Holiday Menu Recipes

Healthy & Simple Valentine’s Day Dessert

This Healthy & Simple Valentine’s Day Dessert recipe is perfect for sharing with someone special. It is so quick and easy you will be shocked! And it’s delicious! Chocolate, strawberries, and creamy Greek yogurt- who would have thought!

– Jodi

 

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 cup vanilla or honey flavored greek yogurt (I use Greek Gods Honey yogurt because it is rich and creamy.)
2 graham crackers, crushed
2 whole strawberries
shaved chocolate bark (optional)
chocolate syrup for garnish (optional)

 

Directions: 
1. Take crushed graham crackers and divide them evenly onto 2 plates. If you’d like to make the heart shape with the yogurt, read on. If not, skip to #2.

Heart shaped yogurt mold:
You will need a heart-shaped cookie cutter and very thick Greek yogurt in order for the shape to take hold (If Greek Gods Greek yogurt is available you can use this and it will work great). Place the cookie cutter lightly on top of the graham cracker and gently fill with the yogurt (you will use about 1/2 cup. Do not over fill). Run a knife across the top to smooth out the surface. Gently lift up the cookie cutter and remove. Voila! You will have a heart shape left. Sprinkle with desired chocolate topping of choice, and garnish with a strawberry.
2. You absolutely don’t need a heart-shaped yogurt in order to enjoy this simple, yet elegant dessert. Take 1/2 cup yogurt and drop it gently on top of the crushed graham crackers. Sprinkle with desired chocolate topping of choice, and garnish with a strawberry. Repeat with second plate.

 

Enjoy!

 

* to make gluten free, omit the graham crackers.

 

healthy valentines day dessert 2

vegetarian quiche recipe with broccoli and red peppers

Christmas Quiche

I remember being in first grade and telling the class that my favorite food was quiche.  I still think it is delicious.  This quiche recipe is fantastic and is healthier than most.  I use a large 10 inch, deep dish pie plate instead of 2 smaller pie plates so that there is more filling and less crust overall.  You can also omit the crust all together for a crustless quiche, that is also delicious.  The filling has lots of veggies, no bacon or ham, and less than 1 egg per serving.  It is called Christmas quiche because of the red and green vegetables it contains, but feel free to use you own favorite vegetables in it and to make it any time of the year!

~Jessica

 

1 prepared pie crust, unbaked, in a 10 inch, deep dish pie plate

1 cup diced or grated swiss cheese 

1 small diced red pepper (about 1 cup)

2 cups broccoli, chopped in small pieces

1/2 cup sliced green onions

6 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup milk

1/2 tsp nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

  1. PREHEAT OVEN:  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. VEGGIES:  Saute the red pepper and broccoli in a little bit of olive oil until most of the liquid has evaporated from the peppers and the broccoli is slightly soft.  There should be about 2 cups veggies after they are cooked.  You can use any vegetables you like – just make sure that once they are cooked there is about 2 cups.
  3. EGG MIXTURE:  Whisk together the eggs, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  4. LAYER:  Sprinkle the cheese evenly on the bottom of the pie crust.  Then sprinkle on the cooked veggies and the green onions.  Lastly, pour the egg mixture over the top.
  5. BAKE:  Bake at 450 for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes or until the egg has mostly firmed up in the middle
  6. COOL:  Let the quiche cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.  It can also be served at room temperature or cold.

Serve with some whole grain bread and a side salad or fruit.

Note:  If making a crustless quiche, be sure to spray the pie plate with a non-stick spray before placing the fillings inside or you will have a hard time getting them out!

 

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Thanksgiving healthy snack for Kids

My daughter and I had so much fun making healthy Halloween snacks that we thought we’d better create one for Thanksgiving too. We ended up creating this darling fruit turkey with fun big eyes and colorful feathers. It is a great snack to make with your little ones for a Thanksgiving festivity. My 5 year old had so much fun and feasting on it afterwards was a great treat.

I really didn’t have to help much- just a little with applying the peanut butter.

