Christmas is a busy time for many, especially for those providing the lion's share of the nourishment. Sweet indulgences of course occupy a central role at this time of year and must be taken into account. Thankfully many treats can be prepared ahead of time and offered up when needed. The recipes presented here are not only easy to make and enjoyable year-round, but also good for you while satisfying a seemingly insatiable craving for sweetness. Additionally, all of the recipes are vegan-friendly, and that's another bonus because you'll be able to cater to a wider variety of tastes and preferences.
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Avocados are something I usually have on hand. They keep well if purchased when firm and they are simply wonderful just sliced and served up all on their own, just as is for a snack or as part of a meal as a nourishing and refreshing side. They also happen to be a fine addition to smoothies, salads, a key ingredient in many favorite dips, such as guacamole, and also feature delightfully in desserts. And this versatile fruit not only tastes good, it's good for a body too. The benefits of eating avocados are many, but to highlight just a few:
I fondly remember making holiday treats with my mom. An addictive and fantastically easy favorite, usually made for Christmas, were classic peanut butter balls. No doubt many of us remember those chocolate-coated treats with rice crispy cereal included for added crunch and texture. I never could resist peanut butter, and it often features in my no-bake treats and energy bites.
The only trouble with the classic ones I enjoyed as a child is that they are much too sugary for my tastes now. In addition to icing sugar, mom used not-so-natural peanut butter — you know the kind that isn't simply ground peanuts but instead a sugary spread. I loved them anyway, but over the years I've searched for healthier alternatives to satisfy my sweet tooth.
I've stayed true to the simplicity of the original recipe but left out butter, and used natural peanut butter and sweetener. I even bought a box of "healthy" sprouted rice crisp cereal, although I don't think that's really necessary — I shouldn't have felt guilt if I had used Rice Krispies, to tell the truth. But I dare say that this not-so-guilty version is even tastier and just as addictive as the original, and it also happens to be vegan friendly. Happily, if the urge to over-indulge is resisted, they are good for you too.
Just like the animals in the field (or the squirrels in the backyard, as the case might be), we humans feel the need to "stock up" on nutrients as fall turns into winter. For me and many other vegetarians, this often takes the form of thick, hearty and nourishing soups. And for me, these kinds of soups are a great excuse to load in the succulent mushrooms.
This mushroom and barley soup loaded with vegetables and seasoned with dried herbs and spices is just the thing to warm and nourish the body as the cold weather sets in. I call it a soup, but it can be prepared almost as a thick stew or in a thinner broth as you please — it simply depends on how much stock or water you use. Either way, it's delicious, pleasing and comforting.