MERRY MOCKTAILS TO BRING IN THE NEW YEAR!

POM POM SPRITZER
Author: 
Recipe type: Beverage
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 servings
 
Delicious easy to prepare mocktails for the New Year!
Ingredients
  • 24 oz white grape juice
  • 24 oz 100% pomegranate juice
  • 24 oz black cherry or similar flavor of sparkling water
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher or punch bowl. Chill until serving time. Garnish with sliced fresh fruit or mint leaves. Makes 12 six oz servings. You may substitute cranberry juice cocktail in place of pomegranate juice if desired.
Notes
This information is not intended for medical advice. Please contact your personal health care practitioner for individual medical advice.

Recipes are calculated using Spark People Recipe Calculator.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 6 oz Calories: 75 Fat: 0 grams Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 19 grams Sodium: 17 mg Protein: 0 grams Cholesterol: 0 mg

Bring in the New Year with some Merry Mocktails! These delicious alcohol free beverages are guaranteed to please you and  your guests and there won’t be a nasty hangover tomorrow. Serve your mocktails in your prettiest wine goblets, an antique looking old Ball canning jar or your coolest mug! Garnish your mocktails with fresh mint, sliced oranges or lemon wedges or a big fat fresh strawberry!

Pom Pom Spritzer

BERRY BRIGHT FIZZ

Combine 2 cups fresh berries, 3 TB honey or 3 packets stevia sweetener and 2 cups raspberry or similar flavor sparkling water in your blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Chill and serve in individual glasses or a punch bowl. Garnish with fresh mint and fresh berries. Makes 4 cups of beverage. Serving size 1 cup. One serving is equal to 75 calories, 19 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fat, 0 grams trans fat, 2 mg sodium, 0 grams protein using honey. If you use stevia, one serving is equal to 30 calories 7 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol and 2 mg sodium.

Ingredients for the Pom Pom Spritzer-so easy!

 

ANGEL ALMOND COOKIES/THE RECIPE BOX

Why do they call these cookies angel cookies? Maybe because of their simply divine taste! I was looking through my mother’s recipe box looking for the best Christmas cookie to prepare. My mother is now in heaven hopefully smiling down on me while I prepare a cookie that her, my sister and I prepared each Christmas when I was growing up. I don’t bake many Christmas cookies most years since my mother in law presents us with a box of pretty bow tied Christmas cookies and rum balls for one of our Christmas presents each year. We will visit her for the New Year this year so I broke the mold and decided to make some cookies this year. As I file through the old recipe box, I am reminded of all the food that my mother prepared with love as we were growing up. We ate very few processed foods then since everything was made “from scratch” and preserved from our garden by canning the fruits and vegetables each year. I learned how to cook at a young age and am happy about that since we prefer to eat food from its more natural state. Each recipe in the recipe box is handwritten on a recipe card .There are recipes from my mom, great aunt and grandmother. There are also recipes that my classmates and I  prepared in our Home Economics class in Junior and Senior High School. It is amazing to think that these are still some of the handwritten recipes that were used by family members almost 100 years ago. The Angel Cookie was always one of my favorite Christmas cookies, second only to the sour cream cut out Christmas cookies! Of course, I have modified the recipe slightly by omitting the shortening since we do not need the trans fat or extra saturated fat from this in the recipe.  People simply did not know or care about trans fats back in the day! The original recipe called for 1/2 cup shortening and 1/2 cup of butter and I used 3/4 cup of unsalted butter. Besides omitting the salt, I left the rest of the ingredients the same since I wanted them to have the same delicious taste that I remember in my younger days. The cookies can be rolled in white sugar or colored sugar such as red or green (or purple for the teenagers in your life).

Almond Angel Cookies and Milk for Santa

The recipe is written in my mother’s handwriting but say Aunt Florence on  top the recipe. Aunt Florence was my great aunt. She and her husband Uncle Orrin lived in a farm house out in the country. They were retired farmers so did not have any animals on the farm when we visited them as a child. My brother Randy, sister Tricia and I loved to visit them so we could run and play in their big farm yard. Aunt Florence kept a neat and clean farm house and was rumored to even iron her bed sheets. She was a good cook and had a pantry next to her cozy country kitchen which I thought was very cool. If we behaved, we would be rewarded with one of her crisp and delectable chocolate chip oatmeal cookies from the famous old cookie jar!

