A trick-or-treat bag of Halloween candy can be a parent's nightmare.
No matter how hard mom or dad tries to keep youngsters from eating too many of the sugary goodies, it happens. Instead of sending the kids to dozens of houses on Halloween night, opt for treats from a few close neighbors, and have a party at your home.
"Kids learn what they live," registered dietitian Anita Courtney said. "If every party they attend has nothing but unhealthy food, it sets up an ongoing expectation. Because youth are hit with messages encouraging them to eat unhealthy food almost everywhere they turn, it's important for parents to create a new paradigm.
"In my experience, parents love it when other parents offer their children healthy options. Kids love fresh fruits and vegetables especially when they are presented in an attractive manner. When I put out fruit and veggie platters at my children's gatherings they were always the first to disappear," said Courtney, who is chairperson of the Lexington Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition.
Here are some tips from GreenHalloween.org on how to make your Halloween party people-healthy, animal-friendly and earth-conscious.
■ When it comes to costumes and décor, reuse, borrow, trade, purchase used or do-it-yourself.
■ Treat bags can be anything. Match the bag to the costume using something you already own. Here are some ideas: purses, flower pots (cover the hole), cloth sacks, backpacks or lunch boxes.
■ If you're giving a party, avoid disposables including napkins, plates, cups, tablecloths and other décor.
■ Compost pumpkins and any other food, including leftover candy.
To forget the sweets, serve some savory treats at your Halloween party.
Creepy mini pizzas
3¼ to 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope Fleischmann's pizza crust yeast or RapidRise yeast
1½ tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
11⁄3 cups very warm water (120 to 130 degrees)
1⁄3 cup oil
1 to 2 cups pizza sauce
Suggested toppings: green, red and yellow bell peppers; mushrooms, black olives, pepperoni slices, hard salami slices, curly leaf parsley
1 pound (total) shredded white and yellow cheeses such as mozzarella and Cheddar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add very warm water and oil; mix until well blended, about 1 minute.
Gradually add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Dough should form a ball and will be slightly sticky. Knead on a floured surface, adding additional flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes.
When kneading the dough, add just enough flour to the dough and your hands to keep the dough from sticking. Flatten dough and fold it toward you. Using the heels of your hands, push the dough away with a rolling motion. Rotate dough a quarter turn and repeat the "fold, push and turn" steps. Keep kneading dough until it is smooth and elastic. Use a little more flour if dough becomes too sticky, always working the flour into the ball of dough.
Divide dough into 8 portions; cover. If using RapidRise, let dough rise for 10 minutes.
Pat each portion of dough with floured hands into an 8-inch circle on a greased baking sheet. Form a rim by pinching the edge of the dough. Add a second crust to the same baking sheet.
Bake for 6 to 7 minutes, dough will be just set and only lightly browned on the bottom. Remove crusts to a wire rack to cool. Continue with remaining pizza dough. (Works best to use several baking sheets.) May use crusts immediately or place in freezer bags and freeze for up to 1 month. If making a day ahead, place crusts in resealable plastic bags and refrigerate.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 475 degrees. Spread each crust with pizza sauce. Top with desired toppings to make Halloween designs. Repeat with remaining pizzas. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until cheese is melted and lightly browned and bottom of crust is browned.
From Fleischmann's Yeast
Spicy bat wings
3 pounds chicken wings (about 16 pieces), rinsed and patted dry
¼ cup Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1⁄3 cup ketchup
2 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
To cook wings: Preheat broiler. Lay wings on a rimmed baking sheet, wing tips down. Place under broiler, 5½ to 6 inches from heat source. Broil until golden brown and cooked through, rotating pan as necessary, 35 to 40 minutes.
Using tongs, remove wings to a large bowl. Drain fat from baking sheet into heat resistant bowl, and discard.
To make honey-mustard sauce: Combine mustard, butter, honey and vinegar.
To make hot sauce: Combine ketchup, hot sauce, butter, salt and pepper.
Toss wings with honey-mustard sauce. Return to baking sheet, wing tips down. Reserve bowl with remaining sauce. Place wings under broiler, and cook until sauce has glazed, 2 to 3 minutes, rotating pan once.
Return wings to bowl, and toss to coat. Serve immediately with hot sauce. Makes 4 servings.
From Martha Stewart Living
Savory pumpkin puffs
All-purpose flour, for parchment
1 standard package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1½ teaspoons paprika
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
2½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
1½ cups finely grated Gruyère cheese
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously flour two pieces of parchment paper; on each, roll out an unfolded pastry sheet to form a 15- by 13-inch rectangle, about 1⁄16 inch thick. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the paprika into the melted butter.
Remove pastry from the refrigerator, and brush off excess flour. Spread a rectangle of pastry with mustard; sprinkle with both cheeses. Season with pepper. Lay a second pastry rectangle on top.
Place a sheet of parchment on top of the stacked pastry; using a rolling pin, roll until smooth and pastry layers are sealed together. Remove parchment, and brush top of pastry with butter mixture. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
With a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter, cut into 18 to 24 shapes. Immediately place the shapes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a sharp paring knife, score each shape four or five times to make pumpkin ridges. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer puffs to a wire rack; let cool slightly before serving. Makes 18 to 24.
From Martha Stewart Living
Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com