Archives for October 20, 2018

Spooky Pasta for Halloween!

Candy and other sweets are big on Halloween but what about some other healthy suggestions for dinner perhaps? Here are a few healthy pre-trick-or-treating recipes to enjoy this Halloween – Pumpkin Ricotta Lasagne, Black Bean Spaghetti with AFRAID-O Sauce and Garlicky Black Bean Spaghetti Spoons with Deviled Eyes made pasta from our friends at Explore Cuisine!
All Explore Cuisine pastas are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO and made with 100% organic ingredients. The Green Lentil Lasagne and Black Bean Spaghetti are jam-packed with protein and made from only one ingredient each – green lentils and black beans!
I can’t wait to try these recipes this Halloween especially the Pumpkin Ricotta Lasagne!
By Lori Hirsch Stokoe
Pumpkin Ricotta Mixture
  • ¼ c. fresh sage leaves, chopped, plus more whole leaves for garnish
  • 2 t. butter
  • 15 oz. ricotta
  • 10 oz. canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • ½ t. pumpkin pie spice
Fry sage in butter until crisp. Remove to paper towel. Then combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Béchamel Sauce aka White Sauce
  • 4 T. butter
  • 4 T. gluten-free flour
  • 2 ½ c. milk, warmed
  • ¼ t. ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to cook the flour, about two minutes. Add the milk slowly and continue to stir. Bring to barely a boil then immediately turn down the heat. Cook, whisking until thickened for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  1. Spread ½ c. of white sauce over the bottom of a greased 8″ square (2 qt.) baking dish. Place 2 sheets of no-boil lasagne noodles over the sauce in a single layer.
  2. Top lasagna noodles with a third of the ricotta mixture. Layer with a quarter of the mozzarella. Then top with a third of the remaining of the white sauce. Top sauce with 2 more sheets of lasagne noodles to build the second and third layers the same way.
  3. For the top layer, place last two sheets of lasagna over the white sauce. Top with remaining mozzarella.
  4. Bake at 375°F for 35 minutes, covered with foil. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes until the lasagna is bubbling hot and the top is browning. Remove from oven and let sit at least 10 minutes before cutting. Garnish with fried whole sage leaves.

Black Bean Spaghetti with AFRAID-O Sauce, White Carrot Phalanges

Recipe by Lori Hirsch Stokoe
White Carrot Phalanges
Peel 8 white carrots then carve with small knife into finger-bone shape. Steam until al dente. Set aside.
Black Bean Spaghetti with AFRAID-O Sauce
  • 1 box Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti – cooked, drained
  • 1 jar of alfredo sauce (can choose gluten-free)
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce (choose one that is more blood red in color, rather than orange)
  • fresh basil
  1. Heat the sauces in separate saucepans over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Place warm Explore Cuisine black bean spaghetti in the center of four serving plates.
  3. Ladle alfredo sauce over the center of the spaghetti.
  4. Arrange carrot phalanges over the sauce.
  5. Splatter marinara sauce over the entire dish, in a gruesome manner.
  6. Garnish with basil.

Garlicky Black Bean Spaghetti Spoons with Deviled Eyes

Recipe by Lori Hirsch Stokoe
Deviled Eyes
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Food Coloring
  • Jumbo Black Olives
  • Garlic Mayonnaise
  • Unflavored Gelatin Glaze
Special Equipment:
  • Two sharp thin tubes for cutting hard-boiled egg into (1) the size of an iris, and (2) into the size of a pupil.
  • Fine paintbrush to paint food coloring.
  • Pastry brush for brushing gelatin.
  1. Use the larger tube to cut the top of the egg in a circle for the iris. Remove the egg white plug. Paint the egg white plug with diluted food coloring to look like an iris. Let dry.
  2. Use the smaller tube to cut out a place for the pupil in the painted iris. Use the same tube to cut a pupil out of the black olive. Place the olive pupil into the iris.
  3. Cut off the bottom third of the egg so it will nestle in the spaghetti spoon. Reserve any hard-boiled egg yolks for spaghetti recipe.
  4. Scoop out a small amount of the egg yolk from the top of the egg to make room for mayonnaise. Squirt garlic mayonnaise into the hollow top of the hard-boiled egg, and then replace the iris plug.
  5. Paint food coloring bloodshot lines around the iris. Let dry.
  6. Finish by brushing a light coat of slightly thickened gelatin glaze over the entire eye to give an authentic glossy finish.
Garlicky Black Bean Spaghetti Spoons
  • 1 box Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti – cooked, drained
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T. fresh herbs, finely chopped  – such as tarragon, parsley, chives
  • salt, to taste
  • red chili flakes, to taste
  • 1 T. cooked egg yolk, grated
  1. In a medium bowl – combine olive oil with garlic, herbs, salt and chili flakes. Add spaghetti and toss. Sprinkle with grated egg yolk.
  2. Arrange spaghetti in decorative serving spoons. Place deviled eyes in center.

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this post. Images and recipes were also provided. 

