Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween - One Day or a Season?

Like so many of our holidays, it seems like Halloween is no longer one day. It has truly become a "Season". In our town, we kick off with the Annual Halloween Parade, a great event that we never miss. There's also "Wear Your Costume" days at Sports Class, Ballet, Gymnastics, and Daycare. And don't forget the classroom party. My goal is just to get to 9 pm on Oct 31st with two children's costumes more or less intact!

In addition to the kids' Halloween festivities, we have my sister's Annual Halloween party this Friday night. This is no ordinary Halloween party. My sister has some very competitive friends when it comes to costumes. And although I grumble about not having time to put together a costume for myself (note all those activities I just mentioned in the previous paragraph), my sister usually comes to my rescue with an idea for me and even some clothes. Yes, my sister had held onto that 1980's Jane Fonda leotard that was the basis for my 80s Workout Girl costume last year. And yes, my DH is wearing his real fraternity sweatshirt from the same era, albeit inside out and stuffed a la Hans & Franz.

In an attempt to get through the Halloween Season without the dreaded weight gain (that's what Christmas is for!), I am bringing veggies with my favorite yogurt dip to my sister's Party for Grown-ups.

Dannon Fat Free Plain Yogurt - NuVal Score of 99
Athena Feta Cheese Crumbles - NuVal Score of 24
Fresh Chopped Dill

But back to the Kid Stuff. It was a glorious fall day for our Halloween parade.

My son had been begging me to have a Halloween party this year. However, between my trip to Denver, our downstairs bathroom completely gutted, and our front steps under significant renovation, I opted to invite just 3 close friend-families over for a "party". Thankfully, this appeased my son.

They happily made some goodie bags.

And put on their Costumes for the first time.

I wonder what those costumes will look like by Saturday night?

As for Post-Parade snacks, I decided to go healthy (shocker!) and I took the opportunity to try Del Monte's Arizona Chicken Chili. When we were at the American Dietetic Association Conference, Del Monte was sampling this chili just a few booths away. So when people came to see us to learn about NuVal at our booth, they were carrying these beautiful steaming bowls of a hearty yet healthy chili. Thankfully, Rob Keane, our Senior Manager of Communications, grabbed the recipe for me. You can find it here.

I bought the exact ingredients denoted in the recipe because I was curious to see how they scored.

Del Monte Fresh Cut 50% Less Salt Corn gets a NuVal score of 61

Del Monte Diced Tomatoes with Garlic & Onion gets a NuVal score of 35

That 35 is a little low for the diced tomatoes. I probably could have bought a No-Salt version and added my own onion and garlic. Next time!

The recipe called for black beans. Since NuVal is not yet on any grocery store shelves in my area (although I really wish Stop & Shop, Roche Bros, or Big Y would join us), I have to go by memory. And that is fading fast as I approach the big 4-0! So, I bought Goya Regular Black Beans at Stop & Shop for a NuVal score of 54. A better choice would have been Full Circle Organic Canned Black Beans (which I can get a Roche Bros) for a score of 82.

The boneless chicken breast in this recipe with a score of 39 is a much healthier alternative to the traditional ground chuck, which scores a 26.

I added two things to the Del Monte recipe: 1 tsp of cumin and 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes.

We topped our chili with all the suggested garnishes, (grated Monterey Jack Cheese, diced avocado, sliced green onions) and added chopped cilantro and a dollop of non-fat Chobani Greek yogurt (NuVal score of 94) in lieu of sour cream. It was so yummy and it made great lunches during the busy week.

I don't know about you, but I often find that I'm all "holidayed" out by the time the holiday actually gets here. We get so caught up in all the festivities, that by the time, Halloween actually arrives, I do not want to see any more orange and black for a long, long time. In the meantime, I'll try to pick just a couple of things that I really want to do together as a family.
1) Carve our pumpkin
2) Make some pumpkin seeds
3) Watch It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, altogether, as a family (not with kids in front of TV, mom making dinner, Dad en route on train).

And what do I want to do at 9 pm on October 31st? Once my sugared up kids are in bed, I want to curl up on the couch with a big glass of red wine (or a pumpkin martini) and watch my favorite Halloween Chick Flick, Practical Magic. I have to get that guilty pleasure in. Because you know what season starts on November 1st. And it ain't about giving thanks.


  1. This sounds like a great recipe. Nice alternative to beef chili.
    The kids look great! I'm not sure what is scarier, Halloween or the 80's....

  2. Your kiddo's are precious!

    And, I know what you mean by thinking about NuVal scores at other grocery stores. I think we need to get Kroger and Super Target to join the NuVal program.

  3. We 're going to PUMP!..[clap]..You up!

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