Snowman Cupcakes Using Marshmallows and Candy

It’s easy to turn your favorite cupcakes into holiday snowman cupcakes using marshmallows and candy. Make it a fun Christmas tradition the whole family can enjoy!

The post Snowman Cupcakes Using Marshmallows and Candy appeared first on Eating Richly.

Turkey Cheese Ball Thanksgiving Appetizer with Horizon Organic

Impress your dinner guests with this adorable Turkey Cheese Ball Thanksgiving Appetizer. Holiday flavors like cranberries and toasted pecans are mixed with organic dairy for a Thanksgiving cheese ball that looks as good as it tastes.

The post Turkey Cheese Ball Thanksgiving Appetizer with Horizon Organic appeared first on Eating Richly.

Cranberry Salsa Over Cream Cheese

This fresh cranberry salsa recipe has the perfect blend of spicy, sweet, and tart for a holiday salsa recipe that’s sure to be the hit of every party.

The post Cranberry Salsa Over Cream Cheese appeared first on Eating Richly.

Snowman Cupcakes Using Marshmallows and Candy

It’s easy to turn your favorite cupcakes into holiday snowman cupcakes using marshmallows and candy. Make it a fun Christmas tradition the whole family can enjoy!

The post Snowman Cupcakes Using Marshmallows and Candy appeared first on Eating Richly.

Turkey Cheese Ball Thanksgiving Appetizer with Horizon Organic

Impress your dinner guests with this adorable Turkey Cheese Ball Thanksgiving Appetizer. Holiday flavors like cranberries and toasted pecans are mixed with organic dairy for a Thanksgiving cheese ball that looks as good as it tastes.

The post Turkey Cheese Ball Thanksgiving Appetizer with Horizon Organic appeared first on Eating Richly.

Cranberry Salsa Over Cream Cheese

This fresh cranberry salsa recipe has the perfect blend of spicy, sweet, and tart for a holiday salsa recipe that’s sure to be the hit of every party.

The post Cranberry Salsa Over Cream Cheese appeared first on Eating Richly.

The Holiday Party Food That Can Help Burn Fat

 

Next time you’re at a holiday party, fill up on crudités—they could help your body burn more fat. That’s one of the latest findings to show that eating your veggies is even better for you than previously thought.

A chemical called nitrate, found in green vegetables including radishes, lettuce, parsley, and frozen spinach, can spur white fat cells to convert to brown ones—the cells that regulate body temperature by burning fat—finds a study in the journal Diabetes. Plus, nitrates can help thin blood by lowering the amount of red blood cells your body produces, other research finds, which may prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack.

RELATED: 13 Delicious Holiday Cookies Under 100 Calories

Also good to know: Freezing your butt off getting to and from that holiday party could be beneficial to your waistline, too. One study found that exposure to cold temperatures for 30 minutes can trigger white fat in the belly and thighs to turn into brown fat.

The one thing you don’t want to do is douse your veggies with spinach dip—just 2 tablespoons can have 110 calories and 10 grams of fat. If you’re hosting, try this yummy Spinach Pesto Dip, a calorie bargain at just 141 calories per 1/2 cup (that’s 8 tablespoons).

So, yep, go right ahead: Pig out on produce.

RELATED: 11 Ways to Stay Slim Through the Holiday Season

 

5 Healthy Baking Swaps You Need to Try

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For me, baking is pure bliss. I love whipping up brownies, cupcakes, cookies, pies, and cornbread. But as a nutritionist, I also want to feel good about my goodies, whether I’m eating them myself or sharing them with friends and family. To that end I’m always playing around with better-for-you ingredient substitutions.

Here are five swaps that will shore up your baked goods’ nutritional profile, while also enhancing the flavor and texture (I promise!).

