KIDS CLUB

VOLUME 23

Welcome to the latest issue of our ChopChop Kids Club newsletter!

Welcome to the latest ChopChop Kids Club newsletter!

This month we’re cooking with squash! Plus doing a lot more with it—like jack-o’-lantern-themed math games, rotten science experiments, and more. We’re also wondering what your favorite things are about this month.

Please drop us a line and let us know!

Have fun and be well.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Simplest Roasted Squash

squash beauty

Roasted Acorn Squash

You can cook other squash the same way, although you may need to deal with their shape a little differently during the cutting process; as long as you end up with thinnish wedges or slices, they’ll come out right. Very tender squash such as butternut and delicata won’t need the added water. 
Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 4 Servings

kitchen gear

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife (adult needed)
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cup
  • 9 x 13-inch baking pan 

Ingredients
 

  • 2 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive or canola oil, or melted unsalted butter
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water

Instructions
 

  • Turn the oven on and set the heat to 425 degrees. Use the teaspoon of oil to grease the pan.
  • Put the squash on the cutting board and stand them up (if possible). Very, very carefully, use the knife to cut each squash in half through the stem end.
  • Using a measuring spoon, scrape the seeds and as many of the fibrous strands as possible from each squash. Cut each half into 4 wedges.
  • Put the squash in the pan, cut-side down, drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with the salt. Add the water to the bottom of the pan, so that it surrounds the squash.
  • Once the oven temperature has reached 425 degrees, put the pan in the oven and roast until the flesh of the squash is deeply browned and soft, 35-45 minutes.
  • Serve right away. 

Notes

FANCY THAT!
Halfway through cooking, sprinkle on 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or rosemary leaves (or 1/3 teaspoon dried) and/or 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup. 

How to Use the Oven Safely

While you’re still learning, an adult should help make sure that the oven has been turned on correctly and everything is safe. Remember to tie your hair back, keep hands and any flammable objects—like dish towels, papers, or cardboard packages—away from the oven, use the proper cooking temperature, and carefully watch the food that is cooking.

1. Make sure there is nothing in the oven before you turn it on. Turn the oven on and set it to 425 degrees. Wait for the oven to preheat. Many ovens will beep to alert you when the oven is preheated.

2. With the help of an adult, open the oven door, put the baking pan in the oven, and close the door.

3. Set a timer according to the recipe—35 minutes—and check to see if the squash is done. If not, leave it in for another 5 or 10 minutes and check again.

4. Avoid opening the oven door to peek at the squash, as it will make the oven lose heat.

5. Use pot holders when removing the pan from the oven.

6. Be sure to turn off the oven when you’re done using it!

Roasted Squash Seeds

Roasted Squash Seeds

You can roast the seeds from any winter squash, not just your jack-o’-lantern! Your squash may have more
or fewer seeds than 1 cup. You can just adjust the ingredient amounts accordingly.
Prep Time 15 mins
Servings 4

kitchen gear

  • Colander or strainer
  • Clean dish towel
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Wooden spoon or silicone spatula
  • Potholders

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup (or so) pumpkin or squash seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon Salt

Instructions
 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your equipment and ingredients and put them on the counter.
  • Turn the oven on and set the heat to 325 degrees
  • Put the seeds in the colander or strainer and rinse well, but don’t worry if there’s still squash attached to them! (This is edible.) Blot them dry with the dish towel.
  • Put the seeds on the baking sheet and add the oil and salt. Mix everything together, then spread out the seeds in a single layer.
  • Once the oven temperature has reached 325 degrees, put the sheet in the oven and bake until the seeds are dry and golden brown, 15 to 40 minutes (this will depend on how big they are when you start, and how wet).
  • Set aside to cool, stirring with the spoon or spatula every 10 minutes or so. Serve right away or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Notes

GET CREATIVE
When the seeds are almost done, stir in one of the following for the last 5 minutes or so of baking:
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2teaspoon curry powder
1⁄2teaspoon Old Bay or Creole spice blend
1⁄4teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 teaspoon brown sugar and 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Rotten Jack Observational Journal

If you have a good spot to leave your jack-o’-lantern after Halloween, you can observe the process of decay (rotting). Simply go outside every day with a notebook and pen, note the date and time, and write down a few things you see and some theories about them. Is the pumpkin getting shriveled up? Why do you think that happens? Do you see any black or white furry stuff growing anywhere? Do you know what it is? Are any animals interested in the pumpkin? Do an internet search to look up anything you’re not sure about, like “Why is my jack-o’-lantern fuzzy?” When it finally collapses completely, note how long it’s been since you first put it outside.

For related fun, check out the picture book Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell.

According to Guinness World Records, the heaviest squash ever was (no surprise) a pumpkin! It was grown in Rhode Island in 2017 and weighed 2,118 pounds. That’s just over a ton, which is roughly the weight of a small car, a walrus, or the Liberty Bell.

Jack-O'-Lantern Math

Here’s a fun estimating activity you can do with your family!

All you need is a pumpkin (or another squash or large vegetable), some string and scissors, and a pencil and paper. Ask everyone to look at the pumpkin and then (without using the pumpkin to measure) cut a piece of string they think will be just long enough to go around the pumpkin’s middle, like a belt. Once
everyone has cut their string, try putting each string around the pumpkin.
Mark down whether each was too long, too short, or just right. Who got closest? Did they have a particular strategy, or did they just get lucky? (Try it again with anything else you can fit a string around, like a big pot or a grapefruit!)

PRACTICE GRATITUDE

If you’re not going to get to go trick-or-treating this year, you might feel disappointed. That’s okay. You can talk about that feeling with a trusted friend or family member. Afterward, try listing 5 (other) favorite things about this month—either October in general, or this October in particular. If you don’t feel like writing them down, you can draw them instead.

FOOD HISTORY
People in the Americas have been eating pumpkin seeds since at least the time of the Aztecs, when squash, along with corn and beans, was cultivated in the West. The trio is sometimes referred to as the “Three Sisters.”

Pumpkin Workout

Make the most of your jack-o’-lantern with a quick fitness routine!

To add a little creepy Halloween ambience, put on the “Monster Mash.”

Then ready, set, squat:

1. Hold a pumpkin in your arms at chest height.

2. Bend at your knees and hips, sticking your rear end out like you’re sitting in an imaginary chair. Keep your chest lifted.

3. Squat down as low as you can, keeping your head and chest lifted and keeping your knees over your ankles. Press your weight back into your heels.

4. Push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position.

5. See if you can do a set of 5 squats. If you need to, you can put down the pumpkin!

Do You Have Any More Squash Or Canned Pumpkin

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Any-Vegetable Minestrone
Pumpkin Loaf with Raisins & Dried Cherries
Pumpkin-Pie Smoothie
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