Two years ago I wrote an article for the Standard. It was pretty gross. It was about Hallowe’en (which, really, I don’t even like very much).
That being said, I dug up the article and thought I would post some of it. Mostly because it’s gross.
You know what is also gross? My pumpkin that I carved this way for the last 8 years or so. This one is from a few years ago.
Mom hates it. Primarily because I plunk it on their front porch. Living in a condo, I don’t have the joys of putting out the jack-o-lantern. I think this is my favourite part — and only part — of Hallowe’en I like.
Brings out my inner Jackson Pollock, you know? He once said, “When I am in the painting I am not aware of what I am doing….[T]here is pure harmony.” That’s how I feel every time, Jack.
This one is from one of the first years.
And one year, we found this one. How could you NOT formulate this into this instead? (On a side note, I was never allowed to do this one again…. until I have my OWN front porch, of course.)
This article was originally published in the St. Catharines Standard in October 2009. I omitted one of the recipe (I’ve since perfected a different version). It’s noted below.
Something strange happens to me while in my kitchen during this week of fright. My skin turns an iron-rich spinach-green, as I morph into the wickedest of witches, the scariest of all. My steaming cauldrons spew antioxidants over the sides and boast frightful amounts of complex carbohydrates, bringing you healthier, spookier treats this all Hallow’s Eve.
As you kiddies travel ’round the neighbourhoods for treats, I devise my tricks, using nutritious ingredients that satisfy the sweet tooth without over-indulging on refined “this” and fat-laden “that.” When “moderation” goes a little overboard these next few days, I offer some boo-tiful alternatives to please the palette.
These ingredients may initially seem spookily obscure, but their more familiar terminology may ring a bell, bringing you the added nutrition that nary be scary.
Antioxidant-rich beetles (also “prunes”) help prevent cancers, heart disease and diabetes, boasting high levels of vitamin A, potassium, magnesium and copper. Their soluble fibre assists in lowering cholesterol levels and insoluble fibre keeps your colon healthy, cleaning out years of excessive eye of newt and toad livers.
These flakes (or “flax meal”) are the richest source of Omega-3 fatty acids and alphalinolenic acid (ALA), benefiting both the brain and cholesterol levels. Because our bodies cannot produce these, the diet must provide them. Like beetles, they contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, as well as cancer-fighting ligans. My Brownie Bites with Bloody Coulis uses flax to replace eggs as a vegan or egg-allergy-free alternative.
Mud (“cocoa”) makes me cackle with glee. Its flavonoids promote cardiovascular health and has twice the antioxidants of red wine and is rich in magnesium, iron, vitamin C and zinc. Try raw cacao, which contains richer amounts of flavonoids than its alkalized counterpart — it’s spook-tacular!
Raspberries produce this bloody puree high in manganese, vitamin C and fibre, rich in powerful antioxidants and an excellent source of salicylic acid (which may inhibit artery hardening).
Regardless of its higher-fat status, slime (or “avocado” innards), contains mostly the monounsaturated variety (good fat) which lowers LDL (bad) and raises HDL (good) cholesterol. Two slimy tablespoons (30 mL) have only 5 g of fat and 55 calories; try in lieu of butter (with 22 g of fat and 200 calories) on your next sand-witch.
Nothing beats an old fingernail (aka “almonds”) and their unsaturated, cholesterol-free crunch. High in protein, phytochemicals, magnesium and vitamin A, each clipping vamps-up the nutrition per bite. One ounce is equivalent in calcium to 1 /4 cup of dairy, perfect for allergies, intolerance and vegans.
My whole-grain maggots are commonly dubbed “brown rice.” These, unlike their white sibling, have their outer bran intact, containing three times more fibre and favourable amounts of riboflavin, folate, iron and magnesium.
Pure monster ooze (“maple syrup”) may be a simple sugar, but nutritionally surpasses the refined white variety. With a lower glycemic index value than white sugar (it absorbs into blood stream slower) combined with exceptional amounts of manganese, riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium, it’s frightfully delicious and nutritious. Plus, it’s all natural and can be locally found.
In addition to these scary substances, antioxidant-rich sewer-water (“coffee”), mineral-strong toenail crystals (“unrefined cane sugar”), heart-healthy sticky saliva (“coconut oil”), and pureed fingernails (“almond milk”) shine in my tricky concoctions. Highlighting these spooky selections, I, along with my black cat Omeowga-3, bewitchingly bring to you some healthier Halloween options. (And for the allergic child whose treats get passed on to siblings and dads, most ingredients are top 8 + gluten-free friendly).
Brownie Bites with Bloody Coulis
For the brownie bites, make your favourite recipe in a mini-muffin pan.
Top with Bloody Coulis.
2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
2-4 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients, blending until pureed.
Place a sieve/fine-meshed strainer over a bowl, and pour in berry mixture, pressing down to extract all juices (if you don’t mind the seeds, you can skip this step). Heat if desired.
Pour onto Brownie Bites.
Makes two servings
Innards from one large, fresh avocado
1 cup nondairy milk
1-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (to your taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup ice cubes (about 4)
Puree all ingredients in a blender. Enjoy!
(For a slimy, MUDDIER alternative, add a scoop of cocoa powder).
Creamed Maggot Pie, with Bug Bits, Phlegm, and Fingernails
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
2/3 cup nondairy milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 cups cooked, short-grain brown rice*
1 cup banana chunks
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon unrefined cane sugar, such as Sucanat (optional)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted**
Preheat oven to 400°F . Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate and set aside.
Whisk together tapioca starch and 2 tablespoons almond milk until dissolved. Mix in remaining almond milk and maple syrup. Add extracts, cinnamon and sea salt, then stir in rice. Fold in bananas and raisins, and pour mixture into prepared pie plate. If using, sprinkle with Sucanat or cane sugar.
Bake in oven for 17 to 20 minutes, until bubbly. Cool for about 30 minutes. Top with sliced almonds. Add extra milk for serving, if desired.
*This can be made in advance.
** Place nuts in a skillet. On medium-high heat, stir the nuts continually for about five minutes, until golden and fragrant, careful not to burn.