By Eve Lynn Kessner
It’s the holidays, and you are hoping to stick to the healthy lifestyle that makes you feel so good, while also enjoying the taste of the season. Same ‘ol story here: If there is a will, there’s a way. If you want your holiday season to stay healthy, you can totally make that happen. And you don’t need to forego all your favorites! All you need to do is reinvent them. Simple!
Here’s how I start: with a craving. What am I craving? What reminds me of the holidays? What am I wanting to (and desperately not wanting to) indulge in?
I’ve taken 3 of the flavors that remind me of the season, and given you recipes for each that are just as warming, sweet, and magical, while still allowing you to stay on track with your health and wellness goals. Check them out:
Hot Spiced Apple Cider
Natural apple cider
Orange or clementine
Spices: cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, star anise, clove, etc.
This one is so simple and so satisfying at the same time. This time of year, it’s easy to get fresh-from-the-farm apple cider at your local market. And that’s what you want to buy, the real stuff! Then hit up the produce section for an orange or clementine. Next, off to the spice aisle. Here you can get a little experimental. Chose whole spices, and the ones that sound the most enticing to you. I usually go with a mix of cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, star anise, and clove.
When you get home, get a heavy bottomed pot on some heat. Pour in the cider, slice the orange, and drop those in. Take a good amount of the spices, and place them in a cheese cloth and tie them up (you can also use a tea strainer). Drop those in too. Bring everything to a simmer and let it steep for at least 15 minutes. Or keep it in the pot on very low heat for as long as you want. The flavors will just get richer and the house will smell progressively better! Also, if you’re having dinner guests, you can add some red wine for a little bit of a holiday punch.
½ cup + 1 tsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp agave
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips (or equivalent in choc bars)
These are a bit more time consuming, but totally easy and well worth it! All you need are some mini muffin tins and liners, a cookie sheet covered in wax paper, a couple bars of good quality, organic dark chocolate or chocolate chips, coconut oil, agave (or your choice of sweetener), sea salt, and peppermint extract.
- Start by placing ½ cup coconut oil, 1 Tbsp agave, pinch sea salt, and 1 tsp peppermint extract in a mixer and mix until smooth.
- Once smooth pour the mixture onto a wax paper covered cookie sheet into small rounds (should make 10-14 depending on how big you make them).
- Place the sheet in the freezer while you prep the chocolate.
- Meanwhile in a double broiler, heat up 1 cup of chocolate chips (or the equivalent in bars) with 1 tsp of coconut oil.
- Keep mixing until smooth.
- Then fill the muffin tin with liners.
- In each liner, spoon enough chocolate to cover the peppermint disk on both sides. Do this quickly so the chocolate doesn’t melt.
- Remove the peppermint disks from the freezer once they are thoroughly hard.
- Drop one peppermint disk into each chocolate and submerge it, making sure it doesn’t reach the bottom.
- Place the muffin tin back in the freezer for at least another 15 minutes or until the chocolate is hard.
- Keep them cool so they don’t melt (they may at room temperature).
Carrot Ginger Soup
1-2 Tbsp diced, fresh ginger
pumpkin seeds, toasted oats, and/or toasted pine nuts.
Simple. Healing. Holiday Spice. This soup hits the spot on so many levels. We’re so prone to running ourselves down, and compounding that by overindulgence during the holiday season. Ginger provides healing on both the physical and emotional level. The spiciness of ginger evokes gingerbread cookie memories, the bite brings with it an immune boosting, anti-inflammatory punch. Wherever you can get ginger into your diet, I’d suggest it! This soup is warming and healing and totally nourishing.
- Roast the carrots (as many as you like to make as much soup as you like) at 425 degrees with a few dollops of coconut oil, a sprinkle of sea salt, and another of cinnamon for 35-45 minutes until lightly browned.
- Place the carrots and all of their juice in a blender along with some water (this amount too depends on how chunky or smooth you like your soup) and about a Tbsp or two of diced, fresh ginger.
- Blend until you reach the desired consistency.
- Serve warm (you may need to reheat).
Garnish with pumpkin seeds, toasted oats, and/or toasted pine nuts.
Eve Lynn Kessner is mom to two little girls, Avital and Bar, ages 5 and 2, a sometimes vegan, a holistic nutritionist, and focused on living a organic, chemical-free, natural life. “Making our home and our diets safe, healthy, and chemical free is no longer a goal, but a necessity. It feels good, clean, and ethical,” she says. Eve studied at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and counsels clients on food and lifestyle choices, helping them make cleaner, more responsible decisions. Eve is also a SoulCycle instructor, and an all-around dreamer and believer.