Thursday, November 29, 2012

Snack, Cook, Run, Imbibe and lots of Giveaways

So we get through Thanksgiving and our reward? Black Friday, cyber Monday and the frenzy with everyone looking buy, buy, buy. If you’re in NYC you have the added bonus of a month of gridlock. Sorry if I’m sounding a little grinchy, I actually love the holidays, it’s all the added stuff that makes me happy to be fleeing the city weekly starting Friday.

If you’re exasperated by the holiday hoopla, today’s post is for you. No really, it’s all for you. On Monday we put together our Foodtrainers’ Favorite Gifts/GuideToday, some of our favorites wanted to spread the joy and have giveaways waiting for you. We followed suit with our newest Foodtrainers creation.

Full confession, I first learned of Catherine McCord and Weelicious from the Goop newsletter. Though McCord’s recipes include the “wee” set, they make adults really happy. Her Sweet Broiled Salmon has made our regular dinner rotation.  If you’re looking to spice up your menus, we have one Weelicious book for a hungry reader.

Holidays are hectic, as you shop, attend parties or travel this month (and in general) I’ll remind you of the importance of a purse snack. While nuts are one of the most nutritious foods, they’re also very easy to overdo. Enter, our Foodtrainers’ Nutcase.
On the back we’ll make sure you know the snacking parameters. I’m starting to feel like Oprah, if only…but we’re giving away a nutcase too.

I don’t know about you but the issue of where to stash things while running or heading to a workout class is quite perplexing. I remember my grandmother enjoying her natural “breast pocket” with a tissue always appearing from odd places. That’s not for me, especially not with sweat involved. Enter Sprigs wrist wallets. Your money, credit card and even phone will have a dry place to stay. One wrist wallet for a reader AND as if that’s not exciting enough use code FoodTrainers20 10% off of orders up to $29.99 or 20% off of orders above that amount and is valid until 11:59 PM EDT, 12/31/12. Did I mention the ear bags? If you’re anti-hat check those out too

And finally, not saying any of you with need this but DRAMapothecary has a highly effective (not that we would know)”hair of the dog” hangover tonic. This blend of herbs “cures the ailments caused by overindulgence of a good time.” I’d grab one of every hostess, college student and fun friend on your list. DRAM

Tis’ the season and DRAM knows it, how about 5 bottles to give away?

We can’t make the holidays less hectic but we’re here to make them happier.
What is on your wish list? Which of these items makes you most excited? Rank these gifts in the order you like them. 
You have until Monday, Dec 3rd to let your Foodtrainers’ elves know.
More holiday fun next Thursday, check back.

Monday, November 26, 2012

What's Better Juices or Smoothies?

As I sit here, at my in-laws house, after Thanksgiving #1 with my family and Thanksgiving part duex with Marc’s family I’m looking forward to Monday. It’s not what you think; we’ve had a great time. I am excited because we’re testing out a cleanse from my favorite juice truck The Squeeze. With juice on my mind, I thought about this question I received from a client.

What is the difference between smoothies (drinking the roughage) and juicing (no roughage) in terms of my diet? 
I was posed a similar question for a Refinery29 article.
For starters, smoothies are made in a blender (for me that means Vitamix) and juices in a juicer (love my Breville). My client who posed the question was correct. With smoothies the fiber from the fruits, vegetables, herbs or spices are retained. Whereas when you juice the pulp (which contains fiber) is extracted leaving just the liquid behind. Fiber has such a healthy reputation that there can be a rush to judgment that higher fiber has to be better but it’s not that simple.

Juice and I'm talking primarily veggie juice, with the bulk removed, enables quick energy. Juice doesn’t play hard to get and your body doesn't have to "unwrap" or digest in order to access the nutrients. For those of you who enjoy spinning, juicing is akin to riding with little resistance (fiber) so you can go (or get your nutrition) faster. Eating a salad or drinking a smoothie is more like riding with tension or resistance. You’ll go more slowly perhaps in a more controlled, even manner.

