A Healthy Halloween

I have been in love with pumpkin spice this season..like seriously going crazy over it. Pumpkin spice lattes to pumpkin spice Special K bars..going insane over it all! Halloween is coming up and chocolate is everywhere which is a huge problem for me. Those mini candy bars will have you with diabetes because you will sit there and eat them all..well let me take ownership I..I will sit there and eat them. One of the reasons why I have successfully kept my weight off is because I still believe in enjoying myself. I know that one of my weaknesses is chocolate so I won’t celebrate Halloween with chocolate but I will have other options available. It is possible to have a fun and healthy Halloween. I went to Food Network’s website for recipes. We will try Mexican Pumpkin Punch, Chocolate-Dipped Fruit and Spiced Pumpkin-Raisin Cookies.I hope you enjoy!

Mexican Pumpkin Punch

2 cups packed dark brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks, preferably Mexican
1 29 -ounce can pure pumpkin (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 limes
Splash of rum (optional)
Pineapple chunks and/or pecans, for serving (optional)

Combine 12 cups water, the brown sugar and cinnamon sticks in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the pumpkin and return to a simmer. Meanwhile, remove the zest from the limes in wide strips using a vegetable peeler; add the zest to the pot and simmer 15 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate until the liquid is cold and the pumpkin pulp settles to the bottom, 2 to 3 hours.
Working in batches, ladle the liquid into a fine-mesh strainer set over a pitcher (repeat if necessary to strain out all the pumpkin pulp). Discard the pulp and lime zest. Return the cinnamon sticks to the punch and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Pour the punch into ice-filled glasses. Add rum, pineapple and/or pecans, if desired. Serve with the cinnamon sticks.

Chocolate-Dipped Fruit

Finely chop a 4-ounce bar of dark chocolate; microwave on 50% power until almost melted, about 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Dip dried mango, papaya and/or apricot pieces in the chocolate, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill until set, about 10 minutes.

Spiced Pumpkin-Raisin Cookie

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup raw sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and allspice. Stir to blend well. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, pumpkin puree, oil, syrup and vanilla; whisk to blend. Using a flexible rubber spatula, gradually stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture. Stir in the raisins.
For each cookie, drop 1 generous tablespoon of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing the mounds about 1 inch apart (or use a mini ice cream scoop). Using moistened fingertips, flatten each to a 2-inch-diameter round. Sprinkle each cookie with a bit more raw sugar.
Bake the cookies until brown and a bit firm to the touch, 17 to 20 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack and cool completely.


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