(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
Halloween is done, but sometimes the inclination of kidlets - and some adults - afterward and any time of year confronted with candy is to eat as much and as frequently as they can. The saying, though, that a little goes a long way couldn't be more true. If you think of candy as an accent rather than a main focus, cravings will be busted, smiles will ensue and the nutrition action plan you have in place for your family won't be rocked. In fact, the sweet flavor of the slight addition may just be enough to get kids to taste other foods that are good for them, like the buckwheat pancakes and terrific trail mix that follow.
Fun fare like this also shows innovative food preparation can be easy, nutritious, economical, entertaining - and fast. They take just 10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare. The combinations are delicious evidence that everyone has time for tasty "home cooking" and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it! Another benefit: You - and your kidlet helpers - effortlessly become gourmets, since there are no right or wrong amounts. These are virtually-can't-go-wrong mixtures, so whatever you choose to use can't help but draw "wows."
Buckwheat is a seed of an herb that's eaten like a grain. It is a good source of fiber and protein. Add some to whole-wheat pancakes and just before cooking stir into the batter a small amount of finely chopped pieces of chocolate-nut candy bars. Serve topped with fruit-only spread (available in the jam aisle of supermarkets) and a small dollop of whipped cream.
Hit the Healthy Trail with This Mix
Combine raisins, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, whole-grain rice cereal, bran cereal and one-quarter-inch squares you've chopped from chocolate-nut candy bars and that you've first rolled just slightly in instant nonfat dry milk powder (which will add some protein).
Top sugar-free frozen yogurt with a variety of small soft candies or chocolate shaved from bars. Add unsweetened coconut flakes. Make a sauce by slightly heating and stirring together well creamy peanut butter and melted marshmallows or marshmallow cream.
Sweeter Sweet Potatoes
During the last five minutes of cooking a plain sweet potato casserole, add a topping of minced chocolate-nut candy bar, mini marshmallows, minced candy corn, finely chopped pecans and finely chopped peanuts. Drizzle slightly with molasses and place under broiler for a few seconds.
Chili for Chilly Nights
Similar to ingredients in some moles, as spicy chili cooks, stir chopped chocolate-nut candy bar into it and add a small amount of root beer, as well as ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK: An economical small gift when you'd like to give slightly more than a greeting card would be to include a fat stack of manufacturer's coupons (no expiration dates) for much-used products. In fact, possibly make it a point to collect extras during the year to have on hand for such occasions by visiting food and household product manufacturers' websites, writing to them or calling the customer service phone number on product packages.
Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.