Tuesday, November 05, 2019

#BonfireNight Thoughts, And Celebrating #Halloween 2019

It's Bonfire Night here in the UK. Though you'd have thought it was this past weekend with all the fireworks that were happening when the weather was allowing for it. I also happen to know people are doing fireworks this coming weekend.

Not that I'm complaining. I mean, I enjoy fireworks, and I'm hopefully going to one of the ones happening next weekend, assuming the weather is better than it has been a lot of the time lately, and it doesn't get rained off. But I'll tell you about that another day. At least, I'll tell you about it if it does end up happening (it's meant to be, as of the time I'm writing this post; I've just spoken to the people regarding my transport arrangements).

Anyway, I'm torn when it comes to fireworks, because I feel bad for the animals that don't like them - like Logan, apparently - and all the wild animals with nowhere dark and quiet to hide. For their sakes I do wish there weren't so many fireworks happening. Still, I can't help enjoying them. It's like snow: I love it, despite knowing it causes so many problems for some people, especially when there's a lot of it, and even while I acknowledge that, can't help feeling you can never have too much of it.

I actually kind of wish we could all arrange our fireworks displays on the same night. The animals would still get scared, but at least it would just be once. That's not a 100% perfect solution, but it would be better than the scattered displays the animals have to deal with these days.

But, despite the date, and the firework themed introduction to this post, today's post is actually supposed to be about my Halloween celebrations for this year. So let's talk about those now, shall we?

So... I put up my Halloween decorations the Monday before Halloween.

I don't have loads of them, but I have a couple I've had for a few years, and a few new ones. So I set up displays in the living room windows, since it seemed like a good place that was out of reach of the dogs. Plus, I liked the thought that if someone looked up, they might be able to see and enjoy some of them too. It's not very likely, since people almost never look up. But it was a nice thought, and you never know...

Anyway, here are my Halloween window displays:

In the first photo: the beware sign and maple leaf I've had for a while. The bat is a wooden one Kelly helped me decorate a couple of years ago. The lit up black pumpkin is the one I picked up when we took the dogs for their grooming session at the start of September. The ghost, pumpkin lights, orange pumpkin, candle, and Frankenstein figure are new.

In the second photo: the skull in the frame is the quilling one I made last year. The witch and Frankenstein masks are old masks I turned in to decorations a few years ago. But the hanging skeleton and those little candles are new.

There should have been some little bats too. Two on the window sill with the skeleton theme, and four on the pumpkin themed window sill. But Kelly took the photos before I'd added those, we didn't think to grab new photos, and the decorations were put away over the weekend, so it's too late now.

I forgot to get a photo of the Fall themed table runner we stitched on the table too, and didn't keep it on there because Kelly's working on some figures, and I didn't want him getting stuff all over it. But you can see that in this post, if you want to see it, and missed doing so when I shared it among the other things in that post at the time it was finished.

I did get you a photo of this year's Mr. Pumpkin-Head though. I almost didn't get to do one this year, because our local fruit and veg shop ran out of pumpkins. Luckily the supermarket still had some, and Kelly grabbed one when he was doing his shopping. Quite an impressive one too. So, here's a photo of this year's Mr. Pumpkin-Head once he was finished, and all lit up:

Lilie's a fan of the "big orange ball"...

(Don't worry, the candle was removed before the pumpkin was put where she could check it out, and anyway it's a battery one - one of the ones you see in the above photos - so wouldn't have done her any harm anyhow).

We managed to get Lilie to pose with the pumpkin, but Logan wasn't feeling co-operative... I don't think he was sure what to make of it. So this is the best we could do for a photo of both the dogs posing with Mr. Pumpkin-Head:

For more puppy Halloween photos, check out Lilie's post from last Friday (if you haven't already read that post) where you can see photos of Lilie and Logan in their Halloween costumes.

Anyway, Mr. Pumpkin-Head went back to his favourite job of being a jack-o-lantern after the photos of him with the dogs were done. Though it took me lifting her up so she could check him out in his new spot, and the destraction of her favourite ball, before Lilie would leave him alone, since she kept yapping at him to come back down on the floor and play with her. Even with the destraction of her favourite ball, it took a while before she completely gave up trying to persuade him to come play. Like I said, I think she liked him. Haha!

Naturally, there had to be some pumpkin themed baking. In fact, it's sort of a tradition for me these days to do pasta with pumpkin sage sauce on or around Halloween. So, since this was my first Halloween as a vegan, I veganized my pumpkin sage sauce recipe. It wasn't difficult, since it just meant swapping out the milk for a plant-based milk (I used a can of coconut milk) and the butter for a vegan butter. The latter of which I'd actually done for the past couple of years anyhow. So, I had pasta with pumpkin sage sauce, sprinkled with some vegan cheese, for dinner on Halloween and the day after.

