Everyone loves Halloween. That’s probably because it’s the first holiday after the summer and signals a new holiday season with Thanksgiving and Christmas just ahead. I have friends with children who like to trick-or-treat in my neighborhood. It’s fun to have them over after they’ve collected their candy to check out their costumes.
Usually the kids are hungry, and rather than letting them dine on candy I like to serve them treats that are delicious, but that they’d never suspect are healthy, too. Their parents sure appreciate that!
The recipes below from my latest cookbook, The Age Beautifully Cookbook, deliver on delicious taste and healthy benefits. Your little goblins will gobble them up and will never know they’re good for them, too.
Most kids like bananas, so I whip up this Banana-Mocha Smoothie and it’s always a hit. I got this recipe from a friend Lynn who makes it as a morning smoothie. I like it for dessert or for an afternoon pick-me-up. You can use a fresh banana if you don’t have time to freeze it, decaffeinated coffee instead of regular (so the kids will go to sleep!), and skim milk instead of almond milk if preferred. Cinnamon contains an anti-inflammatory that also helps keep blood sugar levels steady. The monounsaturated fats in almonds are also anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy. Yogurt has probiotics, beneficial bacteria that keep the intestines flourishing. It’s delicious and nutritious.
1 large frozen banana, cut into chunks
½ cup coffee, cooled
½ cup almond milk
¼ cup plain low-fat yogurt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. smooth almond butter
2 Tbs. cocoa powder, divided in half
3–5 whole or crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans, as garnish
½ fresh banana as garnish
- Place the banana chunks, coffee, almond milk, yogurt, cinnamon, almond butter, and half of the cocoa powder in a blender and mix for 1–2 minutes or until smooth.
- Pour into a tall glass. Top with the remaining cocoa powder and banana slices.
– Immunity Booster – Supports the body’s resistance to infection and strengthens immune vigilance and response
– Mind: improves mood, memory and focus
Mini Cheddar Rice Cupcakes
These cupcakes are both sweet and a little bit savory—a classic flavor combination in Southeast Asia, where I grew up. My American friends usually haven’t encountered cupcakes like these before, but once they taste them, they’re hooked. Kids will love the cheesiness. Rice flour is a good source of the antioxidant mineral selenium and a particularly good source of manganese, which helps build strong bones. Milk and cheddar cheese provide protein and calcium for strong bones and muscles. Important for all of us, but especially kids!
Yields 24 mini-cupcakes
1 cup rice flour
1 cup cake flour
1 cup xylitol or sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
2 cups low-fat milk
½ tsp. vanilla
½ cup grated low-fat cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, xylitol or sugar, and baking powder. Stir until the mixture is uniform.
- Gradually whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth and add vanilla
- Strain the batter and pour into nonstick mini-cupcake pans halfway (or ¾ at most). Top each with a pinch of cheddar cheese.
- Place the pans inside a larger baking dish or roasting pan. Fill with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cupcake pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. The cupcakes will rise dramatically. They don’t need to brown on top.
- Remove from the oven and place the pans on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes. Lift out the cupcakes with a small spatula.
Strength – Builds strength for bones, muscles and joints. Increases bone density, builds and repairs tissues.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
It’s hard to believe, but this tofu version of chocolate mousse offers the same satisfaction as its less-healthy sibling. This recipe is from my friend, Dr. Lynn Blair and it has all the creaminess, the satiny melt-in-your-mouth pleasure and the rich, indulgent taste of non-vegan mousse. You may want to leave out the Grand Marnier if you’re serving this to the kids. Soy contains isoflavones, which help preserve bone density, lower risk of certain cancers. Dark chocolate has catechins, which are neuroprotective, and theobromine, which improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure. All those benefits rolled into a delicious dessert. You’ll love it!
8 oz. high-quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbs. soy or almond milk
¼ cup water
⅛ tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. Grand Marnier liqueur
¼ cup xylitol or sugar
¼ cup honey
1 package (9–10 oz.) or 1¼ cups silken tofu, well drained
½ cup sliced kumquats, or 12 fresh mandarin orange segments as garnish
- In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate, cocoa powder, milk, water, vanilla, liqueur, and xylitol or sugar, stirring constantly until the chocolate is fully melted.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Set aside.
- Blend the tofu in a food processor for 2–3 minutes or until very smooth.
- Fold the tofu into the chocolate mixture.
- Spoon the pudding into serving bowls and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
- Garnish with the sliced kumquats
Here are more delicious après Halloween treats from my Age Beautifully cookbook:
Banana Citrus Cake – Loaded with bananas, walnuts, dried cranberries and semisweet chocolate chips.
Baobab Butter Squares – One of my favorites! Sweet and tart like a lemon bar, but made with baobab which is a good source of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.
Moringa Chiffon Muffins – Powdered moringa leaves give these muffins their many health benefits and their eerie green color!