Better late than never

Not that anyone is reading my little blog (yet)… I know it is late but I said I had a tricky Halloween treat to share and I don’t want to disappoint!

How long did the Halloween candy last at your house? Is it long gone or are you still rationing it for the kids (and yourself)? We actually missed out on the candy chaos this year because of Hurricane Sandy’s ill-timed visit – NOT the kind of Halloween trick we hope for. Of course weather-themed Halloween tricks seem to be a common occurance the last few years… We rarely get significant snow before Christmas in these parts, but we got this lovely trick last year for Halloween.

Thankfully we didn’t fare too badly with this year’s Halloween weather trick (hurricane Sandy), we had friends and family without power for a week but everyone managed alright… unlike our neighbors to the east in New York and New Jersey who are still dealing with the aftermath of this mean Halloween trick two weeks later. My heart goes out to those whose homes and lives will never be the same.

I’m not going to blame the hurricane on my late post though… that’s all my fault! I’m new to blogging and still trying to figure it out. Honestly, my hands are full enough here at home with a toddler, preschooler, husband and dog and I just don’t have the time to keep fussing with the blog design. So I asked Cynthia from Webwurkz to put something together for me and I’m sure things will be looking MUCH nicer around here really soon!

We went apple picking for the first time last month and had so much fun that we came home with TWO bushels of apples… that’s right, a total of about 82 pounds of apples. They were delicious Melrose apples from Woodward’s Orchard, a surprisingly short distance from our house. I had never heard of Melrose apples before, but they were sweet, a little tart, and oh so crisp… possibly the tastiest apples I’ve ever eaten. Good for eating or baking, I had my work cut out for me with 82 pounds to go through! A lot of them went right into our bellies and the rest became apple butter, apple sauce, cranberry-apple cobbler and apple bars.

One of the most fun and festive things we made with our apples was a Halloween treat that got a little help from the carrots still in the ground out in the garden. A tasty treat that’s festive enough to get the kids interested and a healthier alternative to the sacks of trick-or-treat candy that may still be hanging around the house.

*I’m going to pretend for now that the overexposed flash and awful shadows are for dramatic effect… but really, I just have terrible lighting in my kitchen and I do most of my baking in the evening. I’m working on a solution… for now, it’s either flash or dark and blurry.

Get your juicer ready… “Halloween Juice” is sweet and fun and its bright orange color is equally festive for Halloween or throughout the Fall season (calling it Halloween juice is more exciting than “apple-carrot juice”). Nothing is wasted (well, other than the apple cores) because we use the juice pulp to make the apple-carrot spice “Halloween muffins”. These apple-carrot spice muffins are egg-free, not because we have egg allergies, just because we were out of eggs on Halloween! They turned out so delicious, we didn’t even miss the egg. *Recipe adapted from this one over at SparkRecipes.

Fire up your juicer and save your pulp. Make as much or as little as you want, but you’ll need a half a cup of the juice and about 1 cup of moderately wet pulp for the muffins (I actually strain our juice when it is all finished and add some of that wet pulp into the drier pulp – you want the consistency of mashed, ripe bananas). I probably used about 8 apples and the equivalent of maybe 3-4 grocery-store sized carrots – it was enough for me to make two batches of muffins (each batch is about a dozen). The carrots really make a nice, bright orange juice. Taste your carrots before juicing them though… the second time I made this I used store-bought carrots and they should have been peeled first since they added a bitter taste to both the juice and the pulp – so taste first, you only want good, sweet carrots!Finished juice and pulp… now it’s muffin time!Gather your ingredientsCream together the coconut oil and sugar. Add the apple-carrot pulp, apple-carrot juice, and vanilla extract. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add to wet mixture, mix to combine. Add milk to necessary consistency – batter should be thick, not pourable, but easy to stir and softer than cookie dough. *A half cup always seems right for me, but you may need more or less depending on the moisture in your pulp.  

Spoon batter into lightly buttered or lined muffin tin, filling cups 3/4 full. Makes 12 muffins.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes, then turn heat down to 325 for another 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean/dry.

Feed yourself (and your kids) a healthier Halloween/Fall snack with the colors and flavors of the season.

“Halloween Muffins” aka Apple-Carrot Spice Muffins

1 cup moderately wet apple-carrot juice pulp
1/2 cup apple-carrot juice
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (rapadura sugar/evaporated cane juice)
2 cups whole white wheat flour (or half whole wheat, half all-purpose or white whole wheat)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts
~1/2 cup milk

Cream together the coconut oil and sugar. Add the apple-carrot pulp, apple-carrot juice, and vanilla extract.

Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add to wet mixture, mix to combine.

Add milk to necessary consistency – batter should be thick, not pourable, but easy to stir and softer than cookie dough. *A half cup always seems right for me, but you may need more or less depending on the moisture in your pulp.

Spoon batter into lightly buttered or lined muffin tin, filling cups 3/4 full. Makes 12 muffins.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes, then turn heat down to 325 for another 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean/dry.

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At Last…

It’s about time I started this little blog! Just a quick note to make this real… the first full post will feature a tricky Halloween treat that’s a healthier break from all the candy that’s making it’s rounds this week.

 

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