Archive for Holiday Recipes
During the holidays, in my family, pie was always the only dessert choice on the menu. Pumpkin, apple and usually cherry were the choices we got to choose from. I can’t even remember a Thanksgiving or Christmas without pie. My husband is a big fan of apple pie. It’s usually his one food request for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I am most definitely not a pastry chef but I can make one mean apple pie! This recipe is fairly simple and is the perfect use for all the yummy varieties of seasonal apples that are available this time of year.
- 1 batch Perfect Pie Crust
- 2-3 cups (or enough to fill your pie crust) sliced apples of your choice (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious or Honeycrisp are great choices)
- 3-4 tbsp coconut nectar, raw honey or brown rice syrup
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1-2 tbsp cinnamon (amount will depend on how much cinnamon you want in your pie)
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla powder or a dash of vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Prepare your crust by following the directions as stated for the Perfect Pie Crust, including pre-baking the bottom crust.
- In a large bowl mix together the apples, coconut nectar, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Transfer the mixture to the pre-baked bottom pie crust.
- Roll out the remaining dough to the same size and thickness as the bottom crust. Place on top of the apple filling and trim off the excess dough leaving about 1/2 inch overhang. Crimp the edges of the pie with your fingers or a fork. Score the top of the pie crust with 4 or 5 cuts (I use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes before I place the top piece over the filling).
- Transfer the pie to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30-45 minutes (time will depend on type of apple used) or until the apples are soft and tender and the top is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for 1 hour before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with Homemade Whipped Cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.
Makes one 9 inch apple pie.
Leftover pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day. Leftovers can also be covered and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
When I was younger I used to love pixy stick candy. I remember going to sporting events and sitting in the bleachers and downing stick after stick. I cringe now when I think of all that sugar I consumed. After all, a traditional Pixy Stick is nothing but sugar that is artificially flavored to taste like fruit. Thanks to Pinterest, I found a simple and tasty way to recreate this fun treat. I added my own twist to make both a traditional sweet treat and a sour variety as well. My kids have never had Pixy Sticks before and they absolutely loved these. The flavors are endless and so is the fun!
- freeze dried fruit of your choice *see notes
- paper straws
- 1 lemon
- To make a sour Pixy Stick you’ll need to plan this first step in advance. Slice the lemon into thin slices and place in your food dehydrator. Set to 115 degrees and let ‘cook’ for 24 hours or until throughly dehydrated.
- Place a few slices of the dehydrated lemon in a powerful blender and process until you have a fine powder. Set aside. Repeat this process with the freeze dried fruit of your choice.
- Carefully bend one end of each paper straw to create a seal.
- For a sweet treat use a funnel to transfer the freeze dried fruit powder into the straw. For a sour treat mix together a bit of the lemon powder with the freeze dried fruit powder. Transfer to a paper straw with the funnel.
Nutritional info will vary depending on what fruit is used.
To make my Pixy Sticks I used an organic product from the Just Tomatoes Ect! product line. You can find their full range of organic products here. I want to mention that while you can find their products in many stores, it’s much harder to find their organic line. It’s been only recently that their organic products have been added to the shelves.
It’s been many, many years since I’ve had a Twix candy bar but from what I can remember, these homemade bars are ever better than the original! The best part is the gooey, caramel layer. It’s highly addictive and you may find yourself literally licking the bowl. If for some reason caramel isn’t your thing (is that even possible?) you can substitute the almond butter for peanut butter to create a peanut butter Twix. Either way you’ll have a delicious Halloween treat for all your ghosts and goblins at home!
For the cookie crust:
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice puffs cereal (I used Barbara’s Brand Brown Rice Crisps)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup coconut nectar
For the caramel layer:
- 1 heaping cup pitted Medjool dates (10 large dates)
- 4 tbsp almond butter
- pinch of sea salt
For the chocolate coating:
- 3/4 cup Homemade Fudge Sauce or melted chocolate chips of your choice
- Prepare an 8×8 glass baking dish by lining it with parchment paper. You can also rub with a bit of coconut oil if you don’t have parchment paper handy.
- Place the cashews and almonds in a food processor and process until you have a sand-like consistency.
- Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
- Place the brown rice puffs in a large plastic bag and using a rolling pin, gently roll back and forth about 4 or 5 times.
- Add the crushed puffs to the cashews along with the vanilla powder and stir well.
- Drizzle the coconut nectar over the cashew mixture and stir well until everything is evenly coated.
- Transfer the mixture into your prepared baking dish and press down evenly to form a compact layer. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- While the cookie crust is cooling, add the dates, almond butter and a pinch of salt to your food processor and pulse until a ball forms.
- Remove your baking dish from the fridge and spread an even layer of caramel paste on top.
- Drizzle the top with Homemade Fudge Sauce or melted chocolate and use the back of a spoon to form an even layer.
- Place the dish back in the fridge for 30 minutes and cut into bite sized pieces before serving.
Makes 16 Twix bars.
Serving size 1 piece.
Nutritional info not available at this time.
Leftover Twix bars can be individually wrapped and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Years ago I used to work with a woman who made the best apple dumplings. They were unlike any other dumplings I have ever had. Most have an outer shell with a pie crust consistency but hers had a soft sweet bread like crust wrapped around a whole cored apple that was filled with brown sugar and raisins. There is something about this time of year that I always think of those dumplings so I’ve made kind of an inside out version of them with seasonal pears and chai spices.
For the buns
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
- 1 1/2 cups water, divided
- 4 cups whole wheat white flour
- 1/2 cup white chia seeds (regular chia seeds work just as well but will alter the color of the bread)
- 1/4 cup potato starch
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 tbsp neutral flavor oil
- 2 tbsp organic soy milk powder
- 1 tbsp vinegar
For the fruit filling
- 2 ripe pears (Bosc or Anjou work well), cored and finely diced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup maple sugar (you can use raw coconut crystals if you can’t find maple sugar)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- pinch ground cloves
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- Heat 1 cup of water to between 100-110 degrees. Pour into a large bowl and add the maple syrup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. Set aside to “bloom” for at least 5 minutes.
- Grind the chia seeds in a blender or coffee grinder. Set aside.
- In a small bowl combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, potato starch, baking powder, and oil. Stir well.
- To the bowl of yeast add 3 cups of the flour, ground chia seeds, salt, milk powder, vinegar and starch mixture. Mix well.
- Knead 15 minutes or about 10 minutes in a stand mixture with a dough hook adding the remaining flour as needed. The dough will still be somewhat sticky.
- Remove to a large lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise until double.
- Divide the dough into 16 portions and roll into balls. Place on a lightly greased pan(s) allowing room for the rolls to expand as they rise. Cover and let rise until double in size.
- Prepare the filling by mixing together all of the filling ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Once the rolls have risen press down the center of each roll and flatten leaving about a 1/2 inch edge. Fill each roll evenly with the pear mixture.
- Bake 15-18 minutes. Serve hot.
Makes 16 fruit filled buns.
Serving size 1 bun.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 237, Cal. from Fat: , Total Fat: 6g, Sat. Fat: .5g, Carbs: 38g, Fiber: 7g, Sugars: 13g, Protein: 7g, Sodium: 230mg, Chol: 0mg
Store leftovers in an airtight container for 1-2 days.
Carrots are practically a kitchen staple for me. I use them in so many recipes from soup to stir fry. For me a salad wouldn’t be complete without them. The thing is that they usually play a supporting role and I think it’s time to show them some love and make them the star. This dish is a perfect side dish for almost any meal and just in time for your Easter dinner too.
- 2 pounds carrots (baby carrots or whole carrots-peeled, left whole or cut into sticks or coins or whatever shape you desire)
- 1/2 medium onion, cut into half moons
- 1 medium green pepper, de-stemed and seeded and cut into strips
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup no salt added tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp apple juice concentrate, thawed
- 2-3 tbsp raw honey (start with 2 tbsp and add more if you want a sweeter flavor)
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the carrots in 1 tbsp of the oil and lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until nicely roasted and tender.
- While the carrots are roasting heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and green pepper and sauté until tender.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook 4-5 minutes.
- To serve you can either place the carrots in a serving bowl and pour the sauce over them or serve the carrots with sauce on the side.
