Growing up, my family wasn't really "all about it," either. We would put together costumes from our "dress-up basket," rummage through mom's closet, or raid the magical closet in my grandparents' house (which was full of interesting clothes, costumes, masks, and hats). We would go to my grandparents' neighborhood and take a turn about the block, and we were done. No crazy parties. No incredibly expensive costumes. It was simple fun.
This is one of my favorite costume years. I was miserable. The false eyelashes. The plastic nose. The high heels. But, oh, wasn't I so cute as Minnie Mouse? My sister was a Gypsy, and my little brother was a bunny (I think).
I can't leave my husband out. Here he is as a clown. Appropriate. And very cute.
I don't remember what we would eat before we would go out on Halloween; our little minds were focused on the candy that we were going to receive. These days, I think that the perfect meal for a chilly evening is a good soup. Something that will warm you through, but not be too heavy. This soup is simple, and simply good.
Russian Mushroom and Potato Soup
Adapted from Allrecipes
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 leeks, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 pounds potatoes, diced
1 cup half and half (fat free is fine)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sherry
Melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Remove the mushrooms to a bowl.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the same pan. Add the leeks and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the broth, dill, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and potatoes. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender (but not falling apart). Stir the sauteed mushrooms back into the soup.
In the empty mushroom bowl, mix the half and half, flour and sherry until smooth. Stir into the soup until slightly thickened and warmed through (but don't let it boil). Enjoy with a slice of crusty bread.