I did something different yesterday. I had a holiday party at my house. Some of the ladies from the neighborhood came over and we sang carols, made crafts, put on reindeer antlers and of course ate. It was a fun time.
A few people asked for my bliss ball/power ball recipe so I decided to post it here and share it with you as well. I have posted this before, but the chocolate version is new. I’m an add a little of this and that kind of cook so you may want to adjust measurements to your own taste.
Genies Bliss Balls/Power Balls
3/4 c. natural peanut butter (without added sugars, oils, etc. Peanuts and a maybe a little salt are all I want to see on the label.) “Regular” peanut butter might work as well, but I haven’t tried it.
1/4 c. agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener – honey, brown rice syrup, etc.)
1 t. vanilla or almond extract
3 T. cocoa power
1/4 c. flax seed meal (ground flax seed)
1 c. oatmeal, quinoa flakes or crushed rice squares cereal). Remember to check labels if you need these products to be gluten free.
1. Combine peanut butter, agave and vanilla in a bowl. Mix well to combine.
2. Add remaining ingredients. This may take a little work to get them all mixed in. It the mixture seems dry add more peanut butter.
3. Form into 1 t. sized balls using damp hands and place on waxed paper covered (or greased) plate.
4. Put in refrigerator until firm and ready to eat. Store in refrigerator or freezer.
That’s the basic chocolate recipe — now here are the variations.
Leave out the chocolate and add 1/3 c. shredded unsweetened coconut. Or try rolling them in coconut.
Leave out the cocoa powder and add 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Or add it to the chocolate version.
I wanted to try substituting mint flavoring for the vanilla with the chocolate version, but haven’t tried this one yet.
Add any other mix-ins you like such as:
1/4 c. raisins, mini chocolate chips, trail mix or nuts
This is a very versatile recipe. Make it your own and add whatever sounds good to you.
As the holidays approach many of us will start planning holiday meals. If one of your holiday traditions is spending three days in a “food coma” from overindulging stop and think, is it really worth it? Is it really enough fun, to make yourself sick over?
This year I would like to offer a few alternatives and substitutions that are just as good without all the fat and sugar. Trust me, they may be different but they still taste very good.
Begin your meal with a salad or a light soup. I like to begin with a salad of spring greens, walnuts, dried cranberries and maybe a little goat cheese with a light vinaigrette dressing or a light and easy sweet potato soup made with sweet potatoes and onion cooked in water or veggie broth, with cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper and puree until smooth in the blender. Sometimes we have both.
Cook your turkey in a healthy way. Don’t add extra fat by stuffing the cavity with butter or frying it. Season the bird well and bake in the oven.
Make your own cranberry sauce. If you can boil water, you can do this. You can control what goes into it, including what you use for sweetener.
Forget the green bean casserole and serve lightly steamed fresh green beans. Add some sliced almonds and a good squeeze of lemon juice.
Leave the “candy” out of the yams. I like to serve fresh sweet potatoes. There are many ways to do this. First there is baked. You can fancy them up a bit by making them “twice baked” either sweet or savory by what you add to them. You can mash them. You can cook them with apples and spice them up with cinnamon and nutmeg. Follow this link to my recipe for Orange Spice Sweet Potatoes.
Serve a healthy relish tray. This was always included in the holiday meal when I was growing up and is still best part of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for me. Include lots of raw fresh veggies and fruit with a few of your favorite pickles and olives if desired. If you want dip, consider making one without cream cheese or sour cream. This may be done using white beans or mashed cauliflower.
How about ice cream for dessert? I like to serve pumpkin fruit cream made from frozen bananas, pumpkin puree, almond milk, pumpkin pie spices and a wee bit of molasses.
It often seems everywhere you look during the holidays there is food. Unfortunately it is often not food that is friendly to those watching what we eat no matter the reason. You can go through the holidays feeling depressed and angry because of what you can no longer eat or you can come to the realization that life does not stop because what you eat has changed. Neither does the ability to celebrate. There are things you can do this holiday season to focus on other ways of celebrating.
1. Center your celebration on the lessons or stories of the holidays you celebrate.
2. Center your holiday party on an activity other than eating.
3. Go caroling.
4. Devote your time and yourself to charity and good works.
5. Go on a holiday light tour.
6. Attend local festivals and pageants.
7. Engage in your favorite outdoor activity.
8. Decorate your house.
9. Develop your own special holiday tradition.
No matter what holiday you celebrate or in what way, don’t forget the celebrating. Make the holidays a time of joy — sing, dance, celebrate light and life! Remember, it isn’t always about food!
More ideas, recipes, and ways to celebrate that do not include food may be found in my holiday book Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday, available at Espirational Books and the Kindle Store. For those looking for gluten free recipes, all of my recipes are naturally gluten free or include gluten free options. Remember proceeds from Espirational Books go toward keeping Espirational.com and Espirational.org up and running.
Rogene Robbins is an artist, writer, student of positive thinking and spirituality and home cook who has been living and cooking gluten free for eight years. She focuses on the positive aspects of gluten free living and using creativity to improve quality of life. Rogene is the author ofHave Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday and The Gluten Free Good Lifeavailable at Espirational Booksand the Kindle Store.
That little nip will soon be in the air and we will be wanting to warm up with a nice bowl of soup. Bob and I love soup. At our house soup is homemade. If you’ve never made your own soup it’s not hard. Here are a few of my favorite soup recipes or ideas from past posts. Check them out!
Let’s have a holiday potluck. We can’t share actual food, but we can share recipes for our favorite healthier holiday side dishesandhealthy holiday eating tips.
Please leave a comment to share a link to your favorite healthier holiday side dish. You may leave you healthy holiday eating tips in the comment section or as a link. This is one time I will allow links in comments. This can be your recipe or a link to a recipe you love on someone else’s site, but please specify which you are doing.
I’ll start. Since this is my blog I am posting my recipe here. Even though I’m mostly a “from scratch” kind of cook, nobody wants to be trapped in the kitchen at the holidays. That’s why I like this easy way to serve sweet potatoes. These are pretty much mashed sweet potatoes with a little zip and zing added. I like to serve these in my Gram’s casserole dish.
Orange Spice Sweet Potatoes
3 medium sweet potatoes
enough water to cover sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Peel and chop sweet potatoes. Cover with water in saucepan. Cook over medium heat.
Zest the orange. Then cut the orange in half and juice it.
When sweet potatoes are soft mash with a potato masher or in a blender or food processor. Add orange juice as needed to reach a soft but not runny consistency.
Stir in spices and half of orange zest.
Garnish with remaining orange zest. Serve.
Now, what are you bringing to the holiday potluck?