Healthy Halloween Treats

It’s pretty hard to escape sugary treats for Halloween, but here are a few healthy and cute treats to try at home to balance your trick-or-treat indulgences:

Frankenstein Avocado Toast

How silly and fun are these Frankenstein Avocado Toasts!

Banana Ghost Pops

Banana Ghost Pops Recipe | Healthy Ideas for Kids

Deviled Eggs

64 Non-Candy Halloween Snack Ideas

Spooky Strawberries

Strawberry Ghosts @candiquik

Banana Monster Pops

Monster Banana Pops are the new Halloween treat.

Banana Ghosts and Clementine Pumpkins

Halloween Idea - Ghosts and Pumpkins  http://onelittleproject.com/banana-ghosts-and-clementine-pumpkins/:

Cheese Broomsticks

Witch's Broomstick Snacks ~ easy and fun:

Clementine Jack-O-Lanterns

jack o lantern clementines

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

banana choc chip cookies (4)These cookies are a.m.a.z.i.n.g.

banana choc chip cookiesThey are basically an oatmeal banana bread baked into cookie form. The original recipe is from Two Peas and Their Pod, who also just welcomed a new little man into their life. I made the first batch last night, following the original recipe except for adding 1 cup of chopped walnuts as well. They turned out delicious and I have eaten more than I’ll ever admit (I’m telling myself that Eli needs them for healthy breast milk).

However, once they cooled off and sat in the storage container they got super soft. The texture reminded me of banana bread, not a cookie. I decided to make a few changes to the recipe. First I wanted to make them healthier – so healthy they could pass as a breakfast cookie. Second, I wanted to see if I could improve the texture for storage purposes. The original recipe’s texture is still great, just not something that should be kept in the pantry for more than a day or two to since mold could start growing pretty quickly (yes, they are that moist).

The modified recipe was a success! The cookies are a little darker and the center was much more crumbly, but not too dry. The taste is great. The whole wheat flour adds some nuttiness and the coconut oil adds just a hint of coconut. I think it is safe to say that these will please anyone looking for a tasty treat while also being healthy enough to eat at breakfast.

 

banana coconut choc chip cookies2Banana Bread Breakfast Cookies
adapted from two peas and their pod

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil (room temp)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large ripe banana (or 1 1/2 small bananas), mashed
  • 2 cups old fashion rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (not necessary, but helpful)
  2. In a small bowl, combined flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix well and sent aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the coconut oil and sugars by beating well on high. Add vanilla and egg and mix well. Lastly, add mashed banana and beat well.
  4. Add flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined. Stir in oats and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well-distributed.
  5. Spray two large spoons with cooking spray and use them to scoop out 1.5 tbsp size drops of dough. Place about 1-2″ apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.
  7. Let cookies cool for 2-3 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before storing. Store in an air-tight container or freeze for later.

Sunday Food Prep

sunday food prep

Sundays are busy days at our house. J  cleans (could I be any luckier?!) while I cook up a storm in the kitchen. During rotations I just don’t have time to cook during the week. And if I do have time, I really don’t want to slave away in the kitchen after a 10-12 hour day. Here is an example of what we eat for the week:

Back Left – Salads

  • Fresh lettuce washed and chopped, ready to eat
  • Celery sticks, washed and trimmed
  • Cucumbers and Tomatoes, washed and diced, ready for salads

Front Left – snacks

Center – Breakfast and Lunch

  • Roasted mixed vegetables with wheat pasta and balsamic vinegar. Roasted veggies are so easy – just throw them in a large pan, toss with olive oil and spices, and roast at 425F for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes or so to prevent burning.
  • Egg Bakes – the easiest way to get a vegetable serving in before 7am

Back Right – Dinner

  • Crock pot chili, half for this week and for the freezer for a week when I don’t want to cook 😉

Front Right – Dessert

  • Black bean brownies, because pregnant women love chocolate and desserts…and since I’m a dietitian I will feel less guilty if I know they are full of nutritious black beans.

