‘Tis the season for celebrations! We have several to highlight today, some well-known, some obscure, but learn some fun facts as well as good tips to store in your back pocket for later!
Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, began this week and lasts for 8 days. Whether you are celebrating Hanukkah or not, check out these healthy Hanukkah recipes! Our personal favorite is “Winter Squash and Chicken Tzimmes” (pronounce sim-is) combines butternut squash, chicken thighs, and oranges. Yum!
Ready to get weird with it?? This week we celebrated several lesser-known holidays as well!
National Lager Day
Have you cooked with beer? Did you know when you cook with beer it loses some of it’s alcohol content? The long it’s cooked, the less content it has. Stir it in an Irish Coffee and you lose 15% of the content. Make a beef stew where it is simmered or baked for 2.5 hours you lose 95% of the alcohol. Get creative with your cooking to keep it exciting!
Gingerbread House Day
An Armenian monk first brought gingerbread to Europe around 992 AD and it was often used to mold into images of the saints! It wasn’t until the story of Hansel and Gretel that the idea of gingerbread houses became more commonplace. Although not built into a house, we’ve got a great recipe to share for a Festive Gingerbread loaf.
You can replace ¼ tsp of ground ginger with FRESH ginger in recipes. Remember you can FREEZE whole ginger root too! Need some grated? Just pull out of the freezer and it’s super easy to grate. Toss back in the freezer when you’re done.
National Cocoa Day
Cocoa is harvested twice a year, as cocoa beans, then fermented and dried. The beans are then roasted and hulled to create cocoa nibs which can further be ground into cocoa liquor and then separated into cocoa butter and cocoa cake. Cocoa cake is the end product we see as baking cocoa or in other dry mixes. Know where your food comes from!
Metabolic Effect suggests to feel satiated and reduce cravings try adding 1-2 heaping TB raw organic cocoa powder to 8-12 oz of freshly boiled water, stir and enjoy! Add variety with a dash of cinnamon or cayenne pepper!
National Cupcake Day
Cupcakes don’t have to be disastrous! Choose to enjoy a cupcake at that party with no regrets, and plan for it with other balanced days in your week or look for a recipe with healthier alternatives. Here’s one that is sweetened with dates, banana, and the juice of an orange!
Did you know you can cook down dates with water to make a sugar alternative? Make a double batch of these moist, pudding like cupcakes, for a full cupcake pan of 12.
and our personal favorite…
National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day!
Although not fully chocolate covered, try this frozen yogurt bark!! This recipe is very forgiving. Try varying ratios to make smaller batches. The test recipe was 3 cups of plain greek yogurt (go for some kind of fat content for creaminess), ¼ c honey or syrup, and 1-2 tsp vanilla extract mixed. Spread on a parchment lined cookie sheet and top with 1.5 c sliced/chopped berries and ¼ cup chocolate chips! Freeze for 2-3 hours and then break into pieces. Get creative with shredded coconut, nuts, and more for variety