Trade butter for avocado

I’ve heard avocado referred to as nature’s butter, and the name truly fits. I enjoy avocado’s creamy goodness whipped into smoothies, spread on whole grain toast, or as the base for a dip, but it’s also fantastic in baked good recipes. Just trade each tablespoon of butter in a recipe for half a tablespoon of avocado. This swap slashes calories, and still provides the satisfying texture you crave in a dessert, while also delivering heart-healthier, waistline-trimming monounsaturated fat (MUFAs for short), and significantly boosting the vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant makeup of your treat. Just one note: you might want to use this trick in recipes with cocoa, which masks the color. I’ve used avocado in blondies and cookies, and while the texture and flavor were fantastic, there was a distinct green tint!

RELATED: 9 Healthier Dessert Recipes for Fall

Replace wheat flour with bean flour

While I tested negative for Celiac disease I do feel better when I avoid gluten. Fortunately there are a number of gluten-free flours ideal for baking that also add bonus fiber, protein, and nutrients. One of my favorites is garbanzo bean flour. A quarter cup packs 5g of fiber (versus just 1g in the same amount of all-purpose flour) and I love the nutty flavor and heartiness but not heaviness it adds to brownies and muffins. Substitute it in a one-to-one swap for all-purpose or wheat flour. It should work well in any baking recipe.

RELATED: 16 Easy, Guilt-Free Cookie Recipes

Use coconut oil in place of shortening

Shortening and coconut oil look similar in that both are generally white and solid at room temperature. The difference is shortening is solid because a liquid oil was hydrogenated to make it solid—a man-made process that’s far from natural. Partial hydrogenation creates trans fat, the nutritional villain that’s been linked to a host of health problems, from heart disease and type 2 diabetes to fertility challenges. Fully hydrogenated oil (aka interesterified oil), while technically trans fat free, may be even worse for your health. A Brandeis University study found that subjects who consumed products made with interesterified oil experienced a decrease in their “good” HDL cholesterol and a significant rise in blood sugar about a 20% spike in just four weeks.

Enter coconut oil, a natural plant-based fat, which also supplies antioxidants similar to those found in berries, grapes, and dark chocolate. While high in saturated fat, newer research confirms that not all saturated fats are bad for you. Coconut oil contains a type called medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, which are metabolized in a unique way. This good fat has actually been shown to up “good” HDL, reduce waist circumference, and increase calorie burning. For baking, substitute it one-for-one for shortening. It’s amazing in pie crust and chocolate chip cookies!

RELATED: Good Fats, Bad Fats: How to Choose

Swap some sugar for pureed fruit

While fat used to be public enemy #1, today’s nutritional wisdom dictates including good fats (such as avocado and coconut oil) and shunning refined sugar. While removing it entirely in baking isn’t always possible, I have found that I can replace up to 50% of it with pureed fruit, such as bananas, pears, apples, mangoes, papayas, and dried dates or figs pureed with water. In addition to being bundled with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, the naturally occurring sugar in fruit is much less concentrated. For example, a quarter cup (4 tablespoons) of mashed banana contains less than 7 grams of sugar, compared to 12 grams in just one tablespoon of table sugar. The replacement ratio can be a little tricky, because some fruits are sweeter than others, but I often find that a quarter cup of pureed fruit can replace a half cup of sugar. (Note: I don’t like my baked goods overly sweet, so some bakers may prefer a one-to-one replacement.) And because fruit has a higher water content, you’ll also need to reduce the liquid in the recipe a bit, typically by a quarter cup.

RELATED: 23 Superfruits You Need Now!

Upgrade chocolate chips to dark chocolate chunks

I’m always singing the praises of dark chocolate, and the research just keeps coming. A study out this month found that gut bacteria ferment dark chocolate to produce substances that fight inflammation, a known trigger of aging and diseases, including obesity. Most of the research about chocolate’s benefits has been done with 70%t dark, and the chocolate chips you’ll find in the baking aisle are likely 34% or less (I have seen one brand of 70% but it can be hard to find and quite expensive), so I recommend using a chopped dark chocolate bar instead. It’s easy peasy, and some research shows that chocolate’s aroma, which is released when it’s chopped, pre-sates the palate, which may naturally help you gobble less of the goodies. P.S. If you love chocolate, check out my vegan chocolate brownie recipe with a secret superstar ingredient (hint: it’s a veggie). To make them gluten-free use garbanzo bean flour in place of the whole wheat pastry flour.

