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Frightening Food for Halloween

Family-Friendly “Frightening” Foods for Halloween

We’ve been cruising the internet and finding some awesome finger foods. Halloween offers great ways to be creative and entice new flavors to kids. Some are absolutely outrageous, some simple and tasty.

Check out these cool sites and remember these are suggested recipes and we are note responsible for the outcomes or have any direct connection to each website owner.

Baby Boo-nanas

Here’s one of the cutest little treats that toddlers will even enjoy.  With Halloween coming

Choco-covered Bananas

Little Baby Ghosts on a Stick are dipped bananas

soon, I thought I would share these cute, ghost-shaped Frozen “Boo”-nana Pops made with white chocolate and bananas. This is fun to make with the kids and what kid doesn’t like chocolate covered bananas.

Jack-O-Lanterns from Grapefruits

Every party needs a candy dish or simple way to share sticky foods,so you just disguise a grapefruit into a mini-pumpkin posed as a “jack-o-lantern”, so clever.

Grapefruit cups

Tiny Jack-o-Lanterns are made from grapefruit

Check out the carving details at their website for more non-traditional ideas, too.

You Can Eat Spiders!!

Yes, you can. A simple treat that youngsters can assemble as long as they don’t eat all the legs first. Round candies make the eyes on a chocolate donut body with pretzel legs.


Spider Donuts

Donuts with pretzel legs turn into spiders


One time I made a cemetery by using cottage cheese with green food coloring, vanilla wafers standing and tilting as headstones, and broccoli for trees. Nobody ate it.





Here’s Looking at You!!

Eyeballs are another treat that could backfire on your frightening foods creative adventure. By using food coloring or avocado in the stuffing, your teens will love the ghoulishness of it, but maybe not the adults. Try it out!

Halloween eyeball goodies

Creepy eyeballs staring back at you!! Ghoulish eyeballs anyone?  another source of creative holiday foods

Crazy Critters

I found these silly green apple bites to be the most clever and healthy for little tots. They get to munch on apples, pumpkin seeds, strawberries, peanut butter or “sun butter” is the glue and the eyes are confectioner’s sugar, or you can use some tubed frosting.

silly apple faces

Clever and silly apple critters

Find these silly apple bites at

And here’s some more resources you can checkout about safety when your little goblins are on the streets.    Traveling around the neighborhood with your ghoulish goblins? Here’s some interesting stats and resources about Halloween Safety:

“Feel Good” Flavors of Real Butter

Butter vs. Margarine

Years ago, when my mother was being “the 50s house wife” and raising two children, I was eager to enjoy foods prepared with butter. Rich, creamy and flavorful. Those are the “feel good” flavors that many people enjoy with their memories.

Golden Muffin Topped with Melting Butter

Golden Muffin Topped with Melting Butter

Then the health concerns of butter and heart-healthy features of margarine popped into view. We would die from heart disease and clogged-coronary systems by indulging in the dairy products with high saturated fats. I begrudgingly began training myself to use oleo products, and eventually to olive oil-based margarines.

Over time, the margarine products that I chose to be better than butter, turned out to be less rich in flavor and actually broke down to cause more problems – like carcinogens, producing chemicals that are potentially harmful.

Our health industry has found, through 30 years of research, that maybe some oils are bad when overheated, and yet others are better. Oils that are rich in polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 and omega 6) are especially unstable at high temperatures.

We have many more choices to consider now: coconut, palm, nut oils, avocado, rice-based, refined olive oil, canola, processed vegetable oil, and more, each with their own benefits.

The confusion continues.

But what makes me decide to return to real butter is the fact that baked goods retain a rich density and flavor that margarines really haven’t supplied. Products brown easier in a sauté pan and even caramelize nicer without over cooking. Crusts are flakier and retain their shape much better.

Butter-flavored olive oil-based margarine is still oil. It doesn’t hold its shape. It loses flavor and tastes like … well … oil. Even though I do want to be as health conscience as possible, the butter on muffins is like honey – a sweet treat.

So, I delved into the controversy to read up on the research. And I was right. It’s very confusing. If you are a foodie, then you probably have your favorites to cook with. If you’re vegan, then you have specific products you stay with. And if you indulge in deep frying, then you should know what oils are less loaded up with chemicals and which ones produce a good batch.

