It’s Friday

Use self control to trick pesky candy monster

By Peggy Walker, R.D.

It’s the Friday before Halloween and no time to lose your will power. The holidays are upon us, for when you wake up next Wednesday morning, the Thanksgiving season will have begun! And we all know that there are thousands of calories just waiting to ambush us between now and the end of the year. So prepare! Don’t give in to the powers of the tricky candy monster.
Know your enemy. The candy monster won’t disappear at the stroke of midnight like all other ghosts and goblins on October 31. He’ll haunt you until you’ve eaten all the leftover Halloween candy. Not garlic, nor mirrors, nor silver bullets will save you from this sweet-toothed monster. You must have a power that he doesn’t possess — self-control!
To arm yourself for a night of sugar torture you must summon in all your power and brains. March quickly to the store, but don’t buy your favorite candy, buy your least favorite. And, buy less than you think you need so there won’t be any leftovers! Buying treats at the last minute keeps you from being tempted before night fall. Or, completely banish the candy monster with, horror of horrors, non-candy treats like plastic bugs, glow-in-the-dark stickers, fast food coupons, card games and puzzles, magic markers, beads, mirrors, pencils and other such fun, but calorie-free, treats. Brilliant!
On Tuesday evening fortify your appetite with a good supper before the festivities begin. Try the pumpkin stew for an early supper followed by a walk around your neighborhood to enjoy all of the spooky decorations. And, burn even more calories by escorting your own little trick or treaters and their friends. Take in all the fun and enjoy the moment. The candy monster tries to brainwash you into believing that CANDY is all this night is about! Nonsense!
Just before dark, fill a crock-pot with apple cider and turn it on high. Add a couple of cinnamon sticks, a few whole cloves and about 6 whole allspice. Float a few apple slices on top. Put a lid on it and let it brew for a couple of hours. This powerful potion can banish the munchies and control the hungries.
Hocus pocus change your focus! Confuse the candy monster by disguising yourself as the ghost of Halloween Future armed with a flashlight. Make sure that the evening stays safe for all. Forget the candy – watch for tricks waiting to happen.
Help little ones cross the street safely; put up your pets; and remove anything from your yard or front walk that could cause someone to fall or trip. Guide children through traffic and keep them from running between cars. Keep an eye on burning candles. Then with a sharp eye sort through all the candy that your children bring home and banish anything that looks suspicious or that your children won’t eat. Throw it all away.
Outsmart him. Fill small sacks with the leftover candy before the candy monster returns. Tie each little sack tightly with string or ribbon and use as special treats for others next week. And remember — no harm shall come to you if you just throw away all the extra candy!
And finally, retreat to the cider…just one warm cup of this magical brew will disarm the candy monster and dissolve away his power. Take a deep breath, enjoy the aroma, and settle in with your family. Enjoy the remains of Halloween night with a spicy warm cup and a not-too-scary Halloween story just before drifting off to never-never land. Sleep in peace, knowing that you and your powers have defeated the candy monster.
Happy Halloween from Tennessee!

 

Recipe of the Week

Pumpkin Stew
Serve this tasty stew right from the pumpkin for extra Halloween fun!

1 10 – 12 pound pumpkin 3 carrots, sliced
2 pounds lean beef stew meat 2 cloves garlic, diced
2 tablespoons canola oil 2 ribs celery, sliced
1 bell pepper, diced 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 onion, diced 2 – 3 cups water
4 medium potatoes, peeled, and cubed Salt and pepper to taste.

Carve a hole in the top of the pumpkin; remove seeds and stringy pulp. Set aside. Brown stew meat in oil in a Dutch oven, or heavy soup pot until brown. Add prepared vegetables. Stir in canned tomatoes. Add water and season to taste. Simmer for one hour. Place prepared pumpkin in a shallow pan. Fill with hot stew. Brush outside of pumpkin with light coating of oil.
Bake filled pumpkin at 350° for 2 hours, or until pumpkin is barely tender. Serve while hot. When serving, ladle up chunks of the pumpkin with stew ingredients to enhance flavor of the stew. Served with a tossed salad and rolls…what a treat!

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