Holiday parties are in full swing so that means food is everywhere. From delectable dishes to sweets galore, you'll see it all. It's easy to get carried away in all of the celebrating, but with a little control you can enjoy yourself and still keep your health on track. I've given in and over indulged a million times. Oh a little sugar and a little wheat here and there won't hurt anything. I've had the same result each time. I felt terrible, sluggish, foggy and stiff. I remember one Christmas where I did not keep control and it resulted in a two month Sjogren's flare. I don't want this to happen to you, so I want to show you how you can enjoy the holiday season with better choices. Today we'll look at healthier snacks that you and your family can enjoy.
Are you a fan of shortbread? Try this nutty recipe.
* 2 cups finely ground almond flour (8 ounces; 226 grams)
* 1/2 teaspoon paleo baking powder
* 1/3 cup dark maple syrup (3 1/2 ounces;100 grams)
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk the almond flour and baking powder together in a medium mixing bowl. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla. Stir until a sticky dough forms and holds together.
3. Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, about one inch apart. For crisp cookies, press down the dough lightly with the flat bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup. (If the glass sticks to the dough, dip the bottom in water.) For softer cookies, don't press down the dough.
4. Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Cool baking sheet between batches.onto the parchment paper. Bake 25-35 minutes, until golden.
MEXICAN WEDDING COOKIES
Here is one of my favorites. You'll love this nice sweet crunch.
* 1½ cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
* ⅛ teaspoon celtic sea salt
* ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
* 2 tablespoons palm shortening
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* ½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
* ½ cup powdered coconut sugar
1. In a food processor combine almond flour, salt, and baking soda
2. Pulse in shortening, honey, and vanilla
3. Mix in pecans by hand
4. Using a 1 tablespoon ice cream scoop, scoop dough out in scant tablespoons
5. Use your hands to form cookies into balls, pressing very firmly
6. Bake at 350°F for 7-10 minutes
7. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes
8. Dip cookies into powdered coconut sugar
PEANUT BUTTER BANANA FUDGE
Here is a twist on your grandma's fudge.
* 1 1/2 ounces 100% unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
* 1 cup bananas
* 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
* 4 tablespoons sunflower seed butter, a.k.a sunbutter
* 1 tablespoon raw honey, optional
* 3 tablespoons coconut milk, full fat
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* pinch of salt
1. melt the chocolate slowly in a bowl over simmering water (double boiler)
2. meanwhile, add the bananas, cacao powder, sunbutter, honey, coconut milk, vanilla and salt to a food processor and process until creamy and smooth
3. when the chocolate is completely melted, remove from heat and add to the banana mixture
4. stir until everything is well combined
5. fill your silicon brownie mold. Alternatively, you can line a pan with parchment paper and pour the fudge mixture evenly on the pan, then after frozen cut into squares.
6. cover and freeze until set, approximately 3-4 hours
7. drizzle top with melted dark chocolate
HOLIDAY APPLE WREATHS
How pretty are these wreaths? Go get a pomegranate today.
* Apples, cored and sliced
* Almond butter or another type of nut/seed butter
* Pomegranate arils
* Slivered almonds
* Pumpkin seeds
* Dried cranberries
* Cacao nibs
* Coconut shreds
* Crushed nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios)
* Hemp Seeds
1. Spread nut or seed butter on top of the apples (or add the nut butter to a zip top bag and snip a corner to make spreading easier).
2. Decorate with toppings of choice!
Get your kiwi on with this fruit platter.
* 10 kiwis
* pineapple (star)
1. Arrange into a tree like above.
Green and red for the season.
* 8 oz. mozzarella balls
* 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
* 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
* kosher salt
* 24 cherry tomatoes
* 12 fresh basil leaves
* 1 c. balsamic vinegar
1. In a small bowl, stir together mozzarella, olive oil, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, and season with salt. Set aside.
2. Assemble skewers: Layer a cherry tomato, basil leaf, marinated mozzarella ball, and another cherry tomato. Place on your serving platter.
3. Make balsamic glaze: In a small saucepan or skillet, bring balsamic vinegar to a low simmer. Let thicken until syrupy, 15 minutes. Set aside to cool and thicken.
4. Drizzle skewers with balsamic glaze and serve.
BOILED EGG SNOWMEN
When you fill up with protein, you won't be tempted to indulge in sugar. You can't get a more pure protein than an egg. Make some little Frosty's today.
* Organic Valley Eggs
* Pot large enough to boil the egg
* Wooden grilling skewers, cut about 4 inches long from the sharp end
* 1 toothpick
* Large diameter carrot(s)
* Small diameter carrot(s)
* Curly parsley
1. Boil eggs to desired hardness.
2. Assemble snowmen with toothpicks and decorate with peppercorns, carrots, and parsley
CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT BARK
Keep you chocolate treats clean by making your own bark. If peppermint is not your thing, add nuts or seeds to the cocoa mixture.
* 1 cup Organic Coconut Butter, melted
* 1/2 cup Organic Coconut Oil, melted
* 2 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder
* 1/2 tsp Peppermint Oil
1. Line a flat dish with parchment paper, do not skip this step.
2. Mix together coconut butter, coconut oil, peppermint extract and cacao powder in a bowl.
3. Transfer the mixture to a parchment lined dish and spread evenly
4. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes before breaking apart or cutting into squares.
With a little bit of effort you can provide wonderful holiday snacks for your family. You'll feel great knowing you are providing them the best ingredients, It is the gift giving season. Give the gift of health.
I wish you all a very blessed Christmas!
Here's to your health! Happy baking!