Homemade Better-for-you Holiday Sweets

I know this tme of year gets even busier for busy professional working moms (just like me).  I was so busy that in last week’s post about Smart Strategies for Holiday Eating, I completely forgot to point out that you can also MAKE your own foods to BRING to the events.  When you’ve got better-for-you recipes like the ones I’m about to share, you can be confident in your food choices because you know exactly what is in them and just how delicious they are!  It’s so disappointing to “waste” calories on a sub-par goodie, isn’t it?  I’ve been known to (discreetly) spit out crappy chocolates and dry cookies.  If I’m eating it, it had better be DELICIOUS!

So, I assure you that all of the recipes that follow fit the bill for both better-for-you than their traditional counterparts AND delicious – AS delicious-tasting as the originals, if not MORE SO!  Some of the recipes are vegan, some are keto- and/or paleo-friendly and ALL of the recipes lack refined/processed sugar. I actually filmed full-length LIVE demos for FIVE of the recipes on  Facebook and I shared those same five recipes as my weekly Instagram video series.

Forgot about a class party?  Need to bring a dish to a potluck (as I suggested above)?  Just want to hide in the basement with some snacks until it’s all over?  I’ve got you covered!  For all of my recipes and MORE of my top picks from my favourite food bloggers, read on!

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No-bake Paleo Almond Butter Bites (Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo, Vegan)

Paleo Almond Butter BiteWelcome to the second installment of the SWYPO* Series.  I’m clearly on an almond butter roll, after the Flourless Almond Butter Muffins.  Now we aren’t even baking – it’s time to enjoy the natural, rich sweetness of almonds in a creamy cool treat that might even get you thinking about fudge.  Just the size of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, but without any gut- and hormone-disrupting refined sugar, milk solids, chocolate or well, peanut butter!

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No-bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Protein Balls (5-ingredients, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, High-protein, Vegan option)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Protein BallsApparently, it’s THAT time of year (no, NOT Christmas – the other “THAT” time of year): back-to-school!  (I say “apparently” because I’ve been out of school for longer than I care to admit.)  Or it’s back-to-work or back-to-the-gym or maybe even Back to the Future (!) for you.  Wherever (or whenever) your day takes you, these balls make a perfectly portable pick-me-up.  And in this more hectic time of year, what’s more magical than hearing that a recipe is no-bake, and only requires five wholesome ingredients?  Much easier than homework, I promise!

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Maple Cinnamon Ricotta-Stuffed Dates with Walnuts & Pear (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined sugar-free)

Maple Cinnamon Ricotta Stuffed Dates with Walnuts and PearA host of flavours and textures come together in this elegant yet easy recipe.  Soft, caramel Medjool dates are balanced with a fine-textured Ricotta cheese filling.  The flavour of the cheese is slightly sweetened with the addition of maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon adds subtle warmth on the palate.  Each creamy bite is complemented with the crunch of chopped walnuts and crisp fresh pear.  You can just as easily serve this to a roomful of guests or prepare it as a delicious (and still nutritious) snack for yourself.
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(Paleo) Toasted Coconut-Almond-Apricot Balls (Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined sugar-free)

Toasted Coconut Almond Apricot Energy BallsWell, here it is: my first official “Paleo” recipe.  I’m taking advantage of the short but sweet early-summer apricot season to make these naturally fruit-sweetened and full of fiber (although I’m actually using dried apricots in this recipe so you can enjoy these scrumptious balls any time of year).  And since it seems like the healthiest thing you can do these days is attempt to eat, sleep and breathe coconut, I’ve got not just toasted coconut but also coconut flour in this recipe.  Stick it all together with some delectable creamy almond butter and you’ve got a winning combination.  I’m sure Paleolithic Man would scarf a few (or more) of these before mastadon hunting.  Hopefully your pursuits aren’t as perilous, but this is a healthy fuel source all the same!

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