It’s Time to Trick or Treat! While kids across the country are gearing up for an action-packed Halloween season, parents are bracing themselves for this candy extravaganza!  At HealthBarn USA, we are all about indulging without going overboard, and making sure it’s with the good stuff — CHOCOLATE!  We love semi-sweet dark chocolate because it tastes so good, it’s easy to cook and bake with and it’s loaded with antioxidants.  And, while treats are the focus, we think it’s important to have fun with all aspects of this spooky holiday.  Make Halloween 2013 magical for the whole family with our top tricks and treats:

  • Shades of Darkness!  Go for the darkest chocolate your family will eat because the darker it is the more antioxidants!  BONUS: choose fair trade chocolate and teach an important lesson, too.
  • The Green Costume.  Visit your home recycling bins or local second hand store for unique costume ideas that are good for the environment.  Everyone will be buzzing about your creativity that will get others thinking, too!
  • The Haunted House Party.  Transform your home into a haunted house for a cool Halloween party this year, so you can keep tabs on activities and candy intake!  Involve the whole family in planning a variety of fun activities, e.g. bobbing for apples, relay races, and themed scavenger hunts.

Stacey’s Top Fun Idea This Season:  The Witches’ Brew!  

Presentation is Key!

If you’ve ever made our Shabu-Shabu HealthBarn USA recipe in Appetite for Life, then you already know that this dish will be a hit with your kids and their friends, too!  We switched up the swishing ingredients to be dipped in the brew pot to get everyone in the festive spirit.  This vitamin packed meal will get everyone cackling over ingredient nicknames like “Green Slime”, “Worms”, and “Toenails.”  So heat up a pot of our Witch’s Brew on Halloween and see how many ghosts you can catch around your kitchen table!


4 large eggs
3 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
½ teaspoon olive oil
1 bag (6 ounces) baby spinach leaves
2 1/3 cups water, divided
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
4 scallions, thinly sliced
8 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 small head cauliflower (1 ½ pounds), broken into 2 inch florets
4 fondue forks


  1. Mushrooms = Toenails

    Mushrooms = Toenails

    Hard –cook the eggs:  In a medium saucepan, place eggs and enough cold water to cover eggs by at least 1 inch; heat to boiling over high heat.  Immediately remove saucepan from heat and cover tightly; let stand 15 minutes.  Pour off hot water and run cold water over eggs to cool.  Remove shells from eggs, slice in half, and discard yolks.  Set egg whites aside in a serving dish labeled “Lizard Eggs”.

  2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook soba noodles as label directs.  Drain, toss with olive oil to prevent sticking and set aside in a serving dish labeled “Worms”.
  3. In a food processor or blender, combine spinach leaves with 1/3 cup water until pureed to a liquid consistency.  Set spinach puree aside in a serving dish labeled “Green Slime”.


    Cauliflower = Monster Brains

  4. In a fondue pot or casserole that’s top-of-range safe, heat remaining 2 cups water, broth and scallions to boiling over high heat.  Place the pot on an electric burner or other heat source, over medium heat, in the middle of the table.
  5. While broth is heating, plate remaining ingredients.  Place sliced mushrooms in a serving dish labeled “Toenails”.  Plate cauliflower in a serving dish labeled “Monster Brains”.
  6. Pass out bowls and fondue forks and divide veggies, noodles and egg whites evenly among 4 plates.  Use fork to skewer and swish the mushrooms and cauliflower florets in the fondue pot, cooking vegetables for 3-5 minutes.  Then ladle broth evenly into bowls and allow everyone to create their own Witch’s brew, stirring in spinach puree, noodles and egg whites.  Don’t forget to drink the broth too!

Makes 4 servings (1 cup broth with vegetables, noodles and 1 egg white per serving).

Nutrition Facts per serving:  160 calories; 1.5g fat (0g sat fat, 0.5g mono, 0g poly, 0g trans fat); 0mg cholesterol; 27g carbohydrate (5g fiber, 5g sugar); 10g protein; 370mg sodium; 35% Daily Value (DV) vitamin A; 70% DV vitamin C; 8% DV calcium; 15% DV iron.

Enjoy this “trick or treat” season with your witches and goblins by offering treats but balancing them with a lot of tricks, too!  And, remember to set a time frame for the disposal of the candy-packed jack-o-lantern or it will haunt you for months!

– Stacey Antine, MS, RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.


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