 

-Jodi

 

Makes 4 Turkeys

Ingredients:

1 large apple, cored and sliced in half, and then slice in half again horizontally
1/2 orange, peeled, separated into slices, and then cut the slices into small chunks.
few grapes, raisins, or apple bites
1 graham cracker sheet, broken into 4 pieces
nutella spread, thick peanut butter, or cream cheese
*mini marshmallows
12 tooth picks
Directions: 

1- TURKEY HEAD- to make the face, we used a graham cracker for the head, squished mini marshmallows and raisins for the eyes, orange slice for the beak, and a piece of apple skin for the waddle. Glue everything onto the graham cracker with peanut butter.
Attach the graham cracker turkey head to the apple with another dab of peanut butter.

2- FEATHERS- Poke 4 toothpicks into the back of the apple. Slide fruit bites onto the toothpicks. That’s it! Enjoy!

*You can use whipped cream cheese for the eyes instead of marshmallows to make it with less sugar.

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Healthy Halloween Snack #5: Witch Snack

Here is our last snack out of our 5 healthy Halloween snacks.  My daughter is going to be a witch for Halloween and we had to make a snack that matched her costume this year. This is our delicious wheat bread with Nutella snack. We loved eating this as a mid-afternoon snack.

-Jodi

To make one witch, you will need: 

2 slices of bread, part of an apple, 1 baby carrot, 5 raisins, nutella chocolate spread (or peanut butter).

 

Directions: Cut the witch face out of 1 slice of bread. Cut a triangle shape for the hat out of the second slice of bread. Arrange bread so the hat is on top of the face. Spread Nutella on the hat. Add 4 raisins. Place 2 apple slices in a straight line to represent the rim of the hat. Slice the carrot and decorate as hair. Place a raisin for the eye and a small speck of apple for a smile.

 

 

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Healthy Halloween Snack #4: Turkey & Cheese Pumpkin Sandwich

Here is our fourth out of 5 healthy Halloween snacks. We had a blast making these pumpkin sandwiches for lunch. Just make sure to buy orange cheese so they look like pumpkins. We cut out the faces with a butter knife. The cutting part was a little hard for my 5 year old, so I would suggest letting your little ones put the sandwich together after the faces are cut.

-Jodi

 

Here’s what you need to make the pumpkin sandwich: 

turkey or chicken deli meat (to make it vegetarian use a mushed up avocado)
cheddar cheese slices
whole wheat bread

Directions: 

Cut jack-o-lantern faces out of each slice of cheese. To prepare sandwich, use 1 slice of bread, top with condiment of choice, add meat, then top with cheese. To make a stump for the top, we used a piece of the crust and anchored it under the meat.

 

Healthy Halloween Snack #3: Banana Pretzel Spiders

Here is #3 out of 5 healthy Halloween snacks: Banana Pretzel Spiders. These cute little spiders are my daughter’s favorite. It’s probably because they are simple enough that she can make them all by herself. And… usually she eats half of the spiders before they get to the serving plate. (no complaints here! It’s great to have her eating healthy snacks).

-Jodi

 

To make 6 spiders you will need: 

1 large banana (cut into six 1-inch bites)

18 pretzel sticks (break in half so you have 32 half sticks total)

6 raisins

 

Directions: 

Take a banana bite and insert 3 pretzel sticks in each side. Cut a raisin in half. Gently push the two raisins on the top of the banana for eyes. Have fun eating them!

 

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Healthy Halloween Snack #2: Pumpkin Fruit

Here is our second out of 5 healthy Halloween snacks. We have loads of fun making this snack. It’s a Pumpkin Fruit snack made with oranges and stuffed with banana, apples, and grapes. Our favorite part is carving the jack-o-lantern faces on each orange. It’s fun and so much easier than a real pumpkin. : )

-Jodi

 

To make 2 you will need:

2 oranges, 1 banana, 1 apple  or some grapes.