She had beautiful dark oak woodwork, an oak finished staircase which we loved to take turns sliding down and even an old fashioned oak telephone  on her wall that was no longer in use but I imagined talking on this and calling Sara the operator to make my call just like Andy and Barney did on the  Andy Griffith show. She and Uncle Orrin also had an old barn in immaculate condition with a ladder leading to the old hay mound which we loved to climb up and explore. They had barn dances up there in their younger years and my grandfather and grandmother on my mom’s side of the family met there and eventually married. In her younger years, she would pile my mom, her brother Bob, sister Pat and Uncle Orrin Junior in the box of her straight stick old Ford pick up and give them a ride to the nearest lake for a cool dip after a long day of weeding the garden and feeding the chickens on the farm. My Aunt Pat who was often a mischief maker I hear, decided to take a short cut through the bull pen on her way back to the farmhouse and was chased by a bull. She never ran faster in her life and made it over the fence in just the nick of time!

Another favorite part of Christmas is spending time with family and friends, enjoying favorite old and new family traditions and attending a Christmas Eve church service. Christmas time for me is also celebrating the birth of my savior Jesus Christ. I love to sing Christmas carols such as Silent Night Holy Night, Hark the Harold Angels Sing and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear in the church services. Old favorites such as Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow, and I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Santa Claus is coming to Town as well as all those Perry Como, Bing Crosby and Amy Grant Christmas songs are always playing in the background while I am baking, reading or wrapping Christmas presents. Every family has Christmas traditions and I remember listening to Herb Albert Tijuana Christmas also when I was a teenager since my parents enjoyed their music. I wonder if my sister or brother ended up with that album because it is not at my house! If you miss those old Christmas carols tune in to CBNradio.com for the Christmas tunes. They even have a country western version if you are country music fan. I am also thrilled as well as thankful to be free of my former purple cast since I broke my heel last fall. I am slowly recovering, while taking physical therapy and doing my home exercises and hope to be back to walking in the white winter wonderland of Minnesota very soon! Have a blessed and Merry Christmas this year!

 

ANGEL ALMOND COOOKIES
Author: 
Recipe type: Christmas Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 30 cookies
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup softened butter (or margarine if preferred)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • ½ cup crushed walnuts
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Add brown and white sugar, egg, almond and vanilla extract and mix together until well combined. Fold in crushed walnuts and set aside. Combine all of the dry ingredients well with a fork. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Roll into small balls and dip half of the cookie mixture into water and then roll in granulated sugar. You may use white sugar or colored green or red sugar. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes. Cool off and serve or store in an airtight container or cookie jar.
Notes
Count as one carbohydrate choice or 1 starch and 1 fat choice.

Nutrition information was calculated using Spark Recipes Recipe Calculator.

Gluten free diets may use the gluten free flour such as Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour.

This information is not intended to provide medical advice. Please contact your personal physician, certified diabetes educator or registered dietitian for further advice concerning adjustment into your meal plan.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: cookie Calories: 107 Fat: 6.5 grams Saturated fat: 3.1 grams Unsaturated fat: 3.4 grams Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 12 grams Sodium: 46 mg Fiber: 0.4 grams Protein: 1.5 grams Cholesterol: 18 mg

GLUTEN FREE CRANBERRY BREAD

Well it is a countdown to Christmas now and I am busy with my holiday menu planning and baking. Gluten free cranberry bread is on my menu since some of my family members are consuming a gluten free, dairy free Paleo friendly diet for health reasons. My niece Maria and her family are and she prepares some delicious gluten free recipes in her kitchen. I talked with my sister Tricia on the phone tonight and she and Maria are baking some gluten free Christmas cut out cookies this weekend. I sampled some last year and they were so good!

Cranberry orange walnut bread is an old family favorite at our house and I remember my sister and I helping my mother prepare this as well as Christmas cut out cookies in the shape of santa, reindeer, snowmen and stars when I was growing up. It is great how family traditions are passed down to the next generation. I was searching for a good gluten free cranberry bread recipe and came upon one by Ocean Spray and I modified the recipe slightly by reducing the sugar from 1 cup to 3/4 cup, reduced the salt from 1 tsp to 1/2 tsp and substituted 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in place of the shortening. Butter or coconut oil could also replace the shortening in the recipe. I prepared  the recipe and my husband and I were pleased how it turned out when we taste tested it and then froze the remainder of the loaf for Christmas. I also tried a recipe using almond flour, coconut oil and agave nectar but I was not very impressed with the taste so I will go back to my test kitchen again to find a recipe for cranberry bread using almond flour. If you have a good one, please forward it to me!

