Christmas Time. Part 1.

Although we celebrate Ukrainian Orthodox Christmas in January, we still respect traditions of the country where we live, that’s why we celebrate Christmas in December too.

It’s hard to explain your 3 year old, why everybody have a holiday, get presents and she doesn’t. It’s easier to follow  local traditions and holidays.

Anyway, Christmas is the birth of Jesus, and if you believe, it doesn’t matter what day or what time you will celebrate it.

We have our own Christmas traditions and rules:

1.get Christmas dinner ready before the first star appears in the sky. It means, as soon as you see the first star the Jesus is born, so you can start eating and celebrate.

2. You should make 12 special dishes for Christmas Eve ( all of them are plant based, with no animal products). These twelve dishes represent the twelve apostles who shared the last meal with Jesus Christ.

3. You should make a special Christmas dish-koliva (boiled rice with raisins, poppy seeds and honey). This is the symbol of Ukrainian Christmas.

4. Kids, people go to everybody’s house on Christmas Eve to sing Christmas Carols. For that they get sweets, treats, presents etc.

I made some dinner at Christmas Eve, unfortunately didn’t make the koliva.

Earlier that day we made some cookies for Santa. To be honest, we spoiled our Santa this year, because we made different sweets for him:

1. Healthy sugar cookies:

It’s super easy recipe. You just use the alternative healthy ingredients instead of the regular one. They turned out very delicious.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut oil melted (or grass-fed butter at room temp)
  • ½ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix all wet ingredients together and combine well
  3. Slowly pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well
  4. Drop a tablespoon of dough on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet
  5. Bake cookies for 8-10 mins (until edges are golden brown)
  6. As cookies are cooling, sprinkle with a little coconut sugar after baking if desired
  7. Cool cookies for at least 5 mins before serving
  8. (Alternatively, if you are cutting out shapes, refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour and then roll out using a rolling pin and additional almond flour and bake the same way)
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2. Raw Chocolate Almond Cookies.
These were the bomb!!!! They taste even better the next day. Santa ate all of his.
Ingredients:
 1 1/2 cups almonds
1 1/2 cups medjool dates
1 heaping tablespoon maca powder
2 heaping tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of sea saltFrosting:
2 tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons almond butter
2 tablespoons coconut nectarTo make the cookies: throw all the ingredients in your food processor and process until it all sticks together. Form into balls and press into cookies on a baking or dehydrator sheet. Dehydrate for 2-4 hours, or “bake” at the lowest temperature in your oven, until they hold together. Alternatively you can leave them as is and put them in the fridge. Up to you. Ain’t nuthin’ but a texture thang.To make the frosting: mix all the ingredients together until smooth. Frost your cookies.

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 1 cup any kind of nuts ( I used pecans)
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
½ cup cocoa or cacao powder
zest of two oranges
juice of half an orange
 Add the nuts in to a food processor, and then process until ground in to a dense flour. Add the remaining ingredients, and continue to process until the mixtures starts to come together like a dough.
Use your hands to form small balls. You can dip them in water to prevent the mixture from sticking.In a separate bowl, add the extra cocoa powder.  Roll the balls in the cocoa until just coated, then transfer to a plate. Place in the fridge for at least half an hour to set.
The truffles can be kept at room temperature, but they are best kept in the fridge.
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Santa was pretty happy, because he didn’t even leave us the crumbs.
To be continued…..
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Christmas Chocolate Chips Cookies.

Impress your family and your guests with these healthy, gluten, dairy, grain, refined sugar free christmas cookies.
We start experimenting with holiday recipes already and these cookie recipe is the perfect sweet treat for coming holidays, Christmas Eve, Christmas handmade present or just a great addition to your hot cup of tea or cocoa.
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Christmas Chocolate Chips Cookies.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ½ cup pistachios, shelled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 6 tablespoons of  water
  • 4 tablespoons organic coconut oil, melted
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds, ground
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate chips ( I used dairy, soy free ones)
  • 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½teaspoon ground cinnamon

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Instructions
Soak the chia seeds and flax seeds in the 6 tablespoons of water for about 20 minutes creating a gel. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients together (except pistachio nuts)  to make sure there are no lumps from the almond flour. In a small mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients (chia/flax gel, vanilla, coconut oil, maple syrup). In the large mixing bowl, make a shallow center to pour the wet ingredients into. Fold and mix all dry and wet ingredients together until a thick and moist dough forms. Stir in the chocolate chips and dried cranberries of choice. Taking a tablespoon, scoop the cookie dough into a ball and roll in the palm of your hands making a round cookie dough ball. Roll this ball into your finely chopped pistachios, placing one side down and pressing the pistachios into the dough, turn it over and have the pistachio crumbs be the “top” of your cookie. Next set each cookie dough ball on a lined baking sheet with parchment paper, then pushing the ball to flatten. Make sure you leave at least 1½-2 inches in between the cookies. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes. They will start to turn golden brown. Place on a cooling rack to come to room temperature.
 
