Healthy Easter Treats

Growing up I remember Easter with chocolate bunnies, malted eggs, jellybeans and a variety of other marshmallow and chocolate treats. This was all on top of the traditional Easter Egg. Below I have listed some healthy alternative Easter treats.

Healthy Marshmallow Recipe (or Homemade Peeps)

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These fluffy honey-sweetened homemade marshmallows will deliver all the flavor but none of the health-compromising refined sugar. Plus, these can be made in a coconut or chocolate version (see below) based on the recipes plans or preferences. This simple recipe will make you wonder why you ever bought marshmallows at the store. But remember, sugar that comes from whole foods like honey or fruit is still sugar, so remember to eat these as a treat, not a regular snack.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. grass-fed gelatin (or agar agar for a vegan option)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Then cover with parchment paper (with enough to hang over the sides of the pan one way), then grease the parchment paper.
2. Put ¼ cup of water in a medium bowl (or in the bowl of a mixer with attached whisk) , and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Set aside to soften.
3. In a small pot, place the honey, salt, and the other ¼ cup of water. Heat on medium heat. Using a candy thermometer, bring the mixture to 240 degrees. (You can also test it by dribbling a little of the liquid into a bowl of ice cold water. It should be in the candy stage of forming little soft balls when cooled in the water and taken out. It takes about 7-8 minutes to reach this temperature. ). Remove from the heat immediately when reaching temp.
4. Using a hand mixer on low, very carefully mix in the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture by pouring the hot syrup in a drizzle down the side of the bowl. Once it’s all combined, add the vanilla and increase speed to high. Beat for 12- 15 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and fluffy (it will look like marshmallow fluff). *Scrap into the prepared pan and leave, uncovered, for 4-12 hours to dry. Cut into squares, serve as is or for an extra treat cut with bunny cookie cutter to create little bunny ‘peeps’.

*If making Peeps you will want to divide the mixture into parts (as many as you need) an add food coloring to make the various color peeps before leaving to let dry. Then proceed to cutting with cookie cutter. You will need to coat the cutter lightly with cooking oil to keep marshmallow from sticking.

Homemade Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs

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Total Time: 10m
Yield: 6-9 eggs

Ingredients

Filling

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter OR allergy-friendly alternative at room temperature (homemade recipe here)
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 more tbsp of the sugar

Coating

  • 3/4 cup (3.6 ounces) sugar free chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Mix the first three ingredients together in a bowl into crumbly dough. Also, I put the dough into a plastic bag to shape into a ball with less mess.) Add the extra 2 tbsp. sugar if it’s too gooey, and add a little more pb if it’s too dry. (Different brands of peanut butter will yield different results.) Taste the dough and add a little more salt if desired. Form dough into egg shaped ovals** (like Reeces eggs). Freeze the dough for an hour or until firm.
  2. Meanwhile, melting the chocolate chips and coconut oil for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir until smooth.
  3. Next dip frozen peanut butter eggs into melted chocolate. Set on tray with wax paper and refrigerate until chocolate is set.

**Note Alternatively, you can use candy egg molds. Instead of shaping peanut butter pour mixture into egg molds and freeze for about 1 hour. Remove from mold Next melt chocolate chips and coconut oil and then dip peanut better eggs. Set on wax paper and refrigerate until set.

Filled Plastic Eggs

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Growing up our family always had the traditional Easter Egg Hunt. What made it an extra special treat was my mom used to hide a few plastic eggs filled with special treats. She would put a variety of Easter surprises in them. You can fill ‘em up with dried fruits or peeled snacks and/or nuts or even little toys!

Healthy Easter Egg Popsicle

Saw this on a Pinterest post and thought it’s the perfect Easter morning brekkie!

