Monthly Archives: October 2010

Tasty Thursday: Candy Bar Pizza

In general, I try to post healthy recipes, but sometimes you have to live a little and go to the dark side. The chocolate dark side!

MakeandTakes.com has this great Candy Bar Pizza recipe (which she apparently took from Fahrenheit 350). If you wanted to make it for this weekend, you could add the Halloween colored M&Ms. Or do Thanksgiving colored down the road or holiday colored. No end to the festive M&Ms you can sprinkle on top.

Don’t they just look too yummy?

 

Topping
1 pound bag of M&M’s, holiday colors are always appropriate
4-8 of your favorite candy bars
(Twix, Payday, Reeses, Snickers, Rolo’s, Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, Kit Kat, Nestle Crunch)
Crush, cut and mash into tiny pieces
Mix together in a bowl, set aside

Cookie Crust
1 ½ sticks softened butter
¾ cups white sugar
¾ cups brown sugar
Cream together until fluffy

 

Add
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
Mix together until color lightens

Add
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ¼ cups flour
½ cup mini chocolate chips
Stir until flour is incorporated

Spread into a greased jelly roll pan, or lipped pizza pan
Bake at F350°, 10-12 minutes until edges just begin to brown
Remove from oven, let rest 5 minutes
Prepare sauce

Sauce
2 cups, or ½ bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
Melt, and stir until smooth
Spread evenly over cookie crust
Top with candy bars
Let cool

 

 

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Trick or Treating Age Cutoff?

I’ve often wondered myself, how old is too old to trick or treat? Do 17 year olds really need to go door to door? And if they do, shouldn’t they at least have to put, oh…a few seconds of thought into a costume? Back “in the day” when I went out trick or treating, it was generally thought middle school was the cut off. Once you passed 8th grade, your free candy days were over. But, then again, we didn’t want to go out in high school. We were too cool for that. Only “babies” trick or treated. I guess somewhere along the way, the mind thinking changed and a generation being famously dubbed at the “what’s in it for me?” generation decided they should miss out on free loot.

Here’s an interesting article that takes a look at Halloween and age limits.

Taken from shine.com

How old is too old for trick-or-treating?

Have you ever looked out your peephole and felt scared of a trick-or-treater? You’re not alone. Mayor Mark Eckhert of Belleville, Ill., says he’s heard a ton of complaints from frightened single mothers and senior citizens who are less than happy about the  “6-foot-tall kids” that ring their doorbells on Halloween. His solution: To create an ordinance banning high-school teenagers—that is, anyone over the age of 12—from trick-or-treating.

“When I was a kid my father said to me, ‘You’re too damn big to be going trick-or-treating. You’re done,’” Eckhert told ABC News. “When that doesn’t happen, then that’s reason for the city governments to intervene.”

Intervening, in this case, means putting an age limit on trick-or-treaters, and threatening the over-12  set with a $100 fine for those who ignore the law—though, according to ABC, that fine has rarely, if ever, been actually meted out. And while some residents of Belleville have complained about the ordinance, it seems that many more are relieved. Trick-or-treat age limits have also been popular in townships in South Carolina, Mississippi, Maryland, and Virginia.

However comforting these restrictions may be to some, we can’t help but wonder: Are laws the right way to go when we’re teaching kids about becoming better adults?

Because, honestly, many of us—myself included— were teenage trick-or-treaters. How it happened for me is probably less important than why (I can try to blame other factors, but the truth is, I just loved free candy). You know when you’re aware that you are doing something wrong, but you do it anyway, hoping that you’ll pass unnoticed? Well, I quickly learned I couldn’t: “You gotta be kidding,” one neighbor said, staring sadly at my baby costume, slamming his door, and providing a necessary behavior adjustment all in one swift move.

While I learned my lesson through good, old-fashioned (and effective) humiliation, Eckhert and others believe that creating laws takes the guesswork away from those unclear about when they are no longer eligible for receiving treats. But not everyone is convinced that excluding teens from the relatively tame activity of trick-or-treating is a great idea. “Trick-or-treating in a large part is embraced in this country because it serves to cut down on teenage vandalism,” University of North Dakota history professor and early traditions expert, Hans Broedel, told ABC News. “Certainly telling teenagers they can’t go trick-or-treating isn’t going to stop them from going out on Halloween and doing whatever.”

What do you think? Should overage kids be legally banned from trick-or-treating? And how old is too old for trick-or-treating?

 

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11 Easy Ways To Go Organic

Everyone is trying to get on the organic bandwagon. It can be overwhelming when you are grocery shopping. Here are 11 easy ways to go green!

Taken from menshealth.com

By: Andrew Daniels

During the past two decades, “healthy eating” and “organic foods” have become nearly synonymous—and the American appetite for them has grown increasingly voracious (between 1990 and 2009 alone, sales in organic foods and beverages jumped from $1 billion to $24.8 billion). The benefits of consuming a more organic diet are many, including a lower risk of asthma, diabetes, Parkinson’s, certain cancers, and even autism. But the supermarket isn’t the only place where you can boost your health (and save the planet) by going organic. We sat down with Maria Rodale, CEO of Rodale, Inc. and author of Organic Manifesto, to learn a handful of easy ways that every man can live a more chemical-free life. We all have a responsibility for how this world turns out, how our families turn out, and how our futures turn out,” says Rodale, “and choosing organic is really about exercising that responsibility.” Here are 11 ways to go organic beyond the grocery store—and stay healthy for life.

Read more: http://www.menshealth.com/mhlists/Go-Organic/index.php#ixzz13V5kr8w0

 

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3 Major Issues Facing Organic Food in the U.S.