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Enjoy!!!!!
 
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Nom, Nom, Nom!!!!
 
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Double Chocolate Chip Cookies.

If you’re like most women, you’re totally smitten with chocolate. People have been obsessing over this comfort food for thousands of years (the Mayans considered cocoa a cure-all and the Aztecs used it as money). And all that obsessing has yielded some pretty surprising studies—and findings.

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These cookies with crunch edges and a soft, chewy center will immediately put you in antioxidant overdrive .

Good news: the recipe is dairy free, gluten-free, healthy and vegan.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut oil

1 cup coconut sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp sea salt

2tbs pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup flax meal

1tsp baking soda

1,5 tsp xantham gum

1 cup vegan chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2 . In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, coconut sugar, applesauce, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, flax meal, baking soda and xanthan gum. Using a rubber spatula, carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and combine until a dough is formed. Gently fold in the chocolate chips just until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.

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3. Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing the portion 1 inch apart. Gently press each with the hell of your hand to help them spread. Bake the cookies on the center rack for 14 minutes, rotating the sheets 180 degrees after 9 minutes.

The finished cookies will be crisp on the ages and soft in the center.

4. Let the cookies stand on the sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and cool completely before covering. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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The recipe is from the book “BabycakesBy Erin McKenna.

Yumvelope Box. Review.

Last month I got Yumvelope Food Box in a mail.  This is the other monthly food box that you can order on line.

What is Yumvelope?

Yumvelope sends out some of the best-tasting artisanal food products to their customers monthly. $21 gets you a large USPS padded envelope sent to you filled with a minimum of six full-size products, including snacks, drinks, desserts, and chocolates.

Yumvelopes are the newest way to discover awesome brands and find new favorite products. Be it dutch-process hot cocoa from a small-batch chocolatier or granola baked with Michigan maple syrup, there’s certain to be a product for everyone in each shipment. Unlike “sample” style subscriptions, you will always receive full-size products. Unlike “expensive” style subscriptions, your subscription won’t break the bank!

Why I picked this box?

All their products seem to be healthy.

They send you a lot of products that you can not find in any state.( I even got one granola bar from Australia).

Their customer service is great.

You don’t need to sign up for a year or 3,6 months, you can just try it once and decide if it works for you.

Here is what was in my box:

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1. Caveman Cookies.

Vegan, gluten free, flour less delicious cookies. The ingredients are very simple: honey, almond meal, hazelnut meal, toasted ground carob. They are really delicious, but you can easily make your own ones at home. There were 5 cookies in the box.

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2. Crum Creek‘s Mini-Breadsticks.

These are vegan soy breadsticks. Their ingredients didn’t make me happy: soy oil, wheat flour, corn syrup etc. They taste ok, but probably I wouldn’t pick them at the store.

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3. Arizona Sunset Enchilada Soup Mix.

I tried these soups before and I liked them. I didn’t make this one yet, but I am planning to make it soon, and I am sure it is as good as the other ones.

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4. Crum Creek. Soy Nut Mix.

This is the soy snack, a great alternative for nut-free snack.  It is organic, which is important for soy products, and it tastes pretty good. The ingredients are: organic non GMO roasted soybeans, organic chocolate chips, organic sunflower seeds, organic pumpkin seeds, organic raisins, sea salt.

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5. Two Moon Shortbread. Rosemary and Sea salt.

This shortbread will work great with the cup of hot soup. It tastes good, but the only reason I won’t buy it anymore: the calories: 165 calories for one serving and this little shortbread has 2 servings. It means this tiny piece of shortbread is 330cal in total, like a bowl of salad.

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6.Carman’s Kitchen Granola Muesli Bar.

The bar is made in Australia, which made it unique for me. It was a full size bar and it tastes as good as the other granola bars. Great snack on the go.

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In general it was a great experience to try this food box. I tried some new foods, that I didn’t tried before, and some of them are in my food list now.

Disclaimer:  I was not paid to write this post, I paid for this box and all opinions are my own.