Light flake crust

Light flake crust with golden brown

Here’s what The Heart Foundation says on their website:

“While using small amounts of butter every now and then shouldn’t be a problem for most people, the clear, unequivocal evidence remains that there are far healthier fats for our heart. It is better for our hearts to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats. Making the simple swap from butter to margarine spreads is one way to do this.

“For those who choose not to use margarine spreads, consider avocado, hummus, plant oils (such as olive or avocado oil) and nut or seed butters as good options for a less-processed, more whole food approach. Alternatively, you may choose to use no spread at all.

“Putting aside the butter versus margarine debate, we need to remember that it’s our whole dietary pattern that counts. The total available evidence tells us that a heart-healthy dietary pattern is based largely on minimally-processed foods and includes plenty of vegetables and fruit; some whole grains in place of refined grains; legumes; nuts; seeds; and other sources of healthy fats such as oily fish or olive oil; and may contain non-processed lean meats or poultry and/or dairy. By following this pattern, the fats in our diet will take care of themselves.”

Take-home messages:

  • Choose olive, canola, or rice bran oil for shallow frying or barbequing
  • Only use sunflower oil for salad dressing or in spreads (and don’t heat)
  • Try to include healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, seeds and oily fish in your diet
  • Products with high levels of saturated fat, such as coconut, butter and lard, should be used only very rarely
  • Avoid deep frying foods but if you must do so, avoid oils that are rich in polyunsaturated fats because these are unstable at high temperatures


Back to the butter —

I have decided that with all the other things I have given up to be healthy, that I can put butter back into my diet. I won’t go crazy and slather it on everything. I will refrain from globs on my pancakes. But, boy, does real butter melting on healthy red potatoes bring me right back to the good old days.

Thanx Mom for raising me in a kitchen full of great mouth-watering memories.


Rusty LaGrange

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El Tropical Adds a Breeze of Latin Cuisine

A Nice Hide-Away Spot for Breakfast or Lunch

El Tropical sits in a hide-away spot near Nick’s Pizza and Stater Bros in Apple Valley on Bear Valley Road. You may not see it the first time around. Follow the strip of stores beginning with Nick’s and at the end you’ll find the cafe.

You can dine outside like a bistro or head inside to comfortable large booths.

Cafe in Apple Valley

El Tropical Coffee Shop and more



Organic Nutrition Inspired by Farmers Market

Need an idea of something to do in the high desert? Think healthy…nutrition. Think food. Organic food. Earthy. Aha! Farmers Market. Visit the local farmers market on a Thursday morning between 8:00 and 12:00. It’s the perfect place to take your children while they’re out of school for the summer.

Don’t worry about making coffee before you go. You’ll see a coffee vendor on the left as you walk in. Prefer organic coffee? READ MORE »

Flavor of Pumpkin in Spring

Craving an Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Flavor

Why should pumpkin breads, pastures, and pies be reserved for the Fall months? Sure that’s when they ripen on the vine and holidays soon follow. But we’re in the present age where you can have pumpkin any part of the year. I love pumpkin cookies in the Spring!

Recipe for Pumpkin Cookies

Light Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Puff Cookies

I looked around the Internet for the yummiest pumpkin recipes I could find. I’m a sucker for Pumpkin Mousse or those quick recipes where you don’t even have to bake the pie. Those are the modern recipes — I want the flavors that children were anticipating while sitting on the back porch deeply breathing in those rich pumpkin-scented wafts of goodness fresh out of the wood stove. I’ve been sharing a few recipes with chefs from and  PattiCake’ — they both do more cooking in one year than I have in ten.

Melt-in-your-mouth Duo

However, I wanted an old-fashioned flavor that I hadn’t seen in awhile. I craved pumpkin and chocolate, so I dug back into my history files to find the melt-in-your-mouth duo. I came across this but I did ramp it up a bit:


2 c. Bread Flour                                                    1-1/4 c. Brown Sugar

1 tsp. Baking Soda                                                 1/4 c. Splenda

1-1/4 tsp. Baking Powder                                     1/4 c. Sugar

1/4 tsp. Ginger                                                       1-1/4 tsp. Vanilla

1 tsp. (or more) Cinnamon                                   2 c.Pumpkin Puree

1/4 c. Chia Seeds                                                    2 eggs

1/2 tsp. Salt                                                            1 bag Chocolate Chips

(Add 2 TBLS. of Old-fashioned Molasses for that rich tangy flavor)

INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven to 385 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. Beat all wet ingredients in a second bowl. Fold in until wet dough is incorporated. Add chocolate semi-sweet chips. Fold in slowly. Scoop by round tablespoon onto a lightly oiled or sprayed cookie sheet.

