Green Monster Dip

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This Green Monster Dip is a Chickpea Avocado Hummus in disguise.  It’s vegan and free of gluten, oil, nuts, monster snot, and sticky goo.   It’s actually quite nice.  It feels light, tastes bright and delightful, yet it’s filling and goes perfectly well with vegetable sticks, chips, or as a spread in sandwiches and wraps.  It adds a spark of color to the table and will help you feel more satiated with the protein content from the garbanzo and good fat from the avocado.  We hope you add this appetizer to your boo-ffets this Halloween.  And just a side note, I don’t recommend putting plastic toys on the dip as they are a choking hazard.  However, since it is National Cat Day and Halloween is right around the corner, we thought we’d salute the black cat in this photo. :)

Cheers to healthy-eating this Halloween!

 

Green Monster Dip, aka Chickpea Avocado Hummus

Servings: 6-8

Time: 10 minutes

 

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 large avocado

1/2 cup arugula

1/3 c parsley

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 clove garlic

3/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

few shakes cayenne pepper (optional)

2 Tbsp filtered water

 

Directions:

Blend everything until smooth.

 

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Kabocha Squash and Ginger Soup

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My favorite meals during the colder months are soups.  They are soothing, comforting, and nourishing, not to mention easy to make.

In the Fall, I enjoy having a centerpiece of a variety of squash on my dining table, and when it comes to actually eating the squash, I especially enjoy kabocha squash.  It’s so versatile, and I don’t even have to peel it.  With the kabocha squash, I can make yellow curry, stewed vegetables, casseroles, and soups.

Kabocha squash is full of goodness!  It is a good source of iron, vitamin C, some B vitamins, and fiber.  Boost the fiber content by cooking the squash with the skin on.  Yes, the skin is edible!  A single cup of kabocha has 40 calories, compared to butternut squash, which has 60 calories per cup.  Additionally, kabocha has less than half of the carbs of butternut squash (7 grams vs. 16 grams).

The bright orange color of the kabocha squash’s flesh is an indication that it is high in beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is a precursor to Vitamin A in the body.  Vitamin A is important for healthy white blood cells, good immunity and for vibrant eyes, skin and hair.  A single serving of kabocha squash provides 70% of the day’s recommended requirement!

I hope you enjoy all of the benefits of this soup, as well as its Fall-inspired flavors–ginger, nutmeg, and a little kick from ground white pepper!

 

Kabocha Squash Soup

Servings: 4-6

Time: 50 minutes

Brief: This soothing kabocha squash soup is packed with soothing fall flavors – ginger, nutmeg, and a kick of ground white pepper.

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, NF

Ingredients

Soup:

6 cups kabocha squash, seeds removed and cooked

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp freshly ground white pepper

4 cups vegetable stock

2 Tbsp coconut nectar or maple syrup

1 tsp minced ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground

½ cup coconut cream, almond milk, or vegetable stock

1-2 drops liquid stevia, optional

 

Garnish:

Spiced Cashew Cream:

½ cup cashews, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained

¼ cup filtered water

1/2 garlic clove

3 tsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp Sriracha chili sauce

sea salt to taste, optional

Directions

Soup:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Wash the kabocha squash. On a baking sheet, lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper, place the kabocha squash, and into the oven.

3. Roast for about 45 minutes or until the flesh is fork tender.

4. Slice the squash with a sharp knife, remove the seeds and scoop the flesh from the skin, measuring 6 cups. Once cooled, place the squash flesh into a blender and add 3 cups of vegetable stock, coconut nectar, and ginger. Blend until smooth. If it’s too thick to blend, add more of the stock. Pour into a pot and bring to a simmer. Stir in the remaining 1 cup vegetable stock and return to a low simmer.

5. Season with 1 tsp sea salt, ½ tsp pepper, and nutmeg. If you prefer the soup to be thinner in texture, either add coconut cream (light or heavy), almond milk, or vegetable stock. Season to taste with sea salt and white pepper. If it needs more sweetness, add 1-2 drops of liquid stevia. If you prefer it spicier, add more ground white pepper.

6. Keep warm until serving. Top with spiced cashew cream, if you desire. For the Halloween holiday, make a web by filling a condiment bottle or pastry bag (fitted with a fine tip) with cashew cream.

Spiced Cashew Cream:

1.Add all the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. If it is too thick, thin the sauce with filtered water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste for seasoning. If you think it needs salt or more heat, simply add sea salt and more Sriracha.  Blend once more to give it one last mix.

2. Transfer to a squeeze bottle. Draw a spiral shape on the surface of soup; carefully drag a toothpick from the center of the spiral to the perimeter of the soup. Repeat around perimeter to create a spider web. Serve immediately.

