Guest Author - Angela Thornton-Millard
Healthier Date Balls
Dates are very prevalent around the holidays. They show up in cookies, candy and even appetizers. Dates are very sweet. But unlike refined sugars, dates are also full of fiber and potassium. This super simple recipe uses just five ingredients and your food processor to whip up delicious date balls with no refined sugar and no flour.
1/2 cup peanuts
7 pitted dates
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup water
Put the peanuts, dates, cocoa and honey in the food processor. Process until the dates and peanuts are ground into very small pieces. With the food processor running, slowly add the water a tablespoon at a time. Stop adding water as soon as the mixture forms a sticky ball. Scoop out dough and form into 1-inch balls. Now comes the fun part. Use your creativity to “decorate” the date balls. You can roll them in chopped peanuts, coconut, more cocoa powder, sprinkles or anything you think would be tasty and attractive. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Makes about 18 date balls.
*Nutrition information per date ball: 40 calories, 2.2 grams fat, 0 grams cholesterol, .7 milligrams sodium, 72 milligrams potassium, 1 gram fiber
Healthier Holiday Popcorn
Popcorn is a great snack. It is low-calorie and full of fiber. But, those tins of brightly colored, sugar-coated popcorn that are abundant during the holidays, are not the healthiest treat. Instead of purchasing tins of highly processed popcorn, try making your own candy-coated holiday popcorn. It takes only a few ingredients and very little hands-on time.
Nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Red or green food coloring
6 cups air-popped white popcorn
Cinnamon or other favorite spice
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together the honey, oil, sea salt and a few drops of food coloring. Add the popcorn to the bowl and toss to coat well. The popcorn will not be fully colored and will retain some patches of white.
Spread the popcorn on the baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the honey has thickened. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cinnamon. Immediately remove the popcorn to another baking sheet or large bowl to cool. Store in an airtight container for three to four days. For a really festive mix, make one batch of red popcorn and one batch of green popcorn and toss together once cooled. You can also add nuts or dried cranberries to the mix.
*Nutrition information for one cup popcorn: 94 calories, 2.6 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 98 milligrams sodium, 31 milligrams potassium, 1 gram fiber
*Nutrition information estimated using SparkRecipes.com