Halloween Treats

Halloween in upon us! This day, to me, is less about a commercial holiday and more about a celebration of the season, brimming with creativity and community. It pairs so well with the moody shift in the air, along with the myriad of natural gifts that Autumn bestows upon us. I really enjoy when adults and children alike, collectively engage in the positive spirit of the season. 

Halloween means it's time to dust off my edition of Bram Stoker's "Dracula", and zealously devour every page as though it was the first read. It also means curling up with an annual lineup of my Halloween film favorites and being mindful at an attempt to effectively "wind down" the year. With all of the hustle and bustle, that's easier said than done, but I do my best to make some sort of plan to savor the close of the year as much as I possibly can. Let's not forsake those carefully planned Halloween costumes....

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You might wonder what I do to curb the sugary candy cravings, while thriving on a plant-based diet. Truth is, I don't. Halloween is quite simply, an unabashed cheat day, along with Thanksgiving (aka, "The Cooking Olympics") and Christmas Eve/Day. Strict restrictions are rarely successful or healthy, so I don't feel the slightest bit guilty about my prescribed days of unbridled gluttony. It's utterly fantastic.  

On the other days in between, I do allow for considerably healthier sweet treats, so I'm empowered to choose them over their refined sugary counterparts. For example, I'm crazy about roasted pumpkin seeds, which can be fashioned as sweet, savory, fiery, or all of the above. My personal favorite is roasted with grapeseed oil, himalayan sea salt, paprika, sumac and rosemary. It takes a little work to prepare and clean them, but they are so worth the effort to farm them fresh from the pumpkins I'm about to carve. On a parchment lined baking sheet at 300 degress, slowly bake until they reach the level of browning and crunch you prefer, 30-45 minutes (It also makes the house smell incredible). I also like to "tszuj" up my fruit ever so slightly, whether it is dipping apple slices in vegan chocolate and nuts, to agave drizzled mini pears, sprinkled with sea salt and rosemary, and resting on a bed of candied pistachios. Chilled in the freezer on parchment paper, these were a colossal success when I introduced them last year. Is it candy? Not by a long shot. Is it a clever diversion from blowing up your diet for the final three months of the year? You bet your sweet bippy. 

 

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In lieu of more destructive late night temptations that invariably derail training in a blink of an eye, I prefer to close out the day with a mulled cider, spiced tea or golden milk. In the morning, sneaking in a dollop of organic pumpkin and pumpkin spices to my banana protein shake is a decadent treat. Additionally, a seasonally tweaked kombucha has also proven to be an immensely satisfying alternative. Here, I augmented my homemade kombucha with pear, ginger, cardamom and clove. Definitely a welcome addition to my list of traditional favorites.

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Today, however, I'm going all in. It's no coincidence that the holiday season also coincides with my marathon training. It keeps me good and I worked hard for these cheat days! But, most importantly, this day is about conjuring a fun, creative, positive and happy experience for adults and kids alike.  Be safe, enjoy the spirit that the day brings, treat your ever-so-deserved self, and then it's time to welcome sweet November!

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Wednesday Adams, 2015

Happy Halloween!