 

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Pistachio-Orange Blood Splattered Cupcakes

 

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Did you know that the combination of pistachio, orange zest, cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon are flavors often found in Middle Eastern desserts?  When brainstorming for soothing spices that compliment the Fall season, Middle Eastern desserts come to mind.  My Iranian mother-in-law pairs the spices with pistachio and orange blossom or rose water.  Since very few people have access to these special waters, a bit of simple and refreshing orange zest made it’s way into this recipe.  It is quite delightful!  I hope you try it!

For Halloween, if you’d like to make blood spatter cupcakes, top these with a simple coconut whipped cream and do a little Jackson Pollack action with some raspberry couli.

 

I want to give Vitacost.com a huge thanks for kindly sending me ingredients that inspired these cupcakes!  Click on the ingredient links to purchase the same ingredients we used to make these.  Click here for Vitacost.com savings. 

 

Pistachio-Orange Blood Splattered Cupcakes

Servings:  12

Time:  1 hour

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF

Ingredients

Cake:

Dry:

1 ¾ cup oat flour

1 cup coconut palm sugar

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp cardamom, ground

¼ tsp ginger, ground

1 tsp cinnamon, ground

zest of half a medium-large naval orange

1/3 cup roughly chopped pistachios

Wet:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

2 ½ Tbsp unsweetened applesauce

2 ½ Tbsp almond butter

 

Whipped Coconut Cream: (optional for Halloween)

One 15-ounce can full-fat coconut milk

1 Tbsp coconut sugar, optional

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 – 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, optional

 

Raspberry Couli: (optional for Halloween)

Pint raspberries

1 Tbsp maple syrup

 

Directions

1. Chill a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight.

Cake:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners. (Alternatively, you can bake this in an 8-inch or two 6-inch cake pans, lined with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray.)

3.  In a large mixing bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.

4.  In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

5.  Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture just until they combine.

6.  Place 2 heaping Tbsp of batter in each cupcake liner. Alternatively, distribute the batter evenly into the 2 6-inch cake pans or just place the batter in an 8-inch cake pan.

7.  Place the pan on a baking sheet, then into a preheated oven and bake for 27-30 minutes.  The cake should have a little bounce back when pressed.

8.  Cool the cakes in the pans for at least 1 hour.  While the cakes are cooling, make the whipped cream and raspberry couli.

 

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Coconut Whipped Cream:

1.  1.  Place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator and leave it there until well-chilled.  I chill mine overnight or for a few days.

2.  Open the can of coconut milk upside down.  There, you will find coconut water- loose liquid.  Pour it out into a bowl or cup to drink, or save for later use in a smoothie.

3.  Carefully scoop out the thick layer into a bowl or mixing bowl of a stand mixer.  Make sure you don’t get liquid in the thick, solidified cream, or it will be difficult to whip and obtain soft peaks.

4.  Turn your mixer or hand beater to high speed, and whip the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes.

5. Whip until it becomes light and fluffy with soft peaks.  Mix in coconut sugar, vanilla, or cinnamon.  Whip it some more until combined.  Taste and adjust sweetness, vanilla, or cinnamon flavor.

6. Refrigerate until ready to use. Before using it, whisk it.

 

Raspberry Couli:

1. Wash and drain the raspberries.

2. Blend the raspberries, then stain through a sieve, using a ladel to help the juice through.

3. Add 1 Tbsp maple syrup and mix. Taste and adjust sweetness to taste with either more maple syrup or stevia drops.

 

Assemble:

1. When cupcakes have fully cooled, frost the cupcakes or cake with coconut whipped cream.

2. Dip clean fingertips into the raspberry couli and flick your fingers towards the cupcakes to spray the cupcakes with raspberry couli “blood”.

3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

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Sweet Potato Crab-less Crabby Cakes

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Make the most of the fall harvest with this sweet potato “crab” cake recipe. Though sweet potatoes are available year-round, they are at their sweetest in the fall and winter.

The mild sweet potato flavor and cayenne kick complement the “crab” flavor in these hearty cakes. You may be asking yourself how it is possible to make a vegan “crab” cake taste crab-like. Well, it ‘s amazing how well hearts of palm can mimic the texture of fresh crab meat and how sea kelp seasoning, dulse flakes, Old Bay seasoning, and ume plum vinegar can add flavors reminiscent of seafood in this recipe.  Served with a slightly spiced aioli, these sweet potato “crab” cakes are every bit enjoyable.  When serving this as a main course, I suggest serving with a big kale salad. Enjoy!

 

Sweet Potato “Crab” Cakes

Servings: 4 servings

Time: 45 minutes

Brief: The mild sweet potato flavor and cayenne kick complement the “crab” flavor in these hearty cakes.