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Easy Homemade Peanut Butter

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This homemade peanut butter is smooth, creamy, and made in just 5 minutes! Store the jar in the refrigerator to ensure the texture stays as thick as possible. The peanut butter should last for up to 2-3 months if stored in the refrigerator.
Yields: 1 cup + 2 tablespoons
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (299g) peanuts, dry roasted unsalted
  • ¼ – ½ tsp salt (season to taste)
Add the peanuts to a blender, and turn on the blender to its low speed. After the peanuts are completely broken down and begin to turn creamy (about 2-3 minutes), turn the blender to its medium speed. Continue blending until the peanut butter is completely smooth.(see notes for chunky)  Add the salt, ¼ teaspoon at a time, and blend for 20-30 seconds, tasting after each addition (season to taste). Transfer the peanut butter to a jar, and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight to achieve the traditional thick peanut butter texture.
Notes:  You can also opt to use roasted and salted peanuts if you prefer. Adjust the amount of salt accordingly to suit your tastes.
This recipes is: gluten-free, vegan, clean eating, low carb, sugar-free.
You can also make this peanut butter chunky by blending until completely mixed but chunks of peanuts still remain.
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Gluten-free No Sugar Sticky Date Cupcakes

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This sticky date cupcake is just perfect to satisfy a sweet tooth without actually having any process sugar. I used a little maple syrup to add to the dates natural sweetness. I preferred mixing this in the blender because it’s so quick and easy to pour.  It is also gluten-free!

 

1 1/4 cups water
1 cup dates, pitted
3 ripe bananas, peeled and roughly chopped
2/3 cups coconut or almond flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 270°F (185 C).
**Grease muffin tins and set aside.
Heat the dates and water in a small saucepan over low heat until the dates break down and thicken. Use a fork to mash them together and set aside.
Place the flour, egg, banana, vanilla extract and baking powder in a blender or food processor and mix well until well combined.
Add the dates to the banana mixture and combine. Evenly distribute into the ramekins or muffin tin. Cook in the oven for about 20-22 minutes.

** You can use paper cupcake cups but be aware due to the ‘stickiness’ part of this cake, the paper will stick to it.

Melon Mozzarella Prosciutto Skewers

Melon Mozzarella Prosciutto Skewers Recipe

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Ingredients

1 large ripe cantaloupe
1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto de Parma
8 ounces cherry-size mozzarella cheese balls
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cut the melon in half and remove the seeds. Using a melon baller, scoop out small balls of melon flesh. Then cut each ball in half. Cut each mozzarella ball in half as well. Cut the prosciutto lengthwise into ½-inch strips.

To assemble, place one mozzarella half and one cantaloupe half together and wrap the prosciutto around them. Skewer with a toothpick.
To make the pesto, process the basil, olive oil and salt together until well blended.
Top each melon-mozzarella ball with a drizzle of pesto and serve.
Total time: 25 minutes  Yields 50

Nutrition (2 skewers per serving):

78 cal
7 g fat (2.4 g sat)
2 g carbs
120 mg sodium
0 g fiber
3 g protein

source

Individual Phyllo Apple Cups

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Candy apples are a decadent fall treat, but they’re loaded with sugar and calories. These rehabbed apple cups taste just as indulgent with all the gooey, seasonal goodness of fall, but contain just 144 calories a serving — that’s half the calories of a candy apple. Plus, the perfectly portioned apple cups are not only easier on your waistline, but on your teeth as well!

Serves 12

Ingredients:

Non-stick cooking spray
2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch chunks
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
4 (9×16) sheets phyllo pastry, thawed
1 cup fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a standard muffin pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

In a large pot, combine the apples, cranberries, lemon juice, zest, agave, ginger, cinnamon and allspice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the juices in the pot thicken and very little syrup remains, about 10 minutes, set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, mix the melted butter and water. Unfold the phyllo, lay one sheet on a cutting board, and brush the dough with the melted-butter-water mixture — be sure to keep the pastry you are not working with covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out. Repeat three times, stacking the layers of dough on top of each other so that you have four layers.

Cut the stack of phyllo sheets three times crosswise and then cut again lengthwise twice so you have 12 even squares. Lay the phyllo squares in the wells of the muffin pan and gently press them into the cups, letting the edges fold and overlap naturally.

Spoon ¼ cup of cooled apple mixture into the phyllo cups. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Let the apple cups cool in the pan before trying to remove them. Serve warm with a small spoonful of frozen yogurt.

Nutrition info. (per serving): Calories: 144, Total fat: 4 g, Saturated fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 8 mg, Sodium: 74 mg, Protein: 2 g, Fiber: 4 g, Carbs: 27 g

source

Health Benefits of Celery

This is a fun after school snack for the kids. You prep it, they  assemble it!