BAKE: 13 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cookies should stand tall and browned lightly. Cool on rack. Makes 3 dozen.

OPTIONS: add medium apple, chopped; remove chocolate for Craisens; remove Molasses and Chia seeds

Bonus Recipe:

Vegan, Paleo, and More:One Health Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse: 

Pumpkin Moouse Dessert

Smooth Pumpkin Mousse


1 cup low-fat cottage cheese

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup milk of choice

2 tbs sugar-free instant vanilla dry pudding mix

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Try  a 1/4 cup of Chia Seeds

3-6 tsp. of Splenda or other sweetener of choice to taste

Dense light whip cream (like Dream Whip) your choice

Instructions: Simply mix everything except the puree. Add it last so the whipped topping doesn’t get too heavy. Refrigerate for at least an hour. You can also add some crumbled vanilla wafers or graham crackers to the bottom of a globe style dessert glass before you serve. Place a large spoonful of mousse in the glass, add a wafer and a sprig of mint to the side. Then enjoy!


Farmers Market Fresh Vegetables

Shopping at the Farmers Market

farmers markets

High Desert Farmers Market

Fresh Berries

The best place to go shopping for produce, fresh from farmers’ gardens, in the Victor Valley of the High Desert is at High Desert Farmer’s Market. The market is open every Thursday from 8 am until 12 noon. Beautiful blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries are already available, and spring hasn’t even arrived yet. You wouldn’t know it by the gorgeous weather last Thursday at this Certified Farmers Market. It was sunny, and there were fruits and vegetables galore.

farmers markets

Fresh Berries

Fresh Raw Veggies

The tables set up at Angelo’s Farm High Desert Produce especially attracted my eyes to it. There were leafy greens with yellow and orange stems. I walked over to see what these beauties were, picked up the green-leaf vegetable with the colorful stems, and admired them. While I was trying to figure out what they were, a lady came up and asked, “What are those?”

farmers markets

Leafy and Colorful Veggies

“I don’t know. That’s what I was wondering,” I said when a younger lady answered, “That’s Swiss chard.”

The first lady, Marian, laughed because she said the younger woman, who knew what the vegetable was, was her daughter.

I’m sure that I’ve eaten Swiss chard before, probably at a Chinese restaurant with mixed veggies or a meat entree. But I don’t recall ever cooking it at home. I bought the pretty vegetable and have cooked it already, stir-fried with other vegetables – and I like it.

Marian’s daughter, Heather, tries different recipes every week. That got my attention because I am a food blogger and come up with various recipes to share on my blog. I asked her to submit an article about her recipes for High Desert Blogging. So, Heather, if you’re reading this, I can’t wait to hear from you and see what new recipes you’ve tried this week.

Heather pointed me in the direction of another vendor who was selling different colors of cauliflower. I’ve seen BroccoliFlower before but not orange cauliflower. One of my favorite cauliflower recipes is Mac & Cheese Cauliflower.


Cauliflower Colors

It’s exciting to go to the farmers market and see so much fresh produce. Meeting other like-minded individuals like Heather and Marian that love trying out new vegetables and creating recipes is so much fun.

Pets at the Farmers Market

Pets and animals show up at farmers markets, too. I noticed an area that appeared to be either an animal-petting section or where you could pay to ride one around a small sectioned-off place. Though I didn’t walk over to observe closer, I think I noticed a camel ready to give someone a ride. Next time I go, I’ll pay closer attention and tell you more the next time I see the animals. I met this little dog, Kisses, and owner, Anthony, and Anthony’s Aunt Linda. The adorable Kisses is believed to be a terrier and teacup chihuahua mix.

On my way out of the Farmers Market, I met Anthony, who was carrying his pet dog, and Anthony’s Aunt Linda. Anthony introduced me to his little adorable pet, Kisses, who is believed to be a terrier and teacup chihuahua mix.

terrier and teacup chihuahua mix

Anthony and Kisses

I left the market smiling. Who could not smile at getting to meet a friendly little terrier-teacup chihuahua, a mother and daughter who love to create fresh veggie recipes like me, and bags filled with fresh raw vegetables and fruits to boot?

