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20 Spooky-Yet-Healthy Halloween Recipes

20 Spooky-Yet-Healthy Halloween Recipes

Halloween may be associated with people stuffing their gullets with sugary snacks and junk food galore, but there are ways of celebrating this festive night that won’t result in a diabetic coma. There are plenty of recipes that are as healthy as they are delicious, and you don’t have to skimp on the creep-out factor either.

Whether you’re throwing a party, bringing a contribution to a potluck, or celebrating in blissful solitude, here are some fabulous Samhain snacks that any ghoul would be happy to snack on.

Spider Guts Smoothie

Goblin Green Smoothie

    Photo: The Tree Apprentice, via Flickr

    It’s great to start your day off with a smoothie, and a frothy, green, bubbly drink is just perfect for Halloween breakfast. There are countless green smoothie and juice recipes out there, but if you don’t already have a favourite, try this one out:

    • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
    • 1 cup coconut water
    • 2 cups frozen green grapes
    • 2 peaches, sliced

    Puree all the ingredients in a blender until the mixture is gorgeously smooth. If you find that it’s a bit too thick, add a bit more coconut water, tap water, or even a splash of non-dairy milk.

    Goblin Eggs

    Another great breakfast dish: Take half an avocado and remove the pit. Poach an egg until it’s well set, drain it with a slotted spoon, and plop it into the hollowed avocado. Sprinkle with black salt and cracked pepper (even some black caviar if you’re feeling extravagant), and serve warm.

    Creepy Teeth Apple Bites

    Slice a wedge out of an apple, and then cut a smaller wedge into it to make a mouth. Fill the cavity with nut butter or fruit preserves, and then push slivered almonds into the apple flesh to make craggy teeth.

    “Candy Corn” Parfait

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    Candy Corn Parfait

      Photo: Sallypenut via Flickr

      Have you ever eaten candy corn? They’re those unbelievably sugary niblets that are yellow at one end, orange in the middle, and white at the tip. Hideous. That said, you can make a splendidly healthy parfait in these very colours, by layering fruit or vegetables with toppings of your choice. Here are a couple of options:

      • A base layer of crushed pineapple, mid layer of mandarin orange slices, and low-fat yoghurt topping.
      • Chopped pineapple base, middle layer of crushed cantaloupe, and low-fat cottage cheese on top.
      • Reversed candy corn colours with an herbed yoghurt dip on the bottom, followed by layers of baby carrots and sliced yellow pepper.

      Witches’ Fingers

      Wrap pickle wedges or spears of steamed white and green asparagus with ham or smoked turkey.

      Spiderweb Eggs (or “Rotten” Eggs”)

      Spiderweb Eggs

        Photo: Nichelle Stevens, via Flickr

        To create a spiderweb pattern on a hard-boiled egg, just boil a dozen eggs for 10 minutes in 8-10 cups of water, along with 2 cups of blueberries. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, tap one side of each lightly so the shell crackles, and then place them back in the berry water. Keep the saucepan in the fridge for a few hours until the eggs are completely cool, and then peel them: you’ll find a lovely spiralling web etched onto each egg. (You can also use black tea for this for brown webs.)

        Graveyard Dip

        Graveyard Dip

          Photo: Mike Dory, via Flickr

          There are a few ways to go about creating a dip that looks as though it’s been created from cemetery dirt: one is to make a tapenade from dark olives (like Kalamata, or Spanish black) with capers, garlic, oil, and lemon juice, another is to create a spicy black bean dip, and some people might even prefer to use guacamole or spinach/artichoke dip as their base. Let’s use a recipe for the black bean option, shall we?

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          • 1 large can of black beans, drained and rinsed
          • 1 roma (plum) tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
          • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
          • 1 small chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
          • 1 garlic clove, chopped
          • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
          • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
          • Salt (to add later)

          Pulse the first 7 ingredients in a food processor until the mixture is fairly smooth, and well combined. Add salt to taste, and feel free to adjust the acidity (with the lemon juice) as well as the spice level as desired. To serve, pour the dip into a shallow bowl, and tuck melba toast squares, Crispers or vegetable chip “headstones” into it, with extras on the side.

          Dark and Creepy Crudites

          A large platter that’s covered in black, purple, and grey tidbits can look incredibly creepy, but so delicious. Items to place on yours can include:

          • Black and purple grapes
          • Black figs
          • Deep purple plums
          • Black radishes
          • Black and Kalamata olives
          • Blackberries
          • Black currants

          Strips of Skin

          Spread layers of prosciutto and other cured meats on a large wooden cutting board, and jam a meat cleaver vertically into the board for effect.

          Blood and Eyeball Soup

          Blood Eyeball Soup

            Photo: Nicole McGuire via Flickr

            Sounds scrumptious, doesn’t it? Basically, this is just tomato soup with a little extra added to it. To make the eyeballs, get yourself some of those bocconcini balls that are 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter. Use a small paring knife to hollow them out, and then pop a couple of pimento-stuffed eyeballs into the cavities. When you serve the soup, float the cheesy eyeballs in it so they’ll stare at whoever’s digging in.

            Other Eyeball Snacks

            On that same note, you can carve away at a lychee or longan fruit to expose the dark inner pit to create interesting eyeballs, or you can pop capers into hard boiled quail eggs.

