I just love Halloween. It has always been a favorite holiday of mine. Even as an adult, I love taking the time to make costumes and get all dressed up. People have asked me what is my most favorite part of Halloween, and I have to sit and think. Is it the costumes? Is it the fun get-togethers? Is it the trick-or-treating? Or is it just the TREATING? It’s definitely the treating. As someone that used to live such an unhealthy life and has made radical changes, I strive to live with nutrition that is as pure as possible. Healthier habits do not mean we have to live by foods that taste like cardboard. With so many healthy options, put your witch hat on and whip up a few of these favorites and know that even while it’s a treat, you are avoiding the unhealthy ingredients trick. PEANUT BUTTER CUPS have always been on the top of my Halloween list. Chocolate and peanut butter are two great tastes that taste great together. Here’s my healthier and tastier rendition. Ingredients: 3/4 cup of organic almond butter, toasted and salted (or use nut butter of your choice) 2-3 tablespoons organic honey 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/4 cup of coconut oil 1/3 cup of chopped toasted nuts (To toast the nuts, place in a dry pan over medium-high heat. Stir almost continually until they are starting to brown. Take off of the heat.) 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate 2-4 tablespoons honey – to sweeten the chocolate a bit – amount based on taste Directions: In a small bowl, combine the nut butter, coconut oil, vanilla, first 2 tablespoons honey and nuts. Mix until well-combined. Drop by the heaping teaspoon into mini cupcake pans. Place in freezer. Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in the top of a double broiler. Mix in the honey. Bring about 2 inches of water to a boil in the pot and place the bowl on top. Watch the chocolate carefully so that it doesn’t burn, stirring gently while the chocolate melts. When there are just a few chunks left in the chocolate, take off of the heat and allow it to melt completely. Drop by the teaspoon over the peanut butter mixture and place back into the freezer. Freeze for 20 minutes. Take out, and using a butter knife pop them out. Keep in the freezer or refrigerator and enjoy! Add some flavor spookiness with zest from fruits (oranges, lemons, limes), and decorate the candy the same way you would a pumpkin. MOUNDS are another Halloween classic. When I create these with raw organic coconut and dark chocolate, there is eating without the guilt. Add some spooky zestiness by decorating the candies with the zest from your favorite citrus fruits. Ingredients: 3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks 1/2 cup unsweetened organic coconut 1/4 cup coconut oil 1 tablespoon raw honey Directions: Melt chocolate in a small pan over very low heat. You can use a double boiler, if you wish. Using a small pastry brush or teaspoon, brush bottom of tin with chocolate. In a small bowl, combine shredded coconut, coconut oil and agave. Add coconut mixture to the chocolate lined tin and then add more chocolate on top. Place mold in freezer for 10 minutes to allow chocolate to harden. Remove mold from freezer. Fill chocolate-lined molds with coconut mixture. Brush chocolate over coconut mixture to cover bars. Place in freezer for 10 minutes to harden. Remove from freezer, turn mold upside down and pop mounds out of mold. Serve and YUM. ERGO-PUMPKIN BARS What else says Halloween but Pumpkins!? Ingredients: 1 cup raw almonds 1 1/4 cup dates, pitted 1 cup dried apricots 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Directions: Add the almonds in a food processor and process until almonds are mostly finely ground. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until the mixture starts to come together. Dump mixture on a flat surface lined with parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment paper over the top of the mixture. Start pressing/flattening the mixture until it’s about 1/2 inch thick (mine may have been a bit thinner). I used a rolling pin to make it nice and even. Cut around the edges to make an even square. Cut into bars. To make the edges smooth, I wrapped them in a smaller piece of parchment paper and pat around the edges. Wrap each individual bar in plastic wrap or use some parchment paper as a separator and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. RAWLMONDY PROTEIN BITES For you athletes out there… How about added protein? I am a fan of raw foods, as well as loving the flavor of almonds. Here is one of my favorite ‘raw’ and ‘almondy’ creations from early in my nutritional education. Ingredients: 1 cup almond butter (homemade, if possible) 1 cup organic honey 2 cups raw oats 2 cups organic protein powder (undenatured whey protein or a pea/hemp protein) Organic cocoa powder Golden Raisins Directions: Mix almond butter, honey, oats and protein powder ingredients together in a mixer until smooth. Press flat into a cookie sheet until it fills out the entire sheet. Sprinkle with cocoa powder. Cut into bite-size squares. Use the golden raisins to decorate some spookiness. Refrigerate and enjoy! NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE MACAROONS Girls Gone Strong has some great gluten-free recipes. This is my favorite with my own little tweak of health and seasonal flavor. Ingredients: 1 cup organic coconut flakes 1/2 cup organic shredded coconut 1/4 cup raw cacao powder 1/4 cup organic maple syrup 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil 1/4 cup of your favorite protein powder (If whey-based, then try to get an undenatured brand; if vegan-based, then pea and hemp proteins are fabulous too!) Directions: In a large glass or stainless steel mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Easy. Melt the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and mix in the maple syrup for about 3.7 seconds. Combine the oil and maple syrup liquid with the dry ingredients and fold together with a spatula. Very easy. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about 20 minutes, so that it cools down and hardens a bit. Form 1-inch-sized macaroon balls (ha) and place on a cookie sheet or in a glass container. Place back in the fridge for another 30 minutes, or as long as you can possibly wait, whichever one happens first. Eat and enjoy. The best step. SPOOKY CITRUS TREATS Now, this is what brings EVERYTHING together. Photo credit: iVillage.com Who says the carving HAS to be with a pumpkin? Here is a cute idea from iVillage.com on how to carve jack-o-lanterns out of something we have plenty of in Florida- Citrus. Scare away post-holiday germs with some extra vitamin C, and fill these BOOtiful gems with some of the healthy recipes listed above.