After the Sugar High

DSCN3204

Halloween is over and this is usually about the time when I realize that eating my kid’s candy after they go to bed is going to be a bad idea long term. The alternative (them eating all the candy) is also a bad idea though! There just doesn’t seem to be enough floss and toothpaste to get us through the aftermath, never mind the nutritional void in their diet from filling up on sugar for weeks on end. Are you in the same boat? Here are some tips for how to get rid of all the candy:

SWITCH WITCH: this is an idea that seems to be growing in popularity over the years. I’m not sure where it originated, but it’s pretty smart! Tell your children that the Switch Witch is going to be visiting. She takes all of the leftover candy and swaps it for something equally desirable like a new toy, books, gift certificate or outing pass. If your kids wouldn’t be devastated by this switch, it’s a great idea! And then what to do with the candy…

LOOT BAGS: if your child/ren has a birthday in the next few months, save some of the packages for the loot bags or as prizes for games.

PARTY TREATS: collect all of the little packages that are the same/similar and the next time you have friends over and want a little something sweet, just rip them all open and put them in a bowl. Add nuts and seeds to make a sweet trail mix.

PINATA: stuffing a pinata with good candy can be so expensive! Stuff it with Halloween candy instead.

IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER: save those little bags of chips and Doritos and crush them up – they make great toppings for taco salad or casseroles.

COWORKERS: we all have coworkers who don’t have children in the trick-or-treating age range, right? Treat them with your leftovers! If you have a desk, put some in a bowl for visitors.

BAKE WITH IT: cupcakes, cookies, squares and icing often call for chocolate bars. Freeze those mini ones and use them for many baking days over the winter. Do you do an annual Gingerbread House? Save those gummy candies, Skittles, M&M’s and anything else that can be stuck onto rooftops and windows.

ADVENT CALENDARS: Buy a reusable Christmas countdown with daily boxes that can be opened. Stuff those boxes with Halloween treats! If you’re really crafty, hit up Pinterest for some DIY calendars.

STOCKING STUFFERS: it’s fine, candy doesn’t go bad! Save those little chocolate bars and give them in two months. Yes, it means it’s going back to your kids, but at least they sugar will be spread out a little.

 

And if the idea of using a Switch Witch is ridiculous because you have already eaten all of the candy and treats in your house, don’t worry – I’m sure it’s still on sale for 75% off. Go stock up. ;)

 

 

 

 

Halloween with Allergies

TealPumpkin

For families dealing with food allergies, Halloween can be a frustrating time. The desire to let your kids share in the spoils of the season battle with the very real risks and dangers associated with accidental contamination. An American organization’s Halloween campaign is picking up steam here in Canada to combat this problem. Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) have started the Teal Pumpkin Project asking people to buy or paint a teal pumpkin and have it somewhere prominent on display so that Trick or Treaters can easily spot it as they pass by. Displaying the teal pumpkin lets families know that you will have non-food items available for treat bags.

Don’t have any teal paint lying around? You’re not alone! While teal is the colour of food allergy awareness, it is not in my kids’ standard paint collection. An easy solution is to just print off a large version of the teal pumpkin on your home computer or find the teal crayon in that jumbo box of crayons you might have lying around and colour your own drawing. Stick it to the front door with the Teal Pumpkin label and you’re all set.

If you are worried about being the neighbourhood Halloween Scrooge without any candy to hand out, have both! Just be sure to keep them in separated bowls. Need some non-food ideas? Have a look at your nearest dollar store or dollar/seasonal section of Target/Walmart/party stores. We love these:

  • small containers of playdoh
  • small bubble bottles
  • pencils and/or erasers
  • vampire teeth
  • glow sticks or bracelets
  • stickers
  • spider rings
  • bookmarks
  • coins
  • crayons
  • necklaces
  • dinky cars

Will you be participating? What are you going to hand out?

Pumpkin Muffins with Orange Glaze

For many of us, the return of fall means one delicious thing: the ability to indulge endlessly in everything pumpkin. It begins with the decadent (and sometimes controversial) Pumpkin Spice Latte, continues into pumpkin pies, and then spills over into cookies, breads, cupcakes, soup, donuts, and of course muffins. Whether you are Team Pumpkin or Team Pumpkin Spice (or Team What’s the Difference?? *note: everything), you can’t get through the season of orange without a little pumpkin in your life.

I am Team Pumpkin Spice all the way, meaning that I love the flavours in the pumpkin spice mix far more than I love the taste of actual pumpkin. However, these muffins were a fantastic compromise for both flavours. The adults and the children in our house loved these flavourful little guys. Give them a try!

 

Pumpkin Muffins with Orange Glaze

DAIRY FREE, GLUTEN FREE OPTION, NUT FREE, SCHOOL-SAFE

2 cups 100% pure pumpkin puree

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp cloves

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour (or GF flour)

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

ORANGE GLAZE (optional)

½ cup icing sugar

¼ tsp finely grated orange zest

4 tsp orange juice

 

  1. Heat oven to 425F. Grease/spray mini muffin and/or standard cups. (Yields approx. 24 mini + 9 standard)
  2. In medium saucepan, bring pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves to a simmer until the puree thickens (about 5-10 minutes).
  3. Put pumpkin puree in a large bowl and mix in brown sugar and oil. Beat in the eggs.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin tins and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes for mini muffins, 13 minutes for standard muffins.
  6. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool while you mix the glaze.  Drizzle glaze over warm muffins.
  7. Make yourself a cup of tea and let us know what team you’re on.

 

For questions, comments or fantastic spam, you can find me at jill@londonmoms