Healthy Holiday Recipes

christmascornerDr. Deb Approved Health Holiday Recipes

Every year, I’m asked for a list of recipes I would use..so this year, I’ve finally put a few together here and I’ve also created a Pinterest Board for you to check out. (See Link At The Bottom)

I’ll be adding to the Board every few days so come back often so find goodies you’ll love.

Avocado Pesto-Stuffed Tomatoes
Ingredients
30 cherry tomatoes (about 1-1/4 pints)
1/2 medium avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut upAvoPestoToms
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons homemade or purchased basil pesto
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Snipped fresh basil (optional)

Directions
1.    Cut a thin slice from the top of each tomato. (If desired, cut a thin slice from bottoms of tomatoes so they stand upright.) With a small spoon or small lemon baller carefully hollow out the tomatoes. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Invert tomatoes on the towels. Let stand 30 minutes to drain.
2.    Meanwhile, for filling, in a food processor bowl combine avocado, cream cheese, pesto, and lemon juice. Cover; process until smooth. Spoon filling into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round or open star tip.
3.    Place tomatoes, open sides up, on a serving platter. Pipe filling into the tomato cups. Serve immediately or cover loosely and refrigerate up to 4 hours before serving. Sprinkle with snipped basil before serving. Makes 30 appetizers.

Cranberry-Honey Spice Pinwheel Cookies:

Makes: 90 cookies
Active Time: 1 1/2 hours
Total Time: 6 hours (including freezing & cooling times)
Filling
•    1 1/2 cups sweetened dried cranberries
•    1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen, thawed
•    1/2 cup honey
•    2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
•    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•    1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, or allspice
Dough
•    2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
•    1 cup whole-wheat flour
•    1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
•    Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
•    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
•    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•    1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, or allspice
•    1/3 cup canola oil
•    3 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
•    1 cup sugar
•    1/3 cup honey
•    2 large eggs
•    3 tablespoons low-fat milk, plus more as needed
•    2 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
•    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
•    1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preparation
1.    To prepare filling: Combine dried and fresh cranberries, honey, orange zest, CranberryPinwheelscinnamon and cardamom (or allspice) in a medium nonreactive saucepan (see Note) over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and cook, stirring, until the fresh cranberries burst and soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor and puree. If the mixture seems dry, stir in up to 2 teaspoons water. Transfer the mixture to a nonreactive container and refrigerate while preparing the dough.
2.    To prepare dough: Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cardamom (or allspice) in a large bowl. In another large bowl, combine oil, butter, sugar, honey, eggs, milk, orange zest, vanilla and almond extracts. Beat the wet ingredients with an electric mixer first on low speed, then on medium speed, until well combined. Add half the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until evenly incorporated. If the mixture is too dry to hold together, stir in up to 1 tablespoon more milk. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 to 45 minutes to reduce its stickiness.
3.    Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a 6-inch-long log. Working with one log at a time, center it on a 16-inch-long sheet of baking parchment or wax paper. Cover with a second sheet. Press and then roll into a 12-by-15-inch rectangle of even thickness, inverting the dough occasionally to roll out any wrinkles and patching it to make the sides as even as possible. Transfer the dough, in the paper, to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining log of dough and transfer to the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the dough is slightly firm, about 15 minutes.
4.    To prepare pinwheel rolls: Place one sheet of dough on a work surface. Peel off the top sheet of paper. Spread half the reserved filling evenly over the dough (it will be a thin layer). Working from a 15-inch-long side, tightly roll up the dough jelly-roll style, leaving the bottom sheet of paper behind. While rolling, slightly stretch out the center to yield an evenly thick roll. Wrap the roll in a clean sheet of wax paper, twisting the ends to prevent unrolling (see Tip). Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece of dough and place on the baking sheet. Freeze until firm, at least 3 to 4 hours.
5.    To bake cookies: Position racks in the upper third and center of the oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one pinwheel roll at a time, trim the uneven ends. Cut the roll crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices using a large serrated knife; periodically turning the roll to maintain a relatively round cookie shape. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Bake the cookies until puffed and barely golden brown, 12 to 16 minutes, switching the pans back to front and top to middle halfway through baking. Immediately transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Cut and bake the remaining pinwheel roll.
Tips & Notes
•    Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate filling (Step 1) for up to 2 days. Tightly wrap pinwheel logs (Step 4) and freeze for up to 2 months. Do not defrost before slicing. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.
•    Kitchen note: A nonreactive pan—stainless steel, enamel-coated or glass—is necessary when cooking acidic foods, such as cranberries, to prevent the food from reacting with the pan. Reactive pans, such as aluminum and cast-iron, can impart an off color and/or off flavor in acidic foods.
•    Tip: To produce perfectly round pinwheel cookies, enclose the rolls in cardboard tubes (from foil or paper towels, for example) before freezing (Step 4). Slit each tube lengthwise and insert the wrapped pinwheel log.