There’s also the issue of quantity. When I juice in the morning I cover a large cutting board with greens, ginger, lemon, pear or whatever I have on hand. You’d have to eat 9 cups of kale to get the potassium, calcium and iron in two cups of green juice. I think of a daily juice almost like a multivitamin. Smoothies, on the other hand, don’t require as much in terms of quantity. My typical smoothie is approximately 1 cup of frozen fruit, a handful of greens, protein powder and then other random ingredients (cacao, yacon, coffee extract are current favorites). I digress, the point I’m making is that there’s a fraction of the produce in a smoothie versus a juice. From a calorie perspective, green juices hover around 150 per 16oz. Smoothies made with fruit, protein, some sort of liquid (almond milk or coconut water) and a little good fat can be double but you’ll get more staying power. 

I think I answered the “what’s better?” question in the most annoying manner that is saying “it depends” but it really does. I hate to be "bi-vegetable" but there are benefits to juicing and “smoothing”. Juice is a megadose of nutrients and smoothing is better for satiety, better for post workout recovery. Most days I’ll have one of each. So if you’re in the market for a Vitamix or a juicer, I can’t sway you either way. It’s like choosing between my family and my in-laws and let’s just say diplomatically that I’m “thankful” for both.
Do you juice or "smooth"? Which do you prefer? What are your current favorite ingredients? And after a holiday weekend, how was your eating? Parents or in-laws?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Teams, You a Ripa or an IJOD?

Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for clients who come to our offices throughout the year. I am also thankful for this blog and especially the dialog that we often have in the comments section. As you know, I welcome a good debate and so for those of you who disagree or offer a divergent view, thankful for you all too.
Yesterday, I did a quick segment on Thanksgiving. It was specifically about gluten free Thanksgiving options but the producer opened with “What do you tell clients when it comes to Thanksgiving, is it a day to enjoy everything and put your diet on hold or should they (and we) make an effort to keep it healthy?”

As I see it, there are two camps on Thanksgiving. On her show Kelly Ripa lightheartedly said, “I’m going to sit down to Thanksgiving dinner and eat like it’s any other day because when you don’t you get into trouble.” On the other hand, after the CBS segment ran with me and other chefs and experts explain how to tame Thanksgiving the anchor concluded with the flipside “I don’t know, it’s one day, I plan on enjoying myself.” And Clinton Kelly, of The Chew, on a funny segment on table etiquette said whatever you do “don’t say the D-word at the table.” D here refers to diet.

I don’t think these camps or viewpoints are as polarizing as it may seem. The “it’s one day” folks really don’t want to end an evening seeking antacids and elastic clothing. And the “Ripa’s” probably will not be in a corner eating white meat turkey, crudité, peeling marshmallows from their sweet potatoes. And I concur with Clinton whether you are gluten-free, paleo or just run of the mill neurotic, nobody (except the host well beforehand in the case of an allergy) needs to know your eating rules.

“It’s one day” sounds innocuous if it were really one day. One of the things that work against Thanksgiving is its occurrence on a Thursday. Many could recover from having two days (3500-5000 whopping calories)  of food at one pop if it was sandwiched by regular consumption on other days. What typically happens is that Thanksgiving acts as the starting gun for “it’s one day” folks that ends up being 35 days and Thanksgiving is early this year, make that 40 until the new year.

Some advice?
Thursday, stick to the One Plate Rule- you wouldn’t ask for seconds at a restaurant and this food beats restaurant food in butter and sugar content.
And Focus on Friday. If you have stuffing or pie or candied (apt description) yams today, leave them today. Tomorrow turkey in a salad, turkey soup…you get the idea.
Most importantly, relax and enjoy all you have to be thankful for.
Which camp are you in? Ripas or IJODS (it’s just one day-ers)?  Are you a leftover person? Do you think it’s possible to keep treats to just one day?

