Healthy Holiday Treats


holiday treats

These tasty holiday treats will be a big hit around the barn, and the best part is they’re good for your horse!

Don’t stress over gift-giving this holiday season! These healthful horse treats are easy to make, and are bound to be a favorite with tasty ingredients like apples, carrots, cinnamon and mint.

Ingredients

4 cups carrot and apple pureé

½ cup coconut sugar*

5 to 7 drops pharmaceutical grade, certified organic essential oil of peppermint, or include some finely chopped fresh mint leaves

2 teaspoons Saigon cinnamon

1 tablespoon raw carob powder

5 cups whole oat flour

Dried mint

*Sugar can be omitted from this recipe.

Instructions

Choose organic ingredients whenever possible. Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper, for easy cleanup. Parchment paper can be stored and used again. Preheat oven to 350°F. A convection oven works well for this recipe.

Pureé carrots and apples in a food processor or blender. You can save time by using store-bought organic, unsweetened applesauce. Add sugar, peppermint oil or chopped mint, cinnamon, and carob powder. Ensure that all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl, and slowly add the whole oat flour, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula, until all the flour has been well incorporated into the wet ingredients.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead well. Take a good-sized piece of dough, roll it out, cut into desired shapes, and place them on your parchment-covered cookie sheets. This recipe makes over six dozen good-sized biscuits, with a bit of dough left over; so if you want, you can also make some small treats by simply rolling out the dough to the thickness of a big crayon and, using a sharp knife, score the pieces to any size you like. Sprinkle with dried mint if desired, and place in pre-heated oven.

Bake for 20 minutes. Then turn oven down to 250°F, and bake for a further 20 minutes. Remove cookie sheets from oven, turn over biscuits, and return to oven for 20 more minutes. Turn oven off and allow biscuits to cool completely before storing in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. Don’t forget to “gift” some of these special yummy treats to your horse-loving friends. You may even want to try one yourself!

About the ingredients

Apples are one of the world’s healthiest foods. Pectin, the fiber found in apple skins, is fermented in the intestines, and this produces short-chain fatty acids that help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, and support the cells of the intestinal lining, making them an excellent cancer-fighting whole food, as well as a “support system” for the gastrointestinal tract. Researchers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada have found that Red Delicious, Northern Spy, and Ida Red apples contain more potent disease fighting antioxidants than other types of red apples.

Carrots are a nutrient-dense root vegetable related to fennel, parsnips, cumin, and dill. They contain pro-vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamins B, C, D, E and K, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, iron, magnesium, manganese, sulphur, copper, and iodine. Carrots support the immune system, aid digestion, and are also recognized as a glandular tonic, skin cleanser, and eye conditioner.

Oats are a strength-giving cereal. They are low in starch and high in mineral content, especially potassium and phosphorus. Oats also contain calcium, magnesium, the B vitamins, and iron. They contain 20 unique polyphenols called avenanthramides, which have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-itching properties. Oats support the gastrointestinal system by helping remove toxins from the body.

Coconut palm sugar is a source of the B vitamins, including B2, B3 and B6, and it contains important minerals including potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Coconut palm sugar is lower on the glycemic index than agave or honey.

Cinnamon is one of the world’s most important spices. Its history can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians. Ancient Chinese herbal references cite cinnamon’s use as early as 2700 BC, when it was recommended for the treatment of nausea, fever and diarrhea. Cinnamon was also added to food to prevent spoilage. Native American Indians used cinnamon for diarrhea, chills, and even to freshen breath. In China, cinnamon is also recognized as an energizing herb, for kidney problems and even lung conditions.  Cinnamon is a carminative and used as a digestive tonic when prepared as a tea.

Carob pods were used as far back as ancient Egypt, when they were combined with porridge, honey and wax as a remedy for expelling worms. It is calming to the gastrointestinal system. Carob contains all the principal vitamins and minerals, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, magnesium and iron.

Peppermint oil is a terrific digestive aid for horses, and it also supports the liver and respiratory system. Peppermint was first used by the Egyptians, and is mentioned in Icelandic herbal pharmacopeias from the 13th century. Peppermint oil contains manganese, iron, magnesium, calcium, folate, potassium and copper. It even contains Omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A and C. It is easy to grow your own mint, and prepare your own wonderful soothing tea that you can share with your horses.

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