Archive for the ‘Foodie Fundamentals’ Category

Week 3: Prioritize Portion Size this #NutritionMonth!

March 11th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

When it comes to healthy eating, how much you eat can be just as important as what you eat. Eating portions that are too big can lead to overeating and weight gain. Follow these tips to manage the munchies while enjoying realistic portions.

Give yourself a hand! Size up your portions with handy estimates.

Wondering if you’re eating too much or too little? Use your hand and try these estimates on for size:

• 1 cup of leafy green veggies or 1 whole piece of fruit = 1 fist
• Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables = ½ fist
• 1 slice of bread or ½ bagel = 1 hand
• 1 cup of milk or ¾ cup of yogurt = 1 fist
• 50 grams of cheese = 2 thumbs
• Serving of chicken = palm of hand
• ¾ cup of pulses (e.g. lentils, black beans, chick peas) = 1 fist

For more handy serving sizes, visit: https://www.eatrightontario.ca/handyguide/

Size counts! Package, plate and portion sizes can influence how much you eat.

Larger portions, huge packages and bigger plates and bowls can all cause overeating. Set your table for portion-size success with these tips:

• Use smaller, lunch-sized plates and bowls for meals. You’ll eat less but still feel satisfied.
• Serve food, or have family members serve themselves, from the counter or the stove.
• Keep serving dishes of vegetables on the table. If you’re still hungry, eat second portions of veggies.
• Put large glasses of water on the table. You might even drink more water.

Manage munchies! Keep treat-type snack foods out of sight so you’ll be less likely to nibble.
Studies show, you are more likely to choose available, easily reached foods. Try these tips to make healthy choices easier:
• Keep nourishing snacks (e.g. hardboiled eggs, cut up veggies, yogurt, nuts, whole grain crackers) on an eye-level shelf in the fridge or cupboards so something healthy is the first thing you see.
• Put high-fat, high-sugar treats, such as cookies, into non-transparent containers at the back of the fridge or cupboard so they’re out of sight.
• Clear kitchen counters of all food except for a bowl of fresh fruit for crunchy snacking.

Fuel up! For long-lasting satisfaction, eat fibre- and protein-rich foods.
Finding yourself hungry too soon after eating meals or snacks? You might need to add more fibre- and protein-rich foods to your meals. Fibre helps fill you up and protein helps your energy last longer. Together, they deliver meal and snack satisfaction.

• Fibre up. Choose more vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains (e.g. barley or oatmeal), ground flax, nuts and seeds, and pulses (e.g. lentils, black beans, chickpeas).
• Put protein on your plate. Enjoy small portions of meat, fish, poultry or alternatives (eggs, pulses, tofu) and milk products.
For fantastic fibre-filled or protein-packed recipes, visit: www.cookspiration.com

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at: www.nutritionmonth2016.ca

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Week 2: Power Up Your Plate this #NutritionMonth!

March 4th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

When it comes to food choices, quality counts. Nourishing foods promote health and can help you feel your best. Take small steps to bump up the quality of your meals and snacks: get clever with cooking, swap in nutrient-rich choices and enjoy deliciously healthy foods. Here are some tips to get you started.

Jump-start your day! Power through your morning by eating a good breakfast.
A nourishing breakfast gives you a fuel boost plus protein and fibre to help you stay alert and avoid mid-morning munchies.
In a hurry?
• Blend frozen berries, yogurt and milk for a super smoothie. Make it even better with baby spinach and ground flax.
• Wrap peanut butter, a banana and trail mix in a whole-grain tortilla for a portable, crunchy breakfast.
Got time?
• Make a burrito with scrambled egg, lentils or soft tofu, sautéed red pepper, avocado and salsa wrapped in a warm tortilla.
• Top French toast with yogurt, sunflower seeds and warm sautéed apple slices.

