I love Halloween! I love any excuse for a celebration actually. But a day to celebrate the harvest, and lost loved ones, and you get to dress up as a ghoul and meet your neighbours, and your kids get free treats. What’s not to love about Halloween? Well, one thing is the massive amount of sugary treats consumed over the period.

I’m all for trick and treating, and the sweet plunder that goes along with it. But at home we wanted to create some healthy snacks to balance it all out a bit. These skinny banana muffins, and vegetable jelly treats are just the trick. They seem like treats, but there’s a bunch of good nutrition going in too.

Frothy blood jelly

frothy-blood-jelly

The paleo revolution has shined a spotlight on gelatine. The nutritional benefits of gelatine are huge! From healthy skin, to healthy joints, a digestive aid, a great source of dietary collagen, and it apparently even aids with weight loss. Gelatine is definitely a super-food. The trick though is how to make jelly that doesn’t use food colouring or too much sweetener. The answer is fruit juice.

Ingredients

½ cup beetroot juice

½ cup apple or pear juice

1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup

1 Tbsp powdered gelatine

Method

Juice the fruit in a juicer and carefully scoop off the frothy part of the juice into a cup or bowl. Retain about a Tablespoon of actual juice as well in a seperate cup or bowl.

Warm the apple or pear juice in a pot over a medium heat, and then pour into a bowl. Sprinkle the powdered gelatine over the juice and stir quickly, but gently, with a spatula until dissolved. Leave to cool for 5 minutes. The gelatine and juice mixture will go lumpy, which is fine.

Meanwhile bring the beetroot juice to a simmer in the same pot and stir in the honey, or maple syrup.

Scoop in the gelatine and juice mixture and whisk gently over a medium heat until everything has combined. Don’t let the mixture come to the boil. After about 5 minutes the gelatine will be combined. Pour into tall glasses.

To make the froth, sprinkle a small amount of gelatine over the retained juice, and whisk vigorously. Carefully fold the juice froth into this mixture and top up the glasses.

Refrigerate for at least 2 – 3 hours.

Spider muffins

spider-banana-muffins

These skinny banana muffins taste great, and are a really healthy alternative to a lot of muffin recipes that call for vast quantities of oil and sugar. We iced these muffins with buttercream icing, but you could make a healthy alternative to the icing too.

Ingredients

2½ cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄4 cup melted coconut oil

1⁄4 cup maple syrup, or melted honey

1⁄4 cup rice malt syrup

1 cup mashed very ripe banana

1⁄4 cup vanilla greek yogurt

1 large egg, beaten

3⁄4 cup milk

Buttercream icing, sprinkles and pipe cleaners to decorate

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease 6 large muffin tins.

Gently whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and rice malt syrup together. Then whisk in the mashed banana, yogurt, and beaten egg.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Gently fold it all together.

Now slowly add the milk and continue to gently mix the ingredients together. The milk will begin to thin the batter out, but the mixture should still be quite thick. Do not overmix.
Pour the batter into 6 large muffin tins.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until browned and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

While the muffins are baking, take 16 pipe cleaners and cut in thirds to create 48 legs. Bend the ends of each leg to insert in the muffins. You’ll need to remove the last centimeter or so of fluff from the bent section of the pipe cleaners (this is plastic, so you don’t want it in the muffins!). Now bend each one in the middle to make spider leg shapes.

When the muffins have cooled, ice with pink icing (we made ours using buttercream icing with beetroot juice for colouring), add sprinkles for eyes, and insert the legs.

Author

Jarrod is a quintessential Kiwi Dad. He lives in Pukerua Bay, and works from home in an office that overlooks the sea. His inspiration and motivation in life come from his wife and two children.

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