If there were two words to sum up the month of October it would be sugar and spice. Sugar is what makes Halloween so popular. It is not the fun and cute costumes, the pumpkins or the decorations, it is the empty calories that fill up the bags for millions of kids all across North America that make this holiday so memorable. If you were to rethink the concept of Halloween -you could change this and still make it fun and full of “sweetness”. Not to mention, you would be doing teenagers and kids all over a huge favour in the long run. In case you didn’t know, there are so many delicious healthy treats that you could be giving out on Halloween. If you’ve got kids of your own, you could be doing what a friend of mine does, Halloween in reverse. Invite all of your kids friends over…and make them most decadent chocolate cake, cookies etc. using natural organic ingredients, whole grain flours, maple syrup, real cocoa powder and then later have your kids hand out naturally sweetened Lolly pops, chocolates, gimmes, or anything else that is fun and naturally colourful. That way your kids can still dress up, get in their dose of sweetness and have a great time!
On a whole other topic…there is spice…the almighty contrast that compliments sweetness. Spice is thrown in the mix because the fall season begs for warming spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom. All delicious and all can bring flavour and natural sweetness to anything created in the kitchen. One of my favourite things to make this time of year that blends both worlds together is cinnamon baked apples. Not only are you getting the natural sweetness from the apples, which of course would sweeter if they are local, but they are full of fiber and taste delicious when they are baked. Then you top them off with a scrumptious mixture of maple syrup, brown rice syrup, raisins and some nuts such as almonds or walnuts. There is no healthier way to have dessert, snack or breakfast then to bake up some apples and top them with this glaze and spices such as cinnamon and ginger. These spices are warming and compliment the apples – what better combination than apples and cinnamon ?
So get your sugar n’ spice on and have fun with some natural alternatives to sugar and some warming spices and make this time of year, happy, healthy fun for the whole family!
Baked Cinnamon Apples
6-8 organic apples (braeburn, fuji, honey crisp, royal gala)
¼ cup chopped raisins
1 cup almonds or walnuts, chopped or ground
1 tbsp brown rice syrup
1 tbsp maple syrup
½-1 cup apple juice
1 tbsp cinnamon
(optional extras clove powder, cardamom pods, allspice)
1 Tablespoon Coconut oil
Preheat oven to 375F
- Core apples, leaving the bottom intact to prevent leakage
- Finely grind or chop nuts by hand or in a food processor. In a medium bowl, combine ground nuts, cinnamon, raisins and syrups and mix well.
- Stuff the mixture into each of the apples and place them into a small glass baking dish.
- Pour the apple juice on top of the apples and into the baking dish.
- Bake in flat corning ware greased with coconut oil, uncovered for 20 minutes and baste apples with juice at bottom and continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes or until tender.