All treats and no tricks: That sums up this Happy Halloween blog! Whether you’re eager to host a party or find the healthiest and tastiest treats for the little witches and warlocks who will be ringing your doorbell this year, we’ve got the dish on what to serve and what to avoid for health and happiness!
One Halloween nearly a decade ago, when my oldest was a toddler and I still idealistically believed I’d be able to shield my children forever from the evils of trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup and Red Dye Number 5, I bought dried fruit instead of candy to give out to trick-or-treaters.
This move didn’t go over well. A sarcastic fifth grader said, “I’m sure the American Dental Association appreciates your idea of what candy is,” and declined my organic raisins. Moms openly gave me weird looks. I guess you can say I got lucky that my house didn’t end up TP’ed!
Can’t resist candy this time of year? Create your own treat with non-tricky ingredients! Luscious dark chocolate, hearty hazelnuts and a dash of pumpkin pie spice come together in this incredibly easy recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Bark. Chunky, fun and full of fall flavor, you won’t be tempted to unwrap any of your kids’ fun-sized bars with a batch of this sweet stuff on hand.
I’ve become a bit of a food snob in recent years, and I’m proud of it! If you’re going to look down your nose at anything, fattening, processed foods with GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and artificial flavors and colors seem like a good thing to be snooty about.
By Rachel Begun, MS, RD
I may be a dietitian and advocate for healthy foods most of the time, but I believe every child should enjoy and engage in the traditions and festivities of Halloween, including those who have to eat gluten free.
It all comes down to planning ahead and parents and children deciding together what their fun and safe celebration should look like. Here are some ideas to get the discussion going:
After the trick-or-treaters have come and gone, what can you do with those leftover pumpkins? Here are six different uses for pumpkin parts, from seeds and flesh to the pumpkin shell itself:
1. Pumpkin planter: Turn your scary jack-o-lantern into a festive fall planter – just fill partway with potting soil and add the plant of your choice. Keep as decoration (until the pumpkin goes bad) or plant in the ground right away.
2. Baked goods: First, whip up some pumpkin puree by cutting your pumpkin in half, scooping out the seeds and guts (the stringy parts), and placing the pumpkin in a shallow baking dish. Add a cup of water to the dish and bake for 90 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the innards are moist and soft. Scoop out the flesh and blend in a food processor. Use your pumpkin puree for pancakes, muffins, cupcakes, breads, pies and more!
3. Pumpkin butter: The innards of your pumpkin are the perfect base for a delicious butter. Follow the steps above to make pumpkin puree, then add 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 cup of apple cider and spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and ginger) to taste. Add the ingredients to a saucepan and simmer for 25 minutes. Spread on bread or fruit for a flavorful breakfast!
4. Colorful bowls: Cut down your carved pumpkins into bowl shapes, brush them with a small amount of vegetable oil and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes to make beautiful bowls for a special dinner, or to use in a centerpiece.
5. Seed snack: Save those pumpkin seeds to use in a delicious and healthy trail mix or as a topping for salads. Simply rinse the seeds, brush them with oil and bake them for 45 minutes at 300 degrees. If you desire, top them with butter, salt, spices or sugar before baking.
6. Pet food: If your pup has digestion issues or is overweight, add a small scoop of pumpkin puree to his food dish to support healthy digestion, provide fiber and other nutrients, and keep him feeling full.
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