Giving Thanks for Healthy Treats



Thanksgiving is the ultimate American epicurean celebration that brings family and friends together. Although turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes are synonymous with this holiday, Thanksgiving dishes can vary greatly based on the ingredients used and how they are prepared.

Every family has their own unique take on the holiday’s food, incorporating culinary traditions, and Mom’s special ingredients. No matter where your Thanksgiving travels take you, I have a few tasty treats that are easy to prepare and offer a healthier alternative to your traditional favorites, without compromising the tastes of the season!

SWEET TOOTH SOLUTIONS

In an attempt to balance all the indulgences of the holiday season, turn to using ‘real’ ingredients when preparing tasty treats. Your sweet treat masterpiece will not only be prepared with a healthier option, but it will also taste amazing leaving your guests wanting the recipe!

This Thanksgiving, eliminate the guilt of having seconds when the deserts arrive! The follow recipes are sweet, savory, and so deliciously healthy. Plus, they simple to make with only a few ingredients.

Enjoy baking now, and you can thank me later!

#1 CHOCOLATE BROWNIE COOKIE SANDWICH

Who doesn’t like love cookies?! It’s always a favorite treat that’s tasty and easy to eat. These vegan cookies bake up thick and chewy and are stuffed with a chocolate mouse you can’t resist!

CHOCOLATE COOKIE

Total Time: 20-30 min
Serving: 16 cookies

Cookie Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup solid coconut oil (refined oil to avoid the coconut flavor OR unrefined oil to have a coconut flavor)
• 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup coconut milk (option: Thai coconut milk for thickness)
• 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (option: coconut flour or gluten-free baking flour)
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• 2 cups vegan chocolate chips

COOKIE DIRECTIONS:

Prep: Preheat over to 375 degrees & line a large baking sheet with parchment paper for regular cookies (option: use a circular cookie cutter to bake in a shape)

1. Whisk together coconut oil, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until combined.
2. Add in coconut milk and applesauce until combine.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and sea salt. Whisk until combined.
4. Combine both bowls of ingredients together (wet & dry mixes) and stir until batter is thick.
5. Lastly, fold in 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips to the batter (saving a 1/2 cup to add post bake)
6. Scoop large mounds of dough onto the cookie sheet, leaving a few inches between cookies to spread.
7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are golden and centers are done.
8. Press remaining chocolate chips onto of the warm cookies.
9. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10-15 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.

NOTE: If the dough is too dry, add in another tbsp. of coconut milk, if it’s too sticky, add a little more flour, by tablespoon increments, until it thickens.

There’s one more part to make this sandwich come alive… the flourless fudge brownie!

FUDGY BROWNIE

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serving: 12-16 depending if you make into a cookie sandwich, or serve as is!

Brownie Ingredients:

• 2 cups pumpkin puree (option: can also use a banana or sweet potato)
• 1 cup almond butter (option: use any nut butter of choice)
• 1/2 cup coca powder
• 1/4 cup maple syrup (option: granulated sweeter of choice)

DIRECTIONS:

Prep: Preheat oven 350 and grease a small baking pan

1. Melt nut butter (in microwave or on stove)
2. In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin (or alternative), nut butter, and dark cocoa powder until combined.
3. Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
4. Allow to cool completely.
5. Cut the brownies and place them inside 2 cookies. Mold the brownie to fit your cookie size.
6. Refrigerate for approximately 20 minutes to firm and set together!

It’s a two in one desert!

#2 BAKELESS PUMPKIN TARTS

For most people, pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving is a non-negotiable item. This vegan no-bake tart is an excellent option that resembles a classic favorite, plus it’s lighter on your waistline!

Total Time: 20 minutes, suggested to set overnight to allow approximately 4 hours to chill completely
Serving: 8 mini tarts

Grain-free crust Ingredients:

• 1 cup walnuts (or pecans)
• 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
• 2 tbsp. maple syrup
• 1 tbsp. melted coconut oil
• 1/4 tsp sea salt

Filling Ingredients:

• 1 cup pumpkin puree (option to use organic pumpkin from a can)
• 1/4 cup almond milk
• 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
• 3/4 cup pitted dates

Spices:

• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp ground ginger
• 1/8 tsp ground cloves

DIRECTIONS:

Prep: Start by lining a muffin tray with 8 parchment cup liners.

Preparing Crust:

1. Pulse nuts and shredded coconut in a food processor until finely grounded like a dusting.
2. Add the maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt into the processor until mixed and the dough begins to stick together.
3. Scoop the dough into heaping tablespoons into the parchment cups
4. Press the dough down into each cup to form the crust.
5. Place the muffin tray in the fridge to set while you prepare the filling.

Preparing Filling:

6. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy.
7. Remove the chilled tray of crust and pour the batter evenly into the cups.
8. Place back in the fridge to set completely.
9. Tarts are ready when the center filling is firm to touch.
10. Serve as is, or top with coconut cream icing (preparation instruction listed in #3)

Tastes as sweet as pie!

#3 CARROT CUPCAKE DELIGHT

Carrot cake lovers will fancy this vegan option made with coconut whipped cream. They are moist, fluffy, and loaded with holiday spices.

Total Time: 45 minutes
Serving: 12 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

• 2 cups white coconut or spelt flour (alternative to wheat flour)
• 1/2 cup cane or coconut sugar
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 2 1/2 cups shredded carrots
• 1/2 cup coconut oil
• 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
• 1/2 cup orange juice (option to add for more flavor)
• 1/3 cup raisins

Spices:

• 2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• 1/4 tsp nutmeg
• 2 tsp orange zest

Coconut cream whipped icing ingredients:

1 can coconut milk (chilled in refrigerator overnight)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp. cane or coconut sugar

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices together in a bowl.
3. Add in the shredded carrots, oil, applesauce, and orange juice (if using). Mix until combined.
4. Stir in the raisins last and combined until mixed.
5. Line a muffin tray with liners and spoon the batter evenly into each cup.
6. Bake for 23-28 minutes until a toothpick clears it clean.

Coconut Cream Icing:

7. Find your coconut can in the fridge. The cream and liquid will have separated from the coldness. Begin to scoop out just the cream on top.
8. Add the vanilla extract and sugar.
9. Whip on high speed, or give it some good arm strength, until it’s smooth and whipped to perfection.
10. If you bake often and have a piping bag, fill it up. Otherwise, keep in bowl and place into fridge for 30 minutes to solidify while cupcakes finish baking.
11. Allow cupcakes to cool, then apply the icing!
12. Garnish the top with a sprinkle of cinnamon spice

Never underestimate the power of good food in tasty treats. When prepared thoughtfully, you can make holiday deserts healthier for all to enjoy!

Give thanks to those you love by giving them a healthier option to enjoy during desert time. From pumpkin tarts to cookies and cakes, these vegan desserts will have your guests drooling without missing the calorie dense ingredients.

In gratitude,
Maria

Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work.http://www.groovysweat.com http://www.groovysweatstore.com (purchasable workout videos) http://www.youtube.com/groovysweat (workout clips)

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