Easy, Delicious Date Bites – a healthy holiday party treat

Enjoy these sweet date bites this holiday season instead of endless floury treats that leave you feeling bloated, tired, and heavy. ;) These treats are a great example of a whole foods snack that can knock a super sweet punch without sending you on a wild blood sugar roller coaster ride. Yes, dates have sugar (plenty of it, in fact) but dates are also a whole fruit with some beneficial vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which makes them a great option when compared to desserts made with white sugar and flour. The fiber in the dates along with the almond butter both slow down the absorption of the sugars, which helps keep your blood sugar steady.

And talk about simple to make! You can have a batch of these ready in minutes.

These date bites are always a hit when I bring them to parties. People will act a bit wary at first since they’re “different,” but once someone is brave enough to try them, word gets around the room fast and they’re gone in no time.

Super Easy Date Bites – GF, DF
Yield: as many servings as you desire

Medjool dates
almond butter
cacao nibs
sea salt

Cut dates in half. Carefully fill each date halve with a small amount of almond butter. Top almond butter with 3-4 cacao nibs, and sprinkle with a twist of sea salt. Voila! You have a tasty, nutritious snack.

P.S. Though I’ve never tried other combinations, I’m sure you could just as easily use sunflower seed butter or tahini in place of almond butter, if you’re avoiding nuts. Also, you could probably use a chocolate chip or two in place of the cacao nibs if you have kiddos in the house who might turn up their noses at the somewhat bitter cacao nibs. Feel free to play and have fun with this “recipe.”

In love & service,

Mustard Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple

I woke up this morning to snow on the ground for the first time this winter! That’s a big deal to this Minnesota gal who always says, “If it’s going to be cold, I want snow!” And now that I have it, our fresh, wintry white world is reminding me that the holidays are just around the corner.

Do you know what you’ll be making for all of your upcoming holiday gatherings? I’ll be making this mustard kale salad recipe tonight, and my already-watering taste buds are excited both for me and anyone else who tries it.

I wish I could remember where in the world I found this recipe. I didn’t make it up myself. That would have been pure genius. The flavors blend so beautifully; it’s always a crowd pleaser.

So I challenge you to try it, and if you like it bring it to one of your holiday gatherings. More and more I notice that people are gravitating toward healthy food in social settings. Even if they don’t feel confident preparing it themselves at home, most people are curious about new flavors and foods. Perhaps the days of Chex Mix party mix and endless holiday cookies are coming to an end. Who knows, you might be the person who turns a newbie on to kale or sweet potatoes. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Mustard Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple
Yield: 4 servings

2 sweet potatoes, cut into ¾ inch pieces
6 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 bunches Tuscan or lacinato kale, or 1 medium bunch curly kale, washed, stems removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
1 Pink Lady or Honeycrisp apple, diced or sliced
1/4 – 1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped (or substitute sunflower seeds)
4 ounces shaved Pecorino (optional)

Heat oven to 400º F. Toss sweet potatoes with 2 Tablespoons oil and ¼ tsp each salt and pepper on 2 baking sheets. Roast 18-20 minutes, rotating the sheets and tossing potatoes halfway through, until lightly browned and tender. Cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, remaining 4 Tablespoons oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add kale and rub together with clean hands to tenderize and coat the leaves. I call this “massaging the kale.” I think it’s good for both the kale and us. :)

Add apple, almonds, and sweet potatoes; toss to combine. Top with optional Pecorino, if desired.

In service,