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South Williamsport, PA
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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

I can’t believe this week is Hallow’s Eve. I literally thought we had one more week in between this week and Halloween. I talked to my momma the other day, and we haven’t been together for dinner in, I bet, six weeks. With my kids in afterschool activities and my brother’s family the same way,

I can’t believe this week is Hallow’s Eve. I literally thought we had one more week in between this week and Halloween. I talked to my momma the other day, and we haven’t been together for dinner in, I bet, six weeks. With my kids in afterschool activities and my brother’s family the same way, it makes it hard to do anything extra during the week this time of year. While we were talking, she said how nice it would be to be together next week for our pumpkin carving party.

“Momma, that’s not next week. It’s the following week,” I said.

“Honey, it’s next week,” she replied.

“Mother, I am telling you, we still have one more week in between.”

“Andrea, today is the 19th.”

There was a pause.

I put her on speakerphone and still looked at my calendar because my brain could not wrap around the thought that this could remotely be true. She was right. How can this be right? Where did the time go!? Halloween week is a crazy week for us, and for once, I thought we would have a week with not much going on. The Lord was like, “Not this week, Andrea!”

The week of Halloween is nuts for us.

One night my best friend Amanda and I get together, buy take-out, and watch “Hocus Pocus.” We have done it for a few years now, the week of Halloween. Then, I take my niece and kids to Fairlawn’s Trunk-or-Treat night on Wednesday. Another night my husband and I take the kids out for dinner and then drive around looking at Halloween lights. We love this tradition and, again, have done it for years. We all look forward to it. Then finally, my pumpkin carving night!

My Gram, Lois Liddick, always had a pumpkin party for all of us grandkids. We all looked so forward to this. When Ty was born, my mom bought him his first pumpkin when he was just three months old. It was big enough for him to fit in it. (He was a butterball at three months!)

The following year she continued the tradition, and of course, we had her come over to watch him carve his first pumpkin even though we did most of the work because he was still pretty little. Ty is now twelve, and every year Grammy has bought him a pumpkin along with all the rest of her grandbabies. They go to a little pumpkin patch close by, and each gets to pick their own to carve.

When Ty turned three, I decided on pumpkin carving night that I would make a special Halloween-themed meal and have Luke, Loren, Mom, Mark, and Gram and Pap (Lois and Floyd Liddick) for dinner. I knew my brother would someday have kids, and being with Gram and Pap cutting pumpkins was, after all, tradition. I always served my grandparents coffee in cute little pumpkin mugs as they sat and watched as we carved pumpkins.

Let’s skip ahead to eight years later. We now have two beautiful nieces, and my niece Lexi who is four just said to me about “Auntie’s pumpkin carving night.” It melted my heart that she remembered! Kenzy, Lexi, and Leah, on their very first year at our pumpkin carving party, were all put into a big ol’ pumpkin too as babies! My momma brings Dunkin Donuts, and I make something Halloween-themed for dinner. After dinner, we turn Halloween party music on and start carving.

I have so many fun nights the week of Halloween, but this tradition, in particular, is one of my favorites. I am thankful to my grandparents for the many years of them giving us wonderful pumpkin carving parties, and I am so glad we can still continue this tradition. And look at that, I thought I had one extra week I had to wait — haha.

Halloween Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

For the casserole:

Ingredients:
• 3 lbs of seasoned cooked chicken breast, shredded into large chunks
• 12 ounces dry wide pasta, cooked according to package

Casserole Fillin’:

• 6 tablespoons butter
• ½ cup of flour
• 4 cups chicken stock
• ½ cup heavy cream
• 2 teaspoons salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• 1 ½ cups frozen peas
• 1 ½ cups store bought carrots, shredded
• 2 large can refrigerated crescent rolls
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Prep your chicken, cook, shred, and set aside. Cook pasta according to package.

In a large skillet, melt butter. Sprinkle flour over top of melted butter. Whisk the flour into the butter. Continue whisking about 2 to 3 minutes until smooth. Slowly whisk in half of the chicken stock. Whisk until smooth again. Add remaining stock, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth and the gravy thickens. This will take about 5-10 minutes.

Add peas, carrots, shredded chicken and cooked pasta to the gravy. Stir to combine. Pour into the prepared casserole dish. Unroll the crescent rolls and place on top of the chicken mixture. Press to the edges and seal the perforated seams. Brush on the 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Bake for 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

*For the Halloween edition, take the extra tube of crescent rolls, cut out Halloween shapes and place them on top of the casserole. I took a toothpick and wrote RIP on the tombstones. Brush on more butter and bake for the same amount of time. *

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