Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats
Happy WIAW, and HAPPY HALLOWE’EN! Wish I could share some of my Hallowe’en decorating and planned festivities, but I have none! It’ll be a pretty quiet evening with pizza, wine, and whatever scary flick’s on the tube. ;)

My featured recipe is a side dish that’s great to accompany roasted meats, a main veggie course, and tastes great hot or cold. But before we get to that, here are some dishes from the past few week, in no particular order:

Sunday brunch was a pretty nice spread. Maura at My Healthy ‘Ohana had a great idea for 100 calorie egg cups, which came out fantastic:

Bacon and onion quiche and turkey egg cup with fresh fruit (egg cup recipe from Maura at My Healthy ‘Ohana.)

Lunch on Tuesday was quick and easy. I was baking gluten-free versions of  pumpkin brownies and chocolate brownies in the morning and sampled enough pieces to make me say, “Enough!” For lunch I craved veggies:

I love celery, and I love peanut butter!

No salad, just some celery sticks followed by salty potato chips and an apple. :)

Dinner last Monday was rosemary chicken with red cabbage and apples:

Mix plate: rosemary chicken, apfel rotkohl and steak fries. Where else can you get this eclectic mix of flavors but at home?

I recently experimented with red cabbage to make a German dish called Apfel Rotkohl (red cabbage and apples.) After looking at a few recipes I saw one from epicurious.com that sounded pretty good. I did make a few changes, like increasing the vinegar and sugar and adding apples and currants, and the end result was pretty good! Feel free to start with less sugar or vinegar, depending on whether you like it sweet, vinegary, or nice and mild.

Braised Red Cabbage and Apples, makes 6 servings
modified from original recipe at epicurious.com

Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (do NOT substitute cumin, totally different taste!)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup apple juice (or shred 2 med apples with box grater, squeeze juice & save apple pulp for baking)
2 tablespoons – 1/4 cup amber agave nectar or white sugar
1/2 head red cabbage, chopped
2 large Granny Smith apples, chopped into 1″ chunks
1/4 – 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (I like a strong vinegar taste, so start with 1/4 cup if you prefer it mild)
1/3 cup currants or raisins

Directions;
In a heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and sautee for 1 minute. Add allspice, caraway seeds, salt, apple juice, and cabbage. Stir well. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 10 minutes add apples, raisins, and agave or sugar. Stir then cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until apples are tender.

Uncover pot, stir in half of apple cider vinegar. Cook until liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. If you want a definite vinegar taste, add remaining apple cider vinegar, stir. Serves 6.

Are you having a quiet Hallowe’en? What was your favorite Hallowe’en costume? This can be your own costume, or your dog’s, your children’s, something you saw on the street…here’s what I was last year:

For Hallowe’en last year I was super buff!

Have a great Hallowe’en, everybody!

Happy WIAW!!! My apologies for the lack of food posts, I only had time to post my Insanity workouts (which are actually written 2 weeks in advance) and my husband’s parents are visiting from Germany! Our first official house guests in our new home, and it’s pretty fun and exciting. But in addition to receiving guests, we were also able to meet up with some newlywed friends from Hawaii, who moved to Germany, who were visiting family in Boston.

This month’s WIAW theme is making us Fall into Good Habits. Jenn at Peas and Crayons kicked it off with some incredibly delicious-looking photos of her healthy eating, and be sure to check out what other bloggers have to share as they take the fall, all in the name of habitual goodness!

I’m going to be sharing some stuff I did the past couple of weeks, and one good habit to have is to have FUN! We met up with friends at Catamount Adventure Park, located an hour’s drive south of Albany. We spent a good 4 hours testing our physical prowess and conquering our fear of heights (or should I say our fear of falling!) as we enjoyed traversing swinging bridges, pinky-thin cables and zooming across the forest on zippy zip lines!

View of the main platform where you start.

My friend balancing on the high wire!

My husband coming up the swing-like steps.

Zip lining!

