Friday, October 31, 2014

Boo... Trick or Treat!

By Jeanette Andrade MS,RDN,LDN

Halloween is finally here and my kids are ecstatic. They have been anticipating this day for months. Seriously as soon as one of the Halloween stores opened up we were there at once pressing and playing with all the ghoulish motorized objects and of course looking for that ideal costume. FYI we settled on a princess and batman for the costumes. I asked my oldest child why she loves Halloween so much and she said, “We get to dress up and we get scared by people yelling boo.” I had to chuckle as my sweet daughter comes from a dietitian’s household so there was no mention of getting lots of candy nor of eating it. However, we will still venture outside for a couple of blocks with their pumpkins held tightly and knock on the various doors saying, “Trick or Treat”.  In which they will receive their ultimate prize- candy. After we return from our trick or treating adventure, we will go through the candy and keep a small amount of the candy. So what do we do with the rest? We donate it to our local dentist. For every pound of candy our kids bring in they get a $1.00. I mean I would rather trade in my candy for a $1.00 any day. The dentist then sends the candy off to our troops. If, though, no one around your area accepts Halloween candy, there are a few other ideas to do with all the candy your kids bring back. A few ideas are to freeze it to make homemade ice cream or frozen yogurt, making homemade adult beverages, or my favorite turn it into a science project for your kids! One may ask, how can you turn candy you bring home into a science project? Well, you can make certain candies into decorations. For instance, with the use of crushed lifesavers, you can melt them and create stained glass shapes to hang on your windows.

This idea comes from Crandell (2014). Her recipe calls for:

Heavy metal cookie cutters (large copper cutters and they work great)
Vegetable spray
Life Saver or other hard candies
Aluminum foil
Cookie sheet
Narrow shiny ribbon

Preheat oven to 350°. Line your cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray the cookie cutters and aluminum foil with vegetable cooking spray. Fill the inside of the cookie cutters with a single layer of candy using as many as will fit. Bake 5 to 7 minutes until candies are melted.
Remove from oven and allow candy to cool about 2 minutes. Make a hole in each with a straw to thread ribbon through for hanging then continue cooling until the cutters can be handled. Very gently pull cutters away from the melted candy.

For more ideas about what to do with leftover candy, you can visit: .  

Whatever you may be doing for Halloween, have a safe and fun time…..Boo!

Crandell, K. (2014). Top Ten Scientific Uses for Leftover Halloween Candy. Retrieved from
Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chicken soup to warm me up...

by Jeanette Andrade MS, RDN, LDN

I’m sick. One thing about the weather changing is the amount of colds that go around my household and the office. I wish I could have a bubble surrounding me during this time, but I keep thinking the more I am exposed to colds the better my immune system becomes. There’s always a bright side of getting colds! The other bright side of getting a cold is having my husband make me his delicious chicken soup. I’m used to the traditional chicken soup that my grandmother would make during the cold months- whole chicken, chicken broth, carrots, onions, celery, and a dash of salt. Then you would load a ton of egg noodles in your bowl of soup to which there was hardly any broth left as it would be soaked up by the noodles. This recipe was then passed down to me so I could make this soup for my children. Well a day has not yet come for me to use this recipe as typically we use my husband’s. No disrespect to my grandmother, but I think she would agree this is a delicious soup.
My husband is from Ecuador, thus a chicken soup to him means more than a few ingredients and hardly any spices or herbs. He does use a whole chicken as my grandmother did, but he removes most of the skin and marinates it for a little while to really release those flavors in the soup. I won’t share all of his spices, but let’s suffice it to say salt and a number of Ecuadorian spices (i.e. cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and some other ones). He simmers the chicken with chicken broth, corn, potatoes, yucca, carrots, and onions for about 1-2 hours. Even though my nose may be plugged, the aroma gets in there and my mouth begins to salivate. Also, instead of noodles he tends to use rice, so aside from all those wonderful starchy vegetables, we add more starches to the bowl of soup. He also tops it off with a few squirts of lime juice. Literally my head begins to feel better and my congestion is away for at least a few hours after I eat his soup. He swears it is the nutrients found in the spices and vitamin C from the lime juice that helps relieve the pressure from a cold. No matter what it is, the soup works wonders. So, if you are ever sick give me a shout and I can have my husband whip some soup up for you! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sweet Potato Chili


20 ounces canned diced tomatoes
20 ounces canned tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 small cayenne pepper finely chopped
3 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons fresh basil
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-1.5” chunks
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 15 oz cans dark red kidney beans, drained
2 cups sweet corn
1 15 oz can black beans
2 cups water


Combine all ingredients in the base of your slow cooker and stir to mix well. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I recently tried a sweet potato chili recipe and made adjustments to have this combination of nutrition that promotes a vegan lifestyle. It is a hearty, filling, healthy dish that can be used for numerous meals throughout the week.


Mark Maule

Adjunct Instructor, Health and Wellness
Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bee Healthy With Honey

Bee Healthy With Honey

                Raw honey is perhaps one of the best natural sweeteners that we can make part of our eating habits.  Although there is some debate about the appropriateness of honey due to it being a sugar source and high in calories (roughly 60 calories per teaspoon), there are potential benefits across much of the wellness continuum that can be observed with its consumption.

1)      Contains antioxidants—As we have seen throughout the blogging calendar this year, antioxidants are critical to consume to ensure that we fight toxins and maintain our health.

2)      Could be used as an anti-bacterial agent—Bees actually aid in hydrogen peroxide manufacturing when they are making honey due to an enzyme that they produce. Theoretically, honey could be used as a cleansing agent in the form of something similar to soap.

3)      Cough suppressant—Honey can bring soothing to a cough similar to that experienced by cough drops. It could be ingested raw or it could be made as part of a liquid. Honey can work great to use with children as the sweetness of the taste helps, not to mention, there are no chemicals or other unnatural preservatives as might be the case with other manmade cough suppressants.

4)      Blood sugar regulation—Honey can be used as a natural means to regulate blood sugar. One thing to remember when using it as a potential tool for blood sugar regulation is that different types of honey have different glycemic index readings depending from which source the honey was made.

5)      Skin aesthetics and health—There are properties associated with honey that can be attributed to improving the aesthetics of our skin as well as providing it nourishment for overall skin health. It is also a natural moisturizer.

Honey has many faces that can serve us in many different ways beyond the scope of just making our foods taste better. As you can see here, honey provides us balance, beauty, and bolstered immunity all rolled into one.

Mark Maule
Adjunct Instructor, Health and Wellness


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Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness
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