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101622 food column

Bite by Bite
Conquering My Culinary Bucket List One Dish at a Time

By Emily Banks Wooten

Our days of trick or treating on Halloween are long behind us but I feel like I need to make some reference to Halloween in this column as a number of my readers have either young children or grandchildren.

Judging from the various Halloween related shows on the Food Network, as well as the multitude of offerings on Pinterest and the internet, lots of folks seem to be going super elaborate with their Halloween concoctions. Not only was I wanting to go with something a little simpler, but I was trying my best to come up with something that is keto-friendly since our household has gotten on that bandwagon of late.

And then I came up with the perfect idea, something that seems to be trending considerably – a pumpkin snack board, or jack-o’-lantern charcuterie board, if you will. Google either one of those phrases and you’ll come up with literally hundreds of pictures from which to get ideas. And the beauty ofthese is that you can tailor the offerings to fit your own dietary needs or desires.

What is a pumpkin snack board or jack-o’-lantern charcuterie board, you may be asking. Basically, it is the arrangement of a variety of orange food on a food-safe board or tray in the likeness of a jack-o’-lantern with black foods used for the eyes and mouth. The choices are endless as to what to use.

However, as I mentioned earlier, I was trying to keep it keto-compliant, with just a few exceptions that I knew Daughter would enjoy.

From left to right, my board consisted of Mandarin orange slices, goldfish crackers, grape tomatoes, cheddar cheese, orange miniature bell peppers, baby carrots, Cheez-Its, pepperoni slices and chopped cantaloupe, with blackberries for the eyes and mouth.

The website “thebakermama.com” is the one I primarily used for guidelines. However, there are many out there. Some others you might check out are “kitchenfunwithmy3sons.com,” “tasteofhome.com,” “totallythebomb.com” and “savorrecipes.com.”

Now should you prefer something a little more free form or elegant, as opposed to the jack-o’-lantern, the sky’s the limit as far as what you can create. I saw some beautiful and very creative boards at “thedeliciouslife.com,” “djalalicooks.com” and “plumstreetcollective.com.”

I chose to run this prior to Halloween to provide ample time for you to plan your own masterpiece. I would love to see pictures of your creations. n

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