The holiday season is the most difficult time of the year to be on a diet. The world is full of rich, gluten-filled treats and grandma’s homemade stuffing and pecan pie – or whatever it is that your grandma makes that goes against everything your new eating habits allow.
How do you make it through all those holiday dinners without going into a gluten-coma or eating so much sugar you’ll spend the next year on a glycemic rollercoaster? Worse yet, if you’re hosting a holiday party, how do you create a menu that is diet-friendly for all the people in your life that are choosing to stray away from the traditional holiday habits?
Here are three delicious holiday recipes that are diet-friendly and delicious for everyone to share!
For the Paleo: Bacon Gingersnap Cookies
I love to bake and when I found this recipe I literally fist pumped. Bacon grease cookies? Uh, yes please!
I whipped up a batch and brought it into the office for the Annmarie Gianni skin care team to try it out. The judgement: the cookies are super rich and they melt in your mouth. The bacon flavor is definitely prominent but it isn’t overpowering to the cookie. We think that a little bit of Aztec Sea Salt on top would be a nice touch.
The original recipe is from Bits of Bree. I changed it a bit to fit what I had in my cupboard so here’s my updated recipe:
Yields about 2 dozen cookies
- ¾ cup bacon fat
- 1 cup coconut flour
- ½ cup molasses
- ½ cup honey (maple syrup would also work)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (not imitation!)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 egg (preferably free-range)
- 2 tbsp of grated ginger (You can also use a teaspoon of powdered ginger)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- In a large mixing bowl combine the coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg together. When I use coconut flour, I like to dry-blend it with a hand mixer.
- In a separate bowl, blend the bacon fat, molasses, honey, egg and vanilla together
- Slowly add dry ingredients to the bacon/molasses mixture while mixing.
- Refrigerate the dough for several hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Using a tablespoon scoop the dough and roll into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 12-17 minutes or until dark brown.
Life-Changing Bread For Gluten-Free Festivities
I’ll just go ahead and say it. This bread really is life changing. An herbalist friend of mine brought it camping and it was so delicious that I had to ask for the recipe to include it for you all!
Not only does it taste amazing, it’s packed full of seeds and nuts, so it’s a complete protein all by itself! It’s great for camping because it holds together wonderfully and it’s a gluten-free alternative to a lot of gluten-full granola bars! Eat it plain or lather it with cranberry sauce (that’s what I’m partial to) – it’s the perfect nutrient delivery device!
The original recipe comes from My New Roots and there is a lovely Q&A about the ingredients and making it raw at the end of the recipe! Here’s the recipe that my friend makes <3
Yields One loaf
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup hulled pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup flax seeds
- ½ cup almonds
- 1 ½ cups certified gluten free rolled oats
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 4 tbsp psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
- 1 tsp fine grain sea salt (add ½ tsp if using coarse salt)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a pinch of stevia)
- 3 tbsp melted coconut oil or ghee
- 1 ½ cups water
- In a flexible, silicon loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well.
- In a separate bowl, whisk maple syrup, oil and water together.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable).
- Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours. (You know that the dough is ready when the sides of the silicon pan pull away and the loaf retains its shape.)
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.
- Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important).
- Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!
*note: although oats are inherently gluten free but the harvesting and processing of the oats in a facility that also processes wheat products can add the gluten protein to the finished oats.
Creamy Hot Cacao for the Vegan
I love hot chocolate. The smell of the delicious molten liquid incites memories of my childhood and the warmth of my grandmother’s house in the cold Michigan winters. Every morning we would run downstairs and the milk would be hot for our cocoa and the bread she had made the day before would be cut up and in the toaster oven. We would chat about how we slept and the dreams we had while we dipped our toast in the creamy cocoa, then we would get dressed and play for hours in the snow-covered forest.
Those snowy winters are some of my favorite childhood memories, so as the weather started to change this year, I decided that I wanted to make the perfect hot chocolate. We don’t keep milk in the house anymore and a creamy cacao is harder to make than you might think, but this recipe has changed everything!
For an after-dinner snack this vegan hot chocolate is just about as perfect as it gets.
- 3 Tbsp cacao powder
- 2 tsp organic powdered ginger
- 1 tsp organic cinnamon
- 5 Tbsp powdered maple sugar (I use honey powder but many vegans don’t consume honey)
- 3 Tbsp cold pressed coconut oil
- 2 Cups filtered water
- ½ Cup almond milk
- Optional: ½ cup cold infused marshmallow root
- Optional: 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- Melt the coconut oil in a pan on the stove on low heat.
- Mix the cacao, ginger, cinnamon, and maple sugar in a small bowl.
- Poor the dry ingredients into the coconut oil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the water and almond milk (+ your vanilla and marshmallow root infusion)
- Stir frequently until its warm and tasty!
*Note: I like to think of this recipe as a sweet herbal playland! It’s loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals with the cacao so I like to play around with my ingredients. Sometimes I like a little more or less ginger and cinnamon, and other times the sweetness of the cold infusion of marshmallow root is just the ticket. It’s all about how your taste buds are feeling and what you know about your vegan friends!
Let us know if you try these recipes or have any others you think we should know about!
by Aubrey Wallace, Resident Herbal Scholar