Monkey Fingers – a Healthy Halloween Treat

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When I first came to the U.S. from Israel at age 11 and heard about Halloween, it seemed too good to be true. What?! All you have to do is wear a costume, knock on people’s doors and get candy? When I came home with a huge bagful of sweet treats, I thought a fairy heard my secret wish and decided to grant it.

Now that I’m a mom I get to relive that excitement every year with my four-year-old daughter. This year I’m looking forward to seeing my two-year-old son’s face when he realizes what this holiday is all about. What I am not looking forward to is all the candy they’ll want to eat and all the bargaining I’ll have to do with them. That is why I came up with healthy Halloween candy bars. Will your kids toss out their Skittles and Snickers bars in exchange for these? Probably not. But they will definitely gobble them up and not feel like they’re missing out on any processed candy with trans fats and high fructose corn syrup.

In the meantime, you can spend the evenings raiding your kids’ Halloween bags and for a few minutes go back in time to being an eleven-year-old who had just discovered that fairy tales do come true. All you have to do is wear a costume.

Monkey Fingers

Quick-cooking oats contain soluble fiber, which can lower bad cholesterol, as well as insoluble fiber, which has cancer-fighting properties. However, they are heavily processed and thus have a high glycemic index. This means they enter our bloodstream rather quickly so I’ve added milk for protein, as well as peanut butter, which is both a protein and a healthy fat, and when eaten in combination with the oats can lower their glycemic index. Instead of sugar I included stevia, which has no affect on our sugar levels and also added a little honey to make the mixture stick better and to add a richer, sweeter flavor, without adding too much sugar or carbs that can raise the glycemic index. You can serve these treats with a glass of low-fat milk of any type (soymilk, almond milk, etc) to lower the glycemic index even more. And who can pass up chocolate when cocoa powder has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow?

Ingredients:

¼ cups unsweeted cocoa (I used Ghirardelli)
1 cup skim milk (not sure if you can use other types like soymilk, but I’d love to hear if those work, too)
3 cups quick-cooking oats (you can use gluten-free oats)
½ a 16 oz. container of chunky, all natural peanut butter (ingredients should only be peanuts – no sugar or HFCS)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter-flavored cooking spray
7 packets stevia
3 tsp honey

Directions:

In sauce pan, put cocoa and milk and heat on low heat, stirring occasionally. Bring to a rolling boil and after exactly one minute remove from heat and into a mixing bowl.

Add oats and peanut butter and mix well. Add vanilla and spray a few sprays of the cooking oil.

Add 7 packets of stevia and 3 teaspoons honey and mix until mixture is a little gooey. (When you taste the mixture it may not taste very sweet, but after the candy bars will spend a full day in the refrigerator – they will will taste very sweet).

Using your hand, grab a small handful of the mixture and roll a little bit so that it’s in the shape of a mini hot dog. Put on waxed paper or on foil in the refrigerator.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. These candy bars taste even better the next day.

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