Halloween used to scare me. My kids coming home with all that junk food sent shivers through my spine. But with a selection of healthy Halloween treats and snacks, it's a joy, a chance to play dress-up with the kids, and parade around the neighborhood at night, greeting friends, nibbling on healthy, all natural candies, marveling at carved candle lit pumpkins and houses decorated with creepy masks and hanging skeletons.
Natural treats from the natural foods store
Along with chance to play dress-up with the kids with costumes, this fun holiday is an opportunity to explore natural food stores for healthier treats. These kinds of markets are well stocked with natural candies: fruit leather and licorice in many sugar-free flavors: strawberry, raspberry, apple and grape. There are plenty of vitamin C lollypops, peppermints, and fruit juice sweetened sucking candies. You will find little bags of organic pretzels, animal cookies, different flavored potato chips and corn chips, small boxes of raisins, chocolates with scary Halloween caricatures on the wrappers like ugly witches and black cats on a pumpkin.
Your own creative mixes
To add to the fun, you can create your own-bagged delights from the bulk bins with all natural pretzel mixes, malt balls, chocolate covered nuts and raisins. Best of all, you can make your own organic candied apples, chocolate-dipped dried fruits, date nut treats and maple syrup sweetened chocolate chip cookie treats that kids of all ages love.
To make your own candied apples, forget the artificial red dyes and sugary caramel coatings. You can dip your apples in agave nectar or rice syrup and then roll the glazed apples in ground up graham crackers or small chunks of all natural sandwich cookies, granola, chopped up raisins, figs, dates, or calcium rich ground walnuts and almonds.
Chocolate-dipped dried fruit
Dried sliced pineapple, pears, apricots, peaches, and oranges half dipped in chocolate are beautiful and easy to make. Simply melt dairy-free chocolate in top of a double boiler over hot (not boiling) water. Then, put a piece of dried fruit on a toothpick or dipping fork. Dip it half way into the chocolate. Swirl it around. Lift it out, and let the excess drip back into the pot. Stick the bottom of the toothpick into an apple or pear to catch the chocolate drippings, while the chocolate cools and hardens.
DIY chocolate chip cookies
When making your own chocolate chip cookies, take advantage of the large assortment of chocolate and carob chips available at your local health food store: organic dark and organic white chocolate chips, vanilla chips, peanut butter chips, dairy-free espresso chocolate chips, vegan carob chips and guilt-free, sugar-free chocolate chips sweetened with malted barley. Feel free to use any of these in the cookie recipes.
Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
These cookies are quick, easy and fun to make. I love shaping them with my hands, but you could also use a cookie cutter.
Makes 12-18 cookies depending on how big you make them
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- ¾ cup chocolate chips
- ½ teaspoon mint extract
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Put all the ingredients except the olive oil into a large bowl. Mix them together briefly with a wooden spoon; then shape them into cookies with your hands.
To use cookie cutters, flatten some batter between your hands and place it on a pastry board. Press in a cookie cutter and shake gently. Pull away the excess. Repeat till you use all the batter.
Lightly oil a cookie sheet with olive oil. Put cookies on cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Let them cool before eating.
Date Nut Treats
Kids love to make and eat these nutty date delights.
Makes 12 to 15
- 1 cup tightly packed pitted dates
- 4 tablespoons water
- Pinch of cardamom (¼ teaspoon, or to taste)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons brown rice syrup or agave nectar
- ⅓ cup almonds, ground
Put the dates in a food processor with the water, cardamom, and cinnamon. Pulse on and off until finely chopped. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more spices, if desired. Transfer to a small mixing bowl.
Grind walnuts in the food processor, or coarsely chop them up. Mix walnuts into the dates and shape into walnut sized balls. Drizzle on and coat with brown rice syrup or honey.
Grind almonds into a meal in the food processor. Pour ground almonds onto a cutting board or plate. Roll date nut balls in almond meal and serve or wrap up to give away.
Make sure to explore the entire Veg Kids and Teens page on VegKitchen for lots of easy, healthy recipes for vegetarian and vegan kids and teens.
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