Thank You For Visiting High Desert Blogging!

Food Cravings and Food Blogs


Chocolate and Yogurt

Yogurt Granola Chocolate Sweet Snack

Bloggers on High Desert Blogging write articles about the High Desert, the Southwest, blogging, gardening in the high desert, food, and Victor Valley. Food writing on the blog varies from historical to new recipes, Route 66 eateries, and recommended restaurants. But have you heard of or visited the High Desert Farmers Market? The Farmers Market is held on Thursday mornings from 8:00 am until 12:00 pm. Go to blog to find their recipes.


What kind of food cravings do you get? One of mine is salsa. The latest one I made, Sweet & Spicy Salsa, has a southwestern flavor and includes corn. So delicious. It is made from the kitchen garden mostly (except the corn and a can of diced tomatoes and green chilies). The corn gave the salsa a sweet flavor. And, of course, it’s spicy with a very hot jalapeno. Sometimes, the jalapenos aren’t as hot. You never know how hot the garden jalapenos will be until you add it to the salsa. I’ve had some turn out very hot, and others seem quite mild.


Top food interests found on Pinterest and in blogs are:

  • desserts
  • recipes
  • healthy snacks
  • healthy recipes
  • nutrition
  • gluten free

When you try to combine dessert, healthy, nutrition, and gluten free, it can be quite a challenge. What do you do when you crave sweets but need gluten free ingredients and want to eat nutritious food? How do you satisfy the sweet or chocolate cravings?

Lately, I’ve had some sweet cravings – some for chocolate and some for lemon. Try this recipe that I came up with to satisfy the chocolate and sweet craving.

Yogurt Chocolate Granola Mix

5 minutes

1 Serving

Approximately 1 Cup

360 calories

15 fat

6.25 sat fat

51.5 carbs

10.5 protein

5.75 fiber

38.5 sugar

149.7 sodium

Yogurt Chocolate Granola Mix

Yogurt Granola Chocolate Sweet Snack


  • 1 Cup Plain Yogurt
  • 1/3 Cup Quaker Summer Berry Real Medleys
  • 4 Guittard Milk Chocolate Baking Chips
  • 1 Tablespoon Sun-Maid Chopped Dates


  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Ready to eat.


Nutrition amounts are approximate.

Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

Chocolate Meringue Pie and Lemon Meringue Pie are my two favorite family pie recipes. I’ve had the two desserts on my mind, so when I saw a box of two lemon meringue pies in the frozen section at WalMart, I took it out and read the nutrition values. Not too bad. The only thing that jumped out at me was the 41 carbohydrates. However, my yogurt-chocolate medley’s carbs are higher. The lemon pies were justified. After all, I did pull a mountain of weeds in the yard. Well, maybe not today but yesterday. Uh-huh. They went into the grocery cart, made it all the way up to the register, and only one got to go inside my freezer. Lemon meringue. Mmmm.

High Desert Food Blog Contest

Now you know why I also have a food blog, Kitchen Hospitality. Maybe you’ve been keeping up with the Traffic Generating Experiment between Patty Cakes Pantry j(try her Taco Salad in a Jar) and Kitchen Hospitality. It’s going on for the month of February. Both blogs are fairly new, so Patty Cakes and I decided to challenge each other and also try out strategies on the blogs. We were both raised with southern-style cooking and enjoy sharing our recipes and cooking tips on the blogs. We will report the contest results on March 1st if you are interested in food blogs or want to start one of your own.

Chocolate and Yogurt

Yogurt Granola Chocolate Sweet Snack

Thank You for Visiting High Desert Blogging!


Blog Linking Parties:

Inspiration Thursday

High Desert Food Bloggers’ Traffic Generating Experiment

Traffic Generating Experiment VS

Community blogging comes alive when fellow bloggers connect to promote interests and events in the area in which they reside – and, yes, when they promote their blogs. What are the benefits of promoting a blog? Drive traffic to your blog, convert that traffic into leads, and make money blogging, to name a few benefits. Two High Desert bloggers joined efforts to promote their food blogs, and

Cookie Cutter Breakfasts

Egg Valentine Blog Post by

Fudge Hearts

Fudge Hearts Valentine Blog Post by

Both blogs are fairly new, and the bloggers decided to participate in a month-long experiment by scheduling regular quality content. You can learn more
about the experiment READ MORE »

Recipes to Make Valentine’s Day Sweet

Valentine’s day is just around the corner, so we thought that it was only appropriate to gather up a few recipes to celebrate the day.   We have begun a search for some ideas for dinner and dessert for you to share with the ones you love.

