(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
Formal Halloween parties are full of orange-and-black-colored treats and tempters. One day a year, though, just isn't enough. Like all of the coffeehouses and bakeries in our neighborhoods that advertise spook day goodies well ahead of the holiday, why not make every day in your house that is prior to Halloween an homage to orange and black and spookiness.
Such an everyday theme equals a casual and easy effort with just a trace of Halloween colors thrown in to set the mood. There is no mistaking, though, the ghostly meaning lurking behind such goodies, which is likely to bring a grin to your kidlets' faces.
Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun - and fast. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for creating homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!
Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since these are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations. They can't help but draw "wows
" from family members and guests. All ingredients are to taste.
QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK:
- SOUP FROM THE DARK SIDE
For each finished serving: Melt cheddar cheese and swirl atop your favorite cooked homemade or store-bought black bean soup or chili. Top with a few pieces of candy corn and shavings of dark chocolate (which is a la the chocolate often found in Mexican mole sauces).
- A TOAST TO HALLOWEEN
Spread homemade or store-bought tapenade (pureed black olive mixture) atop thick peasant bread-type toast and add a slight swirl of orange marmalade.
- BLEEDING ORANGE
Slightly slice off tops and bottoms of oranges, so that when cut in half they will sit flat on serving plate. Cut them in half, place on serving plates and top each half with black raisins, sweetened coconut flakes and a red "blood" sauce you've achieved from pureeing fresh raspberries in the blender.
- MONSTER OF A BEVERAGE
Make ice cubes from dark grape juice. Gently mix together unsweetened soy milk, blood orange juice (or orange or tangerine juice) and stevia or other sweetener. Add dark juice ice cubes before serving.
- EDIBLE EYEBALLS
Place balls of mozzarella cheese in pools of cooked marinara sauce "blood" and place pitted black olive thin slices as "pupils" in middle of mozzarella "eyeballs."
If you want recipes for lots of Halloweens to come, the "Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook"
fits the bill. There are more than 100 themed recipes designed with nothing but fun and fright in mind. There are treats galore (including those you can give as gifts), and also chapters on appetizers and main dishes. Touches, like how to plan a party or what to make with leftover Halloween candy, leave little for you to get spooked over.Lisa Messinger
at Creators Syndicate is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes
(Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet
(Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.