Holiday Treats To Eat And Share

Okay, the weekend is upon us, so here are some tasty-sounding, yummy-looking recipes to inspire you to get in the kitchen and have some fun. A number of these will not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but also make great homemade gifts to share. So whip up some for yourself and some to wrap up or put in festive containers to give as gifts.  


Natural healthy Concepts mentions you can go one step further on these tasty treats and use raw cacao powder instead of cocoa to add to the nutritional value.



Candied Pecans

I’m definitely going to try this recipe from Tiffany at They sound like a delicious alternative to more fattening, sugary treats—and much less labor intensive, too!


  • 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil 
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups raw pecans


  1. Melt coconut oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add maple syrup, vanilla and salt and stir well.
  2. When mixture is bubbling, add pecans.
  3. Stir pecans well, so that they’re completely coated in the maple syrup mixture. Cook and stir constantly for about 5 minutes, being careful so that they don’t burn.
  4. Take the pan off the heat and transfer the pecans onto a piece of wax paper or parchment paper to cool.
  5. Serve when cool. Hide the extras in an airtight container so that you don’t eat them all in one sitting. 🙂

Nutrition Information:

*serving size = 1/4 cup – recipe makes 8 servings}; 242 calories, 2.6g fiber, 2.5g protein

*Actual nutrition info may vary based on exact ingredients used.


Or how about this easy and fairly healthy version of peppermint fudge from Sounds yummy to me and using all organic ingredients would definitely make it less of a sinful indulgence ….


 Peppermint Stove-top Fudge


  • 2-1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup canned coconut milk, (not the carton milk…canned is best for this recipe)
  • 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar, optional honey
  • Dash of kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract, optional vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup diced walnuts (optional)


Add to a heavy saucepan chocolate chips, coconut milk, honey, and salt, stir to combine. Turn to medium-low heat and allow chocolate to completely melt, stir to prevent scorching.

After chocolate has completely melted remove from heat, add peppermint and coconut oil, stir to combine. If using walnuts, add and stir.

Allow to cool uncovered until fudge has reached room temperature…approximately 4 hours. Using a large spoon, stir vigorously for 5-10 minutes until it loses some the gloss.

Lightly oil a 1 quart casserole dish. Pour fudge into dish, cover and refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Cut into 30 pieces.


Making, cutting and wrapping caramels was something I helped my mother with at Christmas time for a number of years, so I’m glad to find a recipe that’s a little healthier than the version we made. And again, using organic ingredients is going to be a real plus here…..

Before starting this recipe I HIGHLY recommend reading through it once or twice so you are familiar with each step. Once your caramel reaches a specific temperature you don’t want to have to check your recipe for the next step.

What you’ll need:

  • A candy thermometer
  • 8 x 8 inch pan
  • 3 qt heavy bottom pot
  • parchment paper
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup organic **cane sugar or sucunat
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

*Test your candy thermometer before starting this recipe. I ruined several batches before realizing my thermometer was off by 30 degrees. To test your thermometer, pour three cups of water into your pot. Your thermometer should be at 212 degrees when the water begins to boil. If it’s not at 212 degrees your thermometer is off. You need to re-calculate the temperature in the recipe  based on YOUR thermometer’s boiling point. Make sense?

**Seems like organic coconut crystals would be a great sweetener to use; they have a sort of brown sugar taste and look that should work well and have more nutritional value than cane sugar.

  1. Place parchment paper in your 8 x 8 pan and butter it well-set aside
  2. Mix together the heavy cream and milk to create half & half mixture
  3. In your pot, mix together 1/2 cup half & half, honey and sugar until combined
  4. Turn the heat on medium low and stir gently until it reaches a boil
  5. Place a lid on the pot and allow it to boil for 2 minutes
  6. Remove lid and with a pastry brush or washcloth-wipe down the sides of the pan to remove any crystalized sugar
  7. Continue to boil over medium low heat while stirring gently-do not let your spoon touch the sides of the pan
  8. When the sauce reaches soft-ball stage(234 degrees) slowly add 1/2 cup more half & half
  9. Continue to stir and allow the mixture to come back to soft-ball stage(234) and add the remaining half & half
  10. Keep stirring very gently and allow the mixture to continue to boil until it reaches hard-ball stage (244 degrees)
  11. Turn off the heat and add the vanilla
  12. Pour the caramel into your pan and DO NOT SCRAPE THE PAN CLEAN
  13. Allow to cool for 4-5 hours
  14. Cut into squares and ENJOY


And this isn’t a sweet treat, but this cranberry pecan “cheese” log looks and sounds absolutely delicious, and my friend who made it said it all got eaten up before she could get me a sample. 😦 Guess I’ll have to make it myself. Seems like it would be great for entertaining during the holidays…..

Vegan Pumplin Cranberry "Cheese" log

 Pumpkin Seed Cranberry “Cheese” Log with Thyme 


  •  2 cups cashews, soaked at least 6 hours
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 probiotic capsules (use the probiotic powder, discard the capsules)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon himalayan salt
  • couple grinds cracked pepper
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, divided
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds, divided
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1. Combine soaked cashews, water, lemon juice and probiotic capsules in high-speed blender. Blend until smooth

2. Line a strainer with cheese cloth, spoon cashew mixture into the cheesecloth, cover and let sit out overnight.

3. Put cashew mixture into bowl. Stir in yeast, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper, 1/2 cup of the dried cranberries and 1/2 of the pumpkin seeds.

4. Cover and place in refrigerator for one day to set up.

5. Chop remaining 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 cup dried cranberries and pecans. Mix together.

6. Shape “cheese” into a log and roll in pecan mixture.

You can refrigerate this for a few days in advance or freeze it for up to a month.


And if these recipes aren’t enough to inspire you to get in the kitchen, how about a spicy sweet potato pecan crisp?

Or this link to one of Amy Layne’s DAMY Health blog posts where she provides a list and links to all the great holiday recipes in her Healthy Holiday Countdown series. Oh my! Just click on any of the luscious looking desserts pictured on the page and it will take you to the corresponding recipe.

And here’s a recipe from The Alternative Daily for peppermint lip balm that sounds almost good enough to eat that you could make for yourself and/or give as gifts….

Homemade peppermint lip balm

During the wintertime, lips often need extra care to stay soft, smooth and moist. A homemade lip balm made with coconut oil makes a perfect gift.


  • 1 tablespoon shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons sweet almond oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons beeswax
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint essential oil
  • 0.15-ounce lip balm tubes or small containers

Melt the shea butter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil and beeswax in a double boiler on the lowest heat possible. Remove from heat, then add peppermint oil. Pour into tubes and allow to set with caps off for 24 hours.

FYI, you can get many of the ingredients for the recipes in this post from one of my favorite places to shop; use code CJG192 if you are a new customer and spend more than $40 and you will get a discount, plus shipping is free on orders of $20 and up. And there’s an extra 5% off on orders over $60. is another on-line favorite of mine, and if you plan on shopping there or at iHerb, be sure to sign up for a free acct. at (now known as Rakuten), if you don’t already have one. That way you can use the eBates/Rakuten portal to shop at Vitacost and iHerb (and 100s of other popular stores) and earn cash back on your purchases. Plus, you also get a reward–I got a $10 gift card–when you place your first $25 order at a store through them. How does it get any better than that?!


p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts. Also check out my website Evolution Made Easier and blog of the same name for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

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