Taken from menshealth.com

Organic News

State of the Organic Union

By: Maria Rodale

As a third-generation insider and granddaughter of the original organic iconoclast, I’ve seen the evolution of the organic food industry happen in real time. Slow-motion real time. (My grandfather started Organic Gardeningmagazine in 1942–although truthfully, I wasn’t born until 1962.) On October 13, 2010, the current leaders of the organic movement in America convened at the Fourth Annual Organic Summit in Boston. Topics ranged from the challenges of procuring organic ingredients, to overall trends and perceptions of consumers, to strategies for defending against genetically modified organisms (GMOs), to ways of overcoming the seemingly hardwired American preference for everything cheap. 

But three major issues became abundantly clear as the day wore on in that windowless, generic hotel ballroom–three major issues that could affect every single person on this planet for better or for worse.

1. Americans are very confused about what organic is and is not, and why organic matters. The majority of Americans think foods with the word “natural” on them are better and safer than “organic.” And yet there are no governmental safety standards for using the word “natural.” Natural, in fact, means nothing. But it’s a happy word, so food companies slap it on anything they can to make their products sell better.

The proliferation of other labels–“beyond organic,” “locally grown,” “humanely raised,” “free range,” and “sustainable” –adds to the confusion. And when people are confused (and frankly, many times even when they are not confused), they revert to their primary emotional driver of decisions, which is most often price. So they choose the cheapest food rather than the safest for the planet. That confusion plays right into the hands of the chemical-food industry.

2. The organic industry must focus on clearing up that confusion and communicating why organic food is so important and the safest food you can buy. We in the organic industry have spent most of our time and energy trying to prove that organic is more nutritious–when instead, as Kanthe Shelke from Corvus Blue (a nutritionaltechnology think tank) told us, we should be focusing on “what organic does not have.” Organic foods do not have neurotoxin pesticides, endocrine disruptors, herbicides, and other chemicals, which some doctors and scientists believe might play a role in everything from diabetes and obesity to infertility, autism, and cancer–especially childhood leukemia.

The medical studies that support these seemingly inflammatory hypotheses do exist, and they are not getting picked up by the media. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has even issued a call for a moratorium on GMO foods because it has seen evidence of liver, kidney, and digestive failure as well as infertility and accelerated aging (hello, Hollywood, are you listening?). But it’s almost too late already, since over 75 percent of all processed (non organic) foods in America already include GMOs. The tragedy of this statistic is that the pollen from these plants has been unleashed into our environment and can’t ever be reined back in.

For any environmentalist to not be a raving organic supporter is outrageous. The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, caused by agricultural runoff all the way down the Mississippi, existed even before the BP oil gusher–and this year it is the largest it has ever been. A giant dead zone is what the whole world is headed for if we don’t stand up and do a better job of educating the American public. Colony collapses affecting our bees, frog mutations and amphibian declines, jaw deformities in the wildlife of our national parks (which yes, use chemicals like crazy), and the melting polar caps can all be attributed to agricultural chemicals.

Finally, here’s what organic does not do: destroy the soil, which destroys the carbon-capturing capability of our planet, which destroys our atmosphere and causes global warming. Numerous studies have shown that chemical agriculture destroys soil structure, leading quickly to desertification and even more quickly to way too much carbon dioxide leaching into the atmosphere. Yes, it’s complicated. But we can’t keep living on this planet if we don’t start understanding this and paying attention to it soon.

To finish reading article, click HERE.

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Make It Monday: Thai Peanut Chicken and Noodles

I had this container of A Taste of Thai peanut noodles sitting on my counter for way too long. Last night I finally decided to open that bad boy up. I also wanted to make a chicken dish to go with it. Found this yummy one from a favorite recipe source: AllRecipes.com. A Thai peanut chicken dish (I would go a little lighter on the cayenne pepper…I find it easier to add a little bit more the next time than to have it too spicy. If you enjoy big spice, then go for it! I thought it was a bit spicy.) Oh, and I skipped the rice because I had the Thai noodles. The chicken was delish!

PS: If you are serving more than yourself or one extra person, get two boxes of the peanut noodles. It’s a smidge on the skimpy side portion wise.  A box only makes 1 1/2 cups cooked.

 

Peanut Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger root
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 1/2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

Directions

  1. Combine the rice and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet or wok over high heat. Add chicken, garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring constantly, until chicken is golden on the outside, about 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, and add green onion, broccoli, peanuts, and the peanut butter mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until broccoli is tender, and chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice.

Yum yummy yum-o

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Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is a week (!) away. Many of you, like myself, haven’t trick or treated in years and might forget some basic Halloween safety rules to pass on to your kids. Or to use when looking around your house. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has release the following guidelines:

ALL DRESSED UP:

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.  Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.

CARVING A NICHE:

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers.  Then parents can do the cutting.
  • Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.

HOME SAFE HOME:

  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL:

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or Treaters:
  • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
  • Carry a cell phone for quick communication.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
  • Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
  • Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

HEALTHY HALLOWEEN:

  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.

© 10/10 American Academy of Pediatrics

 

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Tasty Thursday: Flap Jack-o-Lantern Pankcakes

Since Halloween is on a Sunday this year, why not have a little fun with breakfast? These flap jack-0-lanterns are the perfect, and easy, solution. I’m sure your kids will be excited to see these on their plate Halloween morning.

Taken from familyfun.com

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter plus 1 tbsp. for frying
  • 1/2 cup cooked and mashed pumpkin or canned pumpkin

Instructions

  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. Add 3 tablespoons of melted butter and the pumpkin to the wet ingredients, and whisk together. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients, and stir just until blended a few lumps are okay.
  2. Heat the remaining butter on a griddle over medium-high heat. Then pour 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. When the flapjacks bubble on top, flip and cook until brown on other side. Makes 20 pancakes.

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