Food for the Festive Season – Part 1*

Wednesday, 30 November 2016, By Alicia Jovcevski

Food for the Festive Season - Part 1

Christmas is drawing near & one of life's biggest pleasures is sitting around enjoying delicious food & quality time in the company of loved ones.

In the health & fitness industry, we find that the end of the year is the most common time where people tend to fall off the wagon… but it doesn't have to be!

Just like Santa takes the time to get organised when carefully selecting gifts, when it comes to planning your Christmas feast, it is all about being prepared, tweaking recipes with a few better alternatives & making wholesome foods that you enjoy eating so you don't feel like you are missing out .

So, to help you stay aligned with your newfound healthy lifestyle, we have put together a few quick, simple, yummy & easy-to-make recipes for entertaining that everyone can enjoy over the silly season without the guilt.

The recipes below can still keep you enjoying those social type foods, such as dips & chips/crackers & nuts. but these are normally eaten from store-bought packets, jars or tubs with loads of added fat, salt & preservatives with an alcoholic drink in hand. The empty calories quickly add up!

These recipes however, are homemade & full of flavour, using wholefood ingredients that will not only nourish you but also appeal to the palate as well!

Dips

Mediterranean Creamy Capsicum Dip
50gms (1/3 cup) roughly chopped red capsicum
100gms (1/2 cup) Cottage Cheese
30gms Cashews
15gms (1/2) Red Onion

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender & pulse until combined & smooth.
For a bit of spice you could add some chilli flakes or a fresh red chilli.
Store in an airtight container.

Smoked Salmon Dip
100g smoked salmon
220g extra light Philadelphia cream cheese
Half red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup walnuts
3 shallots roughly chopped
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 garlic clove roughly chopped

Place all ingredients into food processor & blend until smooth but slightly chunky.
Place in a bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

Healthy Spinach Dip
70gms (1/2) an Avocado
40gms or 1/3 cup Cottage Cheese
80gms or 1/2cup Chobani Plain Greek Yoghurt
30gms Cashews
20gms or 1 cup Spinach leaves
A small squeeze of lemon to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor & blend until smooth. Store in an airtight container.

Beetroot Hummus
350gms (3 medium) beetroots (note: you can buy these from Woollies already cooked & vacuum packed).
150g drained & rinsed chickpeas
1 clove of garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
45mls or ¼ cup olive oil
20gms or 2 tbsp tahini
1/2 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor & blend until smooth. Store in an airtight container.


Chips & Crackers

Mountain Bread Chips

You could serve any of the above with Mountain Bread Chips (instead of packet corn chips), by spraying sheets of mountain bread with a little extra virgin olive oil, then a sprinkling of your favourite dried herbs & placing them in the oven for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. So simple!

Crunchy Sourdough Dippers
Toast a few slices of Sourdough bread until golden & crunchy, then cut into strips & use a pastry brush with a little Sweet Chilli Sauce & Olive Oil & brush over while warm.

Curry Seeded Crackers (Dairy & Gluten Free)
1 ½ cups sunflower seeds
½ cup Linseeds
½ cup Sesame Seeds
3 tablespoons Chia Seeds
3 teaspoons Sea Salt flakes
3 teaspoons Curry Powder

Place all ingredients & 1 ½ cups of warm water in a heat proof bowl & stir until well combined. Leave to stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally for 20 mins or until the mixture thickens & looks gel-like.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 160C & line two large baking trays with baking paper.

Spread the seed mixture thinly & evenly over the prepared trays. Bake for 1 hour, swapping the tray & half way through the cooking time, until crisp & golden. Cool completely on the trays & snap into rough pieces to serve.

Vege Sticks
Carrot, Celery & Capsicum cut into thin vege sticks also go nicely with any of the above.


Mixed & Flavoured Nuts
When buying roasted nuts from the supermarket, these are usually roasted at a very high temperature which strips the nuts of their nutritional properties & natural oils. It is far better to roast & flavour your own nuts yourself.

Chocolate Chilli Nuts (Dairy & Gluten Free)
1 x Egg white
3 x teaspoons Maple Syrup
1 x teaspoon raw Cacao Powder
¼ x teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon chilli powder
1 Cup Blanched Almonds
½ Cup raw Cashews
2 Medjool Dates, pitted & finely chopped

Preheat oven to 200C & line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Place the egg white n a large bowl & whisk until frothy. Add the maple syrup, cacao, cinnamon & chilli & whisk until combined. Then add the almonds & cashews & toss together.
Spread mixture in a single layer on the tray & bake for 15 mins or until nuts are golden & crisp. Cool on the tray.
Add the dates to nut mixture, toss to combine & serve.

Sweet Sticky Nuts

500g mixed nuts
1/2 cup rice syrup
1 dessertspoon maple syrup
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees, line baking dish with baking paper.

Take 150g of the nuts & place them on some baking paper & put them into the oven for 10 minutes or until roasted. In food processor place the remaining nuts & blitz until near butter consistency.
In a saucepan on medium heat, place rice syrup, maple syrup & a pinch of salt. Stir until syrup takes on water consistency. Stir in the nut butter from the food processor & mix well.

Take the roasted nuts & combine into the saucepan. Pour into prepared baking dish and place in fridge to set, then cut into squares.

Chilli Lime Peanuts
6 tablespoons lime juice
6 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons Sea Salt
1/2-1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
6 cups unsalted peanuts

Preheat oven to 120C & line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Whisk lime juice, chili powder, salt & cayenne in a large bowl. Add peanuts; toss to coat.
Divide between 2 large rimmed baking sheets; spread in an even layer. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until dry, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.


Christmas comes with many traditions from decorating Christmas trees to cooking special holiday foods. These recipes don't have to be used as special "sometimes foods", they can be used all year round because when food is made with love you can taste it!
We spend weeks in the lead up to Christmas agonising over the perfect gifts to give, when a good wholesome meal with family can be just as (if not more) joyous & memorable for years to come without causing too much damage to our waistlines.

Hoards of calories are consumed every Christmas season. And those same calories are the reason for the millions of New Year's resolutions to lose weight. You don't have to eat yourself "silly" to enjoy the silly season.

Alicia Jovcevski
Studio Owner

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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