Newport Dunes Presents 80s on the Bay: Fright Night, 10.27

Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort is pleased to present 80s on the Bay: Fright Night on Saturday, October 27 from 6:30-10 p.m. Hosted by legendary ‘80s DJ, Richard Blade of Sirius XM and Jack FM, this ghoulishly delightful Halloween themed dance party inside the Big Tent is the perfect way to kick off Halloween weekend in a mystical waterfront setting. Dance the night away to spook-tacular ‘80s hits, enjoy the fang-tastic food trucks, and don’t forget to check out the spirits at the bar! Guests of all ages are invited to dress to impress for the Halloween costume contest for a chance to win thrilling prizes.


Arrive early to enjoy dinner along the waterfront at Back Bay Bistro, just steps from the event. Return to Back Bay Bistro for the After Party where DJ Richard Blade will continue the ‘80s jams, take photos with fans and sign copies of his new book, World in My Eyes – An Autobiography.


Saturday, October 27, 6:30-10 p.m.


Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort

1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660

*Parking is $10 per car.


$20 General Admission

Standing room with no guaranteed seating. Seat upgrades may be available. No outside chairs will be allowed.

$40 VIP Admission

Includes upfront tabling seating near the stage, waiter service for the bar, VIP restrooms and admission to the After Party at Back Bay Bistro.


For additional information about 80s on the Bay: Fright Night, please visit

To make a dinner reservation at Back Bay Bistro, please call 949-999-3100 or visit


For more information on events and amenities at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, please call 949-729-3863 or visit


Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort is an iconic recreational area featuring a 450-slip marina, boat launch, private waveless beach and playground that has been enjoyed by families since 1958. It’s the summer home of So Cal’s largest inflatable waterpark. The Dunes’ signature restaurant, Back Bay Bistro, is a critically acclaimed dining destination open for lunch and dinner, featuring award-winning cuisine and stunning water views. Newport Dunes is also home to 24 charming cottages available to the public and a state-of-the-art RV park.

Pageant of the Monsters Haunted House Returns to Laguna Beach October 26, 27, 28 and 31

Just when you thought it was safe to go backstage…The Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters brings a “monster” of a good time to Laguna Beach!
Reviving an event from years past, Pageant of the Masters Director Diane Challis Davy presents the Pageant of the Monsters, transforming the Pageant’s backstage into a Haunted House with an artistic twist. The event will take place on October 26, 27, 28 and 31 at the Festival of Arts from 6 – 9:30 pm. This is the 5th presentation of Pageant of the Monsters. Davy originated the haunted house idea in 1996, it was repeated in 1997 and then again in 2007 and 2013.
This year, the Pageant of the Masters’ creative team of artists and technicians has reunited to resurrect the acclaimed Halloween Haunted House as part of the Pageant of the Masters 85th Anniversary celebration. Guests will be directed through the amphitheater, Pageant workshops and stage, which have been transformed into a series of eerie artistically presented vignettes.
Themed Raiders of the Lost Art, guests will follow the footsteps of legendary archeologist and adventurer “Cincinnati Smith” on a perilous quest to recover treasures from exotic locales across the globe. Trek through the creepy jungle empire of the Amazon to the desert tombs of the pharaohs in this whimsical and haunted spoof.
Davy reveals, “It’s not your usual haunted house. It will be a little scary and spooky, but lots of fun for the whole family.”
In addition to the haunted house, the Festival of Arts will also be holding a scarecrow competition inviting local community groups, clubs, organizations and individuals to participate. Attendees will be able to vote on their favorite from October 26 to 28 and the winners will be announced on October 31. This competition is open to the public and cash prizes will be awarded. Deadline to register is October 12. For information on entering the scarecrow contest, please visit
Other fiendish tricks and treats on the Festival grounds include:
  • Alien autopsy, demented chef and other spooky sideshows
  • Up close encounters with the Reptile Zoo
  • Face painting and airbrush temporary tattoos
  • Halloween photo-ops and selfie stations
  • Silent horror film movie screenings
  • Create your own mask workshop
  • “Boo Bingo” and build a ghost with Laguna Art-A-Fair
  • Draw Halloween-themed ghouls and Jack O’ Lanterns in oil pastels with Sawdust Art and Craft Festival
  • Tissue paper roses with Laguna Playhouse inspired by the upcoming performance Beauty and the Beast, A Christmas Rose
  • Tile glazing with LOCA Arts Education and Festival of Mosaics for a new permanent public mural in Laguna Beach
  • Music by KX 93.5, Laguna’s Only FM
  • Food and drink available for purchase
  • Plus art displays, games, and more “spook-tacular” activities the whole family can enjoy!
Funds for this program are provided in part by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.
Tickets are $15 for adults in advance ($20 at the door) and $10 for children 12 and under. This event is not recommended for children under 5. Tickets are available online at or by phone 800-487-3378. Costumes may be worn by guests ages 12 and under. Guests 13 and older are not permitted to wear costumes. The event will take place at the Festival of Arts, 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.

The Festival of Arts, a non-profit 501(c)(3), has always been a local leader that has helped with the growth and development of the community and the arts in Laguna Beach. Established in 1932, the Festival of Arts’ mission is to promote, produce and sponsor events and activities that encourage the appreciation, study and performance of the arts.