Go Ahead- Play With Your Food

And then you can eat it later. OK, it may be a little late for that pumpkin you and your kids carved over a week ago for Halloween, but who ever said healthy food couldn’t be used as an artistic medium and then still be consumed? Let’s back up a little to a week and a half ago when you may have purchased a large pumpkin or two to carve jack-o-lanterns along with a few smaller ones, merely for decor. So long as all food items are handled with food safety precautions in mind, there is no reason why they should have to be thrown in the compost after the fact. Take those small pumpkins that you simply placed around the house for decoration, cut them in half, place them cut side down in a glass baking dish and let them cook in the oven until soft (about 375 degrees for roughly an hour and a half), then cool and scoop out the flesh and use for a pureed soup or even a seasonal smoothie! Alternatively, cut the top off and use the pumpkin itself as an edible pot to bake, then serve a beef stew. In the photo above, using squash an the proverbial blank canvas, someone at the Union Square Farmer’s Market has taken sculpture to a whole new level. Will that artist end up consuming their creation?  Who knows. The take away here is that with the holidays ahead, there’s no reason why we have to approach them thinking there are no other options than to go crazy baking eight kinds of cookies (something I used to do myself!), creating gingerbread houses and pulling taffy with the little ones (does anyone still do that?). Start at home- get the whole family involved being seasonally creative in the kitchen and you’ll do everyone in the household a favor by offsetting all the other occasions you may not have control over during the fun, but hectic, holiday season.