The holidays present a quandry. There’s the desire to give gifts from the heart and the absolute time crunch of shopping, cooking, cleaning, and of course partying that dominate this time of year.
What can a well-meaning gift giver do?
Make your own candies! Homemade chocolates are delicious, and because they come from your own hands they are definitely a personal gift. Best of all, homemade chocolates look impressive, but are actually pretty easy to pull off. Keeping the ingredients simple ensures that you can give a tasty gift that even friends with dietary restrictions can enjoy.
These Peppermint Chocolates have a minty ganache filling inside a crisp chocolate exterior.
Oh how I love the side dishes of Thanksgiving. As soon as November comes around, I start fantasizing about glazed sweet potatoes, mushroom-y stuffing, and cranberry sauce.
Sure, Thanksgiving foods are notoriously heavy and rich and not-so-good for you. Does it need to be so?
Definitely not. Take cranberry sauce, for example. Traditional cranberry sauce is loaded with white sugar. This cranberry sauce, however, uses the better-for-you sweetener, coconut palm sugar, and mixes apples and pears in with those jewel-toned berries.
If that’s not enough reason to whip up some cranberry sauce a few weeks before the big holiday, how about looking at some of the nutrition benefits of cranberries. Cranberries are a great source of antioxidants, and loaded with fiber, Vitamin C and manganese.
Not only that, but if you mix a dollop of cranberry sauce in your morning oatmeal or vanilla yogurt, you have a breakfast that feels a little extra special!
School has started. That means fall is here.
In my family, fall means apples. We start looking forward to apple picking in the middle of winter. It is the one thing that will make my kids think that autumn might just be ok. (Even if it means leaving the pool for a classroom!)
Every year, we pack up our family, including cousins and grandparents, and head out to a you-pick orchard. You can find one near you by visiting youpick.org. We get so into the fun of trying and picking different varieties of apples that we end up with almost too many.
Almost too many. There are so many things you can do with apples, that they never go to waste. If nothing else, we cook up huge vats of applesauce to freeze and enjoy all through the year.
Another apple favorite are the Apple Pie Muffins from my book, Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes.
We are still enjoying summer. There are many more days of freedom and fun ahead. As a mom, though, I’m starting to think (a little bit) about Back to School.
I know that I will want my kids to have nutritious breakfasts to start the school day out strong (especially if they end up only eating a bit of lunch so they can hurry out to recess!).
One of our favorites, though, for getting the day off to a good start is granola. This version is fruit-sweetened and nut-free, getting its crunch from pepitas and hemp seeds, instead.