Makes about 4 cups.
Serving size 1/2 cup.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 91, Cal. from Fat: 32, Total Fat: 3.5g, Sat. Fat: .5g, Carbs: 15g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 10g, Protein: 1g, Sodium: 286mg, Chol: 0mg
Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
This dessert is on my top 10 list for a number of reasons. It’s easy to prepare, it’s fresh and light tasting and the filling ingredients can be changed to whatever is in season. A couple of my favorite combinations besides this kiwi and blackberry combo are peach and blueberry or rhubarb and strawberry. This tart would be a great addition to an Easter brunch or just anytime you want an easy and tasty dessert.
- 5 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp ground flax seed
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup raw walnuts, finely ground
- 1 cup raw coconut crystals plus 2 tbsp, divided
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ginger
- 2/3 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread
- 8-10 kiwi’s, peeled and diced
- 1 cup blackberries (or blueberries)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix the ground flax seed with the water. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Combine the flour, walnuts, 1 cup of the coconut crystals, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a large bowl.
- Add the Earth Balance and the flax seed mixture and mix with a fork or pastry cutter or even your hands until crumbly.
- Press half of the mixture into a 10 inch tart pan or if you don’t have a tart pan you could use an 8 x 8 baking pan.
- Gently combine the kiwi, blackberries and remaining coconut sugar and pour them into the baking dish.
- Spoon the remaining crumble mixture over the top of the fruit.
- Bake 40 minutes or until the fruit is tender and the crumble topping is browned. Let sit for 10 minutes or so before removing from the tart pan or cutting.
Makes one 10 inch tart.
Serving size 1/10.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 346, Cal. from Fat: 152, Total Fat: 17g, Sat. Fat: 3g, Carbs: 45g, Fiber: 7g, Sugars: 19g, Protein: 5g, Sodium: 118mg, Chol: 0mg
Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
One of my favorite holiday gifts to give out is homemade fudge. Each year I make a couple batches of my famous Peanut Butter Fudge, pack them in pretty gift boxes and hand them out to friends and loved ones. This year I wanted to stick with the fudge theme but keep it simple for those that don’t like peanut butter (Gasp! I know. Who doesn’t like PB? Sadly, my son.). This fudge is my family’s favorite ice cream topper. I love giving out gifts like this to people. If one bit of this fudge sauce doesn’t convince them that natural, wholesome foods taste the best then nothing else will!
- 1 can full fat coconut milk (yields about 1/2 cup of coconut cream)
- 1/2 cup coconut nectar or raw honey
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Place the can of coconut milk in the fridge for 2-3 hours. The coconut cream will settle to the top and separate from the coconut water below.
- Carefully remove the coconut cream (you should end up with just over a 1/2 cup of cream) and place it in a saucepan over low heat. Add the remaining ingredients, except the cocoa powder and stir well.
- Once the coconut oil has melted and the coconut nectar has loosened slowly add the cocoa powder one tablespoon at a time. You want to go slowly so you don’t develop any lumps.
- Remove from heat and let the fudge sauce cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Carefully pour the fudge sauce into a glass container. Make sure whatever container you use is microwave safe.
- Let the fudge sauce cool completely before sealing with the lid.
Makes approximately 1 3/4 cup fudge sauce.
Serving size 2 tbsp.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 105.5, Cal. from Fat: 65.5, Total Fat: 7g, Sat. Fat: 6.5g, Carbs: 10.7g, Fiber: 1g, Sugars: 8g, Protein: 1g, Sodium: 24.5mg, Chol: 0mg
Store your fudge sauce in the fridge for up to 4 weeks. To reuse the fudge sauce place the container in the microwave until the sauce is completely melted. Pour over ice cream or add to a cup of hot milk for a delicious cup of hot chocolate milk!
I love granola. One of my favorite snacks is our No Bake Blueberry Granola Bars. I actually like to give these out as gifts throughout the year. During the holidays though I like to make a more seasonal granola. The smells that will waft out from your oven while this granola is cooking is divine. As good as the smells are the taste is even better! I like to place the granola in a decorative tins or even cellophane bags and give them out as holiday gifts. This recipe makes a good amount of granola, which means you can give the gift of granola to others and to yourself!