RELATED: 7 Healthy Holiday Cookie Recipes

What are your thoughts on this topic? Chat with us on Twitter by mentioning @goodhealth and @CynthiaSass.

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. Connect with Cynthia on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

 

13 Baking Hacks That Make Your Life Easier

 
 

 

Make Carrie Underwood’s Fresh Blackberry Jam

Someone Just Paid $5,400 For a Bunch of Grapes — Really

 

According to Urban Dictionary, the term “hack” has several meanings, among them “a clever or elegant technical accomplishment” and “a temporary, jury-rigged solution.” These 13 baking shortcuts not only fit both of these definitions, but are ingenious enough to change your culinary life forever. Read on, and never cry over snafus like burned cookies or undecorated cakes again.

 

 

Scoop up stray eggshells

 
 

Chantal over at Paleoaholic suggested a simple but super-smart way to get errant bits of shell out of an egg you’ve over-zealously cracked into a bowl. “Wet your fingers before trying to get it out. It literally gravitates the shell to your fingers, so you can quickly remove all of the unpleasant crunch,” she writes in a post dedicated to this do-it-all food.

 

 

Soften brown sugar

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You last bought brown sugar to make chocolate chip cookies for a holiday party. Now it’s summer and you want to make another batch for a picnic, but your sugar looks and feels more like a brick than something you’d want to eat. No need to toss it in the trash. Place it in a baking dish, cover it with a moist paper towel and either microwave it on high for 20-second intervals or place it in a 300° F oven for five minutes.

 

 

Warm up your eggs

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Some recipes call for room-temperature eggs, since they are often easier to incorporate into batter when they aren’t too cold. If you’ve forgotten to take them out in advance, Baking Bites suggests placing them in a bowl of warm water for five to ten minutes before using them.

 

 

Ripen bananas in the oven

Courtesy Jill Nystul

Sometimes a banana-bread craving strikes but you might not have an overripe bunch stashed and ready to go. So follow this suggestion from Jill Nystul of One Good Thing by Jillee and roast whole bananas in the oven for 40 minutes at 300° F to ripen them. They’ll end up soft, black and the perfect texture for baking a moist loaf.

 

 

Salvage burned cookies

Courtesy Brenda De Los Santos/PEOPLE Great Ideas

There’s nothing like opening the oven and realize that your highly anticipated cookies have been scorched — and the friends you’re hosting are coming in a matter of minutes. Don’t panic and dump them into the trash, instead, steal a tip from Brenda of Downtown Dish and shave off the bottoms with either a box grater or Microplane zester. What happens in the kitchen, stays in the kitchen, right?

 

 

Let the oven frost your cupcakes

Courtesy Toni Spilsbury, The Organized Cook/PEOPLE Great Ideas

Don’t feel like frosting a batch of cupcakes? If you’ve got a bag of large marshmallows you’ll barely have to lift a finger to gussy them up. About five minutes before the oven timer is due to ring, Toni Spilsbury places a large marshmallow on top of each cupcake for a melted, S’Mores-like topping.

 

 

Get 7 more genius baking hacks at PEOPLE Great Ideas

 
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE Great Ideas.

 

Make Your Own Spiced Nuts

 

I am nuts about nuts. So the holidays are the perfect excuse to make my absolute favorite treat in the world: Sweet & Spicy Nuts.

These delicious treats are heart-healthy, rich on antioxidants, insanely easy, and make a gorgeous and very welcome hostess gift idea. As a bonus, they are pretty budget friendly (especially if you have lots of nuts left over from gift baskets).

This recipe is very forgiving. Feel free to mix and match nuts, sweeteners, and spices. Heart healthy munchers will want to omit the butter and salt to keep fat and sodium levels down.

