Colorful Cooking column: No tricks, just healthy treats |

Colorful Cooking column: No tricks, just healthy treats

Tracy Miller
Colorful Cooking
Use peanut butter to help the granola and other decorations stick to these nutty owls.
Special to the Daily | Brooke Heather Photographer |

When my daughter celebrated her seventh birthday, we made spectacular cupcakes in bright colors with enormous gummy characters to share with her classmates. Upon arriving in the classroom, I was not surprised when a Star Wars clad, brown-haired boy asked, “Is that nut free?” Schools have been nut free for a while and no mother dares bring a nut near an elementary school function.

The kids started squirming as the teacher commanded attention. Then an athletic, pig-tailed girl inquired, “Is there red dye number five in the gummies?” It didn’t stop there; another student asked about gluten and another about sugar substitutes. It woke me up to the idea that kids want healthy food, too.

Halloween parties are everywhere and all include food. In order to stay true to Colorful Cooking, which adds fruits and vegetables to all meals, I have tried and tested healthy, kid and adult friendly, nut free, Halloween appetizers.

All the kids have loved the nutty owl that covers a banana with peanut butter, adds pecan wings and candy corn beaks, but if you are heading to a classroom party, then try out the molasses owl that is adorable and nut free. If you brave the graveyard of kids and sticky food, then you can set up a station and let them assemble the owls by painting the molasses onto the banana and sticking the oatmeal, cheerios and pretzels on to make the owl.

Visit my website for more fun Halloween recipes. For a classroom party, try the cheesy bats, which are easy to assemble and a protein rich snack. The easiest treat, baked French fry fingers, are simple and all monsters love fries. For a more grown up version, dip the fingers in dark red chipotle ketchup. For more Halloween-inspired party foods, visit http://www.colorful where you’ll find recipes for hearty skeleton skins, Dracula bagels and goblin sandwiches. Happy Halloween!

Tracy Miller is TV8’s in-house cook, shares recipes on “Good Morning Vail,” teaches cooking classes at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards and hosts private cooking parties. Contact Miller at

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