- 4 cups rolled oats (if you follow a gluten free diet make sure to use a gluten free oat)
- 1/2 can (15 ounces) pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie)
- 1 cup unsalted cashews, whole or roughly chopped, your choice
- heaping 1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (omit if you don’t have any)
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup, raw honey or coconut nectar
- 1/2 cup raw coconut crystals
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Line a large baking sheets with parchment paper, silicone baking mats or non stick foil.
- In a large bowl mix together the oats, cashews and pumpkin seeds. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan add the coconut oil. Once the oil has completely melted add the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, maple syrup and coconut crystals. Remove from heat and mix until completely combined.
- Spread the granola evenly over the baking sheet. Press it down evenly with a wooden spoon or your hands.
- Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Break the granola up and stir it around once or twice while it cooks. The granola will crisp up once it cools so don’t worry if your granola is still a little wet.
- Allow to cool slightly, then mix in the dried cranberries.
Makes approximately 7 cups.
Serving size 1/2 cup.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 308, Cal. from Fat: 133, Total Fat: 15g, Sat. Fat: 8.5g, Carbs: 38.5g, Fiber: 4g, Sugars: 10g, Protein: 6g, Sodium: 12.5mg, Chol: 0mg
You can store in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks or place in the refrigerator or freezer for longer term storage.
Ah, biscotti! The grown up version of dunking cookies in milk. This is one of my favorite homemade gifts to give out during the holidays. Traditionally biscotti is served with coffee but in my household it’s our favorite thing to dunk in our hot chocolate. This recipe only makes 8-10 slices so if you’re like me and you sample a few pieces (you know, for quality assurance!), you might want to make a double batch!
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1/3 cup raw coconut crystals
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 tbsp tapioca starch
- 1 tbsp potato starch
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp neutral flavor oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup Homemade Almond Milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
- Mix together the flours, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Mix in the pecans and raisins.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the tapioca starch, potato starch, baking soda, water, oil, vanilla extract and milk. Add to flour mixture, stir until combined.
- Place the dough onto the baking sheet and shape into a loaf about 1 inch thick, 5 inches wide and about 8 inches long.
- Bake until firm, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
- Let the loaf cool about 10 minutes then cut diagonally into approximately 1 inch thick slices.
- Arrange slices cut-side down and bake 10 minutes, then turn the slices over and bake 10 more minutes.
- Place the slices upright on the pan, turn the oven off but leave the pan in the oven as it cools.
- The slices should be firm and crispy.
Makes 8-10 slices.
Serving size 1 slice.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 146, Cal. from Fat: 57, Total Fat: 6.5g, Sat. Fat: 1g, Carbs: 20g, Fiber: 2.5g, Sugars: 54g, Protein: 3g, Sodium: 1mg, Chol: 0mg
Leftover biscotti will keep for up to 5 days at room temperature. After that you can place it in the fridge for an addition 5 days.
I normally don’t drink flavored tea but around the holidays I love to make spiced tea. Take today for instance, I was out in the rain going in and out of a dozen different places running errands and when I got home all damp and cold the first thing I did was to brew up a hot cup of this delicious and aromatic spiced tea. The tea warmed me up and the aroma lifted my spirits. What better gift can you give to someone than some happiness in a cup?
- 1 orange, zest removed and dried *see notes
- 6 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
- 2 tbsp cardamom pods
- 2 tbsp whole cloves
- 2 tbsp whole allspice
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1/4 cup whole star anise
- 1/2 cup loose tea of your choice, black tea works best
- In a small bowl mix all of the ingredients.
- Place the tea mixture in a cellophane bag or other pretty container.
- Write out tea making instructions to include with the tea mixture.
Nutrition information not available.
To dry the orange zest peel the orange and remove the white pith. Cut the skin into strips and lay on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees until dry, about 30 minutes.
Brewing instructions are as follows:
Place 1 tbsp of the tea mixture into a reusable tea bag or diffuser and place into a mug. Pour hot water (around 190 degrees) over the tea mixture and steep for 3 minutes.
Keeps for up to 3 months stored in a sealed bag or container.