Graveyards and Cheese Spreads

No one can scream louder than a preteen girl.

I was in fourth grade at a slumber party for a friend’s birthday. Now, as I said in my last post, I’m not the biggest fan of scary movies since I get far too involved in the stories. Unfortunately for me, my friend’s dad had rented only Twilight Zone episodes (and of course, only the terrifying ones- I vaguely remember something about ants and evil rabbits) for us to watch.

Therefore, by about midnight, we were all quite terrified, but attempted to act like we were brave.

I should take a brief moment to say that my friend’s house was located next to a cemetery, and you could very easily enter it from a back through a gate in her backyard (I have no idea why they had a gate to the cemetery in their backyard- they just did and it was never something we questioned as kids).

Therefore, what do preteen girls attempting to be brave do? Challenge everyone to a graveyard walk, of course.

We quickly bundled up into sweatshirts (April in Michigan can be a bit chilly at night) and ventured outside, holding onto each other as we made our way into the cemetery, accompanied by my friend’s mom. We were just starting to feel like we were all brave when a huge creature in a horrific mask popped out from behind one of the gravestones and came running at us while yelling.

Twelve preteen girls then shrieked at the top of their lungs (it truly is a wonder we didn’t wake the dead) and disappeared in all directions of the cemetery.

I at least ran towards the house, where we discovered my friend’s mom and younger brother laughing hysterically. Turns out my friend’s dad decided to play a prank on us during our graveyard walk, and had managed to run around to a separate entrance with mask in hand so he could be ready and waiting by the time we ran outside.

Granted, her parents then had to spend the next hour tracking down the girls still hiding terrified in the cemetery and stay up with us until daylight as we were far too afraid to sleep.

Ghoulishly Good Cheese Spread

worth shrieking for

Ingredients

  • 10 oz goat cheese, softened
  • 8 oz fat free cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz feta (I used whole feta and cut it into chunks, but feel free to use pre-crumbled feta)
  • 1/4 c pesto
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 shallots, sliced thinly
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Crackers (I prefer pita crackers) and peppers

How-to

  1. In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer (though feel free to just whip this up in a bowl, but you’ll need some strong arms!), cream together goat cheese, cream cheese, feta, and pesto.
  2. In a small saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and allow them to sweat, stirring fairly regularly, until they just because translucent.
  3. Add shallots and butter to cheese mixture and mix on medium for 1 minute.
  4. Now is your time to get creative. Line whatever container you’d like to use for shaping your cheese spread with plastic wrap. Add in the cheese spread and cover. As an alternative for a free-form shape, place into a bowl and cover.
  5. Let cheese spread chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour to firm up and let the flavors mingle.
  6. Invert container onto a plate and top with freshly cracked black pepper and sesame seeds (this adds a nice crunchiness). Or, to make the spider I made above, make a spider “body” and “head” on a plate, then pat on the sesame seed/black pepper mixture. Add in sliced peppers for “legs” and “eyes”.
  7. Serve with crackers and veggies!

As an alternative, you can also stuff this mixture into mini sweet peppers for another delicious appetizer. Feel free to spread leftovers onto sandwiches or melt onto paninis!

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Psycho and Pumpkin Pasta

Little brothers can get the best of you.

Growing up, my dad and I would have our Sunday night tradition- watching Alfred Hitchcock movies on the classic movie channel on Sunday nights. There was nothing like a big bowl of popcorn, ginger ale, and a good thriller (especially knowing that Dad was there to protect me in case I got too scared!).

I should probably take a quick moment to state that I get *way* to into movies/books/tv shows…to the point where I will cry during sad or emotional scenes (let’s not talk about that google chrome commercial from a few years back), yell out encouragement to movie characters (yes, in the theater), or practically look like I’m having a seizure from wringing my hands during stressful moments. And yes, this is quite enjoyable for other people to witness.

On this particular Sunday night, my dad and I had watched Psycho. As always, I had gotten a bit scared, but with Dad there I was able to tough it out. Afterwards, I hopped into the shower to start getting ready for school on Monday.

Now, for those of you that haven’t seen the movie, there is a memorable scene where a woman is stabbed through a shower curtain.

You can probably already see where this story is going.

My mother, bless her heart, told my middle brother of a wonderful trick he could do…all he had to do was grab his huge plastic pirate sword.

So, here I was, showering, thinking about going back to school the next day, still a bit on edge from the movie, when the next thing you know I felt myself being jabbed through the shower curtain with a knife-like object.

Let’s just say that my vocal cords gave a performance worthy of Psycho itself. It’s a wonder my brother still has his hearing.

P.S. Years later in medical school, the cat I had hit me with her paw through the shower curtain when I wasn’t suspecting it while getting ready in the morning. It’s amazing the cat isn’t deaf, either.

Scarily Easy Pumpkin Pasta

maybe the carbs will help lull me to sleep

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dried pasta (I prefer cavatappi)
  • 1 c fat free half and half
  • 1 c canned pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, finely minced
  • 1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How-to

  1. In a large pot, bring to a boil water. Salt generously.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain, reserving some of the pasta water if needed to thin out sauce.
  3. Return pasta to hot pot. Stir in parmesan cheese, then half and half, then canned pumpkin. Add in sage. If needed, thin out sauce with additional pasta water (this sauce will really thicken up as it cools).
  4. Salt and pepper to taste and serve!