Gluten Free Cranberry Bread

GLUTEN FREE CRANBERRY BREAD
Recipe type: Quick Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, cut in half
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 TB grated orange peel
  • 2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
  • ¾ cup sugar, regular or organic cane sugar
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 TB canola or olive oil (or butter or coconut oil)
  • ¾ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed or other version
  • 1 egg, well beaten or 2 egg whites
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil and flour a loaf pan. Combine cranberries, nuts and orange peel in a bowl and set aside. Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine egg, juice and vegetable oil and mix with a spoon or use an electric beater. Add dry ingredients to juice mixture and stir or beat until combined. Fold in the nut, orange peel and cranberry mixture. Place in prepared loaf pan and bake 50-60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. You can make muffins from the recipe as well. Oil muffin tins well and will make 12 muffins. Bake muffins for 15-18 minutes.
Notes
count as 1 carbohydrate choice If you would like to reduce the carbohydrate (sugar) content further, you can substitute 12 packets Stevia in place of ½ cup of sugar.
If you would prefer to, you can substitute honey or agave nectar in place of the sugar. Use 50% less honey or agave nectar than sugar in your recipe.

Cool down the bread completely and let sit on thecounter for 1-2 hours before slicing to prevent crumbling.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/ 12 loaf Calories: 105 Fat: 4 grams Saturated fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 13 grams Sodium: 193 mg Fiber: 1 gram Protein: 1 gram Cholesterol: 16 mg

Food is an important part of our holiday festivities. The last thing most of us want however is to get on the scale January 2 and see the scale go up five pounds or for our jeans to be so tight we can’t squeeze into them! Maintaining your weight over the season is a good goal to shoot for. Practice moderation in your eating over the holiday season. These suggestions will help. Use a smaller plate and eat slowly. Fill your plate with 50% fruits and vegetables, 25 % lean protein and 25% whole grain or gluten free grain. Try to limit yourself to one small portion of dessert ( or two half pieces) after your meal. You can always sample more later. I find taking half a piece helps. Bring a raw vegetable platter with a lower fat sour cream and non-fat greek yogurt dip or hummus if you are on a dairy free and gluten free diet. Fresh sliced seasonal fruit such as grapes, apples, clementines and pears are also a favorite and go fast at a party. Fresh shrimp with a low fat or fat free sauce is also a low calorie, high protein food you can bring to a holiday party. It also helps to take a small plate of food and don’t stand right by the food or buffet table and mingle. Walk across the room or take a seat elsewhere. Drink plenty of water or herbal tea as well. If you are drinking wine, add 50% seltzer or mineral water to reduce your alcohol and calorie intake. Keep up your regular exercise routine and all that mall walking while you shop helps too. Have yourself a very Merry Christmas or Hannukkah this year and a very prosperous and Happy New Year!

CRANBERRY ORANGE NUTBREAD

I am officially starting my Christmas baking today. I am preparing an old favorite family recipe, Cranberry Orange Nut Bread. I remember helping my mother prepare this when I was growing up. It will be on my Christmas menu and I plan to bring a loaf to my women’s bible study Christmas party next week. This bread is not only delicious but very healthy and  moderately low in calorie, fat, sodium and cholesterol content.. It can be adjusted into a carbohydrate controlled meal plan for diabetes or weight loss also. I have also made a gluten free version of this for my niece and her family since they are following a gluten and dairy free diet. I will feature that recipe in a future blog next week.

This quick bread is delicious for breakfast, snack time or served at a holiday celebration.

I enjoy Christmas baking but I like to “tweak” or modify many recipes to lower the calorie, saturated fat, cholesterol and carbohydrate content of the recipe for a couple of simple reasons. I do not want to gain extra weight over the holiday season and I enjoy eating healthy foods. I still want my recipe to taste good so I won’t modify my recipes to the point where they don’t taste good. Of course, I do enjoy sampling other people’s holiday foods and if they are higher in saturated fat or calorie content, I enjoy them in moderation. For example, my brother in law Al makes buckeyes from peanut butter and chocolate. They are out of this world in good taste so I try to limit myself to a couple of these! I am also in my fifties and realize that I do not have the metabolism of a twenty five year old anymore since the rate of metabolism decreases approximately 3 to 5 percent or more each decade as we age. I try to offset that by burning calories with walking on a regular basis. Unfortunately, I have had a cast or splint on my leg now for 6 weeks so walking is out for awhile but I do have some three pound arm weights that I lift each day as well as doing leg lifts with a three pound ankle weight from my recliner. Soon I will have my cast off and be able to resume my walking once again! I may have to mall walk or walk with my Leslie Sansome walking DVDsince it is chilly up here in the northland! I will share some of my favorite recipe swaps with you below.

