A Magazine About Food, Art & Exchange In Midtown Kingston, Published By The Hudson Valley Current.

Hibernation Prep & Recipes

With the daylight waning and the temperatures dropping, mammals everywhere begin to feel a sense of urgency. Humans pull cozy sweaters out of storage and stack wood. Squirrels are busy storing nuts in tree caverns and mice are investigating home foundations for openings in which to hide away until spring. Animals that hibernate get busy eating large amounts of food to build up fat reserves to last through a long dormant period when their body temperature drops and breathing and heart rates slow down. 

Humans don’t hibernate, so why do we crave not-so-healthy fare and comfort foods during the fall? Like bears, the colder weather and dark days may trigger an evolutionary relic inside of us to fatten up in order to survive these harsh environmental conditions. Our bodies are looking for foods to warm it up. Cold summer foods like salad and watermelon don’t taste nor feel as good as they did in July. These summer treats cool us down causing us to crave carbohydrates and sweets. 

Sunlight is one of the factors that triggers serotonin, a neurotransmitter that boosts our good mood feeling. Carbohydrate intake also increases serotonin levels, which is another reason we turn to goodies during times of high anxiety, stress, seasonal depression, and simple boredom. Don’t forget the inevitable holiday parties and the alcohol toasts, which add to our over consumption.

What can we do? Eat smart. You can still have sweets, but choose whole grain, natural sweeteners, and low fat.  

Cookies for Breakfast

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

This recipe is very flexible. You can replace whatever nut you have handy or dried fruit. It’s your masterpiece!

1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds (or other nut of your choice)

1/4 cup toasted unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup almond butter (you can use peanut, cashew or sunflower)

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup applesauce

1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract

3/4 cups quick oats (not old fashioned, they are too tough)

3/4 cups granola of your choice (cinnamon, vanilla)

1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

Pinch of salt

In a large bowl, whisk together nut butter, honey, applesauce, and extract until smooth and creamy. Add the dry ingredients and mix well until all ingredients are incorporated. It will form a sticky, thick dough.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop spoonfuls of the dough on the prepared tray in 10 mounds. Use a fork to press the cookies out about 1/2 inch thick. You may need to dip the fork in water in between cookies to keep it from sticking. Press in the sides to make sure all the ingredients stick together. 

Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes until they feel “set” when touching the tops. Let cool completely on the pan before attempting to lift. Enjoy guilt free.

Vegan Coconut Shortbread cookies

Believe it or not, this is a three ingredient only cookie. Of course you can embellish it to make it a beautiful holiday gift but it’s also a quick treat when you just want a goodie.

1 1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup maple syrup

Place all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and combine with a spoon until it becomes a soft, moist dough.

Place the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and gently roll into a log, about 2 inches in diameter. Chill in the refrigerator for one hour or until it is firm.

Set the oven to 325 degrees F.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. 

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and using a sharp knife, slice cookies into 1/4 inch slices (not too thin or they will crumble). Reshape once on the tray but be sure to space them out so they are not touching. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Do not over bake. Let the cookies cool on a rack. 

These are delicious and beautiful if you want to decorate with melted dark chocolate. You can either dip one half or drizzle and sprinkle with colored sugar. 

Coconut Date Sno-balls

1 cup raw almonds 

1 cup pecans (you can substitute walnuts)

2 cups dried cranberries (or golden raisins)

6 dates, pitted

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

In a food processor, chop almonds and pecans until they are finely chopped. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the coconut, and pulse until combined and sticky.

Pour coconut in a bowl. Roll the cookie mixture into 1-inch balls and roll in the coconut. Chill and enjoy!