treatsThe best part of any holiday is spending time with family and friends—it’s a lot more fun to make treats together in the kitchen than battle for parking places at the mall! If you have little ones around, they’ll want to be involved, too, so it’s great to have recipes on hand just for them. They’ll learn some basic food-prep skills and wind up with fond memories to look back on. But even if you don’t have kids in the kitchen, being able to whip up some no-cook, almost-instant desserts is a welcome skill during the holidays!


Spiced Pumpkin-Yogurt Dip with Apples & Pears

Stir together 7 ounces of plain whole-milk Greek yogurt and ½ cup canned pumpkin. Add ½ teaspoon vanilla, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 ½ teaspoons maple syrup. Stir again and see if you’d like to add another teaspoon of maple syrup, then serve with sliced apples and pears for dipping. (If you’re prepping the fruit in advance, swirl the cut apples and pears in a bowl filled with cool water and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Leave the fruit submerged until you’re ready to arrange it neatly on a serving plate.) You’ll have about 1 ½ cups of dip. Leftover dip can be refrigerated for 3 days.


Nut & Seed Balls

Use a coffee/spice grinder to grind ½ cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds into a coarse flour, then place in a large mixing bowl and add ¼ cup raisins or chopped dates, ½ cup chilled almond, cashew or peanut butter, ¾ cup unsweetened flaked coconut, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Use your hands to mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Taste to see if you’d like to add another tablespoon of honey, then shape into 1” balls. Yield: about 2 dozen balls. These nutty treats can be refrigerated for a week.


Neapolitan Yogurt Parfaits

Divide 2 cups of plain whole-milk Greek yogurt into three bowls. In one bowl, whisk in 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (for the chocolate layer). Taste and see if you’d like to add more of either the cocoa or the maple syrup. In another bowl, stir in 2 tablespoons of low-sugar strawberry jam (for the strawberry layer). Taste and see if you’d like to add more jam. In another bowl, stir in 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and ½ teaspoon of vanilla (for the vanilla layer). Taste and see if you’d like to add more maple syrup.

Layer the flavored yogurts into 4 glasses or bowls to create a Neapolitan effect. For a pretty look and varied texture, if you’d like, you can add sliced fresh fruit, chopped and toasted nuts or seeds, or toasted cocoa nibs or coconut flakes between the layers and on top of the parfaits. Fruit-finished parfaits can be refrigerated for 2 days, while parfaits made without fruit can be refrigerated for 4 days.

Have your own recipes?  Check out these tips to make healthier treats and sweets!




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