5 Simple, Healthy Holiday Treats

Don’t you just love quickies? Whoops, wrong series.

Kidding. Sort of…

I don’t know about you all, but this holiday season seems to be flying by, leaving me little time to bake up a storm in the kitchen. Rather than prepare my family’s traditional cardamom bread, which is scrumptious yet labor intensive, I’ve been relying on quick throw-it-together concoctions. The result? A healthy, happy, aromatic home and plenty of time for writing. And shopping. ‘Tis the season, right? Okay, I lied. I primarily shop online. But not for most groceries, of which you’ll need few for the following.

These recipes are far from gourmet, but they’re pretty darn tasty, if I may say so. They’re also healthier than your typical treats, making them a sweet tooth/wellness win-win, and require very little time and cleanup. *sigh* Just the sound of that last bit lifts my spirits…

Chocolate Banana Pudding

Ingredients:

12-oz package tofu
2 bananas, cut into chunks
1/4 cup sugar or honey
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Splash of soy milk (or any milk)
Pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or mixer. Blend until smooth, then chill in a pie pan or prepared crust for an hour or more. Top with whipped topping and fruit, if desired. Serves about 6.

Egg Nog Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 banana
1 cup eggnog
1/2 cup milk
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds or walnuts
Optional addition: 1/4 cup pureed, unsweetened pumpkin

Directions:

Blend all ingredients together. Vwa-la! Serves 2.

Cinnamon Baked Pears

2 large pears, sliced
2 Tbsp butter or coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp whole wheat or almond flour
4 Tbsp old-fashioned oats
Pinch of cinnamon
Slivered almonds and ice cream (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine butter or coconut oil, brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon in a freezer bag. Shake to combine. Add pear slices to bag, and shake until they’re coated. Arrange coated pears on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly golden. Serve plain or topped with vanilla ice cream and almonds. Serves 4.

Quick Apple Sauce (adapted from the Food Network’s recipe)

Ingredients:

3 sweet apples, peeled, cored and quartered
3 tart apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
1 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons rum (optional)
2 tablespoons butter, softened or sliced
3 tablespoons agave or honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 10 minutes. Remove the lid carefully then mash the apples with a fork or potato masher. (If you prefer, you can heat the mixture on the stove until soft, or 30 to 45 minutes.) Serve hot or chilled.

No-Bake Coconut Cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped nuts
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup almond or peanut butter
4 Tbsp honey or agave
1/4 – 1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir well. Freeze for 20 minutes or so then form into balls and refrigerate. Makes about 24 small or 12 larger cookies.

For more fabulous recipes, check out the appropriately titled Yum Blog Hop, hosted by K.B. Owen. Bon appetit!

What’s your favorite holiday treat? Any super simple recipes to share below? 

Leave a comment

47 Comments

  1. Awesome blog! Anything with Chocolate Pudding gets my vote!

    Reply
  2. OneHotMess

     /  November 29, 2012

    Oooh, that eggnog smoothie looks fabulous—with the pumpkin! Thank you!

    Reply
  3. I want to try those coconut goodies! Just found, finally, some unsweetened coconut and looking for things to do with it – it’s a rather large bag! whooooop!

    Reply
  4. That Eggnog Smoothie is calling to me … with a side order of the No-Bake Coconut Cookies. Thanks for making my holiday entertaining just that much easier!

    Reply
    • My pleasure, Patricia! That smoothie derived from my impulse buy of egg nog. It was way too sweet for me. Smoothie-fied, it really hit the spot. 🙂

      Reply
  5. prudencemacleod

     /  November 29, 2012

    Oh, they all look so good. I am bookmarking this page. Thanks for sharing, August.

    Reply
  6. YUM! The one that really pings my taste-buds is the pear recipe.

    I have no super easy or marginally healthy recipes to share. But, I do have one item I put in holiday goodie baskets. Canned bread — baked in a wide-mouthed mason jar and sealed. It has a shelf-life of 6 months. Once sealed, unscrew the top, add festive fabric and a bow. The bread slides right out for slicing. I have a specific recipe for different variations, but imagine it will work for any quick bread recipe. Including healthy adaptations. Fill the jars 1/2 to 2/3 with batter, bake in a 325 degree oven for 45 minutes and seal while they’re still hot.