Forget the food court! Pack good food fast with “planned extra” leftovers for lunch.
Packing lunch is a healthy, budget-friendly habit. Keep it simple: reinvent “planned extra” leftovers for a lunch that’s way better than the food court. Try these tasty ideas:
• Cook extra chicken for dinner. For lunch, wrap chicken in soft tacos, with crunchy cabbage and shredded carrots, a sprinkle of feta and big squeeze of juicy lime.
• Roast extra root veggies. Layer them on crusty whole grain bread with hummus and baby spinach for a scrumptious sandwich.
• Toss extra cooked whole-wheat pasta, couscous or barley with pesto, cherry tomatoes, lentils and small cheese chunks for a protein-packed salad.

Swap your sip! Sugary and creamy drinks pack a calorie punch.
Your best choice for quenching thirst? Water! Add zing with mint, berries or citrus wedges. Carry a water bottle and keep it fresh all day. Swap your sip with these tips:
• Choose fizzy water with a tangy citrus twist instead of sugary pop.
• Like a latte? Filled with nutrient-rich, hydrating milk, lattes can be a good choice. Go plain, without sugary syrups or whipped cream. Try decaf to cut caffeine.
• Tea lover? Try hot or iced black, green or herbal teas without added white sugar or honey. Enjoy the taste of the tea itself.

Trade your treat! Pack nutrient-rich snacks so you can steer clear of the vending machine.
Nourishing snacks satisfy hunger between meals. To stay energized and satisfied, snack smart with small, portions of nutrient-rich foods. Treat your tastebuds with these good-for-you snacks:
• Fresh veggies + garlicky black bean dip
• A crisp apple + a couple pieces of tangy old cheddar cheese
• Crunchy roasted chickpeas + a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips
• A couple of naturally sweet dates filled with almond butter

Clever cooking! Flavour food with tangy citrus, fresh herbs and fragrant spices.
There are lots of simple ways to cook healthy without sacrificing taste. Try these tips to add flavour to meals:
• Add pizzazz to plain grains and pulses by cooking barley, brown rice or lentils in low-sodium broth.
• Stir ½ to 1 cup of canned pumpkin or mashed sweet potato into muffin batter for a veggie boost.
• Make a luscious mashed potato with roasted garlic, a little olive oil and warm milk.
• Purée vegetable soups, such as potato, sweet potato or broccoli, with low-sodium broth for deliciously creamy texture and taste.

For delicious recipes with a healthy twist, visit: www.cookspiration.com. How’s your 100 meal journey going?

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at: www.nutritionmonth2016.ca

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Week 1: Start a 100 Meal Journey this #NutritionMonth!

February 26th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Eating well can boost your health and help you feel your best. Want to eat better? Instead of trying to change everything at once, take a 100 Meal Journey. We eat about 100 meals in a month, so focus on making a small, lasting change and stick with it… one meal at a time. March is Nutrition Month, so now is a perfect time to join in!

Committing to make a healthy change is a great first step. Take a week to get prepared. Try some tips for choosing change, setting goals and putting strategies in place to support your 100 Meal Journey.

Pledge to make a small, nourishing change and stick with it, one meal at a time.
Too many changes at once can be overwhelming and hard to keep up. It’s better to make one nourishing change that sticks.

First, choose your change. Think about your eating habits. Where can you make a positive, easy change? Here are some ideas that can make a big difference:
• Fill more of your plate with vegetables.
• Choose whole grain instead of white bread.
• Serve smaller portions, start by using a smaller plate.
• Enjoy fruit for snacks instead of sweet or salty treats.
• Drink water in place of sugary beverages, like pop.
Then, set small goals, get ready for action and join other Canadians on a 100 Meal Journey.
Pledge here: www.NutritionMonth2016.ca

Pantry raid! Take stock of your cupboards, fridge and freezer. Add foods to nourish your 100 Meal Journey.
Making nourishing meals and snacks is easier when you have healthy foods on hand. Get your kitchen ready for action with these good-for-you foods:
• Vegetables and fruit: fresh or plain frozen, dried and canned
• Whole grains: oats, barley, quinoa, pasta, cereals, crackers, breads
• Milk products: milk, cheese, yogurt, kefir
• Nuts, seeds and nut butters: pumpkin seeds, flax, natural peanut butter
• Canned and dried pulses: lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans
• Eggs: whole or cartons of eggs or egg whites
• Fish: plain frozen fish fillets, canned tuna or salmon
• Meat and poultry: fresh cuts of red meat, turkey, chicken