Monday, November 19, 2012

I'm Losing Sleep and Tony Horton is to Blame

This isn't about "ego and aesthetics" says Horton

Periodically, I watch Dr Oz episodes at bedtime but I have to stop. The last time I pressed play Elisabeth Hasselbeck was on dispensing information on food intolerances. This time Tony Horton was the featured guest. Perhaps you recognize the name from  the P90X videos; Tony Horton has a tremendous client roster as a personal trainer. What made me cringe wasn’t his exercise advice it was when he stepped into nutritonland. And cringe is in understatement. I got out of bed too worked up to sleep.

What irked me about Horton’s advice is something I’ve seen a lot lately. I would categorize it as the advice you want to hear, the advice you want to be true. However, when you get down to it, it’s really patronizing. The show opened with skinny minis popping out from behind their old enormous clothes. I thought for sure Horton would come out and play the role of expert in smaller-sizing but no. Dr Oz asked Horton why he was disappointed with dieters. First, Horton told Dr Oz, this is not about fitting into certain clothing.  Horton sighed and shrugged  and explained that most people were focused on looking good. Efforts should be focused on improving our quality of life. This “it’s on the inside that matters” guidance was followed less than 2 minutes later with Horton lifting up his shirt at Dr Oz’s request (a weird moment but it didn’t take that much convincing). And here’s the deal, eating well is about feeling good and sleeping better, “going” better and whole host of things that have nothing to do with aesthetics. But looks matter to most of us and no trainer or “guru” is going to get you or the rest of the world to take vanity (his or yours) off the menu. Plus, I’m sorry how can you look into a camera and tell us to shift the focus from our little black dresses with enough Botox to all the "Real" Housewives wrinkle free? Hmn. This is in the same “vein” as diets that “aren’t diets but food plans”. We go on diets to look (and feel) better and once we establish that we can move on. …

 Horton moved on to his specific food advice with his 90/10 concept. Who doesn’t like plans that hinge on cheat days? Horton revealed a table full of fruits and vegetables and salmon and nuts, the typical diet rainbow and then came his big reveal. If you eat these “clean” foods 90% of the time you can, drumroll please, have chocolate cake some of the time. The oohs and aahs filled the room, who would object to the chocolate cake system? Horton said, “people need to ne rewarded.” I’m not treat-averse. I’ve talked about treat training and how to integrate less-than-wholesome items into your diet. However, it can’t all be about the cake. What worries me about this reasoning is that you can’t be living 90% of your hours waiting for cake time. If you’re spending your days choking down kale and quinoa pining for your food reward, I’m sorry but it’s not going to work. Most people who keep their weight in a happy place enjoy how they are eating and keep their food choices interesting and pleasurable. It’s can be suffer and then celebrate because in the long run, who wants to suffer?
With all nutrition and diet advice, we have to separate what would be nice: if size didn’t matter or cake could be a regular part of our lives from the truth.
What diet advice drives you crazy? Are you familiar with Horton? Do you watch Dr Oz? Did you happen to see this show? And do you think it detracts from a message if experts flaunt their own bodies?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dream Thanksgiving Menu & the Right Turkey to Serve

Kale, Butternut Squash Salad (recipe below)
I may have mentioned that my family went out to eat for Thanksgiving last year. I wasn’t happy about the plan but you know what?  My day wasn’t spent in the kitchen. Instead of a marathon meal, it was more like a 10K. I drank and ate what I wanted (as did everyone else) and wasn’t sucked into having things because they’re traditional or homemade. And there are no second helpings when you’re at a restaurant. We’re going out again this year and I’m thrilled. Most of clients will be hosting or at a relative’s next Thursday. They will face the typical holiday booby traps, food pushers etc. but the tide is turning. It’s no longer about having a heart attacky holiday feast with a lonely, decorative vegetable. Nope, more and more we’re hearing “nobody needs marshmallows on sweet potatoes” and we concur. Here’s our Foodtrainers’ dream Thanksgiving and I have no plans for next year in case you're cooking...

