Christmas Treats

Tis the season to be merry! What’s merrier than a home filled with the scent of holiday bread, or a countertop with a fresh pitcher of eggnog? As the Christmas holiday approaches and we plan for get-togethers and gift giving, don’t forget the real reason for the season. It is the celebration of the arrival of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Find peace this Christmas in knowing Him and giving Him thanks for your blessings of family, friends, food, presents, and most importantly freedom. We have freedom in this country to worship and adore Him on His birthday, and freedom in our spirit from the bond of slavery to sin because of His coming. Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King! Rejoice this holiday season in Him and His overwhelming love. As you fill your home with those closest to your heart, enjoy the following yummy recipes for healthy and fun fellowship!

Banana Bread
Banana Bread is a staple item for any holiday party. Bring it along as a welcome addition to the next event you attend. Or, as we all know, it’s better to give than to receive, so feel free to wrap this scrumptious bread in some saran wrap and a bow and surprise a friend with this special treat!

You will need:
3-4 overly ripe bananas
1/3 cup melted organic butter*
3/4 cup agave nectar or honey
1 egg-beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch salt
1 ½ cups unbleached flour
Dark chocolate chips – optional
Walnuts – optional

Mix melted butter (or applesauce) with smashed bananas. Add everything else, except the flour. Finally, mix in the flour last. If you desire, toss in some chocolate chips or walnuts. Grease a bread loaf pan. Instead of butter or cooking spray, you can use a little olive oil and a paper towel to grease the pan. Set the oven at 350° and cook for about 50 minutes. If an inserted fork comes out clean, remove the pan from the oven, then allow to cool for at least 15 minutes, slice and enjoy!

Remember that you can always double the recipe and do all of the work at once because it is certain that this holiday pleaser will go fast!

*If you want to save even more on calories, you can always substitute unsweetened applesauce for the butter.

(This works because just like a fat such as butter, the applesauce will also do the job of preventing the flour protein from mixing with the moisture in the batter which forms long strands of gluten, resulting in a texture similar to that of a rubber tire. If you do substitute applesauce, be sure to combine the liquid elements first and then add in the dry ingredients at the end. Don’t over mix and do not change the cooking time.)

Cashew Vanilla “Egg”nog
Eggnog is another traditional holiday goodie that no one wants to miss out on. Unfortunately, it is a high calorie drink that can easily turn from one glass into three or four. For a delicious alternative this Christmas that won’t leave you feeling guilty, try Hannah’s Cashew Vanilla Milk.

You will need:
Organic cashews, as many as you want
1 tsp raw vanilla (order online)
10 dates
Handful mint leaves
Water

Soak cashews for four to six hours or overnight. Place in a high power blender. Add raw vanilla, dates, and mint leaves. Top off blender with water. Blend until the mixture has reached a consistency similar to that of a Piña Colada. Garnish with some sprigs of mint and voilà! Mint is an easy way to add a holiday feel to this delectable beverage. The vanilla can be ordered at www.therawfoodworld.com.

Cashews are preferable to eggs because although both are high in fat, cashews contain the “good”, heart healthy monounsaturated fat, whereas eggs are high in saturated fat. Cashews are dense in energy and in dietary fiber, which makes them a great snack. They also have many other health benefits such as being high in magnesium which is good for bone and nerve health, and high in copper which aids in ridding the body of free radicals and in the production of hair and skin pigment. Cashews are also known for cancer prevention due to their abundance of proanthocyanidins, which are a type of flavanol which starves tumors and stops cancer cells from dividing. Finally, cashews are rich in other minerals such as iron, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.

Spiced Sweet Potato Mash
As a side for your next holiday party, or even as a dessert, check out this yummy Spiced Mashed Sweet Potato dish.  Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest foods in the world. They are rich in antioxidants, and are full of beta-cryptoxanthin, which is an anti-inflammatory that is known to aid in the prevention of arthritis. Sweet potatoes are a great way to stabilize your blood sugar, which makes them a welcome alternative to other sweets which cause blood sugar levels to spike. They are full of vitamin A, vitamin C (known for maintaining collagen levels ladies!), vitamin B6, potassium, beta-carotene, calcium and soluble fiber.
This is a great vegan holiday recipe that you can use anytime.

You will need:
6 sweet potatoes (you can get a mixture of the different varieties at the store)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp non-hydrogenated non-dairy butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground allspice
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp grated orange peel
salt and pepper

Use a fork to poke holes in the rinsed sweet potatoes. Place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until tender, about 40 minutes – 1 hour. Put the cooked sweet potatoes in a bowl (peel them if you desire), and mash with a potato masher. Add all other ingredients and spices and season to taste. You can mash these to your desired consistency. Some people like to use an electric mixer to get them really creamy. Serves 4-6 people.

Mock Tuna Salad
For those of you looking for something different this holiday season that is extremely healthy and completely original, you have to try this recipe for Mock Tuna Salad. This is a vegan dish, meaning that it contains no animal meats or byproducts. John’s Mock Tuna Salad is a must try for anyone who wants to beat the weight gain blues this holiday and step out of the box to try something new. Serve this as an appetizer at your next get together. Try adding cranberries for a holiday touch!

You will need:
½ lb organic walnuts
3 stalks celery
3 tbs of Dulse flakes
3 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp dill weed
Sea salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
½ purple onion
½ cucumber
1 whole carrot

If you haven’t heard of dulse flakes, they are actually a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. Dulse is a red seaweed native to the North Atlantic Ocean. It can be cooked or eaten raw. Dulse is replete with iodine, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and most B vitamins.  It is also a good source of protein.

Soak walnuts for eight hours or overnight, then rinse well. Put walnuts in a food processor and blend to a crunchy mix, not smooth. Put all other ingredients into the food processor and mix thoroughly. Remember, the goal is not to achieve a smooth consistency. Then serve with raw flax seed crackers, organic blue chips, onion bread or on a wrap. Serves 4-6 people.

As mentioned last month, these recipes are all meant to be made using organic ingredients. Eating organic is a way to not only treat your body like a temple by keeping it free from damaging, disease causing chemicals, pesticides, and hormones, but also a way to show support for sustainable farming, and ethical treatment of people and animals. Make your vote count and make a choice for organics!

These recipes are a wonderful way to warm your home with the people you love at this time of year. Blessings to you and your family as you enjoy God’s mercies this holiday season.

Rachael Geating :