This is my favorite time of year! The food, the decorations, the smells, the movies, the time spent with family, the holiday spirit, the food…did I already say that? Well, it deserves repeating.
For a full month and a half–from around Thanksgiving until right after New Year’s–I live in sheer bliss…even longer if you tie my early-November birthday into the mix.
Every night unfolds in basically the same way: I come home from work, change into comfy, warm clothes (complete with fuzzy socks and sweaters), eat a ridiculous amount of food, and finish it all off with dessert. My husband is convinced that I must be preparing for hibernation. He says it’s because I sleep and eat more, but I’m inclined to agree with his theory because my clothes always seem a bit tighter in the winter and I can’t help but notice some extra “padding.”
Because dessert is a must, I’m always trying to come up with holiday-themed treats that will soothe my sweet tooth without adding too much extra cushioning to my poor expanding derrière. That’s when desserts like these Raw Gingerbread Bites start to make a regular appearance in my fridge. They’re easy to make, store well in the fridge or freezer, are made from healthy, whole ingredients, and can be enjoyed practically guilt-free (as long as you eat them in moderation). Take that, tushie!
¾ cup chopped dates (approx. 6-8 depending on the size)
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
sea salt, to taste
1-2 tsp. hot water (optional)
Grind the oats into flour in a food processor.
Add the pecans and blend just until they’re broken down.
Add the chopped dates a little bit at a time and blend until broken down and the mixture begins to clump together.
Add the vanilla extract and spices and blend until evenly distributed. At this point the mixture should clump together easily–you can test it by pinching some between your fingers. *If the mixture does not hold together well and seems too crumbly, add a little bit of hot water (1 tsp. at a time) and blend until you are able to reach the desired consistency.
Remove a little bit of the mixture–approx. 1 rounded Tbs. at a time– and roll it into a ball between your hands. Continue rolling until you have used up all of the mixture.
Enjoy immediately or allow the gingerbread bites to firm up in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Store in the fridge or freezer.
It didn’t occur to me until I looked over the past few posts that I’ve been eating a lot of orange foods recently–pumpkins, sweet potatoes, butternut squashes, grapefruits, and the list goes on and on. Now, I’ve added persimmons to that list. I’ve found the vibrant fruits with their sweet, delicate flavor absolutely impossible to resist. Not only are they delicious, they’re also in season (persimmon season usually begins in October and ends around December) and have been fully stocked and on sale for only $1 per pound at my local Whole Foods! Say what?! As you can probably imagine, I bought more persimmons than one human being could possibly need…. Fortunately, having an over-abundance of these beautiful orange orbs in my fruit basket has forced me to include them in absolutely everything.
Sweet potatoes and winter squashes are a staple in my diet during the cooler fall and winter months. As soon as they begin making an appearance in grocery stores, I snatch them up every chance I get. I think the best thing about these magical veggies is their versatility–there’s no limit to what you can do with them. Take, for example, these Butternut Squash Chips: they’re crisp, sweet, and portable, making them a perfectly filling on-the-go snack! Or if you’re like me and you can’t resist the immediate satisfaction, just pull the tray out of the oven and begin munching away (being careful not to scorch your mouth) until there’s nothing but crumbs left!!
Because today is my birthday, I wanted to share something extra-special. Yes, that’s right, it’s my birthday! Today I join the ‘Dirty Thirty’ club. I won’t lie, I was downright dreading my thirtieth birthday up until today. When I was younger, 30 just seemed so mature, so grown up, so responsible.
I had such an amazing long weekend, especially since it was rainy and cooler outside! The weather forced me to stay indoors, do some much-needed laundry, clean my filthy house, and relax a bit. I also tried to get some work done, but I’ve noticed something: the more work I have to do, the more I cook. Basically, I get distracted easily and start procrastinating, so all of a sudden I just have to make the recipes I’ve been wanting to try for weeks–anything to get me away from the work I should be doing.
The funny thing is, it’s while I’m avoiding work that I come up with my favorite recipes! These Pumpkin Spice Pancakes are the most recent result of my procrastination. I’ve been wanting to try pumpkin pancakes for a while, and now that I have I’m head-over-heels in love! And because it’s starting to feel more like fall, these are the perfect pancakes to work into my Sunday morning pancake rotation. In fact, I may just have to start making pancakes every day now….. Continue reading →