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.
With only two days left until Thanksgiving, this is about the time when I start putting the finishing touches on the holiday menu. This year is a bit different though: my hubby, stepson, and I are all visiting my amazing in-laws. Because I’m a guest in a house full of big-time meat eaters, I’ve decided that, rather than make a bunch of food and take command of the entire kitchen, I’ll make one big dish containing many of my favorite fall foods and flavors. (Oh yeah, and I might just have to make this too.)
This year’s dish–Roasted Cinnamon Apple and Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad–was inspired by something I picked up from Central Market last week to take to my work’s pre-Thanksgiving feast. Not only did I instantly fall in love with the dish, I swore that I would make my own version as soon as I had the time. Well, now that I’m finally on break, the first thing I did (actually, the second thing–the first thing I did was take a nap) was to heat up the oven and roast some cinnamon-spiced apples and sweet potatoes… Continue reading →
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.
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 →
So if you haven’t already noticed, I’m a lover of all things quinoa. And chocolate (but honestly, aside from my stepson, who isn’t a chocolate-lover?). It may be hard to believe, but I love them both equally. Quinoa is so versatile and is an amazingly healthy alternative to wheat products. Chocolate is, well, chocolate. Basically, it’s inherently perfect. Anytime I can come up with an excuse to combine these two loves, I’m always game to try. No, the recipes aren’t always winners–in which case, I don’t deem them “blog-worthy”–but sometimes the combo is so wonderful that I can hardly stand it…. Continue reading →