pumpkin seeds and stir until coated. Tilt the bowl and pour off excess egg white. Add the Parmesan, garlic powder and rosemary and toss thoroughly. Return to the baking sheet pan and roast until golden, about 12 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 98 calories, 5 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 107 mg sodium
TIP: It is easier to peel older, rather than very fresh, eggs.