    And, GAAAH! I had a sugar snarf-a-thon yesterday after a healthy lunch. I’m so glad Sherry Isaac and I are going through The Artist’s Way. My morning Artist Pages (3 free-writing brain dumps) gave me a platform to dissect why I let that happen. Geesh! I was bored and avoiding the next task on my list. That’s not happening today. Period.

    Reply
    • That bread sounds like fun!

      I adore The Artist’s Way. That was a major breakthrough book for me years back, so much so that my copy’s pages are as soft as Kleenex from overuse. 🙂 Everyone overdoes food now and again. I’m glad you were able to recognize the underlying cause and hope you’re feeling happy and healthy today.

      Reply
      • Thanks, August for the good wishes. Yes, I’m feeling happy and healthy. When I agreed to team with Sherry on The Artist’s Way, I did so thinking it would be another book about writing habits, writer’s paradigms, lists of fears, why they’re self-defeating, yadda, yadda.

        I had no clue how life and behavior altering it would be. It’s a spiritual journey into the past to shape the future.

        I thought I’d explored every crook and cranny of my past during my journey to sobriety. I thought the 12 steps would apply only to my relationship with alcohol. Both programs dig so deep, they incite behavior and attitude changes in every aspect of life. For artists. For alcoholics. For me–as a human, spiritual being. I, too, adore it.

  7. The baked pears look delish. I’m going to fix that dessert this weekend. Thanks, August!

    Reply
  8. The pears & apple sauce sound amazing. I know hubs would also love the eggnog. 🙂

    Reply
  9. Catherine Johnson

     /  November 29, 2012

    I’ve only ever put apples in apple sauce with possibly cinnamon, what a neat recipe. Great healthy line up, August. I hope I catch the whole blog hop yum!

    Reply
  10. The coconut cookies sound tasty.

    Reply
  11. Ooh, those no bake coconut cookies look good to me.. I will try them. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  12. They all look soooo yummy, August! I’ll have to give some a try. Hmm, maybe the pudding first…

    Oh, and thanks for the fab shout-out, too! 😀

    Reply
  13. That eggnog smoothie looks fantastic. I’m going to print off the recipe right away 🙂

    Reply
  14. I love to make bars where I throw in everything but the kitchen sink, however, my boys love the traditional chocolate kiss cookie. Come January, I have baked so many of those things that it takes an entire year just to get the image off of my retinas. 🙂

    Reply
  15. Oh my goodness – can’t wait to try those baked pears. And my husband will love the smoothie!

    Thanks for the wonderful treat ideas.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Scmidt

    Reply
  16. Jeeeeez, Is a guy allowed to comment here?
    I copied the coconut no bakes.
    My favorite recipe is 2 shots Southern Comfort, a half-cap full (just a tiny bit now!) of extra dry vermouth and a teaspoon of cherry juice. Pour ingredients individually (in any order you wish) over a short tumbler full of ice. Stir thouroughly. Have two and you may not be stirring at all.
    Cheers!

    Reply
  17. Elena Aitken

     /  November 29, 2012

    I must try those coconut balls. YUM!

    Reply
  18. Thank you!!!! Healthy eggnog? You just gave me the best recipe to try this season! The baked pears and no bake coconut – can’t wait to try them!

    Reply
  19. mgedwards

     /  November 29, 2012

    LOL You’re funny, August. Girl boner or chocolate, I can’t decide. 😉

    Reply
  20. Yum, August! I must try the egg nog and pear recipes, for sure!

    Reply
  21. Kourtney Heintz

     /  November 29, 2012

    I love coconut, but my favorite holiday cookie is the rum ball. Yum!

