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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Low-carb Hot Cocoa

It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe.  Long, too long (say that in your best Sean Connery voice).  I’m one of those weirdos who still likes hot beverages even in hot weather (don’t worry if this makes you a weirdo, too; we can be weird together).  Actually, apparently it’s not actually all that weird.  Some of the hottest places on earth (the Equator; African nations) drink hot, HOT coffee and other hot beverages to encourage the body to sweat to help with this body-cooling mechanism.

So, here’s to sweaty days and sweaty nights, and I swear this low-carb hot cocoa is actually really great on cold winter days and nights, as well.  With fewer than fifty calories per mug, it’s basically perfect all of the time. Unlike “regular” hot chocolate, it’s also completely sugar-free, and also dariy-free, gluten-free and vegan.  And you can make it without breaking a sweat.

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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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Low-carb Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie (Vegan option)

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie MugA creamy protein smoothie with the classic flavour combination of rich dark chocolate and cool mint.  Instead of a piece of chocolate or peppermint pattie that runs the risk of melting or being squished, you can safely drink this mint chocolate concoction to get your fix AND do it with more protein and fewer carbohydrates, calories and fat than almost any blended frozen drink!

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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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Coconut Oatmeal Cookie Protein Smoothie (Vegan option)

Coconut Oatmeal Cookie Protein SmoothieA creamy, cool protein smoothie that tastes just like an oatmeal cookie with coconut. The extra fiber and healthy fats offer more staying power than your average protein shake!  Whip it up in the blender in mere minutes and enjoy at home or on the go.  Depending on your protein powder, you can even make this recipe vegan, too.

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Banana-Pineapple-Spinach Protein Smoothie (Vegan option)

Banana-Pineapple Spinach SmoothieThis “green” smoothie might be a verdant colour and it might feature some decidedly good-for-you green ingredients, but the taste is nothing but sweet yellow summer sunshine!  Ripe bananas and tropical pineapple will wow your tastebuds and your body will thank you for all of the extra goodness of GREEN tea and GREEN spinach.  Packed with protein, potassium and quick-acting carbohydrates, this is the perfect pre- or post-workout pick-me-up.  It also makes a great “any time” summery snack or meal.

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Weeknight Winner Wednesday: Easy Meatless “Cheater” Chili (Dairy-free, Gluten-free, High-fiber, Low-fat, Vegan)

Easy Meatless Cheater Chili BowlI’m back with the second installment of Weeknight Winner Wednesdays!   This edition features a high-fiber, flavourful meatless chili that you can have on the table in about two shakes (that’s twenty minutes) with one simple make-ahead ingredient.  No sweating over a simmering pot for hours.  And with high-fiber beans stealing the show, no one will miss the meat in this vegetarian, low-fat chili.  YOU control the heat, so you can make this just as hot (or not) as you like.  This is another nutritious and delicious dish you (and your family) are sure to love.

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Quick and Easy Curried Chickpeas with Brown Rice (Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Low-fat, Vegan)

Quick and Easy Curried Chickpeas with Brown RiceCraving Indian food but don’t have time to cook?  Wait – don’t pick up that phone!  You can get all the great taste of Indian takeout without the guilt with this super-fast, easy (& healthy!) recipe.  Serve it on its own as a light lunch or dinner or pair it with your favourite Indian dishes as part of a family feast.  This vegan dish still packs a punch of protein from the chickpeas and brown rice and is a great source of fiber.  It’s gluten-free, too!  You can throw all of the ingredients in this single serving recipe into a to-go container for an easy on-the-go meal (just heat and eat) OR multiply the recipe to feed the whole family.

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(Paleo) Quick and Easy Guacamole (5 ingredients!)

Quick and Easy GuacamoleAh, guacamole. If I’m eating guacamole, I’m eating some version of Mexican food or Tex-Mex and that means I am a happy girl. Sadly, South Korea is a little bit lacking in the Mexican food department (I know, I know – you don’t come to Korea for the Mexican food), although I hear that there are a few notable exceptions for Mexican food restaurants in the foodie districts in Seoul.  At least avocados are readily available at my local Costco.  So, I decided to make my own guacamole at home. When I realized how easily you can make this healthy dip with only a handful of ingredients, I just had to share this recipe with you!

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