Change your eating environment. Add healthy cues, like a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter.
Look around your house, workplace, car or anywhere you might be eating. Are there cues, like candy bowls and cookie jars, that hinder healthy habits? Redesign your environment with healthy cues to prompt good choices. Try these ideas:
• Put a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter. Keep all other food in the fridge or cupboards.
• Keep a reusable water bottle on your desk so it’s ready for sipping instead of sugary drinks.
• Store nourishing snacks, like cut up veggies, handy at eye level in your fridge. Put tempting treats at the back of the cupboard.

Mull all of this over and choose 1 easy thing to change, make a commitment by taking the pledge and stick with it throughout March. I pledged to try a new recipe each week throughout March. What will you pledge?

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at: www.nutritionmonth2016.ca

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Lunch Improv 2 Ways

February 10th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Here’s My Lunch Improv to Try!
There has been much debate about which meal of the day is most important. Breakfast usually hogs the spotlight given it provides get up and go to start the day. While dinner is our meal to help us ease into the evening. Lunch often gets glossed over, yet it is no less important than any other. In fact, lunch can help revive that get up and go that got up and went boosting your afternoon productivity!

I wrote in my ebook Skinny On Slim how I shifted my noon-time nosh-fest some years back. The short story is that I now choose a 3-salad combo with one side of plain Greek-style yoghurt another side of low fat cottage cheese. One of the salad choices always contains pulses (chick peas, beans or lentils) to further pump up the protein and one always has some nuts or seeds. This routinely satisfies my hunger, fills me up, tastes great, yet doesn’t leave me needing to nod off like Dilbert as the clock ticks by late afternoon.

I used to buy the ready-made salads. But soon after this New Year I didn’t like the limited selection and mayo-laden choices, so I decided to move my cheese and try my hand at making a few simple ones. These combinations are a snap to prepare:

C’est Chick
Combine the following:
1 can chick peas, drained & rinsed (can sub in white beans or lentils)
chopped onion slice
chopped celery, radish &/or red pepper
dash of olive oil, season to your liking

Sunshine Carrot
Combine the following:
1 can crushed pineapple, drained well
3 carrots, peeled and grated
chopped onion slice
1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries or dried or frozen cherries or raisins
dash of vinegar
season to your liking

Peck O Peppers
Combine the following:
2-3 red, orange or yellow peppers, washed, cored cut lengthwise
chopped onion slice
diced defrosted frozen mango or peach
dash of vinegar
season to your liking

Here are a few more lunch salads that I love:

These combos are fast and easy to make and keep well in air tight containers in your refrigerator. I make them on the weekend leaving the guess work about “what’s for lunch?” off the table entirely. Choose a different combination each week. They’re great for the whole family to enjoy.

Try your own lunchtime improv! Join me in making a few cinchy options.

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Best Face Forward!

January 6th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ahhh the New Year is upon us. As long as you’re on the green side of the grass things are looking up for you! This season is filled with opportunity that can help you sail into spring. A perfect way to start is to put your best face forward, so listen up:

Face the Cold – Hey baby, it might be cold outside, but working out in the colder temps may actually burn more calories. Don’t only face it, but embrace it! I’m sure more calorie burnage is in order post holiday noshing, don’t you think?

Face the Scale – Yes folks, you already know that awareness is bliss! Although I’ve scanned enough tweets about “don’t let a number define you” you still need to know where you stand. Let’s not poke our head in the sand and be oblivious if you have gained weight. If you slipped up a pound or 5, stopping this trend in it’s tracks is strategic. Lock and load yourself in your trusty iron-side jeans for the season and get a handle on your handles!

re-Face the Fridge – The old adage “out with the old and in with the new” certainly pertains to stocking your fridge up with tasty, healthy food and drink options. Out goes that jug of sangria, replaced with mint or berry infused water. Load up on an array of Mother Nature’s bounty – fruits and veggies and organize them “right in your face” so when your resolve is tanking with your blood sugar before dinner, perfect choices are right there and ripe for the taking.