If you don’t have time to read the rest of this blog, I boiled it down here:

nuts + maple syrup + butter + cinnamon + chili powder = Sweet & Spicy Nuts

For more serious cooks, here is the recipe:

 

1 1/2 cups nuts

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon chili powder

sea salt to taste

 

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and bake 1 1/2 cups nuts for 10 minutes; remove to cool slightly. Heat 1/2 cup maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly; bring to a low boil, and stir in 1 tablespoon butter. Add nuts, and stir until coated; let cool. Combine 1 tablespoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon chili powder (less if you don’t want it spicy) in a bowl. Remove nuts from the maple mixture with a slotted spoon, and toss in the spice mixture. Lay nuts on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with a little sea salt; let dry. Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

It makes 12 servings (serving size: 1 ounce).

Nutrition:
 Calories 149; Fat 10g (sat 2g, mono 6g, poly 2g); Cholesterol 3mg; Protein 3g; Carbohydrate 14g; Sugars 8g; Fiber 2g; Iron 1mg; Sodium 10mg; Calcium 30mg

 

 

Related links:

 

 

Best and Worst Nuts for Your Health

Fats to Eat, Fats to Avoid

10 Best Foods for Your Heart

How Inflammation Hurts

More Peeper Keeper Foods

 

 

 

 
7 Smart Holiday-Food Rules

 
 

 

 

An Easy and Delicious Holiday Brunch

Sarabeth Levine is the queen of brunch. She’s been serving it up for 25 years at her popular eateries around Manhattan—and her namesake preserves (find them at SuperTarget stores nationwide) have become a gourmet institution. Sarabeth shares her amazing recipes with us this month so you can share them with your holiday guests.

 

 

Sarabeth Levine’s Low-Cal Pancakes

 

 

 

 

Low-Fat Milk Lightens This Rich and Creamy Cocoa

 

 

This Tropical Drink is Full of Fresh Fruit

 

 

Eggs With Smoked Salmon Provide a Morning Protein Punch

 
 

Recipes adapted from Sarabeth Levine

Edited by Frances Largeman-Roth

 

9 Keto Christmas Cookie Recipes Even Santa Will Love

Santa Claus is comin’ to town, and you know what that means: Christmas cookies. While traditional holiday cookies are loaded with carbs, you can make low-carb, sugar-free batches that taste just as scrumptious as the cookies you grew up eating. Check out these nine delicious keto-friendly cookie recipes below, and have a very merry low-carb Christmas!

RELATED: 13 Keto Pumpkin Dessert Recipes for Fall

Chocolate peppermint stars

Placing a star on top of the tree is a holiday tradition, and so is baking star-shaped cookies. You won’t believe these chocolate and iced cookies by All Day I Dream About Food are free of both sugar and eggs.

Shortbread cookies

This mouthwatering recipe by Wholesome Yum requires only four ingredients and has just one gram net carbs per cookie. We know, it’s a real-life Christmas miracle.

Gingerbread men

No one should miss out on the excitement of decorating gingerbread men cookies, and that includes keto dieters. This recipe by All Day I Dream About Food has taken the yuletide classic and made it low-carb and sugar-free. 

Peanut butter cookies

Baby, all I want for Christmas is…this peanut butter cookie recipe by Kalyn’s Kitchen. They have no sugar or gluten—what more could a girl ask for?

Chocolate cookies

This recipe by Keto Diet App is the ultimate holiday gift. It calls for just five ingredients and can be baked in only 25 minutes. Not to mention, the flavor is out of this world. Thank you, Santa!

Lemon sugar cookies

How annoying is it when you bite into a lemon dessert and it’s all sweet with no sour? That’s Low Carb?! says it’s one of her biggest pet peeves too, which is why she made this recipe that strikes the perfect balance of the two flavors.

Chocolate dipped peanut butter cookie sandwiches

If you think there’s a cookie combination more perfect than peanut butter and chocolate, you’re seriously mistaken. This recipe by Peace, Love and Low Carb puts the delicious duo in the spotlight.

Chocolate chip cookies

We get it: for some people, holiday baking can be downright stressful. That’s why Fat For Weight Loss crafted this cookie recipe that can be made in just 20 minutes. You know you can’t go wrong with classic chocolate chip.