 

Directions: 

1. Cut up the banana and apple into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

2. Carefully cut a circle out of the skin of the top of the oranges. Remove the top circle as best you can without ripping it. spoon out the orange fruit. You can either discard the orange fruit/pulp or cut it up and add it to the fruit. If you use it, you can omit 1 of your other fruits.

3. Using a knife, cut out pumpkin faces in your oranges.

4. Pour the bananas and apples into the hollowed-out oranges. Top with the orange lid. Voila! You now have super cute edible jack-o-lanterns.

 

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Healthy Halloween Snacks

October is a really exciting month at our house. My daughter and I love making HALLOWEEN crafts, and we also have so much fun making scary things out of food. We’ve gathered our 5 most favorite healthy Halloween snacks and will be posting them for the next 5 days to help get you in the mood for this ghoulish holiday.

…And don’t forgot, the funnest part for your kids is letting them help make the food!

-Jodi

 

Healthy Halloween Snack #1: Spider Oatmeal

To make 1 spider oatmeal you will need: 1 cup cooked oatmeal (we made cinnamon raisin), 2 raisins, and 1 apple (sliced).

 

Directions:

Pour cooked oatmeal into a bowl. Place 2 raisins on top for eyes. Add an apple slice for the smile (you can thin it out if you want it like the photo). Place the apple slices on both sides of the bowl to represent legs. In the photo we cut out a triangle shape in the middle of each apple slice to make it look more like a leg. Have fun eating your deliciously healthy spider breakfast!

 

 

 

 

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Healthier Honey Caramel Apples

We’ve made caramel apples before, but never had such delicious ones until we came up with this recipe. We were trying to make something a little bit healthier than the normal thick and gooey caramel apples, and this recipe totally won! This is hands down my daughter and hubby’s favorite caramel apple recipe now and mine too. The honey adds a unique flavor and when combined with the brown sugar and vanilla it is unbelievably good. We’ve found it is totally unnecessary to completely cover the apple in caramel. A healthier and less messy alternative is to the drizzle the apple with caramel, allowing for about half of it to be covered.

-Jodi

 

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons chopped pecans or other unsalted nut, optional
6 small apples, (chilled from the fridge).

 

DIRECTIONS 

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and coat with cooking spray. Insert a popsicle stick into the tops of the apples. Set aside.

Combine brown sugar, honey, butter and salt in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat. As soon as the syrup starts to barely bubble around the edges, stir constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.

Using a large spoon, drizzle a spoonful of caramel over each apple, turning as you pour. Repeat the drizzling process until it is all gone. Immediately add the chopped nuts. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

 

 

*Note- If you make sure the apples are cold from being chilled in the fridge for a couple hours prior to making this recipe the caramel hardens quicker than if the apples were at room temperature. 

 

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

This Pumpkin Pie Smoothie recipe is creamy, delicious, and great for kids! It’s seasoned with just the right amount of spices to get you in the mood for Autumn. Crumble graham crackers on top for an extra treat the little ones will love.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk or soy milk
1 cup  plain pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1 banana (frozen if possible. If not that’s okay)
1 T honey or agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup ice cubes

 

Directions:
Blend ingredients in the order given. Serve immediately.

 

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Wassail recipe with apple cider, citrus juices, and spices

WASSAIL

This is a family favorite wassail recipe we want to pass on to you. Little children will enjoy drinking it as much as adults. It is so easy to make and takes only 20 minutes to cook. The blend of spices make it a great drink for holiday parties too!

 

2 quarts apple cider

2 cups orange juice

1 (46 ounce) can pineapple juice

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tablespoon whole cloves

1/3 cup honey

 

Bring all to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Discard cinnamon sticks and cloves. Serve hot in mugs.

Healthy Cinco-de-Mayo-recipe-menu

Healthy Cinco de Mayo Menu!

 

Cinco de Mayo is SATURDAY!  I am so excited.  I love Mexican food – especially the fresh, healthy kind – and what a perfect day to eat as much of it as possible 🙂  Here is a suggested recipe menu for your healthy Cinco de Mayo feast.