    Reply
  22. Coleen Patrick

     /  November 29, 2012

    YUM! I can’t think of just one holiday treat–although I’m partial to pies. 🙂

    Reply
  23. Um, yum! I’m definitely going to have to try those cookies. I wonder if I can swap out the pears for another fruit? It sounds like it would be good with apples, but I am not a fan of pears. I think I want to see if that works…

    Reply
  24. Gonna pass this one to a friend of mine who loves this kind of stuff.
    I would have to change the recipes for diabetes and don’t think it would taste quite as wonderful as it sounds as is.
    Scott

    Reply
  25. Hi August. We are new to your blog by way of mutual blogger, Kristen Lamb. We really enjoyed your post, and I’ve already jotted down three recipes. Especially excited to try that Egg Nog smoothie as well as the no bake coconut cookies. This one I’m leaving with you is always great during the holiday’s.

    CHRISTMAS BAR COOKIES:
    2-cups nuts
    1/2 lb. light brown sugar
    1-stick of butter
    2-eggs
    1-teaspoon vanilla
    1-cup sifted flour
    1/2 lb. candied pineapple
    1/2 lb. candied cherries
    ____________________
    Cream butter and sugar; Add eggs, flour and vanilla. Grease and flour 13 x 8 inch pan. Cut nuts and sprinkle in bottom of pan. Spread batter over nuts and sprinkle cut up fruit over batter. Bake 50 – 60 minutes in a 300 degree oven. Cut while hot.

    Hope you enjoy this one as much as we do!

    Reply
    • Pleasure to meet you! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing that fun-sounding recipe. 🙂 I bet they’re as lovely as they are delicious.

      Reply
  26. EllieAnn

     /  December 1, 2012

    Look at you in your holiday attire! I love that shot.
    And that homemade apple sauce recipe has always been a favorite of mine. But I can’t wait to try the banana chocolate pudding!

    Reply
  27. Raani York

     /  December 1, 2012

    First of all August: I LOVE your blog – and I love this blog post with the recipes. I think your picture is fantastic – such a great holiday shoot!!!
    I do have a simple recipe to share – whether or not it’s healthy, you decide. In particular and first of all: it’s sweet. LOL
    Call it “Fried banana with almonds”.

    Desert for 2 people:

    Cut 2 bananas in half (lengthwise)
    heat up two teaspoons with sweet butter and fry the banana half in there until golden brown on both sides.

    In the meantime grab two soup spoons full of almond pieces and roast in a little butter until medium brown…

    As soon as the banana halfs are ready the way you want them, add three soup spoons with honey and let it warm up (no frying, just warming up)…

    At the end serve banana halfs with warm honey on two plates and “sparkle” with the tasty almonds.

    (In case it’s not sweet enough: serve with chocolate cookies) LOL

    Enjoy!!

    Reply
  28. Raani York

     /  December 1, 2012

    I have nominated you for the Sisterhood of World Bloggers.

    If you’d like to accept this Award, please go to my Blog Site and follow the rules!

    Congratulations – I really think you do deserve it!! Your blog is GREAT!

    http://raaniyork.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award/

    Reply
  29. August these are wonderful. I am going to try the pear recipe and the no bake cookies. Scrumptious and easy, just my favourite type of recipe. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  30. look great August…I found a few Im going to try

    Reply
  31. These all look so yummy and healthy I want to whip them up all right now! My mom made the most fabulous mincemeat pie that I wish I had learned how to make but one favorite is my homemade pumpkin pie from her. The key is to cook fresh pumpkin (yes, takes time. Make sure to puree pumpkin and squeeze most of the water out of it) and separate the yolks from the whites. Beat the whites till frothy and blend in to the mix. It makes a delightful light custard pie. And make sure to make your pie crust with a mix of shortening (I use organic palm oil) and butter for the best crust. Top with pumpkin ice cream! OK, this is not a lowfat dish but a treat 🙂

    Reply
  32. –the chocolate banana pudding looks quite Deeelish. Did you say Tofu? O, My!

    Reply
  33. Yummy post, August!

    Reply
  34. Yum and delish! I am glad you didn’t list the calories! Hahaha!
    I was away on a girl’s trip and am struggling to catch up!

    Reply
  1. Mash Up « Catherine Johnson

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