 

 

Cranberry Orange Nutbread

5.0 from 1 reviews
CRANBERRY ORANGE NUTBREAD
Author: 
Recipe type: quick bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 loaf (16 slices)
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, minus 2 TB
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 1 TB grated orange peel
  • 2 TB canola oil, regular or expeller pressed
  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites well beaten
  • 1½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cups chopped walnuts
  • 2 TB ground flaxseed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with non-stick spray or grease with oil to prevent sticking. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and flaxseed. Stir until well combined. Add orange juice, orange peel, oil and egg and stir in well. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread mixture evenly in a loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of loaf comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool down completely before slicing. Makes one loaf. (16 slices)
Notes
Count 1/16 of a loaf as 2 carbohydrate choices
Since I am using 2 TB of ground flax seed, I am reducing the flour in the recipe by 2 TB.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice Calories: 175 Fat: 6 grams Saturated fat: 0 grams Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 27 grams Sodium: 156 mg Fiber: 1 gram Protein: 3 grams Cholesterol: 18 mg

The recipe that my mother used to make was on the Ocean Spray cranberry bag and although it was delicious, I modified the recipe by reducing the sugar to 3/4 cup from 1 cup, reducing the salt to 1/2 tsp from 1 tsp. I substituted canola oil in place of the 2 TB shortening called for in the original recipe to reduce the saturated fat content of the recipe.  I also added 2 TB ground flaxseed to the recipe. This recipe swap reduces the calories per slice by 36, carbohydrates are reduced by 10 grams and the sodium is cut by 157 mg. If you choose to use 2 egg whites in place of 1 egg, the cholesterol content is now zero. Some of you may want to use a sugar substitute such as stevia in place of some of the sugar also. Twelve packets of stevia are equal to 1/2 cup of sugar in a recipe.

 

RECIPE SWAPS

Ingredient                                         Substitution                                                                                                  

 

1 cup sugar                                        1/2 cup sugar                                                                                                                                 

1 cup vegetable oil                           1/2 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 cup applesauce                                         

1 cup sour cream                             1 cup reduced fat sour cream                                                                      

1 egg                                                   2 egg whites                                                                                                        

1/2 cup mayonnaise                        1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise                                                                                                                      

You will save 385 calories by reducing your sugar by 50% in the example above. The simple recipe swap using half oil and half applesauce in the example will save you 884 calories and 20 tsp of fat. Using your reduced fat sour cream save you 160 calories and 3 tsp of fat in your recipe. If you substitute the egg whites in place of one egg, you will save 45 calories, 1 tsp of saturated fat and 278 mg of cholesterol per egg. Lastly, by using the reduced fat mayonnaise, you will save 360 calories and 18 tsp of fat in your recipe. It all adds up!

You can also increase the fiber content of your recipes by using all whole wheat flour or 50% white four and 50% whole wheat flour. If you are baking gluten free, use the brown rice flour instead of the white rice flour to boost fiber and nutritional content. You can also purchase gluten free flour from ground legumes such as black bean flour. Almond flour  is made from whole ground blanched almonds. It is a good source of protein, fiber, Vitamin E and magnesium. Almond and coconut flour are higher in fat content than gluten containing flours, but they are a healthier form of fat. They are also lower in carbohydrate content than gluten containing  flours.

Ground flaxseed is a nutritional star! Each tablespoon is rich in fiber, omega 3 fatty acids and essential nutrients like copper, magnesium and thiamine. Grind the whole flaxseed so that you receive the nutritional benefits. The ground flaxseed is much easier for your body to digest.Ground flaxseed has a high concentration of healthy oils so it can be used as an egg replacement when baking or use in baked goods as a replacement for some of the flour. Use  1 tablespoon ground flaxseed  with 3 tablespoons of water or other type of liquid to replace each egg in cakes, cookies, muffins or pancakes. You may substitute ground flaxseed for the oil, butter or margarine in a baked good recipe in a 3-to-one ratio. For every 1/3 cup of fat called for, use one cup of ground flaxseed or flaxseed flour instead. For every one tablespoon of fat, use 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed or flaxseed flour. You can replace some of the flour in your recipe with ground flaxseed also. Replace up to 15% of the white or wheat flour in your baked goods with ground flaxseed. If this is a yeast bread, use 25% more yeast than the recipe calls for. If you are preparing an egg based yeast bread, avoid using ground flaxseed as an egg replacement.

 

Take time to enjoy the Christmas season with family and friends. My niece has planned an advent calender to share with her two young sons Luke and Matt. You can read about this more at her Maria makes Muffins blog. Other families prepare an advent wreath and light one candle each week before Christmas and enjoy a family dinner or snack at this time. A hot chocolate and Christmas cookie party sounds like fun or an eggnog and dark chocolate covered pretzel holiday party would work too!  On the lighter side, you could prepare some Cranberry Spritzers by combining equal part of cranberry juice, white grape juice and black cherry flavored sparkling water. This makes a refreshing punch. Serve this with a platter of fresh fruit and cream cheese or yogurt based fruit dip as well as some hummus, whole grain crackers, raw veggies and cranberry orange nutbread. It is never too late to start a new holiday tradition. Enjoy this magical time of year and  also remember Jesus is the reason for the season!