Face the Facts – Let’s read and follow advise from reliable sources based in fact rather than fiction. We are biological beings that need all of the macro and micro nutrients regularly to function optimally. Be kind to your bodacious body! Don’t cut your nose off to spite your face by trying illogical schemes.

Face the Music – Find time to sooth that savage beast within bound by excess stress and work in ways to chill. Turn on your favourite tunes to help shake off the stress. You’ll be calmer, happier and more positive which is a great way to kick off the New Year.

Let’s face it folks, we can’t slow down time but we can embrace it with a positive outlook when we put our best face forward. Upward and onward ho!

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Holiday Noshing 2.0

December 9th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Whether you’re dining with family, partying with coworkers or enjoying another restaurant meal with friends there are some habits you can program into your robotic repertoire to help you through with minimal drift to your mid section… Review these pointers, reflect on how you did and reframe for the next time. Most of all, enjoy!

Eat Smart – Scale back your daytime meals a smidgen to allow a bit extra for the special meal. Don’t cut back too much or you’ll end up feeling so ravenous that you’re hungry like a bull when you arrive. Being too hungry will propel you to eat like a buzz saw.

Wee Nibble – Have a wee snack before you go to take the edge off your appetite. It’s easier to make wiser choices when you’re feeling in control.

Be Like a Girl Guide – Plan ahead and be prepared, find out what’s being served and decide what tickles your fancy.

You Look Maaaarvelous! – Dress for eating success by wearing an outfit that is cinched around your waist and makes you feel divine. You are more likely to eat like a moo moo when you wear a mu- mu! Elastic waistbands are out. Sport a belt or something that fits like a glove.

Think About Your Drink! – Offer to be the designated driver and save a load of calories on bevvies. Otherwise, decide on your upper alcohol limit. You don’t want to be the talk of the party afterwards now, do you?

Say Bottoms UP – Make the first few drinks something bubbly… mineral water that is. Enjoy your wine when you begin eating.

Decisions, Decisions – Forgo wasting calories on everyday fare like bread and butter, olive oil or regular side dishes. Try trading off.

Zone In – Think about how full you’re starting to feel during your meal and slow down if you’re shovelling the food down your gullet. If that zipper on your dress had a voice, what would it be saying right now? “Let me out!” Join in the conversation and put your fork down now and then.

Mind Games – If your hostess is Foodzilla, a food-pushing saboteur, move the food around your plate. When she tries to dish you more, blurt out “Yes I took seconds and they’re divine, mmm…”

Bond Time – Focus on connecting with others, how great you feel, the enjoyment and laughter. Food ought not be your only focus. Branch out a little. There’s more to life than stuffing your face.

10 More – Up the ante on your exercise routine the following day to work off any excess and cut back a bit in the coming days if you overdid it. No big deal, you’ll nip that nosh-fest in the bud, yet will savour the fond memories.

A little planning and juggling make a world of difference. You can still party hearty and keep your weight in check – double the fun. Ho ho ho-ld the excuses once you prepared!

For more tips to handle life’s multitude of eating temptations check out Chapter 9 of my e-book Skinny on Slim, the Little Black Dress of Diet Books and enjoy!

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The 12 Days of Christmas Remix

December 2nd, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Ok my cherished T & T followers. Another year has come and gone. Let’s all sing along together from the same proverbial song-sheet now that the Christmas season is in full swing, shall we? Hem hem hem….

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

1 Daily Breakfast – Successful losers say and research shows it’s the most important meal of the day. Don’t miss it!

2 Little Snacks – Keeping your hunger at bay will really help you from feeling ravenous and overeating.

3 Square Meals – Having a regular eating routine with balanced meals helps your metabolism fire on all cylinders while kicking hunger to the curb. A true gift to yourself.