Snickerdoodles

So you’re not really a chocolate person, but sugar cookies are kind of boring in your opinion. What do you bake? Gnom-gnom has the answer: snickerdoodles. They’re lightly tangy with notes of cinnamon, making for an irresistible flavor combo.

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13 Delicious Holiday Cookies Under 100 Calories

Here’s a fact that may boost your spirits: December 4 is National Cookie Day. It’s a happy coincidence considering the holidays are upon us. Really, what better time than now to nosh on these sweets?

While Santa would approve of indulging in a few cookies, some holiday favorites can rack up the calories and fat after just a few bites. Thankfully, there are a few tasty and festive recipes you can enjoy with less guilt.

RELATED: 11 Ways to Stay Slim Through the Holiday Season

Get to baking with these 13 treats—six of them have about 60 calories per cookie or less!

Apple Pie Tassies

Calories: 39
Thanks to the apples in this dessert, you’ll get a little boost of filling fiber to keep snacking to a minimum. Plus, it’s low in the bad stuff, like sodium and cholesterol. Get the recipe: Apple Pie Tassies

 

 

Mocha-Nut Fudge Flats

Calories: 43
If you can’t get enough of the rich taste from your morning brew, this coffee-inspired cookie is your perfect sweet. Unsweetened cocoa powder helps cut down the sugar. Get the recipe: Mocha-Nut Fudge Flats

 
 
 

 

PB&J Thumbprints

Calories: 44
Thumbprints are a holiday staple no one can resist. Satisfy your craving in a healthy way with this peanut butter and jelly twist on the classic. Get the recipe: PB&J Thumbprints

 
Gingerbread Sparkles
Calories: 51
Need something to serve at a holiday party? Not only is this cookie low in calories and fat, but the red and white sparkles add a festive touch. Get the recipe: Gingerbread Sparkles

 
 

Snickerdoodles

Calories: 54
You can’t go wrong with a batch of snickerdoodles. Not only are these tasty cookies easy to make, but the cinnamon dusted on top is good for your heart, too. Get the recipe: Snickerdoodles

 
 

Ginger-Molasses Cookies

Calories: 61
Two reasons to grab this snack: There’s only two grams of fat per cookie, plus soothing ginger can help fight inflammation. Get the recipe: Ginger-Molasses Cookies

 
 

Decorated Sugar Cookies

Calories: 69
Sugar cookies always seem to pop up around the holidays, but this simple sugar cookie dough recipe is perfect for people who don’t like buying the packaged stuff. Get the recipe: Decorated Sugar Cookies

 
 

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Calories: 70
The minty taste of peppermint isn’t just for candy canes: It also complements a batch of chocolate cookies. Thanks to sugar-free candy and calorie-free sweetener, this recipe is diabetic friendly too. Get the recipe: Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

 
 

Cranberry-Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Calories: 75
The ingredients in this treat (including oatmeal) pack flavor and nutrition. You’ll get antioxidants from the cranberries, filling fiber from the oats, and omega-3 fatty acids from the walnuts. Get the recipe: Cranberry-Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies

 
 

Linzer Thumbprints

Calories: 87
Another way to spice up your thumbprints this holiday season: add hazelnuts, cinnamon, and lemon juice for a fresh take. Get the recipe: Linzer Thumbprints

 
 

Cinnamon Streusel Crisps

Calories: 87
Take your sugar cookies to a whole new level this year with cinnamon, pecans, and a bit of nutmeg. It’s your favorite spices on an edible platter. Get the recipe: Cinnamon Streusel Crisps

 
 

Mocha Cookies

Calories: 90
Love the taste of coffee, but not crazy about the nuts in the Mocha-Nut Fudge Flats above? Then this simplified cookie recipe is right up your alley. Get the recipe: Mocha Cookies

 
 

Chocolate Chunk and Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

Calories: 92
Who doesn’t love oatmeal cookies around the holidays? The best thing: these have walnuts, which are high in the heart-healthy omega-3 fat alpha linoleic acid. Plus, decadent chocolate chunks. Get the recipe: Chocolate Chunk and Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

 
 
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