 

 

Homemade Corn Chips

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This is a super easy recipe for homemade tortilla chips from my mother-in-law.  You can season them with various spices, sweet or spicy, which make them very versatile for parties.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of small corn tortillas (soft)
  • cooking spray
  • salt

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 450F.
  2. Cut tortillas across, into 8 pieces. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and lay the triangles individually on the pan (don’t stack them). Spray the tops with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Add any extra seasoning you’d like.
  3. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until lightly browned. You’ll notice some are done before others, so take them out to prevent burning. There is a fine line between chewy – done – too hard, so be sure to watch the chips.
  4. Store in an air-tight container for up to a few days.

Corn and Zucchini Cakes

Between our CSA and garden, we have more sweet corn and zucchini than we know what to do with! We get a dozen ears of corn each week, which means J and I need to eat an ear a night…eek! The first week of sweet corn J was in CA and we were going out-of-town for the weekend. This meant I needed to single-handedly consume at least 8 ears in 4 days so we’d be on track for them to get eaten up within a week. I rarely turn down challenges, so I managed to eat corn 2 (sometime 3) times a day while J was gone. There were only 2 ears left when he got home 🙂

After that corn-filled week, I decided it was time to mix things up a bit. There was no way I was eating corn everyday for the rest of the summer. We had a few ears with dinners during the week, but then I decided to cut the kernels off the cob and use them in a few recipes. I also had a ton of zucchini on hand, which I had shredded up when I made Ambitious Kitchen’s Zucchini Brownies. The brownies only used a cup, so I was left with 3 cups of shredded zucchini.

photo(4)So now I was left with 3 cups of shredded/julienned zucchini and 5 cups of fresh sweet corn. Now what?? First, came a salsa-dip inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s charred corn tacos and zucchini-radish salsa.  I didn’t have any radishes on-hand and we were having a cookout in a few days, so I opted for making a dip instead. I will hopefully post that recipe soon. Then came corn and zucchini cakes, inspired by this post on Serious Eats‘ and this post on Whole Foods‘ blogs. I pretty much used serious eats’ recipe as the flavor guide and whole foods’ recipe as the logistical guide.

Zucchini Corn Cakes
Recipe adapted from Serious Eats and Whole Foods

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I use buttermilk powder + water)
  • 1 tbsp oil (this was on accident, so you probably don’t need it)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cups zucchini, julienne or shredded
  • 1 cups corn kernels
  • 1 small hot red pepper, diced with seeds removed (you can keep the seeds in to make it spicier if you’d like)
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, diced

image(7)Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the zucchini, corn, pepper, and cilantro.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir well.
  5. Add the zucchini mixture to the egg-flour mixture and mix well.
  6. Heat a pancake griddle to 300F. Using a large spoon (usually tablespoon size), scoop batter on the griddle. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.*
  7. Serve warm or room-temperature. They are tasty plain, but you could top them with sour cream if you wanted.

*I was worried about the centers being done, so I ended up putting the finished cakes back on the griddle once they were all done.

Homemade Protein Bars

Last week was our “Transitional Clerkship” for 3rd year – basically an orientation for them to have one last shot at nurturing us before we are sent to the wolves…I am mean wards 😉 A common theme throughout was to make sure to eat – be sure to eat breakfast, be sure to eat protein, always carry a snack, etc… I found it pretty humorous that we need to tell grown adults to eat, but whatever. All of the talk about snacks and high protein got me thinking I should spend some time over the weekend making a new version of snack bars to carry with me. I love my banana bars, but they are a little too sticky for carrying in a white coat pocket and could use a little protein. After a little searching I came up with the recipe. I am pretty happy with it, because I want something that is healthy, filling, and not too sweet (because then I would just want to eat them all!). If you are looking for something a little sweeter, add some extra sugar, as this recipe only calls for 1/4 cup and makes about 24 bars.

banana protein bars (7)

Homemade Protein Bars
Recipe adapted from Healthy Green Kitchen’s Homemade protein bars and my own Banana Bars

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats, pulsed in food processor for a few minutes to make a coarse flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup protein powder (I used 1 cup ground TVP)
  • 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup nut butter*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • up to 2 cups of add-ins (nuts, seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, chocolate chips, raisins, dates, etc…)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
  2. Combine oats, cinnamon, salt,  and TVP in a large bowl.
  3. In a food processor or large bowl, combine the yogurt, honey, nut butter, vanilla, and bananas. Mix/process well.
    banana protein bars (3)banana protein bars (4)banana protein bars (2)
  4. Spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray. Set aside.
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Use the prepared spatula to add all the wet mixture to the well. Mix well with the rubber spatula until thoroughly combined- it will be sticky (hence the prepared spatula)!
  6. Fold in any mix-ins you are using.
  7. Spread the mixture into your prepared dish and bake for 15 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, let them cool a little, and then slice the bars as you want.
banana protein bars (5)

