The Christmas Canapés and Entrees available at parties and dinners may be small, but they certainly add up! Remember to limit yourself and don’t continue trying everything as you’ll want to save room for the main affair! Even though they are small they can still contain a whopping amount of calories. Try to steer clear of the chips, fried morsels, processed meats and cheese filled pastry and swap for some of these tasty, healthier options!
Seared Scallops and Sweet Chilli Sauce
- 20 scallops
- 1 inch thumb of ginger – peeled and grated
- 1 centimeter thumb of ginger – peeled and grated
- 1 small handful of coriander – chopped
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic – peeled and minced
- 1 long red chilli – deseeded and finally chopped
- 2 red capsicums – diced
- 4 dates – pitted
- The juice of 1 lime
- Sea salt
- Tooth picks
- In a mortar and pestle pound the garlic, coriander and the inch of ginger into a paste and mix through the olive oil.
- Then marinate the scallops with this mixture.
- To make the sweet chilli sauce place the lime, dates, capsicum, chilli, 1 centimeter of ginger, salt and pepper into a blender and process into a smooth paste.
- In a frying pan on high heat cook the scallops for 1 minute or until lightly golden, flip and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes.
- On a plate spread out the scallops, add a small dollop of the sauce and pierce with a toothpick.
Some other great options could be mini frittatas, healthy salsas and homemade corn chips, fresh prawns and turkey mince meatballs!
The main fodder seen at Christmas Get Together’s are usually Roast Turkeys, Honey Hams, Stuffing and Mashed/Roasted Potatoes doused in Gravies, Chutneys and Jellies. Yes they are the main attraction but they don’t have to take up the largest portion of your plate. Choose a palm sized portion for your meat and fill the rest of your plate with vegetables, or even have a seafood Christmas, which will be less heavy!
Healthy Mushroom Stuffing
- 2 brown onions – finely sliced
- 1 and a half cups of farro
- 1 tablespoon sage – finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. picked thyme leaves
- ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms – rehydrated in boiling water and drained. Reserve the liquid
- Olive oil
- Sea salt flakes
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 cups shitake mushrooms – sliced
- 3 cups enoki mushrooms – cut in half
- 1 cup of finally sliced celery
- Olive oil
- Over medium high heat sauté the onions in olive oil then reduce the heat and cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Then add Porcini mushrooms, reserved liquid, farro and salt, then cover, bring to the boil, reduce heat and cook for 30 minutes or until farro is al dente.
- In a saucepan cook shitake mushrooms, celery, thyme, sage, salt and pepper in olive oil until mushroom are soft.
- Add the white wine and cook until reduces completely.
- Combine the two mixtures together then spoon into an oiled baking dish.
- Cover with foil and bake in the oven on 180 degrees for 30 minutes.
There are loads of other great healthy stuffing options and you can even stuff a whole fish with a nice healthy stuffing instead of your usual turkey. Ensure your Ham is a good quality or there are even some great vegetarian options!
The tasty sides and sauces that accompany your Christmas dinner don’t add much nutritional value and they are very high in calories per serving. Think Butter Beans, Mashed or Baked Potatoes, Mint sauce and Rich Gravy. But they don’t have to be! There are tones of excellent substitutes that you can enjoy in place of your favourite foods.
Garlic and Chive Cauliflower Mash
- 1 large cauliflower – cut into florets
- 2 cloves garlic – sliced
- ½ bunch chives – finely sliced
- Sea salt
- Olive oil
- ¼ cup of natural vegetable stock
- Sauté garlic with the olive until soft then add the cauliflower and vegetable stock.
- Cover and cook on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, if you feel like you need more liquid you can add more stock or water.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then place in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Mix in salt, pepper and chives and serve.
You can also do sweet potato mash, healthy chutneys instead of gravy and salads and steamed vegetables instead of heavier roasted or fried accompaniments
The downfall for most of us, we simply cannot resist the temptation of puddings, chocolates, cakes, pies, jellies, decadent cheeses, ginger bread, pavlovas, the list goes on! It’s important to put a limit on these high calorie, high sugar and high fat desserts during the silly season though and there are some lovely options that are a far healthier but just as delicious!
- 500grams Greek Yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 500grams Cherries – pitted and quartered
- 1 tablespoon of cacao
- 1 teaspoon of desiccated coconut
- Mix the yoghurt and honey together until well combined then add most of the cherries and mix well.
- Pour into a lined baking tray and spread evenly.
- Top the bark with coconut, cacao and cherries and place in the fridge for a few hours.
- When frozen, remove from the freezer and break apart into slices (it’s okay if it’s quite jagged) and serve or store in the freezer.
You can use lots of different variations for this dessert to suit your tastes and there are lots of healthy options out there for cheese cakes, slices and ice creams that you can make instead of the traditional sticky date pudding, otherwise, why not just stick to fresh delicious fruit!
Tis the season where everyone seems to let their hair down and have a drink, and while it’s okay to have 1 or 2 drinks in celebration, the high calorie content will add up over the holidays if you’re not careful, not to mention all those toxins you’re putting into your body! And it’s not just the alcohol that adds up, the hot chocolate and eggnog will too!
- 4 egg whites
- 2 cups almond milk
- 1 vanilla bean – scraped
- 1/3 cup honey
- A big pinch nutmeg
- 2 big pinches of ground ginger
- 2 cinnamon quills
- 3 pinches of ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch of ground cloves
- Place all of the ingredients (except for the cinnamon quills and 2 pinches of cinnamon) in a blender and blend well.
- Pour the mixture into a pot and cook over very low heat do not bring to a boil or simmer and you can avoid this by constantly stirring.
- After about 10 – 20 minutes remove from the heat, place in a bowl and leave in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, blend in a blender until very smooth, you can add extra milk if you would like.
- Place in a saucepan again and warm up, pour into two glasses with a cinnamon quill in each glass and stir well.
- Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and serve with the quills.
So while it’s okay to have a few drinks during Christmas and New Year, just try to balance it out with alcohol free days, mock tails, or the generally lower calorie or healthier options such as Vodka and Organic Red Wine.