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Christmas Holiday TreatsMerry Christmas Wish

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas

Here are ways to get some nutrients in your holiday treats with the use of dried fruits, nuts spices, whole-grain cereals and even chocolate.

Fruits and nuts are rich in antioxidants; cinnamon suppresses blood sugar spikes; chocolate may help your heart and your mood.

Gingerbread Man CookieChristmas Sweets

Peanut butter chips

Peanut Butter Clusters

10 ounces peanut butter chips
1/2 cup dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup regular oats, uncooked
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Recipe Directions

Microwave chips in a bowl on high power until melted, about 1-1/2 minutes. Stir.

Add remaining ingredients; mix thoroughly.

Using your hands, firmly roll into 1-inch balls. Cool.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 3 dozen balls
Calories: 64; Protein: 2g; Fat: 3g; Carbohydrates: 7g; Fiber: 0; Sodium: 19mg

Orange Fruit Nut Truffles

Chocolate cluster

1-1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup dried plums
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate-covered raisins (or plain raisins if preferred)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a food processor with the knife blade, blend all ingredients until a dough-like ball forms.

Using your hands, roll into 1-inch balls.

Optional: Top each with a walnut piece.

Yield: 3 dozen balls

Nutrition information per ball:
Calories: 62; Protein: 1g; Fat: 3g; Carbohydrates: 8g; Fiber: 1g; Sodium: 1mg

Mint Chocolate Clusters

Chocolate cluster

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon mint extract
1/2 cup pecan pieces
2/3 cup Cherrios
1/3 cup M & M's mini baking bits (or raisins)

Microwave chocolate chips in a bowl on high power until melted, about two minutes. Stir in mint. Thoroughly stir in remaining ingredients. Using a teaspoon, drop 1-1/2 inch pieces on wax paper. Cool.

Yield: 2 dozen pieces

Nutrition information per piece:
Calories: 68; Protein: 1g; Fat: 4g; Carbohydrates: 7g; Fiber: 1g; Sodium: 8mg

Frozen Peppermint Cheesecake

Slice of peppermint cheesecake

At Christmastime, your family will be dreaming about this cheesecake with its creamy texture and festive aroma!

Place 8-ounces softened reduced-fat cream cheese in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer set at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add 14 ounces fat free sweetened condensed milk and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract and beat well.

Fold 1/2 cup milk chocolate (or mint chocolate) chips into cream cheese mixture. Fold in 2 cups lite whipping cream, whipped. Spoon into 8 or 9-inch pre-made chocolate crust.

Freeze, covered, until set, about 2 hours. Garnish with crushed peppermint candy, if desired. Serves 16.

Per serving: 349 Calories; 5g Protein; 24g Fat; 30g Carbohydreates; 187mg Sodium; 74mg Cholesterol

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