I don’t know about you, but I always think of pasta as a romantic dinner.  Maybe I watched “Lady and the Tramp”  too many times as a child, but I know that I’m not alone in thinking that pasta dishes are romantic.   Here are a few recipe selections from around the web that I thought might be nice for Valentine’s Day.

  •  Shrimp in Love Pasta–This recipe for Kraft Foods is very creamy and delicate.   It was featured on their site a few years ago as the perfect Valentine’s dinner for your sweetheart.  shell pasta baked in a creamy cheese sauce wtih added shrimp and spinach
  •  Baked Shrimp and Shells–This is similar to the first selection, but is baked in a casserole dish instead.

Garlic Cheese-Chicken Spaghetti Squash

Any of these pasta dishes served with a delicious salad would make a delicious and well balanced meal.

Of course, no romantic dinner is complete without dessert.  I think that chocolate is the perfect solution, so I have selected four chocolate dessert ideas for finishing off your meal.

If you want something that isn’t chocolate, this recipe for a pink lemonade bundt cake looks delicious, or you can check out this list of Valentine’s day treats.  These recipes are so simple that you can even make them with your kids.

We hope that you like our suggestions.  What is your idea of a perfect romantic dinner? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Hospitality in the Old West Found in Woman’s Home Manual

Home HInts for New Wives

The Hearthstone book helped newlywed wives carry out daily chores of 1886

It was easy for me to think that recipes from the Old West or Civil War Era, were found in every relative’s cookbook from the turn of the century. But the truth is, cookbooks, like the ones we use today, weren’t really on the shelves until about 1920s. No one really had money for the luxuries of buying recipe books. Few had even thought of creating one.

Since I’m an Old West historian, I found that the tastes of the country and city folks coming out west brought with them their skills of cooking. Simple foods required simple instructions. Recipes were handed down on loose pieces of paper, in a handwritten letter, or even stuffed in the pages of a family bible.

More Folklore Than Formulas

And what became our list of specific ingredients followed by detailed instructions began as loosely expressed directions – more folklore than formulas. Many cooks substituted the ingredients with what was on hand. While salt, sugar, and flour were staples, and herbs were gathered out the back door, not many had saffron, ginger, and exotic flavorings like we have today.

Home Hospitality starts in 1886 Hearthstone Book

Early Women’s book for Household Hints

A pinch of salt, a dram of tartar, a ladle of pork fat. Well, those measurements made recipes so different that not one cook could copy the flavors. After years of secret recipes for cobblers and pies, jams and jellies, breads and compotes took blue ribbons at the county fairs across the country, tying down the ingredients into a cookbook was pure industrialization.

I happen to own an original The Hearthstone, Or, Life at Home: A Household Manual Containing Hints, by Laura Carter Holloway written in 1886. It has a small section of recipes almost added into the book as an afterthought. It calls for wives to be good hostesses, caregivers of the ill, managing the household’s daily chores, how to care for a baby, and how to make bread. It’s much more than that. Easily I can spend hours perusing its pages for recipe nuggets.

Here’s an easy sample of an old-time recipe:

MISSISSIPPI CAKE: One pint of the best yellow cornmeal, a pint of buttermilk, two tablespoons of melted butter, two eggs, a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of Saleratus. (saleratus: Sodium or potassium bicarbonate used as a leavening agent; an early term for baking soda)

       That’s it. No cooking directions, so it’s presumed that a wood stove is used and 350-375 degrees is an average temperature if using an oven. This recipe could also be created in a Dutch oven over an open fire. No cooking time is given so it may be cooked until brown, or even until the surface springs back when touched. Dutch oven cooking would usually include a lid with a lip that held 8-12 pieces of hot charcoal.

So there you have just a taste — pardon my pun — of some of the earliest attempts at sharing a family heirloom from the kitchen. i’ll be returning each week with more historical recipes and insights into the frontier kitchen and Old West hospitality.

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