Appetizers should be very simple maybe olives (I’m voting Cerignoa), Parsnip Chips or veggies and my new favorite dip Basilicotta.
 I served this Kale Butternut Squash salad at Halloween but if I were hosting Thanksgiving I’d serve it again. It’s seasonal/festive but healthy and so delicious. My friend Jenna from Rosaberry concocted it; I wish I had thought of it. I guess it isn't Thanksgiving-like to be jealous.
1.5 pounds butternut squash, diced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 bunch lacinato kale, thick stems removed and cut into thin strips
Juice of one lemon
2 Tablespoons pepitas
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Place the squash on the pan and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Roast until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
  2. To toast the pepitas, place them in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Cook until golden, stirring frequently.
  3. Place the kale in a large bowl. Using your hands toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Taste frequently and make sure the kale is well-seasoned. Add the squash, toss again, and taste again.
  4. Place on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the pepitas.

You may not think so but Brussels sprouts are crowd pleasers. Perhaps you’ve had them roasted or spruced up with bacon or pancetta. But have you had hash?
Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots.
Unbutter (I have used half the suggested amount) or you’ll have to unbutton.

Carolyn wrote a Thanksgiving post on WebMD regarding turkey, an unappetizing excerpt:
“Did you know that traditional, factory farmed turkeys are artificially inseminated to reproduce? That’s how I’ll start the dinner conversation this year. If I have my way, none of us will ever look at the turkey baster the same way again. That’s not even taking into account the massive overfeeding, followed by saline and flavor injections to improve taste and texture. Eventually my family members will give me “the look”, or an elbow, or both. I’m giving you the opportunity to get a wild, heritage, or organic turkey.”
In case Carolyn scared you, Rustic Root has turkeys from Hemlock Hill Farm “Free Range, Pasture Raised, No Antibiotics, Steroids or Hormones of any kind.”
They are so concerned that you may be serving up steroids, they are offering free delivery just enter the code- foodtrainers, at checkout. Order before Friday at 5pm.


I am a big fan of the Smart Grain brand and use their gluten free bread crumbs in meatloaf and for breading. The have a Sage Stuffing that I believe both G-Free NYC and Gary Nulls carry.

Raw Pumpkin Mousse
Next year, when you invite me over bear in mind I’m not such a dessert person. I’ll be perfectly happy with a square of Alter Eco Quinoa/Dark Chocolate. If you insist on serving something, I like treats in ramekins. How about...pumpkin mousse? After all, there is no need for “crust” after a holiday meal.

I’m so thankful to be able to be lighthearted. I am thinking about those people who don’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving or always hosted in a house that no longer exists. I’m having a little Sandy fundraiser on 11/29, email me if you’d like more information.
In the meantime? What would be on your dream Thanksgiving menu? Any of these recipes/ideas you think you’ll try? Will Carolyn cause you to look at your turkey differently?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why Your Working May Not Be Cutting It

From Mashable Infographic

We first started to realize just how bad sitting was when we read A.J. Jacob's Drop Dead Healthy (great book).  Since that time, there have been numerous studies concluding that sitting for long periods of time is wreaking havoc with our weight and health. We had our intern Katelynn sort out the sitting issue and suggest ways for us to maintain our professional lives without gaining weight and harming our health. And Katelynn’s video is a must watch (awesome).

You’re probably sitting down right now while reading this and I’m sitting right now while writing this. The problem is that our bodies are physically designed to stand up regularly and to move around. Excessive sitting is defined as sitting for more than six hours a day and very easy to  “accomplish” with an office job and a modest TV habit. Think about it, a couple of hours in the morning, two more at lunch, a couple of shows at night, you're there. According to The New York Times, “the average adult spends 50 to 70 percent of their time sitting.” That’s half of your life as we say T2C (tush to chair).  A recent U.S. News and World Report article showed that even 3 hours per day could have deleterious effects, uh oh.