4 Food Groups – Enjoying food choices in a balanced fashion from all of the food groups will optimally nourish you as you take on all that the holidays have in store, fa la la la la, la la la la!

5 Quiet Moments – Let stress flow away when you find daily quiet time to ponder life and all it’s wonders…. Ummmmmm.

6 Times a Movin’ – Keeping regularly active (at least six, five minute intervals of moving daily) and even taking it up a notch this time of year to offset any extra nibbling will help you burn-baby-burn extra calories, keep on track, feel fit and even ease stress.

7 Beauty Sleeps - Getting enough zzzzz’s helps with appetite regulation and allows you to be more productive. Nite nite.

8 Mugs a Chuggin’ – Keep your water goblet by your side and sip, sip, sip to my Lou throughout the day to stay well hydrated. Infuse your water with fresh mint, zesty citrus or frozen berries. Bottoms UP!

9 Suares to Go To – Put on your party pants and get down on the dance floor doing the hokey pokey at these shin digs will help you burn 276 calories an hour, by rockin’ round the clock! Bye bye trifle calories…..

10 Fruit & Veg – Eating your quota of these puppies everyday helps fill you up while easing those extras out because you’re simply feeling full. Like magic.

11 Saboteurs to Deal With – Prepare yourself with how you’re going to deal with food pushing saboteurs. Take the high road with a polite “no thank you” and avoid the battle ground. Refer back to #5 as needed as you say “fa la la la la…”

12 Times of Standin’ – Get up and move a little throughout the day, everyday. Do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about! Down with sitting’itis!

Ok folks, if you follow this beat for the coming weeks you’ll be in good shape and feeling extra cheer by New Year. Equip yourself with my e-book to get up to speed on some healthy and stealthy habits for 2016. God bless us every one!

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Test 1-2, Test: The Thanksgiving Dinner Test

November 25th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Well folks, American Thanksgiving is almost upon us. Who doesn’t love this festive weekend, especially the lavish family meals that go with it, not to mention the football extravaganza. “All the way” in spades my friends!

That horn of plenty is bursting with all that harvest has to offer. Think about what is served at a typical Thanksgiving dinner: the turkey, the nutty dressing, those golden roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts, mashed yams, cauliflower and cheese casserole, homemade pie with a dab of ice cream. Ahhh gotta love all of this with a repeat to cover both sides of the bella famiglia.

Some people, might like this time of year though to kick off a better eating plan along with the football season. If this is the case for you put whatever regimen you’re considering to my special test – the “Thanksgiving Dinner Test” explained in my ebook Skinny on Slim. If a diet doesn’t allow you to eat the food served at this celebratory dinner, then forget about it, don’t give it another thought!

I’m not a lover of diets. They’re like living in a straight jacket with so many don’ts they’re hard to keep track of and even harder to adhere to for the long haul. Many do result in weight loss, for a little while, until your resolve caves making the food floodgates to fly open, then the weight rebounds. You end up feeling like you failed rather than the diet failed you. Think about it. Let this fall be pivotal for you and go on a plan you can adhere to for life, set in fundamental principles to help you lose weight, thrive, and soar for good. The best plan is one you can stick with “all the way”!

Look yourself in the mirror and make a pact that from this day forward you will set yourself free from dieting forever. Be darn sure that the plan you choose passes my Thanksgiving dinner test.

Read about this with solutions to help you along your journey in Skinny On Slim, The little black dress of diet books.

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Mother Nature 3 Ways

November 19th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’m back. Back from Middle Earth, a driving tour that led me around New Zealand’s south island, ahhhh. I love getting away and being able to ponder life’s wonders.

During that time my soul was doused with a triple dose of Mother Nature. Being able to witness the splendour of Mount Cook with a back splash of cirrus clouds, to crystal blue glacier lakes, fjords of Milford Sound on a mysteriously rainy day, an end-to-end rainbow with 2 pots of gold, the glory of spring flowers, to Fangorn’s Forest all connected by rolling hills and flatlands of farmland with flocks of sheep dotting the countryside from coast to coast to coast. Nothing could be finer, truly. Middle Earth? It felt like living a fairy tale. There and back again with Bilbo Baggins of sorts…

As I reflect about what was most captivating aside from “nature in your face” was the (almost) absence of big corporate anything, met with warm and genuine hospitality of unpretentious New Zealanders. Rarely a logo, a billboard, a golden arch, a fancy handbag was sported with a casual, comfort and acceptance of being as you were whether at a gas station filling up or a dining room of a remote lodge. How refreshing.

