The fun of costumes and sweet foods has become the focus of this time of year. Hot apple cider; warm pumpkin bread or pie; friendly spiders; and webs of community fun, mystery, and magic are all over the place.
Sugary treats from the store, however, do not need to take center stage. On Halloween, we can still live on healthful, nourishing food. We can turn whole-grain, homemade pizza into decorated candy-like strips, line apples with peanut butter smiles and teeth made of nuts, make caterpillar bananas with legs fashioned from nuts and raisins, and so on.
And for all the little creatures coming to your door who might not be inclined towards holistic treats, there are relatively healthy (or less unhealthy) little treats available for them to enjoy as well. You can arm yourself with naturally-sweetened candies, pretzels, organic/fair-trade/vegan chocolate, or a bowl of nickels and dimes, for example.
One of my favorites, which we seemed to have every year, were little earth balls from SunSpire, which you can often get in bulk bins at healthfood stores. The chocolate in these is sweetened with barley syrup which is slow-digesting sugar and does not set one up for the hyperactivity of white sugars or the ensuing sugar blues.
As far as good, nourishing treats for the home, some of my favorites are date-sweetened almond balls, coconut macaroons, and warm pumpkin bread.
Here are recipes for these three goodies…
- 3 ½ organic white, fresh-milled, or store-bought whole-grain flour;
- 2 ½ cups of dark brown sugar or to taste add more of any kind of sweetener you prefer -– adding molasses will increase minerals but make the bread very gooey, which I actually sort of like.
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup coconut milk
- 2/3 cup flaked coconut
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (if desired lightly toast for a few moments in oven and cool before adding)
- 2 8×4 pans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease and flour two 8″ x 4″ loaf pans.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar (or preference of other sweeteners), baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
- Add the pumpkin puree, oil, and coconut milk, and mix until all of the flour is absorbed.
- Fold in the flaked coconut and walnuts. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
- Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven, and cover loaves tightly with foil. Allow to steam for 10 minutes.
- Remove foil, and turn out onto a cooling rack. Tent loosely with the foil, and allow it to cool completely.
Photo Credit: rox sm via flickr under a CC license