Enjoy healthier holiday treats

Weili Zhang, DO, Samaritan Family Medicine Resident Clinic
Oct 24,2013
The holidays are a time of feasts and treats. The season can seem overwhelming as you try to keep good nutrition a priority for your family.

Resident physicians of Samaritan Family Medicine Resident Clinic in Corvallis present these recipes for holiday treat options to help your family enjoy the season.

As always, remember to keep portion sizes in mind; moderation is key! Also, always keep in mind any personal dietary restrictions when considering new recipes.

Chocolate mice
(a fun recipe to make with children)
Weili Zhang, DO

Ingredients
4 ounces of Hershey's milk chocolate bar
1/3 cup cream cheese
1 and 1/3 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
8 squares of caramel
1/4 cup sliced almonds 
9 cranberries cut in half

Directions
Melt the chocolate and cream cheese. Stir in 1 cup cookie crumbs and refrigerate until firm.

Melt the caramel. Let cool and roll into long thin cylinders for the tails.

Take a tablespoonful of the chocolate/cream cheese/cookie mixture and roll it into balls. Mold to a slight point at one end. That will become the face. Roll it in graham cracker crumbs to make it look like fur.

Adhere the caramel tail onto the tail end of the body. Add the cranberry halves to face as eyes. Almond slices for ears. Small almond slices for noses.

Refrigerate for at least two hours, until firm. Best left in refrigerator overnight.

Makes 18 mice.

Cookie dough drops (vegan and gluten-free)
Allison Abresch-Meyer, DO

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the following in a food processor:
1 1/4 cup canned garbanzo beans (pour off the water)
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey or agave
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt

Stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Wet hands and roll in to tablespoon-size balls. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Cool and eat!

Makes two dozen cookies. 

Pears poached in red wine, cardamom and orange (adapted from Bon Appétit, March 1997, easy to make ahead of time, and highlights seasonal fall fruit)
Stephen Hallas, DO

Ingredients
1 750-ml bottle dry red wine
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups water
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
4 firm but ripe pears, peeled, stems left intact
1 plain or almond biscotti, crumbled
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Orange peel strips
 
Directions
Combine wine, sugar, water, orange juice, spices and orange peel in a heavy saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, bringing the mixture to simmer. Add pears and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer slowly for about 25 minutes, until pears are tender.

Remove pears from saucepan. Boil liquid for about 20 minutes, reducing the liquid to about 3 cups.

(Can be made  a day ahead. Cover and chill pears in poaching liquid and rewarm over medium-low heat until pears are heated through.)

Arrange 1 warm pear and 1 scoop of ice cream on individual plates. Drizzle on some poaching liquid and sprinkle with biscotti crumbs. Garnish with orange peel strips and serve.

Makes four servings.

Berries and whipped cream (simple and refreshing after a holiday meal)
Christopher Leesman, DO

Ingredients
½ cup whipping cream
2 tsp. raw sugar, unrefined if possible (may substitute honey or pure maple syrup)
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries (your favorite berries, generally available frozen this time of year)

Directions
In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together whipping cream, sugar and vanilla, until mixture is fluffy and stays on whisk. (A mixer may be used.) Transfer the whipped cream to smaller serving bowls, top with desired amount of berries. Add crushed nuts if desired.   Serve immediately.

Makes four servings.