I relished listening to the silent whispers of nature whether a waterfall, sweet bird songs, the bark of a seal or wind rustled leaves. I collected souvenirs of rocks from the blue pools, some feathers of a red hawk and twigs of a grand Cypress tree found on the grounds of Larnarch’s Castle. How odd for me being a self proclaimed Material Girl, nothing seemed finer than those treasures I stashed in my suitcase….

There aren’t words to fully express the magnificence of it all as I mull over the jarring sumptuousness of my experience.

Speaking of jarring. The reentry to reality after an overnight flight being coddled to a final dose of New Zealand congeniality to San Francisco had life’s BS meter off the charts experiencing a double whammy of Friday the 13th day of November, literally. Paris splattered the headlines, to the Ho Ho Ho of Christmas harriedness, to my twitter feed spewing with breaking news. What gives?

It has been a few days since arriving home, still feeling a sense of calm from Mother Nature’s sweet caress despite our world going postal yet again in spades, sadly. As I took my daily walk I pondered my feelings more deeply, hmmmm. A lightbulb went off, AHA!

What we all need in our lives is more of Mother Nature – that’s the answer! I hiked to the grocery store yesterday to pick up some of her bounty that landed on my dinner plate. I walked with her feeling the brisker breeze blowing through my hair and sauntering by the bare trees reaching up to the sky. I felt her sense of calm to douse the stress of our world’s madness helping to make sense of it all somehow.

As I pondered what I’d write about in the months ahead aiming to synthesize life down to its skivvies, it came to me: let’s get more of Mother Nature in our life through our food, with fun activity and with her sage counsel to manage stress for our soul.

Hmmm, Mother Nature 3-Ways, more on this to come, Through Thick & Thin…

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Hold the trick on treats this Halloween!

October 28th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

The tweet fest has been mounting about whether to give kids healthy treats or toys at Halloween, hmmmm. Is that an oxymoron – “healthy treats”? I call that a “trick” in the “trick or treat” declaration, wouldn’t you?

Look folks, Halloween comes but once a year. It’s fun to celebrate a spirited day, dress up funny and shell out. Why suck the fun out of it? Truth be told, it’s a perfect time of year to put your relationship with food to the test…

Food means so much more than simply the vitamins and minerals it contains, but has a place within our social and psychological fabric. Kids are sharp as tacks being intuitive, sometimes more than we adults ever realize. When we the “gate keepers” take the “treat” out of “trick or treat” kids get the message that you’re telling them that something is bad about that. When you head down that road, it’s a slippery slope in a negative direction. Kids who live in “cleansed” environments without any goodies could go into “food seeking” mode and will gorge on treats when they eventually get them. Some studies have shown this. The unintended consequence could result in psychological eating issues which could shackle them in a vortex of disordered eating for decades. Lighten up!

Ideally we all want kids to establish a positive relationship with food or as I like to say “a love affair” described in my e-book. This involves eating and enjoying food, some treats in moderation, guilt free. This is not a black or white issue, but grey. When we deem foods by our actions as “bad” the unintended consequences could be staggering. That’s not the goal is it: to create a negative situation by being so virtuous?

I usually wait until the day before the big day to pick up my treats. You name it, I get it – potato chips, Cheetos, chocolate bars, candy, the full court press of offerings. It’s Halloween folks, kids don’t want “healthy treats” and neither do I as I sit at the door when the tykes drop by. Save the bridge games for the old folks home! What kind of trick is that? A very bad one! This is one of those occasions to take part in and have fun – nibble, nosh and be merry. When the sugar rush wears off, it’ll be time for school and work so enjoy!
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