I also had my first attempt at a vegan pumpkin pie. I don't make pumpkin pie every year, but wanted to this year, partially for the challenge of veganizing it, and partially because I fancied some. I brought some evaporated coconut milk as a vegan friendly alternative to the evaporated milk usually used, and used cornflour in place of the eggs to help the filling set (a tablespoon of cornflour for each egg the recipe I was adapting called for). The rest of the ingredients were just pumpkin puree, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice anyhow. And the pastry, of course, which I just used my usual basic pastry recipe for. Anyway, here's a photo of it freshly baked:

When it had fully cooled, I served it with a soya based squirty cream...

The vegetarian friendly versions of both recipes can be found on my website's recipe section already. When I can, I'll get the full vegan pumpkin pie recipe posted up there too. I won't be bothering with a vegan version of the pumpkin sage sauce recipe though, since it's straight-forward to veganize, so I figure you can work it out for yourself.

Anyway, I had also considered making some pumpkin spice cake, and maybe some cookies too. But decided not to. I mean, I already had the pumpkin pie, after all. I'll make cake and cookies another time.

I did make myself another pumpkin themed treat though: a pumpkin pie smoothie. One of the vegan recipe sites I get newsletters for posted about it leading up to Halloween, and I couldn't resist. It's milk (they recommend coconut, but I used almond, and my Mam tried it with dairy milk) a bit of pumpkin puree, some pumpkin pie spice, a banana and a bit of maple syrup (that last being optional; I did choose to add it, but my Mam didn't) blended together in a smoothie. Well, they say to sprinkle the pumpkin pie spice on top, but I went ahead and threw it in my smoothie maker with the rest of the ingredients, since I drink my smoothies out of a bottle anyhow. I'm pretty sure Mam threw hers in her smoothie maker when blending too.

It was all delicious. Mam seems to have enjoyed her version of the smoothie too. I wasn't worried about whether the smoothie or pumpkin sage sauce would turn out to be good, but I do confess I was a little bit worried about the pumpkin pie. I mean, I was pretty sure my plan for the pie would work, but it was an experiment, so... Yeah. Sometimes those work, and sometimes they don't. But I got lucky. The pumpkin pie turned out great. Kelly even had a very tiny taste of the pumpkin pie - only enough so he could tell me how well it compared to traditional pumpkin pie, since he generally shys away from eating most of what I bake or buy that's clearly vegan alternatives to things he usually likes - and agreed it had turned out really well; Kelly says it looks and tastes like a pumpkin pie should, though is a bit darker in colour than most are, which is probably because I used unrefined cane sugar instead of caster sugar. So I have it from a Canadian that I did a good job with my pumpkin pie. That's good enough for me!

Anyway, that's about it for my Halloween celebrations. I didn't expect any trick-or-treaters. We don't generally get them here, because of the type of building and where it is. I think it's a shame, because I'd love to have some trick-or-treaters. But there you go. I usually get a bunch of treats in, "Just in case," and then eat them myself when nobody comes. But I resisted that urge this year, deciding I had enough in the way of treats with the pumpkin pie I'd be having pretty much to myself.

So, what about you? Did you do anything for Halloween? If you did, I'd love to hear about it. Tell me about it in the comments.


Jeanie said...

Love Mr. Pumpkinhead and glad the dogs do too! Really wonderful photos. I love the quilling piece.

I am SO with you on the fireworks. Lizzie is so freaked on the 4th of July. I don't blame her. I don't mind the organized ones so much but the ones that people just do on their own are the ones that freak me out. Fortunately, they don't have them much here except July 4 -- other than that, they are more organized as an event (like at the ball game or something.)

Victoria Zigler said...

Thanks about Mr. Pumpkin-Head and the quilling piece.

It used to be like that here (with the 4th of July swapped to Vonfire Night). They're talking about making it so only event organizers are allowed to do them again. I personally think that's a very good idea. It would be better for the animals, and cut down on firework related accidents a lot too.

Rita said...

You have quite a few decorations! I don't put up anything for Halloween and some years not even for Christmas. All I have anymore is a tiny tabletop tree and not much room to put it anywhere, anyways. I like seeing them, just don't do them myself.

I'm with you on fireworks. Makes you wonder what the critters think is going on!

Your pumpkin pie looks like it turned out great! You're a good cook, Tori. :)

Victoria Zigler said...

I've got a decent collection of decorations now, just nothing like a lot of people have. I don't mind though. I mean, these days I do the decorations just for myself more than anything anyhow. Well, and to have photos of them to put on my blog. ;)

Yeah, I have to wonder what they think. They probably think the world is exploding, or we're under attack, or something like that. Poor babies.

Thanks about the pumpkin pie, and the cooking compliment. :)