Thursday, November 16, 2006

Taute Cuisine: Holiday Treats

I was standing in the kitchen calmly watching as my toddler threw herself, lion costume and all, face down onto the floor and began screaming over, well, I can’t even remember what now. Although this is not out of the ordinary behavior for most toddlers, it is for mine.

“What’s wrong with her?!” my husband asked.

“Uh, let’s see, apple juice, oatmeal cookie, rice crispy treat, fruit salad …” I replied. “Are you done yet, Honey?”

Finally, she was. I gave her some edamame and dinner to get some complex carbs and protein in to help level off the sugar rush. And that was considered a healthy party menu because it had fruit and cheese. The fruit was just in heavy syrup and the juice had sugar along with two adult-sized dessert treats. It could have been worse, but I prevented that. I signed up for the treat bags. As tempted as I was to just hand out bags of frozen organic mixed veggies, I refrained from being the complete Wicked Witch of Halloween Treats. Yet the following recipe contains absolutely NO sugar at all.

Holiday Treat Bags (can be adapted for any holiday):
10 child-safe, food-safe holiday containers (look in the dollar section at Target)
80-100 non-toxic markers and crayons (buy in bulk, saves costs)
5 coloring pages (see below)

Coloring pages: use clip art CD to create your own holiday color pages. No creativity required.

Special equipment:
Clip Art CD and Computer with printer
Copier if you have access to one

Assemble each treat bag with 10 markers or crayons. Crayons only for the younger toddlers. Yes, they may eat them. The crayons, however, are healthier when ingested than candy. It also makes for an interesting surprise later for parents, especially the neon colors. Add the five coloring pages. Add any note to parents about the treat bag contents if required. Enjoy. Serves 10, don’t expect leftovers.

I know, it doesn’t contain any food. That’s the point. It’s time to rethink “treats.” I took the whole thing a step farther and bought bags of pretzels and fruit snacks for our trick-or-treaters at home. This was vetoed by my husband, partially in fear that our house would be egged, but mostly because he wanted the chocolate. I think he understood my point a bit later in the evening when the doorbell rang one last time.

Standing on the porch was a man and his son in a superhero outfit. “Trick or treat!” exclaimed the boy, holding his full bag wide open under the candy bowl. My husband, being polite, says, “Nice costume. You’re out kinda late.”

“I know,” said the father, “we like it because we find a lot of people are ready to unload their inventory.”

At this point, the son pulls back his mask, gives my husband a knowing smile and opens his bag a bit wider.

My husband dropped in a couple small candy bars from the still-full bowl, said, “Happy Halloween.” And closed the door. He was pretty disgusted by the sheer greed and attempt at manipulation. I was pretty disgusted at a father who would encourage his child to acquire as much junk food as possible. Happy Halloween.

Next year, it’s pretzels for sure.

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