Food for the Festive Season - Part 2!
It's Christmas & it is a time where we should be able to let our hair down a little & indulge more than usual, so now it's time to talk the real deal.... the sweet treats & desserts that won't bust your belt buckle!
Summer time in Australia is by far (in my opinion) the best time of year - the fruit & vegetables are amazing; the warm climate is just divine & daylight savings is even better for enjoying long balmy nights in good company.
Food doesn't have to be complicated, it can be just as delicious when it's pure & simple.
And after all it wouldn't be Christmas without Christmas Cake,
but try not to undo months of sweat & good eating habits over
the festive season!
Life is all about balance & moderation, it is meant to be enjoyed.
Here are some heathier dessert recipes that are even better than store-bought desserts without the empty calories!
Heathy Christmas Cake (Gluten free)
600g mixed dried fruit or a mix of the following (raisins, apricot, sultanas)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract or paste
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
zest and juice from 1 orange
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
200g (2 cups) ground almonds
Preheat your oven to 150C.
Prepare a 20 cm round cake tin with baking paper lining the sides and the base.
Combine dried fruit, spice, vanilla, orange zest + juice, olive oil and eggs. Add the almonds and walnuts and mix through. Spoon Christmas Cake batter into your baking tin.
Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Check with a skewer to see if it comes out clean, if not bake for another 30 minutes. Cover the top if necessary to prevent over-browning.
Cool, then remove from the tin and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Serve in small portions after Christmas lunch or dinner or warm it up & serve as a pudding with custard or thick natural yoghurt & honey.
(Before you diss this recipe, try it! I have served this to friends who loathe avocado & they didn't even know it had it in it! They loved it.)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 large ripe avocados
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
1/2 cup raw cacao
Combine all the ingredients in a blender or Nutri-bullet adding
the maple syrup first, followed by the avocado, vanilla and cocoa.
Blend for about 30 seconds until smooth and creamy.
Add a splash of water or coconut milk to make a lighter mousse. Taste and adjust if needed.
Spoon into a bowls or decorative glasses & allow to set in the fridge
Christmas Bliss Balls
1 cup almonds
12 medjool dates, seeds removed
1/2 teaspoon concentrated natural vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup raisins
Place all of the ingredients except for the slivered almonds, currants & raisins into your food processor & blend at high speed until the mixture resembles a fine crumb that sticks together when firmly pressed. Stir through the slivered almonds, currants & raisins. Firmly press and shape the mixture into balls. Place in the fridge to set. Enjoy.
1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/4 cup arrowroot (for a gluten-free baking recipe, use tapioca starch/flour.)
1/4 cup ground flax
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1 egg or 1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons coconut oil (soft or slightly melted)
3 tablespoons honey* (you could use rice malt syrup if you prefer)
Preheat your oven to 175°C or 350°F & line a tray with baking paper.
Place the ingredients into your food processor & quickly pulse to combine. Roll the mixture into a smooth ball. Place the ball into the fridge for 20 minutes.
Remove from the fridge & roll in between two sheets of baking paper until the mixture is approximately 3 - 5mm thick. Cut with your cutters & gently place onto your prepared tray. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before moving to a cooling rack.
Raw Cashew & Lime Cheesecake
2 cups macadamia nuts
1 ½ cups cashews
½ cup dates, pitted
¼ cup dried coconut
6 tbsp. coconut oil
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup honey or maple syrup
½ vanilla bean
3 cups mixed berries, such as blueberries and raspberries
Place macadamia nuts in large bowl & cover with cold water.
Place cashews in separate bowl & cover with cold water. Soak
nuts 4 hours, then rinse, drain, and set aside.
Pulse macadamia nuts & dates in food processor to a sticky crumb-like consistency. Sprinkle dried coconut on bottom of 8-inch pie pan. Press macadamia nut mixture onto coconut to make crust.
Place cashews, coconut oil, lime juice, honey & 6 tbsp.
water in bowl of food processor. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean
into food processor bowl & purée until smooth.
Pour mixture onto crust & freeze 1 to 2 hours, or until firm. Remove from freezer, slice while frozen & transfer to serving platter. Defrost in fridge 1 hour, or on countertop 30 minutes; top with berries; and serve.
Always remember, one-off indulgences do not cause weight gain; weight gain is caused by gradual, sustained increases in calorie intake, along with little or no exercise.
Enjoy the festive season with your family & friends while remaining active & mindful of your eating choices, but most of all enjoy life in balance.