During the holiday season, staying healthy can be a struggle. While we all want to enjoy our favorite staples and feast on Christmas day, here’s a few recipes that will make staying healthy while still enjoying your favorite Christmas treats easy.
Whole-Wheat Sugar Cookies
Sugar cookies are reminiscent of the holiday season and our favorite packaged cookies printed with our favorite Santa faces and snowmen. Unfortunately, sugar cookies are basically butter and sugar which may not align with your health goals going into the new year. Do not fret, these whole-wheat sugar cookies will satisfy your sweet tooth.
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- Beat butter and sugars together in a separate medium bowl until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, and add the egg white and vanilla and almond extracts; beat until just combined.
- Add flour mixture, and stir until incorporated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Dust a work surface with flour. Turn out chilled dough directly onto work surface. Roll dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes in dough, and gently transfer them to baking sheets. (You can reroll the scraps, just be sure to chill in between.)
- Bake cookies for 12 minutes or until set but not browned. Remove cookies from oven, and cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Healthy Hot Cocoa
What are Christmas cookies without hot cocoa to accompany them? This healthy hot cocoa recipe will replace the conventional hot chocolate packets tucked away in your cupboard. Try raw cacoa powder in this recipe instead of cocoa powder you traditionally find in the baking isle to add a boost of antioxidants to your cocoa.
- 1 cup, plus 1-2 tablespoons milk of choice (I used rice milk, vegan)
- 2 rounded teaspoons unsweetened cocoa or cacoa powder
- 1 teaspoon raw sugar (or sweetener of choice)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- dash of cinnamon, optional
- Place milk in a small pot over medium low heat.
- Meanwhile, place cocoa powder, sugar, and extra tablespoon of rice milk in a small bowl. Whisk until a paste/thick mixture forms and powder is absorbed. Add additional tablespoon of rice milk, if needed.
- Whisk cocoa mixture into milk mixture. Heat till hot but not boiling. Stir in vanilla extract.
- Pour into a mug and sprinkle with cinnamon, if using.
- Serve and enjoy once the drink is cool enough to safely drink.
Caprese Skewers with Balsamic Drizzle
If you’re looking for a healthy appetizer for holiday party’s or a Christmas Eve gathering, look no further than these caprese skewers. Not only are they delicious, but they are conveniently colored green, red, and white.
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- cherry or grape tomatoes
- mini mozzarella cheese balls (could use regular sized ball cut into bite-sized pieces)
- fresh basil leaves, cut in half if large
- salt & pepper
- Bring balsamic vinegar up to a boil in a saucepan, then lower heat to medium and simmer until it's the consistency of very thin maple syrup, about 10 minutes. Pour into a bowl and let cool.
- Cut tomatoes in half. Thread a mini mozzarella cheese ball, basil leaf (fold in half if large) and a tomato half onto a tooth pick. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, then drizzle cooled balsamic reduction on top.
We hope you enjoy your holiday season with these healthy recipes!
Happy Holidays from Clovis Open MRI!