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Gluten & Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 12 cups
Ingredients
3/4 cup almond flour/meal (Grind almonds in a food processor or high-powered blender if you can’t find flour or meal in the store)

3 T coconut flour or oat flour (if using oat flour increase to 1/4 cup)

2 T peanut,almond, or sun butter

2 T coconut oil, melted
2 T pure maple syrup

1/4 t pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
Chocolate topping
Ingredients
3 T coconut oil, melted

3 T pure maple syrup

2 T cocoa powder
pinch of salt
You can also make the topping using 1 cup chocolate chips combined with 2 T coconut oil peanut-butter-cups-gluten-free(you can find dairy-free chocolate chips in the organic/natural section of your grocery store).
Directions
Combine almond flour, coconut flour, peanut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extra and salt in medium bowl until combined. I use my Kitchen Aid with paddle attachment. Line a muffin pan with muffin cup liners. Using a cookie scoop (2 tsp size) fill muffin tin cups with base and press evenly into cup. Place in fridge to set while making chocolate topping.
For the chocolate topping, combine melted coconut oil, maple syrup and cocoa powder in small bowl. Whisk until there are no longer lumps. If it seems thick, microwave for ten seconds and whisk again making sure the coconut oil is completely incorporated. Pour over each peanut butter cup and refrigerate until set. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
*If I’m using coconut flour I aim to pay less than $5/lb. Coconut flour lasts for a long time and can be used in pancakes, waffles, baked goods and more.
A Silicone Muffin Pan works great if you don’t plan on using liners.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites
Serves: 18

Ingredients
•    2 cups dessicated coconut
•    4 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
•    5 tablespoons coconut oil
•    1 teaspoon vanilla
•    4 ounces dark chocolate for melting (i.e. chocolate chips)

Instructions
1.    Pulse the coconut in a blender or food processor until the texture becomes like thick flour. Transfer to a bowl and add the honey or maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla. Stir final-bitesuntil a thick paste forms.
2.    Using your hands, squeeze the mixture into about 18 small balls. I found that rolling was difficult because they weren’t sticky enough, but I was able to shape them into balls by first squeezing them in my palm a few times (you’ll get some oil on your hands), and then gently shaping it from an oval into a round ball. Place the coconut balls in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until firm. I could tell that mine were ready because there was a small white ring of solidified coconut oil around the base of each ball.
3.    Melt the chocolate slowly and gently until smooth and spreadable. We don’t have a microwave, so I had the best results melting this in a stainless steel bowl placed in a hot oven for about 10 minutes.
4.    Lay out a sheet of wax paper. Using two forks, roll each coconut ball in the chocolate until completely covered. Scoop the ball out with the fork and let the extra chocolate drip off the fork. Gently nudge the chocolate covered ball onto wax paper and chill until the chocolate has hardened. Store in the refrigerator.

Notes
It’s very important to use coconut oil because other oils won’t harden like coconut oil, and that hardening is what holds the shape together.
Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk – (Alternative To Sweetened Condensed Milk)

Can you imagine the Holiday’s with out Magic Cookie Bars or the yummy sweetness of sweetened condensed milk?  Well here’s a GREAT replacement and you can avoid the horrible amount of sugar.
This recipe came about because I wanted to make a healthier version of Magic Cookie Bars. Of course there are loads of recipe out there for sweetened condensed milk, but every one of them contain some form of sugar and most contain dairy.

Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk ~ {Dairy Free, Sugar Free}
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours, 3 minutes
Yield: Approximately 9 oz.

Ingredients
•    2 cans of coconut milk (You can use one full fat and one light..but get organic!)Sweetened-Condensed-Coconut-Milk-Collage-300x300
•    4 tablespoons of Truvia, or some stevia powder

Instructions
1.    Place the ingredients in a small pan and bring to a light boil.
2.    Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer.
3.    When reduced to about half, and thick like the store bought sweetened condensed milk, it is finished
Notes
It may take you less than 4 hours to make this depending on how much you double or triple the recipe, and even your altitude.
This makes just a little over 8 oz. of sweetened condensed coconut milk.

Visit HERE To See The Pinterest Board I Made For You.  Check That Often..I’ll Add To It All Season..

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