Unbaked Bars

banana protein bars (6)

Baked Bars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I didn’t have any nut butter on-hand, so I made my own. This is simple if you have a food processor. I used ground pecans in the freezer that I had left over from some larabars I made last winter. Process the nuts or ground nuts for about 5 minutes, until a ball forms and then smooths out. You might be tempted to stop at the ball stage – don’t! Let the processor smooth out the ball to give you a nice, creamy butter.

ROY pops

Two of my nieces were over and wanted to make something from my “Tasty Treats” pinterest board.  Since they are too young for Jack Daniels’ whisky caramels or chocolate Guiness treats (brownies, cheesecake?!) we opted for a summer favorite – Popsicles! I had fresh strawberries on hand from our CSA, peaches were on sale at the store, and a can of pineapple is less than a dollar – how can we go wrong? This was time involved, but the kids loved them. They wanted to make them for our weekly family night, and were so proud to give everyone their tasty treat. Lilly started calling them ROY pops since they were 1/2 the rainbow. Since it was a last minute project, they were a little make shift – plastic cups for the mold and plastic spoons for the stick. If you plan to do these, I would recommend just buying a few Popsicle molds.

IMG_0250

Ingredients

  • 1 pound strawberries
  • 3 ripe peaches
  • 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt (no added sugar or fake sugar – just the good old plain sour yogurt)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 can chunked pineapple (as you can see in the picture the pineapple layer was smaller than the others, so you might want to use 2 cans)

Directions

  1. Puree the strawberries in a food processor until smooth. Scoop into the molds so they are 1/3 full. Place the molds in the freezer for 1 hour.
  2. While you wait, puree the peaches (including the skin). Add in yogurt and honey and mix well. Place this in the freezer while you wait for the molds to harden up a bit. This gives the layer a head start 🙂
  3. After the first hour, remove the molds and your peach mixture from the freezer. Add peach mixture to fill the container another 1/3.  Return to the freezer for 30 minutes.
  4. While you wait, puree the pineapple (including the juice) and place it in the freezer to start cooling.
  5. After 30 minutes, remove the molds and pineapple from the freezer. Add pineapple to top off the popsicles. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

Banana Bars

A few months ago I posted about the most delicious Banana Oat Muffins. Not only are they delicious, but they are probably the easiest muffins I have ever made. I think my favorite thing about these muffins is that they use those over-ripe bananas that you need to find something, anything, to do with so you don’t need to throw them in the garbage.

photo (4)

We started to run low on my last batch, so last weekend I decided to make some more. I tripled the recipe, so I could keep them in the freezer for whenever we need a snack. I also wanted to try to cut the sugar and egg content. Sugar is just a sweetener in this recipe, so cutting it out shouldn’t change the texture. Eggs, on the other hand are what help keep the bars together, so it is risky to cut them out without a replacement. One option is to just use egg whites instead of the whole egg. Another option. is to substitute with some flax seed or chia seeds. I had chia seeds on hand, so I opted for the later option. After I mixed everything up I realized it would take all evening to make these one muffin tray at a time. I decided to try making these into bars and they worked great.

Super Simple Banana Bars

Bulk Recipe

Ingredients

  • 7.5 cups of old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tbsp baking soda
  • 3 cup of fat-free plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp chia seed
  • 9 ripe bananas

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray 2 baking pans with cooking spray.
  2. Place oats in a food processor and pulse until they are very fine chunks – not quite flour, but very small pieces. Pour into a large bowl. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Mix well.
  3. Place the remaining ingredients in the food processor and process until well blended.
  4. Divide batter evenly between the two pans.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top and edges are lightly browned (I did 25 minutes).
  6. Let cool for 5 minutes and then carefully transfer from the pan to a cooling rack. Cut into bars once cool.
  7. If you plan to  freeze them, individually wrap them with plastic cling wrap and place into a freezer bag or large plastic container.