A popular misconception is that if you get enough daily exercise, you’re exempt from the consequences of sitting. However, the truth is far from that. In fact, the person who exercises regularly but sits or watches TV for a combination of six hours has similar risk to someone who sits the same amount and doesn’t exercise. Regardless of your activity level, excessive sitters live two years less. Studies have found that prolonged sitting increases the rate of hear disease and diabetes while and slowing your metabolism.  People who sit too long reduce good cholesterol levels by 22 percent. And data presented at the American Institute for Cancer Research concluded sitting time is emerging as a cancer risk factor independent of weight or exercise habits. Excessive sitting can also lead to poor posture, knee pain, herniated discs and other back and neck.

So what is it that makes sitting so bad? Physiologically certain things happen when we sit. Lipase is what helps muscles absorb fat. While sitting, we don’t produce lipase so fat can be stored or end up in our arteries. Other research pointed out what happens within muscle when we sit, there's “the absence of skeletal muscle contractions, particularly in the very large muscles of the lower limbs,” When muscles don’t contract they don’t require fuel so blood sugar can accumulate in the bloodstream. This explains the sitting/diabetes connection.

Short of quitting a desk job or investing in a treadmill desk (we can dream) try standing versus sitting. As REM said (I thought REM was a typo when Lauren suggested I include this), “Stand in the Place Where You Are"extra points if you do the dorky dance. Stand while on the phone or watching your children play. When seated make sure you get up every 30 minutes. Aside from letting lipase do it’s fat zapping job, according to Dr. Hamilton, associate professor of biomedical sciences University of Missouri, standing will help you burn an extra 60 calories an hour. And because we have your back (and don’t want that back decorated in back fat), here are some exercise ideas you can implement while commuting or at your desk:

This youtube video Katelynn created could could change your life. 

As seen in the video:
Calf Raises
While doing these calf raises ‘the calves perform a motion called plantar flexior, and you can burn about 20 calories for 15 of these. Also stand on the bus or subway.

Water Bottle Workout
A 16 oz Poland Spring water bottle weighs approximately 1.08 pounds. The heavier the water bottle, the more it will help work your arm muscles. And for your feet at your desk these Yamuna reflexology balls are fantastic.

Swap Out Your Chair
Exchange your old wooden office chair for one that will give you a workout while sitting. Gaiam sells the perfect “Balance Ball Chairs” for your office. 

Dr. Alpa Patel, senior epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society, had this ot say about sitting “if you reduce sitting by five minutes an hour, at the end of a long day, you’ve shaved an hour of your total sitting time.” 
Are you sedentary or active during the day? How much would you guesstimate you sit? Did you realize sitting was so dangerous?
Spread the word, tweet us evidence that you're taking this information to heart. REM dance? Water bottle workout? Commute Calk Raises? Let's see it. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Favorite Game Day Snacks for Kids

There is a lot of discussion about the quality of food children are served at school and at home but as the mother of two young, athletic boys I feel there’s an overlooked area of children’s eating and that’s sports-related snacks. It doesn’t matter if a game finishes at 9:30 or lunchtime you can bet donuts are lurking. Rather than call out the donut folks, I’ll focus on healthy, tasty, fun alternatives.
I was thrilled when Peeled, aware of my game-day frustration, provided their new Apple Clusters for one of my son’s soccer games. Yet, as we walked to the field with our Peeled bag filled with all three cluster flavors, I started to get nervous. My son was excited to share these treats with his teammates but I knew it was a risk. A food departure is a toss up. While I am fine with the title, I didn’t want my soccer player to be the healthy food pariah. I watched the game distracted by my "cluster" concerns.