This is a fun & healthy after school snack for the kids. You prep it, they assemble it! Cut a thick vertical slice from a whole apple, just missing the core. Do this on both sides. Cut a celery stick that is about 1 inch longer than the width of the apple slice. Put the peanut butter into the plastic bag, snip off the end to make a small hole. Fill the trough of the celery stick with the bag of peanut butter, and set aside. Using the plastic bag filled with peanut butter again, draw a spiral on both sides of the apple slice. Wedge the apple slice into the filled celery stick. (Larger apples like to fall over.) Add NERDS to one end of the celery stick to make his eyes. Add two carrot shreds for antennae.

Celery is a vegetable belonging to the Apiaceae family. It is well known for its crunchy stalks, which people often consume as a low calorie snack.

However, celery is not only a good low calorie food. There are a number of other reasons why you might want to include this vegetable in your diet.

Celery is thought to be beneficial for the digestive tract and cardiovascular system.

In addition, the seeds of the plant are also commonly used in medicine to help relieve pain.

Nutritional breakdown of celery

Antioxidants – celery is a very rich source of antioxidants. The vegetable contains the following phytonutrients: phenolic acids, flavonols, dihydrostilbenoids, flavones, furanocoumarins, and phytosterols.

Vitamins and minerals – celery is very rich in vitamin K and also contains folate, vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin C.

Dietary fiber – despite being mainly water, celery also provides a fair amount of dietary fiber. The vegetable contains 1.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams.

Benefits
The potential health benefits of celery (and its seeds) include: lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of cancer, and preventing age-related degeneration of vision.

Celery

Lowering blood pressure
There is no strong evidence to suggest that celery seeds may help lower blood pressure among humans. However, a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food assessed the effect that celery (Apium graveolens) seed extracts have on blood pressure (BP) in normotensive and deoxycorticosterone acetate-induced hypertensive rats.

The authors of the study concluded that “celery seed extracts have antihypertensive properties, which appears to be attributable to the actions of its active hydrophobic constitutes such as NBP and can be considered as an antihypertensive agent in chronic treatment of elevated BP.”

Stress Relief

It helps you calm down: Celery for stress-relief? Oh yes! The minerals in celery, especially magnesium, and the essential oil in it, soothe the nervous system. If you enjoy a celery-based snack in the evening, you will sleep better.

It regulates the body’s alkaline balance, thus protecting you from problems such as acidity.

Preventing cancer
Celery contains a flavanoid called luteolin. Researchers believe that this particular flavonoid may posses anti-cancer properties.

A study published in Current Cancer Drug Targets said that “recent epidemiological studies have attributed a cancer prevention property to luteolin”. The authors of the study say that “luteolin sensitizes cancer cells to therapeutic-induced cytotoxicity through suppressing cell survival pathways.”

Crunchy Pear & Celery Salad

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Ingredients
4 stalks celery, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons cider, pear, raspberry or other fruit vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ripe pears, preferably red Bartlett or Anjou, diced
1 cup finely diced white Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 large leaves butterhead or other lettuce

Soak celery in a bowl of ice water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.  Whisk vinegar, honey and salt in a large bowl until blended. Add pears; gently stir to coat. Add the celery, cheese and pecans; stir to combine. Season with pepper. Divide the lettuce leaves among 6 plates and top with a portion of salad. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Per serving: 215 calories; 13 g fat (5 g sat, 4 g mono); 20 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 240 mg sodium; 219 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Calcium (15% daily value)
Carbohydrate Servings: 1

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Celery Rosti with Coriander and Poached Egg

Ingredients
4 sticks of celery cut into very fine strips 3cm
1 bunch of coriander, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and grated
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Sweet chilli sauce
½ tsp chilli powder
Olive oil for frying
4 slices of goats cheese 1cm thick
4 eggs
Dash of vinegar

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
Mix the celery, coriander and grated potato together. Season and add a few drops of chilli sauce and the chilli powder.

Divide the mixture into 4 and shape into patties. Fry in the oil in a shallow pan turning over once they have set to lightly brown on both sides – about 5-6 minutes.

Transfer the rosti to a lightly oiled baking tray and place in the oven for 15 minutes to finish off the cooking.

Place a slice of cheese on top of each rosti and put under a hot grill until lightly browned.

Meanwhile poach the eggs in deep simmering water with a little vinegar for 3-4 minutes.

Place the rosti on plates, add the poached egg on top and drizzle with the chilli sauce. Serve with a green salad and baby new potatoes.