Enjoy the Candy And Try Something New

By Patrice Powers-Barker, OSU Extension, Lucas County
The Truth Contributor

Is your October a spooky, sugar-laden month of candy? Below, I will be sharing one (of many) community invitations to a Trunk-or-treat for youth in Lucas County. Certainly, candy will be part of the festivities, but it can also be balanced out with games, activities and additional ways to celebrate fall – for adults as well as children.

Trunk-or-Treat Invitation

Enjoy community festivities. Although food is often a theme at community parties, other topics like enjoying cooler outdoor weather and gathering for fellowship can be just as important as the candy.

Ohio State University Extension, Lucas County is hosting the First Annual Fall Festival with Trunk-or-Treat, Fall Games and introductions to the Lucas County 4-H Clubs. Prizes will be given to the best (youth) costumes. It will be Saturday, October 22 from 4:00pm – 6:00pm at the Lucas County Fairgrounds, 1406 Key St., Maumee, OH. Food trucks will be on site for food purchase.

Balance it out

Enjoy the sweet treats and add a healthy addition like caramel candy with apple slices or a glass of low-fat milk with chocolate or mix some of the candy pieces in with plain cereal and popcorn for a modified snack mix.

Try something new

My colleagues who teach nutrition classes, shared a sample of Black Bean Brownies from Celebrate Your Plate recipes celebrateyourplate.org. Sound weird?  That’s OK. Try it, you might like it. Although the chocolate chips are listed as optional, we recommend using them or crunch up some other chocolate Halloween candies to add extra sweetness.

Black Bean Brownies


  • Non-stick spray
  • 1 15 ounce can no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)



  • Before you begin wash your hands, surfaces, utensils and top of cans
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray an 8×8 inch pan or baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • Use a potato masher or fork to completely break up the beans.
  • Add the oil to the beans. Stir to mix completely to be sure that all beans are completely mashed.
  • Add the eggs and mix well.
  • Add brown sugar and cocoa and mix well.
  • Add vanilla extract, baking powder and salt.
  • Pour into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips (optional)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack. Cut into 16 pieces.


  • Add 1 tablespoon of instant coffee to the mix for a mocha flavor.
  • Add 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper for a flash of heat.


If Black Bean Brownies seem too unusual for you, there’s always the seasonal favorite recipe of pumpkin seeds. And if you don’t have a pumpkin but have another type of winter squash like acorn squash or butternut squash, you can use those seeds also.

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds from Chop Chop recipes

  • Turn on the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Place winter squash (pumpkin) seeds in a colander or strainer and rinse with water. Blot them dry with a dish towel.
  • Mix together about one cup of seeds, 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Don’t worry if  you have more or less than a cup of seeds. Go ahead and adjust the oil and salt, depending on how many cups of seeds you have.
  • Spread seeds on a single layer on a baking sheet
  • Bake until the seeds are dry and golden brown, 15 to 40 minutes (this will depend on how big they are when you start, and how wet).
  • (Optional) If you’d like to add an additional flavor, choose one of the following seasons and stir in during the last 5 minutes or so of baking. (this is per one cup of seeds, be sure to adjust the amount depending on your seeds)
    • 1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
    •  1⁄2teaspoon curry powder
    • 1⁄2teaspoon Old Bay or Creole spice blend
    • 1⁄4teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon brown sugar and 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Set aside to cool, stirring with the spoon or spatula every 10 minutes or so. Serve right away or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

It’s also the time of year that OSU Extension offers the 6-week, online email challenge. The twice-a-week emails run from the end of October through the beginning of December.  Join the “Unwrap Your Gifts” 6-week email wellness challenge for healthy living tips and encouragement to help you make the most of this holiday season. It’s free for any adult, you only need an email address to sign up. Visit this link to register for this year’s challenge: http://go.osu.edu/lhlwlucas