With a few minutes left, I set the pretty Peeled boxes on the bottom row of the bleachers. Cinnamon was flanked by Berry and Apple. Soon the game was finished and the team stormed the bench. “What’s for snack?” I announced the flavor options; they made their selections and ripped open the packages. I have serious regrets that tape wasn’t rolling. It was like a 2012 Wheaties commercial. The kids loved them, the parents asked where they could buy them and said things like “it’s about time someone brings a healthy snack”. Kids grabbed extras yo take home. As a nutritionist, it doesn’t get any better than that.
The bite-size round clusters are organic, gluten free, dairy free, naturally vegan and non-GMO. The size we handed out is single serving and 75 calories each package has three grams of fiber. They are reminiscent of granola but grain free. We first fell in love with the apple flavor but were won over by berry (I hope Peeled isn’t offended by the comparison but healthy Crunchberry?).

I'm a fan of orange wedges, organic grapes and watermelon as "fun" fruit snacks and love the original Peeled dried fruit snack packs. There are a few other companies I feel do a great job:

  • Go Go squeeze applesauces
  • Seasnax Nori snacks
  • Plentils Chips
  • Pumpkin seeds (although consider nut/seed free restrictions)
  • Natures All dehydrated bananas.
  • Hint water
Just so you don't think I'm a snack grinch, my kids have a snack they love that's not Foodtrainers-friendly. Near the soccer field there's a man who sells empanadas. His wife makes them and my boys adore them. I was very happy to see "Mr Empanada" back after Sandy. 

Can you spot Mr Empanada? Not easy.
What do you think are great sports snacks for kids? Why do you think donuts dominate? Have you tried Peeled snacks or the clusters? 
I love hearing about people making healthy inroads. Tweet us @Foodtrainers with the hashtag #nondonutsnack with photos or descriptions of healthy sports snacks or even meeting fare.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Post Sandy: Lessons Learned

drop off point at a local restaurant

I have a super snack to tell you about but I’ll hold off until Thursday because there are a few things about the whole NYC marathon fiasco still bugging me. The marathon is one of my favorite events, I love the stories, the challenge involved and of course New York is my home. The conspicuous generators and finish line are right across from the Foodtrainers offices and as I walked to work post Sandy the signage and set-up seemed so inappropriate. It all hit close to home. While, in the end, the marathon was cancelled there are important lessons to be learned.

Don’t Let Others Make Your Decisions
Before the city cancelled the race, I heard from clients slated to run the marathon.  Each of these runners, who trained long and hard, came to the conclusion that they would not run. Many said things like “it doesn’t feel right” and others hadn’t had power or had been relocated. Regardless of what the city said they were out. In the blogosphere and on Twitter and Facebook there was another sentiment. “The city decided the race was on and they must know what’s best.” Really? If the city thinks it’s ok to gas up thousands of buses while people wait in line for hours, they know best? If the city thinks it’s in good taste to start, as planned, on Staten Island blocks from where people lost everything, they know best? If the city thinks we should close roads and bridges for a road race, while trains are still out of order and traffic a mess, they know best? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics tells me artificial sweeteners can be part of a healthy diet (don’t get me started).  I understand if you’re not seeing the news coverage or live in another country but if you were here in the city, as I am, you know better than that. In the end we all make our own decisions.

Hobbies are Hobbies
For many, the marathon is an incredible journey that takes commitment and dominates your life for months. There’s a part of marathon training that forces you to be selfish. I’ve trained for races that didn’t happen because of weather or injury and though initially upsetting, you realize that it’s just a race. For the vast majority of those scheduled to run Sunday running isn’t their profession. I tweeted that running for most people is a hobby and received some replies “no to me it’s so much more” and in all of these tweets “me” figured prominently. People didn't want to let go of their training and their mission to see what was happening around them. This advice is coming from a prodigy in petty but there are times when that’s all trumped. The New York Post said, “In the long haul you can always go for a run. You can’t always have your dignity and your life.”

