Date Night In Series — Halloween Movie Night

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Whether you’re bed-bound, house-bound or just out of spoons for the night, my new Date Night In series should help you come up with some fun ideas for date nights at home. This first date night is inspired by one of my favorite holidays — Halloween!

Halloween Snacks:

English: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, one with ...

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Right now, because I’m still on the AIP diet, it’s not like I can just grab a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (my fave!), so I decided to sleuth around and find some tasty alternatives for people who are either on healing diet or have food allergies/intolerances.

I haven’t tried them yet (nuts and chocolate are also still off-limits for me) but Mom Gone Paleo’s Dark Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups look like they’d be a great alternative to my favorite Halloween candy. I’ve seen several other variations of these made with different kinds of nut butters.

Now, these Yam O’Lanterns at Apron Strings may not be chocolate, but they are a fun way to eat a healthy snack and completely AIP-legal. With only three ingredients (yams, olive oil and sea salt), these are good choice for anyone on a restrictive diet. You can also swap out the olive oil for coconut oil or add some cinnamon and nutmeg.

There’s nothing better than snuggling up and sipping a hot drink when it’s chilly outside. I normally prefer a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows, but again, that’s not an option right now. Baker Bettie’s Crockpot Apple Cider is a tasty alternative and can be made with or without sugar.

Halloween Movie:

When it comes to Halloween movies, I prefer something funny or corny rather than something that’s really scary. My absolute favorite Halloween movie is Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (and hey, it even doubles as a Christmas movie!). This stop-motion musical even comes in 3-D now. Oh, and if you enjoy the movie, don’t forget to also check out Nightmare Revisited!

The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating:

I love the idea of carving pumpkins, but in reality, I just don’t like all the work involved. Slicing through a pumpkin is hard, especially if you have chronic pain or fatigue! So I found some easier ways to decorate — no knives required.

If you like using power tools, Better Homes and Gardens has a tutorial on how to decorate your pumpkin with a drill. And Momtastic has a tutorial on how to decorate pumpkins with black chalkboard paint. The best part about the chalkboard paint is you don’t have to commit to just one look.

So do you have any plans for Halloween?

My family had a Halloween party at my parents’ house last weekend, and it was pretty fun. Here’s a couple pictures from the party:

Diana Vancura and Grandpa Al

Me and Grandpa Al

Family Photo

Family Photo from Halloween

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Diana Signature

AIP Kale Chips – A Quick, Healthy Snack

One of the hardest things for me about the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol so far has been the lack of good snack options.

Since I can’t eat pre-packaged foods, I have to do a lot of cooking from scratch. I try to make my life a little easier by cooking up a lot of food when I’m feeling well, so I have some quick things to grab on the go.

Still, sometimes I want something that just tastes like a snack. Some people who have been following this diet for months claim that they no longer have the urge to snack, and that’s great, but I’m definitely not there yet!

At the beginning of the diet, I was at a complete loss on what to grab when I was craving a savory snack. I wanted salty potato chips loaded with dip or freshly popped popcorn dripping in butter, but obviously those snacks were out of the question.

Luckily, I’ve found something else that hits the spot:


AIP Kale Chips

These are so good and very easy to make. They have a lot of flavor, and something about this snack even reminds me of the taste of melted butter. Mmm.

Even if you aren’t on a restrictive diet, these kale chips make a delicious, healthy snack. Whenever I make a tray of these, people gobble them up quick. Which is good, because they taste best fresh out of the oven.

According to WebMD, kale is one of the healthiest veggies. So not only do these chips taste amazing, but they are also a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, potassium copper, iron, manganese and phosphorous.



Sea Salt

Black Pepper

Olive Oil

AIP Kale Chips


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking tray with foil or parchment paper.

Rinse off your kale and dry it thoroughly. Tear off small pieces from the stem and cover up your tray.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.

My kale was done in 15 minutes, but you’ll know yours is ready when the edges are crisp and brown.


Update on 10/28/13: I’ve actually been cooking the kale for 20 minutes now, and I prefer the crispier chips.