(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
To compete with the wall-to-wall sugary foods that fill most neighborhoods at Halloween, why not have some delicious and nutritious counter subterfuge on trays on your kitchen counter? Keep the kidlets - and adults, too - satisfied so they are less tempted. Sugar-free truffles that will ruffle the feathers of even the best versions are no-cook and take just minutes to "get rolling." You'll do just that - roll - the ingredients together with cocoa powder, coconut, chopped nuts, fun spices, and licorice-flavored anise to get the sweet 'n' easy results that follow.
Fun fare like this also proves even gourmet food preparation can be simple, nutritious, economical, fun - and fast. They take just 10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare.
The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for tasty home "cooking" and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it! Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better chef since there are no right or wrong amounts.
These are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations, so whatever you - or your kidlet helpers - choose to use can't help but draw "wows" from everyone - even usually sugar-filled Halloween party guests.Combine equal parts powdered milk and creamy peanut butter (which can have a slight amount of sugar included in its ingredients, if desired), with one-quarter part agave syrup sweetener (a natural product, now available in the sweetener section of most supermarkets and health food stores) or honey, shape into one-inch balls, and roll into any of the following before refrigerating, loosely covered, for at least two hours:--- Unsweetened cocoa powder--- Unsweetened coconut flakes--- Puffed rice cereal--- A mix of whole oats and cinnamon that have been pulverized to a powder in blender or food processor--- Finely chopped walnuts or pecans--- Finely chopped pine nuts--- A mix of pumpkin and sunflower seeds that have been pulverized to a powder in blender or food processor--- A mix of sesame and poppy seeds--- Very small amount of cayenne pepper--- Very small amount of curry powder--- Very small amount of anise (also known as aniseed, anise seed, and star anise, which is the strongest version). Anise is a member of the parsley family, which has a licorice flavor.--- Very small amount of Chinese five-spice powder. It is a jarred spice combination available in most supermarkets of five of the most popular Chinese spices, which are sweet and pungent: star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel and black pepper.QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK: Handstand Kids
is a series of books started by a law school graduate who specialized in children's rights. The cookbooks, available at specialty stores nationwide and online, each come with a tool (like a chef's hat) and teach children about the culture and history of other countries through cuisine. A section of the website (www.handstandkids.com/stiritup.html
) shows how each of the fictional Handstand Kids'
characters has contributed to children's and other causes worldwide through their cooking, like sending cookies to the troops, working at soup kitchens with their families, visiting local children's hospitals, and donating money from bake sales to an organization that provides bug nets to prevent African children from contracting malaria. The webpage also has a list of ideas, organizations and a place for kids to send in news of their own similar culinary contributions.
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.