The Sweetest Treats of All (tada) are Sugar-Free!!

In the spirit of giving the “Gift of Wellness” for Christmas, I’m going to suggest that you cut out sugar. Or at least, that you cut way down on it!

What?? you might be thinking, especially if you have a family and little kids.

Cut out sugar at Christmas time? How is that possible?? After all, candy and sugary goodies are EVERYWHERE…. to the extent that to a majority of people, eating gobs of sugar in one form or another is absolutely synonymous with Christmas!

It’s true that eating an excess of sugar has gone hand in hand with Christmas for years. It’s also true that after the sugary treats have been overindulged in, and unsightly weight has stacked on, regret and an onslaught of colds and flu typically follow.

One of the reasons it’s so “normal” to get sick after the holidays is, sugar wrecks havoc on the immune system. In fact, just one little teaspoon of white sugar has been shown to severely impair immunity for up to seven hours! On top of that refined sugar is so addictive that it’s often dubbed the gateway drug. This explains why it’s soooo hard to stop at just one. And why Intense Cravings and Headaches are so common after the Christmas sugar binge is finally over….

In addition to sugar. wheat (now a GMO product) is also associated with a host of health problems. So why not give both sugar and wheat the boot?? Not only are the following recipes sugar- and gluten-free, they’re actually delicious and can help build immunity! Which in the midst of winter and flu and cold season, can only be GOOD for you and your family :)

The ingredients for these healthier versions of traditional Christmas goodies can be found in health-food stores and healthy food isles of supermarkets, or online.

5 Truly Sweet Holiday Recipes For You to Enjoy!

The ingredients for these healthier versions of traditional Christmas goodies can be found in health-food stores and healthy food isles of supermarkets, or online.

5 Truly Sweet Holiday Recipes For You to Enjoy!

imageSUGAR-FREE ROLL OUT COOKIES

If you can’t imagine Christmas without sugar cookies, cheer up, because this sugar- and gluten-free recipe fits the bill! From Whole-Body-Detox-Diet.com.

1/2 tsp. chia seeds

2 TBS water

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 tsp. natural extract like vanilla or almond (or 7 drops doTERRA Wild Orange or Cinnamon essential oil)

1 cup rice flour

1/2 cup arrowroot powder

1/2 cup amaranth flour (grind amaranth in a coffee or spice grinder to make flour)

1/2 tsp. baking soda

dash of sea salt

up to 2 TBS water to make dough the right consistency

Grind chia seeds into a fine powder in a coffee or spice grinder. In a med size mixing bowel whisk together ground chia and 2 TBS water until well combined. Melt and cool coconut oil. Combine all wet ingredients including flavoring extract or essential oil. Combine all dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine well, forming the dough into a wet ball. If dough is too dry and crumbly to form a ball, add a little water at a time and mix in until the dough sticks together. Refrigerate the dough for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Remove dough from fridge and work with your hands until it becomes soft enough to roll out. Roll out sections of dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Roll dough 1/8″ thick, and cut out with cookie cutters. Place cookies on an oiled cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until edges begin to turn brown.

SUGAR-FREE GLAZE

1 cup xylitol

1-2 tsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch

1 1/2 tbsp almond milk

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (or a couple of drops essential oil for flavoring)

Combine xylitol and arrowroot powder in a Vita-Mix or food processor and blend till powdered. Combine 1 cup “powdered sugar” with almond milk and flavoring and mix well. Use in place of regular powdered sugar icing, on cookies or cupcakes, etc.

imageHALLIE’S MAPLE PECAN TART

This gluten-free pecan tart is YUM! I found it at simplysugarandglutenfree.com. (Reprinted from The Pure Kitchen by Hallie Klecker with permission from the author.)

CRUST

3/4 cup (102 grams) teff flour

1/2 cup (54 grams) arrowroot starch

1/2 cup raw pecans

1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, room temperature (not melted)

3 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade combine the teff flour, arrowroot starch, pecans, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Process until the pecans are finely ground. Add the coconut oil and process until the mixture looks like damp sand. Add the water and process until incorporated into the dry ingredients and the mixture holds together with two fingers, 20 – 30 seconds. Press the dough firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the crust for at least 15 minutes before filling.