Let Voice Be Heard
The mayor’s  “the race will go on” mentality was challenged by writers, politicians, police officers and publications who knew it wasn’t right and made their voices heard. I’m sure those who follow my tweets or FB posts may have been annoyed by my marathon-related messaging but it bothered me until the word “cancelled”. Whether it’s related to Sandy or Prop 37 good things can happen when you really believe in something and speak up. Some people, even some good friends, didn’t like that I suggested running was selfish or that resources, despite NYRR’s claims, were being diverted (and proof of that was Mary Wittenberg’s announcement that port-o-potty’s and generators would be redistributed to storm victims not that they were diverted). I hope that once you get over the personal disappointment you see the bigger picture, the sad picture that endures for so many in this area.

Lessons for Children
It shouldn’t take a national disaster for our children to learn some things but in our case it did. I wish I could tell you my boys were excited to make packages for firefighters, clean up the park where they play soccer or walk bundles over to donate. Initially they weren’t but they soon realized this is what you do. We’re also talking about what we can do for our planet and the weather we experienced. The thought of another Sandy should remind us that climate change is real, despite what many people have told us. We now know better.
What do you feel were the lessons learned from Sandy? Other than The Red Cross, any organizations helping out others should know about? Any thoughts on the marathon fiasco?
Some ideas:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Post Sandy Mexican Halloween

Maniac Pumpkin Carvers, thank you

Every year we have a few families over for Halloween. The challenge when you host the same holiday annually is to find new ways to keep things fun. Maybe some people wouldn’t feel that way but I extend my type-A-ness to hosting. Trust me, I wish I was  the laid back, wing it hostess but that’s not in the cards. And there was no way we were going to let scary Sandy dampen our plans, in fact one friend emailed at 10am asking if it was too early to come over. After all...

I recall having more candy before Sandy and my 8 year old really likes these
First item on the agenda is the candy. There is no way to boycott candy giving. There will be no money, toys or inedible items handed out from our house. Instead, I try to seek out better candy. I was excited to learn of Unreal CandyUnreal  “unjunks” candy and uses no corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils, no artificial dyes and contains no GMOs. You can find unreal at Target and Kroger.

What's "way better" than a bag of these chips? Um 2.
Two of our friends are guac-masters. When they offered to bring guacamole for our festivities I thought a whole Mexican theme would work. And if you have guac you need chips Way Better sprouted chips in Sweet Chili are my #1.
We called these Spicy Scary and Autumn Margaritas
And if there’s going to be guac and chips, you need margaritas. My all time favorite margarita is from a restaurant called Gran Electrica. Gran Electrica was nice enough to share this piece of perfection with me and I have the pleasure of passing it on to you.

Margarita de Toronja Picante (in our house aka Spicy/Scary Margarita)
1 ½oz Habanero-infused Blanco Tequila (we use Pueblo Viejo)
½oz    Combier (or Triple Sec of choice)                                        
1oz     Fresh Lime juice                                                
1oz     Fresh Grapefruit Juice
½oz    Jalapeno syrup
Rim a rocks glass with Grapefruit Salt (we make this in house - but regular salt would do)
Shake vigorously and strain over ice into rocks glass                                                          
Garnish with a Grapefruit slice
*note we used Tanteo Jalapeno Tequila and Morris Kitchen Ginger Syrup and lime garnish
When my time comes, can I put in the request to be laid to rest on a bed of kale?
And if a nutritionist is going to have a margarita and guacamole, there has to be greeens (and this nutritionist has to be in the office at 8am) so I snuck in a Kale/Butternut/Pepita salad. This recipe from Jenna at Rosaberry and has become a family favorite. There were also mini corn empanadas from Empanada Mama and I had spicy tuna on rice crackers (I know sort of Japanese but I made it Mexican with my friend cilantro).

We had a little family Batman theme
What, you don't know who I am?
I was so happy that our friends rallied with the city still a mess. And the fact that Maniac Pumpkin and Empanada Mama didn’t disappoint was amazing. New Yorkers make things happen.
How did you spend Halloween? What type of hostess are you- obsessive or relaxed? Did you give out candy? Think I should consider green hair?