Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Trick or Treat: fun alternatives to candy

Its almost that time when a parade of cute and scary kiddos will be ringing your bell and chanting "trick or treat!". The majority of houses will be passing out candy and other sweet treats. As a dietitian, I enjoy a sweet treat now and then, but have a hard time buying into our current philosophy that it has to be junk to celebrate a special occasion. I would even say that it doesn't have to be food!

It is easy to say "it is just once a year" and "it is a special occasion", but the truth is, while Halloween is just once a year, it is possible that your kiddo will have a school party too and that they'll be digging into that bag of sugar for days or even weeks to come.And then comes the next holiday, and the next. The sugar continues!

Here are a few non-candy ideas that kiddos will be excited about and aren't sugar:
  • stickers
  • temporary tattoos - especially Halloween themed!
  • markers -one per kiddo
  • coins - kids like money!
  • 4-pack of crayons
  • packet of seeds - they'll be on mega sale now!
  • small bubble containers - check out bridal stores
  • tiny play dough containers
  • a mini pumpkin to decorate at home
  • a paper party favor bag filled with air popped popcorn
Most folks will continue that candy tradition. But, just in case you're seeking an alternative, this posting is for you! And if your school is going cake free, these are some ideas for your next classroom party

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

{Recipe ReDux} Thai Pumpkin Soup

I love pumpkin! Pumpkin pie is a classic treat, but this lovely winter veggie is delicious in so many more dishes! All pumpkins are edible, but the ones intended for Halloween jack-o-lanterns aren't going to taste as wonderful as those grown to be eaten.

Last winter I did my first round of cooking with fresh pumpkins and haven't looked back. Turns out it isn't so hard to cook pumpkin - you can use your microwave, slow cooker, or roast chunks in the oven. I used one magical blue pumpkin to make, quite literally, the absolute best pumpkin pie I have ever eaten. The hunt for a blue pumpkin this year continues...

A great place to start with fresh pumpkin is soup. Want to know a secret? You don't need to peel your pumpkin for pureed soup. 1) it is more work and I'm lazy (strategic?) and 2) you're losing fiber, and you know how I feel about that.

Place your pumpkin on the cutting board and use a very sharp chefs knife to cut it in half. Your ice-cream scoop is the best way to remove the seeds and stringy bits. Cut out the spots where the stem is and chop into chunks. Voila - ready to go! I made this even easier for you by using the slow cooker. You're welcome :)

Thai Pumpkin Soup
  • 1 small pie pumpkin, 2-3 pounds, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger paste (or fresh minced ginger)
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • zest from 1 lime
  • 2 cups veggie or chicken broth (or water)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
  1. Wash pumpkin and cut off or peel any strange areas. Cut into chunks as described above. Place in slow cooker. Add all other ingredients, except for coconut milk, and stir. 
  2. Cover, and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or until pumpkin cubes are very tender when poked with a fork. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Shake coconut milk can, open, and pour into soup. Stir, cover, and heat for 20-30 minutes or until soup is hot. Add salt and pepper if needed and serve.
This recipe is adapted from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Guest Posting: A Walk a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Some people may say than a apple a day keeps the doctor away, and while this may be true, so can a little exercise. Tis the season for delectable treats, such as pumpkin pies, apple picking, maybe even a little turkey and stuffing.

How do we keep these calories and consumptions of elaborate meals under control? Take a walk! Its that easy. The recommended daily amount of exercise is thirty minutes. Many of us travel long distances to work or school by driving, and once we are there we sit at a desk for most of the day. For others, work may be closer to home. Consider walking or biking to work or school to help the environment and your health.

To increase your exercise, start by making a plan. Pack a gym bag with walking shoes and a change of clothes. This can be handy during a lunch hour or after work. Taking a bag lunch and walking to a different location to eat is another good way to gain some exercise.

There are many different ways to accomplish a thirty minute goal. As the weather is changing, so can your outlook on exercise! Staying healthy doesn't just have to do with the food we consume, but also how we treat our bodies. Spending a little extra time to walk the dog around the block or take a family bike ride to the park can easily help your health and your heart.
Guest blog post and photo by Sarah Nagy, third-year undergraduate student at Miami University. Thank you for sharing, Sarah!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Behind the scenes for Cincy Chic photo shoot!

Last week my company was featured on Cincy Chic - what an honor! You never know what the day may bring as a small business owner.

Cincy Chic is the only online lifestyle publication for ladies in the Cincinnati area. Not only can you find out what it hip, what events are on the horizon and who are your local experts. Read the full article here.

I was pleased to host Amy Scalia, the editor in chief and publisher of Cincy Chic. We shared a dinner from my cooking menu and after we had been able to talk shop for a bit, she offered to feature me on their blogger issue - fun!

Below are some behind the scenes photos of the photo shoot - thanks to Jax for taking them.  

Thank you to Neysa of Belle and Blanc for taking such lovely pictures! 

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