FILLING

1 cup raw pecans

2 large eggs

2 large egg whites

1/2 cup dark maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

While the crust is cooling, finely chop 1/4 of the pecans. Whisk the chopped pecans with the eggs, egg whites, maple syrup, coconut sugar, vinegar, vanilla, and salt in a medium mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Pour the filling into the tart shell. Scatter the remaining 3/4 cup pecans over the top of the filling. Bake the tart for 23 – 25 minutes, until the filling is puffed and golden brown. Cool in the pan before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
imageCHRISTMAS PUDDING

Don’t be put off by these raw food puddings, which are big on taste and easy on the waist! From thehealthychef.com.
10 – 15  dates fresh pitted dates (for small dates, use more)

zest from 1 orange

1 cup organic dried apricots, chopped

1 ½ cups almond meal (ground almonds)

1  teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract

1 tsp ground cinnamon (or 2 drops doTERRA Cinnamon essential oil)

¼  tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground ginger

Combine dates, orange zest, apricots, vanilla, ground almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a food processor. Process until mixture is combined and looks like fine crumbs. Spoon mixture into a large bowl and add 1 – 2 tablespoons orange juice then mix again. Your pudding mix should come together in the hands when lightly squeezed. Divide puddings into 6 small puddings. The best way to do this is to line the base of your desired mould with glad wrap and press the pudding mixture into it firmly. Invert the pudding and remove the glad wrap. Repeat until all the puddings are formed. Serve with warm vanilla bean custard. Store extra puddings in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

VANILLA BEAN CUSTARD

2 cups almond milk
2 whole free range/organic eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract
2 tablespoons organic maple syrup or 1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoons cornflour or kudzu
pinch nutmeg

Heat milk in a saucepan with vanilla and honey and bring to almost boiling point, then remove from the heat. Beat the eggs and cornflour in a stainless steel mixing bowl until combined. Pour the hot milk over the eggs and whisk in well. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat quickly and pour back into the  mixing bowl. Whisk well to cool a little and smooth it out.  If you see any lumps then strain through a sieve. Serve hot or cold and enjoy. (To warm up a cold custard, place into a bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water.  Stir and gently heat through.)

imageCHOCOLATE FUDGE

This fudge is nutritious and delicious and super easy to make! From thenourishinggourmet.com.

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup coconut sugar

dash of sea salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a heat resistant, glass measuring cup (pyrex), place the coconut oil. Fill a small saucepan with a few inches of water, and place the glass measuring cup in it. Heat on the stove top until the coconut oil is mostly melted (the coconut oil should be room temperature, not hot. This will protect it’s raw benefits). In a food processor using the regular blade, add the melted coconut oil and the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined. Place enough plastic wrap or parchment paper in a loaf pan to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Scrape your fudge “dough” into the loaf pan, and fold the plastic wrap or parchment paper over the top of the fudge. Gently press down, to even out the thickness of the fudge (you want it to be about 1/2 inch thick, it will cover probably about 1/2 of the bottom of your loaf pan). Take out the fudge, carefully wrapped up, and place in the freezer or refrigerator until it has set up. In the freezer it only takes about 20- to 30 minutes. Cut into small squares, and enjoy!

imageCHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

Shelley Alexander’s raw vegan, gluten- and sugar-free chocolate cranberry walnut truffle recipe is divine! From healthyblenderrecipes.com.

¾ cup sprouted or raw walnuts

1 cup raw cacao powder

⅛ tsp Himalayan sea salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp pure alcohol-free vanilla extract

1 cup organic maple syrup-grade B

¼ cup melted raw cacao butter or virgin coconut oil (see NOTE)

2 drops doTERRA Wild Orange essential oil (see NOTE)

1/2 cup unsulphured dried cranberries (reserve for later use)

Place walnuts in a food processor and pulse until chopped into smaller pieces. Set aside to use later to roll the truffles in. Use a damp towel to wipe off food processor bowl and blade,  then dry well, and place back on base. Place cacao powder, sea salt, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, melted cacao butter or coconut oil, and Wild Orange essential oil in the food processor and pulse until truffle base is well mixed and smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl if needed. Pour truffle base in bowl and stir in cranberries. Cover and freeze for 2 hours until firm. Scoop out truffles with a large teaspoon or melon baller and form into round 2-inch balls. Roll truffles in chopped walnuts to cover completely and place covered in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove and enjoy. Makes 10-12 truffles, which will last for up to 2 weeks when stored in the freezer.

NOTE

Raw cacao butter will make a softer and creamier truffle than coconut oil.

doTERRA essential oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade. I use and recommend them because they are are the only brand that is 100% guaranteed safe to take internally.