We would definitely do this all over again so for any of our Hawaii friends that wanna visit Upstate NY during the summer, be prepared to be dragged to Catamount Adventure Park!

Later on we enjoyed some much anticipated and long awaited Vietnamese food at Vans in downtown Albany:

I had the Vietnamese pancake filled with veggies, my husband had beef pho (I couldn’t finish it.)

On Saturday we picked up my husband’s parents who are visiting from Germany. Since the airport was 3 hours away, we took advantage of this special trip to Newark and stopped at Ikea, The Wine Library, Costco (just to cash in on our reward$) and Sephora. We came home about 1am…and look at all the goodies they brought us!

Chocolates…..

28 bars of chocolate, 1 huge bar of Ritter Sport, two bags of daim chocolate clusters.

…and beer!

12 bottles of Augustiner…matches the glasses we brought back on our last visit.

Indulging in chocolates and beer may not be the best for this month’s theme of “Falling into Good Habits,” but gift-giving certainly can!

Another good habit you can fall into is to share a favorite recipe with friends and family. My in-laws cooked some dinner for us last week. This one is a rich, creamy, delicious avocado sauce with pieces of pork served with rice. My mother-in-law made this with chicken a couple of times, but the pork tastes much better:

Here is a dish I call “Quark Cakes” because I keep forgetting the German name, Quarkkäulchen. My father-in-law enjoyed it as a child and it’s one of those comfort foods that will sure to bring back cozy memories.

Some of us may be familiar with this kind of Quark:

Or even this kind:

But it’s actually made with this delicious creamy stuff:

Quark is a type of soft cheese, almost like cream cheese in texture as well as flavor. Here is the recipe for Quark Pancakes, or Quarkkäulchen. It’s rich and filling, and can be enjoyed with fruits for breakfast or with a green salad for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Quarkkäulchen have a soft, tender texture dotted with sweet raisins and a lightly sweetened batter, all contained within the crispness of the golden fried dough. Topped with a light sprinkling of sugar, Quarkkäulchen is an indulgent comfort food.

Quarkkäulchen, with and without sugar.

Quarkkäulchen
This recipe is courtesy of my father-in-law, who had the pleasure of enjoying his mother prepare it for him as a child…with lots of sugar and love. :)

Ingredients:
250 g yellow potatoes or red potatoes, boiled, peeled & cooled overnight
90 g flour, more if needed
1/2 tablespoon salt
50g sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
250 g quark
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup raisins
vegetable oil for frying

Directions (I have to make this up, since it wasn’t included in the hand-written recipe!)
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and sugar. With a potato ricer, process potatoes into bowl (alternatively you could probably use a pastry cutter to break apart potatoes into very small pieces.) Stir well. Add quark and eggs and stir to combine. Dough will be really sticky, like thick pancake batter. Add raisins and stir gently to combine.

Heat about 1/4″ vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. On a large cookie sheet, sprinkle flour and keep about 1/2 cup flour in a dish nearby. Flour hands and begin to form dough into small cakes (or patties) about the size of your palm and the thickness of your thumb. Place on floured cookie sheet.

When oil is hot, carefully add patties to the skillet using a large wooden or metal spatula. Cook on one side for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until golden brown. Using two spatulas, carefully turn patties over, being careful not to splash oil (I actually splashed myself on the neck and arm!) Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes more or until golden brown. Transfer to paper towel-lined rack or plate and repeat with remaining cakes. Change oil if it gets too dirty.

Sprinkle patties with more sugar and serve hot. Bon Appetit!

Soft, tender Quarkkäulchen dotted with raisins.

Most of us think of healthy eating and exercise when asked about having good habits. But what else can be a good habit? How about randomly picking up trash and disposing it properly? Spontaneously doing jumping jacks when you feel lethargic? Brushing your hairy cats so they don’t make tumbleweed-hairballs all over the living room? That sounds like a good habit to pick up. Will I stick to it? Only if it becomes a habit. ;)