            Witch’s Hair Pasta

            Did you know that you can get gluten-free black bean pasta? I only found this out recently, and it’s bloody brilliant. The noodles are a deep grey colour, which is perfect for a Halloween dish. You can also get black rice noodles if you can’t get your hands on the black bean ones.

            As far as a recipe is concerned, just follow the directions on the black pasta package, and then top with your favourite sauce and vegetables. My personal favourite is a simple sauce of roasted eggplant and tomato, but you can can slather yours in vodka rosé sauce, a simple dressing of olive oil and garlic, or make a sea witch proud by covering the pasta in seafood and marinara sauce.

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            Shrunken Head Punch

            Peel some small apples, and then carve them to look like faces/shrunken heads. Float these in a large punch bowl that you’ve filled with apple cider, or your autumn drink of choice.

            Mummy Faces

            Mummy Faces

              Photo: Bradley H, via Flickr

              Take a whole-wheat flatbread, half an English muffin, a pita, or any other flat, round, bread-like substance that you’re fond of. Spread on something fabulous as a base, and decorate it with items that could conceivably be mummy-like, then devour.

              For savoury options, you can try the following:

              • Pizza sauce base, with sliced mushroom eyes and slices of mozzarella as bandages.
              • Hummus for the bottom layer, strips of grilled zucchini or eggplant, and olive slice eyes.

              For those with a sweet tooth, you can try these as well:

              • Tofutti (or low-fat goat cheese, cream cheese, etc.), with blueberries or halved cherries for eyes, and gobs of jam or jelly for colour.
              • Almond (or other nut) butter as a base, with strips of banana for bandages, and strawberry eyes.

              Bloody Gulp

              Frothy and reddish-pink, this juice is reminiscent of something you’d see on True Blood, but it’s fabulous for nourishing your own blood cells (as well as your liver, heart, and more.) Just put 2 medium carrots, 2 medium beets, and 2 large apples (peeled and cored) through your juicer. If you like, add 1/2 an inch of peeled ginger too. Run 1/4 cup of water through to get all the juice out, and serve over ice.

              Rice Ghosts or Spider Egg Sacks (Onigiri)

              Ghost Onigiri

                Photo: Mega, via Flickr

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                These are just onigiri rice balls stuffed with whatever you like, or even just plain sticky rice that’s been formed into spooky shapes. Just cook Japanese sushi rice according to the ingredients on the package. If you like, you can add a bit of mirin wine and/or rice vinegar for extra flavour. You can fill the onigiri with anything from egg salad or tuna to pickled vegetables or bean paste, pack the rice into shape by rolling it in plastic wrap, and then add eyes, fangs, etc. that you’ve created by cutting dry nori (seaweed sheets) into pieces.

                For a well-rounded bento lunch, add in some heirloom tomatoes in shades of black and red, some orange peppers carved into jack o’lanterns, and any other veggies you like.

                Ghoulish Globes

                Use a melon baller to scoop the flesh of honeydew melon into perfect little spheres, and then splash them with black vodka. Serve chilled.

                Screaming Rolls

                Screaming Pigs

                  Photo via Pinterest

                  This terror-inducing variation on “pigs in a blanket” doesn’t need to be filled with chemical-laden meat slurry sausages. You can create the same effect by stuffing half a crescent roll with a mixture of spinach, low-fat feta cheese and minced onions or spiced sweet potato wedges, or make sweet versions with jam or fruit. Here’s a tip: the original Pillsbury Crescent Rolls are vegan, so you can go wild creating all manner of cruelty-free screamy snacks. Just stick on some fake eyes with dabs of mustard or tofutti and a couple of poppy seeds to finish them off.

                  Spooktacular Quinoa Salad

                  Did you know that you can get black quinoa? Use it in your favourite quinoa recipe, or try a new one like this black quinoa salad with cherries, pistachios, and watercress.

                  Roasted Brain

                  Cauliflower Brain

                    Photo: Alvin Smith via Flickr

                    Preheat your oven to 400-450F, depending on how hot your oven tends to get. Remove the lower leaves and core from the cauliflower, and then place it hollowed-side down onto a greased baking sheet. Use a paring knife to remove a thin, straight slice from across the vegetable, making it look like a brain. Drizzle it with olive oil, salt, and about 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, and roast it for 1 to 1.5 hours, until it’s fork-tender. Serve on a platter surrounded by pickled beets for a great, bloody effect.

                    What are some of your favourite Halloween recipes? Please feel free to share them with us!

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                    Catherine Winter

                    Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                    Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                    How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                    How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                    Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

                    To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

                    Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

                    1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

                    Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

                    Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

                    To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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                    2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

                    Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

                    If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

                    Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

                    3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

                    Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

                    Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

                    4. Feed Your Brain

                    Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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                    This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

                    Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

                    Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

                    5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

                    According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

                    Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

                    Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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                    6. Write it Down

                    If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

                    It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

                    You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

                    7. Listen to Music

                    Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

                    8. Visual Concepts

                    In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

                    Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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                    Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

                    9. Teach Someone Else

                    Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

                    Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

                    10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

                    Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

                    So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

                    Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

                    More About Boosting Memory

                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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