 

Appetizer:  Whole grain chips  (my favorites are the multigrain chips from Food Should Taste Good) with zingy bean salsa.  This salsa is amazing!  You may eat so much of it that there won’t be room for the entree, so beware.

Salad:  Southwest salad with cilantro lime dressing.  Since this salad will simply be an accompaniment to one of the entrees below, I would suggest using less beans and cheese than called for.  This light and refreshing southwest salad will perfectly balance any of the following entrees.

Entrees:  For kids, I would suggest the enchilada casserole.  It is a crowd pleaser for sure!   For something a bit more exotic how about the tomatillo and black bean enchiladas or our latest Green Chile Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole?   And the quick and easy option: three pepper fajitas.  Wowsers, these are good.  And just because avocados are so healthy and delicious, don’t forget the guacamole!  It tops anything Mexican perfectly.

Dessert:  Pineapple and Mango go so well with Mexican food.  You could simply serve these in a fresh fruit cup with some lime juice and you would be set!  There are also a few dancing carrots dessert recipes that would be great options to finish off your feast with:  caramelized pineapple with frozen yogurt, mango sorbet, tropical fruit parfait, or cinnamon sugar pita chips with fruit salsa.  If going for this last option, I would use tortillas instead of pitas to make it more Mexican.

Happy fiesta feasting!

– Jessica

Healthy Christmas Gifts for the Neighbors

Every year I have a big decision to make about what to give to the neighbors for Christmas.  With all of the sweets already abounding during the holiday season I like to give a food gift that is healthier, yet still fun.  I have given homemade granola, homemade freezer jam, and homemade bread.  This year I have decided to give homemade whole grain pancake mixes.  I got the recipe from King Arthur Flour, and I think it is quite good.  Plus, it is so nice to be able to have the mix in your fridge so that when you want pancakes you can whip some up with very little mess.

I put a cup or two of pancake mix in ziplock sandwich bags, then placed the mix and a copy of the recipe in each cellophane gift bag.  I hope the neighbors like it!

The recipe can be found at

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/homemade-whole-grain-pancake-mix-recipe

 

 

The Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner…

This year’s Thanksgiving meals (one with each family, right?) were probably my very favorite I’ve ever had.  Why?  AWESOME side dishes.  We always have turkey with cranberry sauce.  We always have mashed potatoes and gravy.  We always have stuffing.  And they are almost always delicious.  What varies from year to year are the side dishes.  The vegetables – yams, squash, green beans, and salad can be prepared in so many different ways.  And how are the traditional methods of preparation?  Usually  with lots of heavy sauces.  For instance:  Candied yams and creamy green bean casserole.  Yes, they are delicious.  But when EVERY dish on the table is heavy, you leave the table….well, heavy.  This year, along side the turkey and mashed potatoes we feasted on green beans almondine, roasted butternut squash, roasted yams with rosemary, a fruit and veggie tray, and a waldorf salad.  Each dish was fresh and flavorful – a great contrast, and therefore a perfect companion, to the other heavier foods served.

One day when I graduate to having Thanksgiving dinner at my home, instead of always going to my parents and in-laws homes, I know just what I will serve.  Here is the menu for my future perfect Thanksgiving dinner:

Turkey with home-made cranberry sauce – no cans!
Mashed potatoes with gravy
Whole grain stuffing or rolls – I really don’t think 2 bread items are necessary
Roasted yams or roasted butternut squash with light seasonings and herbs
Green beans almondine
Waldorf salad

Then for dessert a couple of hours later:
Pumpkin pie
Assorted fruits

It will be a beautiful plate of food with the brightly colored green beans, squash/yams, and cranberries.  It will have a great mix of textures: The crisp waldorf salad and the crunchy green beans almondine next to the soft, creaminess of the rest of the meal.  And what a great blend of tangy, sweet, and savory!

With a menu like this, as long as we eat slowly and enjoy the taste, texture, and beauty of the food we won’t overeat – and therefore we won’t feel sick afterwards.

Any favorite dishes from your Thanksgiving menu?