October 30, 2012

Healthy Halloween

The Culinate newsletter just posted a useful article about healthier options for Halloween. I like the suggestions of dried fruit, granola bars, and applesauce. For those who live in a place where packaging is an important tool for parents to trust that treats are safe to eat, I agree with this article's perspective. 

If you have the opportunity to hand out home-made treats, I encourage you to try one or two of these recipes for tomorrow night's festivities. 

Regardless, click here for recipes to prepare a simple, healing meal this week. This practice will help to balance any challenges you are experiencing.


Easy Granola Bars
You will need:
½ cup dried, unsweetened dates, raisins, apricots (choose any combination of these)
½ cup walnuts, pecans, almonds (choose any combination of these) - toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut butter or a combination of these)
¼ cup honey
4 Tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
1 cup rolled oats

Boil 2 cups water. As water boils, coarsely chop all dried fruit and place it in a small mixing bowl.
Pour boiling water over fruit. Soak for 15 minutes and drain.

Meanwhile, mix honey, nut butter, coconut, cinnamon, salt and oats in a medium mixing bowl.
Chop walnuts/almonds and pumpkin seeds.
Toast all seeds and nuts. Add to mixing bowl and mix together.

Add soaked dried fruit to the above ingredients.
Oil a glass baking dish: 7×11″ is a good size.
While the mixture is still warm, press it flat into the dish with wax paper. Chill for 1 hour.

Slice into squares. Cover with plastic wrap or store in baking dish in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

***
Sweet Potato Bread
Dry ingredients:
1½ cups flour (spelt for wheat-free OR 3/4 cup rice & 3/4 cup millet for gluten-free)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:
1 egg OR 2 Tablespoons flax seed meal (vegan option)
1/4 cup maple syrup
Grated zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup steamed, mashed sweet potatoes
2 Tablespoons unsweetened, whole milk yogurt OR coconut yogurt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grease 8 or 9 inch pan with vegetable oil.
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir together.
Make a well in the center, combine the wet ingredients and stir until thoroughly blended.
Incorporate wet and dry ingredients until they are well combined.

Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center tests clean.


To make savory treats that you can enjoy in the midst of much sweetness, try these quick and healing breads and spreads. If you are making the sweet potato bread (above), you can steam extra sweet potatoes for the spread below. To get really ambitious, roll vegetarian sushi - it's a great party snack.

Buckwheat Bread
In a bowl, mix:
2 cups buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coriander
1 Tablespoon ground flax seed
1 egg
¼ cup olive oil
enough water to make batter into pourable consistency (about 1 cup)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease any 8 inch pan with vegetable oil.
Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center tests clean.

***
Oaty Corn Bread
Dry ingredients:
1 cup corn meal (I like stone-ground cornmeal from a local Vermont farm)
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cumin seed powder

Wet ingredients:
¼ cup vegetable oil (I like olive or sunflower oil)
1 cap-full of apple cider vinegar
boiling water to soak oats

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grease any 8 inch pan with vegetable oil.
Place oats in a mixing bowl. Boil ½ cup water and pour it over the oats. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir together.
Add the wet ingredients and incorporate briefly.
Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center tests clean. 

*** 

Artichoke Spread
Open one glass jar artichoke hearts and drain water out. Place artichoke hearts in blender.
Add:
¼ cup olive oil
½ Tablespoon lemon juice concentrate
1 teaspoon salt
½ Tablespoon dry thyme leaf
Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes. Serve and enjoy with buckwheat bread!

***
Sweet Potato Spread
Chop one large sweet potato into ¼ inch cubes.
Place in stock pot, cover with water, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil.
Boil for 10 minutes or until cubes are tender when poked with a fork.
Drain water and place boiled sweet potatoes in food processor
Add:
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cardamom
2 teaspoons salt
You can also add 1 Tablespoon almond butter or ¼ cup fresh ground almonds if desired
Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes.
Serve and enjoy with oatmeal, on toast, or by itself as a snack.


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