With Christmas right around the corner we are all starting to dream about gingerbread cookies, eggnog, and peppermint mochas. With all the thoughts of yummy food floating in our heads there is also the dreaded “Christmas 15” that follows. You should never deprive yourself of holiday treats so we have put together a list of five healthy and delicious treats to get you kickstarted on having a fun and healthy holiday Christmas!
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup uncooked millet — or uncooked quinoa, or substitute additional rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseed — or substitute rolled oats
3/4 cup raw nuts — (I used a mix of almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup melted coconut oil — or olive oil
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger
1/4 cup golden raisins — dried cranberries, or diced dried apricots
HOW TO MAKE:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat
3. Stir together the oats, millet, flaxseed, nuts, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
4. Drizzle the coconut oil, maple syrup, molasses, and vanilla over the oat mixture, and stir until well combined and evenly moistened
5. Spread the granola on baking sheet and press it into a flat, even layer.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven, stir in the candied ginger and golden raisins, then press back into a flat layer
7. Bake 10 additional minutes, until golden and fragrant
Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Orange, Mint, and Kale
1 cup quinoa
2 cup water
2 large leaves of kale
2 cup fresh cranberries
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey
2 TBS grated orange zest
6 small oranges
1/4 cup mixed nuts
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
HOW TO MAKE:
1. Rinse quinoa with water and strain.
2. In a small pot, add quinoa and 2 cups water to boil.
3. Once water is boiling, cover pot, reduce heat to low and continue to cook until the water is gone and quinoa is cooked, about 12-15 minutes.
4. Remove quinoa from heat. Transfer quinoa to a large mixing bowl and allow it to cool.
5. Wash, remove stems from kale. Finely chop kale and add to the quinoa.
6. Add cranberries, olive oil and honey in a food processor and pulse to coarsely chop.
7. When quinoa is cooled completely, gently stir in the oranges and cranberry mixture.
8. Stir in orange zest in with the quinoa.
9. Peel and coarsely chop oranges and mix in with the quinoa.
10.Stir in nuts, pomegranate and mint.
11.Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Dark Chocolate Coconut Oil Fudge
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Unsweetened shredded coconut, for garnish
HOW TO MAKE:
1. Line a small square dish with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together the coconut oil, honey or maple syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt
3. Pour mixture into the prepared dish. Refrigerate until solid, about an hour
4. Sprinkle the shredded coconut on top.
Vegan Banana Eggnog Pancakes
2 very ripe medium bananas
1¼ cups eggnog
2 tablespoons canola oil.
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg, plus extra for sprinkling
¼ teaspoon salt
Refined coconut oil
HOW TO MAKE:
1. Mash the bananas until pureed.
2. Add the eggnog, canola oil, vinegar, and vanilla and set aside.
3. In a separate large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt.
4. Make a well in the center and pour in the banana mixture.
5. Use a fork to mix until a thick, lumpy batter forms. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
6. Preheat a large nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Lightly coat the pan with coconut oil.
7. Add ⅓ cup of the batter for each pancake and cook until puffy, about 4 minutes.
8. Flip the pancakes, adding a new coat of oil to the pan, and cook until golden brown
9. Transfer pancakes to a plate and serve with sliced bananas, cranberries, and maple syrup.
Holiday Stuffed Squash
1 - 2 medium butternut squash pumpkin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion finely chopped
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh time leaves removed and chopped
60 grams cooked chestnuts I use the vacuum sealed variety, roughly chopped
120 grams cooked quinoa
1 400 gram can of brown lentils drained and rinsed
20 grams dried cherries or cranberries
a pinch of nutmeg to taste
30 grams vegan butter
50 grams baby spinach
a good pinch of sea salt
HOW TO MAKE:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F
2. To prepare the squash, lay each on its side and carefully cut 1 and 1/2 inch thick slices.
3. Using a small cookie cutter, cut a circle in the centre of each round to create a ring.
4. Place the squash rounds in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil.
5. Season with sea salt and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
6. Heat olive oil in large skillet and add garlic, onion and fresh thyme leaves. Sauté for four minutes or until soft.
7. Add the chestnuts, cherries, squash cubes and the butter and cook until the butter is melted before adding a pinch of nutmeg. Stir well.
8. Add the cooked quinoa and the drained lentils and continue to cook for another five minutes before stirring in the baby spinach. Season with sea salt to taste and a good crack of black pepper and when the spinach has wilted remove the stuffing from the heat.
9. Keeping the oven on, take the partially cooked squash rings from the oven and place them on your kitchen counter. Carefully, fill each ring with a good amount of stuffing, drizzle each with a small amount of olive oil before placing them back in the oven for a further 20 - 30 minutes or until the squash is cooked through.
Hopefully this gives you a little kick start to center your holiday festivities around healthy dishes that your family loves. Get creative and find ways to make your favorite dishes in a different way so that taste good and also make your body feel good!