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, SRF

 

Ingredients:

Aoli:

½ cup cashews, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained

¼ cup filtered water

1/2 garlic clove

3 tsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp Sriracha chili sauce

sea salt to taste, optional

 

Crab Cakes:

2 ¼ cups sweet potato, diced and cooked

¼ cup jalapeno, finely chopped

¼ cup green bell pepper, finely chopped

15 oz. can hearts of palm, cut into fourths

½ tsp sea kelp delight seasoning or dulse flakes, optional

2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

¼ cup plain cashew cream or plain almond yogurt

2 tsp dijon mustard

¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp plain dry gluten-free breadcrumbs plus about ¾ cup for coating

¼ tsp ume plum vinegar

3 dashes cayenne pepper

grapeseed or olive oil for frying, optional

Note: You can also these with gluten-free panko breadcrumbs

 

Other Ingredients:

2 red bell pepper, optional

 

Directions:

1. Soak cashews overnight in filtered water.

2. Make the aoili. Add all the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. If it is too thick, thin the sauce with filtered water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste for seasoning. If you think it needs salt or more heat, simply add sea salt and more Sriracha.  Blend once more to give it one last mix. Set sauce aside.

3. In a skillet, add jalapeno pepper, bell pepper and diced sweet potato until crisp-tender for about 5 minutes. If it sticks to the pan, add a little vegetable stock or filtered water.

4. Pour 1 cup of mixture into food processor and pulse until it is a coarse puree.

5. In a large bowl, squeeze hearts of palm to break into shards.  Add puree and remaining sautéed vegetables to bowl, along with old bay seasoning, parsley, cashew cream, Dijon mustard, ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp breadcrumbs, ume plum vinegar and cayenne pepper and stir until thoroughly combined.  Taste the mixture, adjust for seasoning, and mix.

6. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Place breadcrumbs on a plate.

7. Create ¼ cup patties of the mixture and roll into breadcrumbs to coat. Transfer patties onto the lined baking sheet until they’re ready to be cooked. Makes 9 “crab” cakes.

8. You can either fry or bake these. To bake these, place the “crab” cakes on a baking sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. At the halfway point, flip the “crab” cakes.

9. Alternatively, you can fry these. Pour 1/8 inch oil in skillet and heat oil on medium heat to 350 degrees F.

10. Fry one side of the cake at a time at about 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Wipe out skillet and clean oil before frying remaining cakes. Line a plate with paper towels. Place the fried “crab” cakes on the paper towels to drain the oil.

11. Serve hot with aoli and a salad.

12. If you want to make festive Halloween crabs with these cakes, slice red bell peppers into strips and place 3 bell pepper “legs’ on each side. Make crab eyes by adding dots of aoli where the eyes are located.

 

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Witch’s Kombucha Brew

Punch

Quench your thirst and lust for blood all in one with this hibiscus berry kombucha-spiked pomegranate and lemon sparkler. It’s a little sweet and sour with a nice effervescence. Depending on how large your party is, this recipe would need to be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled. Cheers, “my pretties”!

 

Witch’s Kombucha Brew

Servings: 3-4

Time: 8 hours

Diet: V, GF, DF, SF, CFNF, NF, R

 

Ingredients

Ice Hand: (optional)

Latex glove

Filtered water

 

Brew:

4 cups sparkling lemonade (Whole Foods carries it. Also Perrier.)

2 cups hibiscus berry kombucha (we used Kevita brand. You can use any red kombucha)

½ cup 100% pomegranate juice

 

Directions

Ice hand:

Fill the latex glove with filtered water, making sure there the entire glove is filled with water. Place on a plate in the freezer and freeze overnight or until completely frozen.

 

Brew:

1. In a punch bowl, add the lemonade, kombucha, and pomegranate juice. Stir well.

 

Assemble:

With dry clean hands, cut the latex glove with scissors and remove the latex from the ice hand, and carefully place it into the punch bowl.

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Grape Snakes

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Need more healthy food options and décor at your next Halloween party? These grape snacks serve a dual purpose—they make wonderful Halloween decoration and are a super clean snack! Just a few simple steps and you have yourself some creepy grape snakes!

 

Grape Snakes

Servings:  3-4

Time:  15 minutes

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, SRF, R

Ingredients

1-2 bunches organic black grapes

1 Tbsp cashew cream

1 carrot

2 goji berries

 

Directions

1. Wash the grapes very well and dry them.

2. Make the snake tongue. Peel the carrot and chop the ends off. Cut them into long rectangular slices. Cut a triangle out of the end of each slice to make a snake tongue. Cut a slit at the crown of 4 (or however many snakes you plan to make) grapes, then place the rectangular side of the carrot tongue into the slit. Place them right the edge of your serving plates, with the tongues faces out.

3. Make the snake eyes. Slice the goji berries to make evil red snake eyes. Using a toothpick, place a little cashew cream (which will be used as glue) where the goji eyes should go. Place the goji berries onto the cashew cream to stick.

4. Behind the snake heads, place grapes down onto the plate, with a little cashew cream (to stick to the plate, optional) at their base. Place onto the serving plate, artfully, curvy, and snake-like in pattern, and voila! You have your grape snakes!

 

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