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Ring in the New Year with my Favorite Healthy Appetizers

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I can’t believe in less than 48 hours it will be 2017! Where did the year go?! The holidays seemed to fly by. What a wonderful and crazy year 2016 has been. We expanded from a family of 3 to 4 and could not be any happier! I hope your 2016 was fantastic as well!

One of my favorite things to do on New Year’s Eve is to get together with friends and family to talk, play games, and of course- eat! What’s a New Year’s Eve without those amazing tiny hot dogs wrapped in pastry puffs, right?! Since most of the New Year’s foods aren’t the healthiest, I wanted to put together a few options I know my friends and family would love that are at least better for us than those deliciously tempting fatty little hot dogs.

I guess I have a bit of a sugar tooth lately because the appetizer/snack options I created are more sweet than savory. But if you are looking for savory, I recommend giving my Parmesan Tomato Bites and Breadless Quiche a try.

 

My first New Year’s Eve must have this year is my Guiltless Dark Chocolate Raspberry Bark. This dessert is so easy to make – it’s simply just two ingredients! You can’t mess it up. And it tastes so good you won’t even realize it’s packed full of antioxidants.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Bark

 

Guiltless Dark Chocolate Raspberry Bark

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (70% cacao or higher)
  • ½ cup freeze dried raspberries

Directions:

Melt dark chocolate and spread evenly onto a cookie tray lined with parchment paper. **My easy tip for melting chocolate: Add the chocolate into a plastic zip-lock bag and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. Rotate and heat for another 30 seconds. Repeat until all of the chocolate is melted. Then, cut a small hole in the bottom of the bag and squeeze the chocolate out onto the parchment paper.

 

Next, sprinkle the freeze dried raspberries evenly over top. Allow tray to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours until dark hardens. Break into pieces and serve. This treat is best enjoyed within 1-2 days as humidity can cause the freeze dried fruit to soften over time (it still tastes great, but the texture will be less crispy)

Makes 16 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

52 Calories, 7 grams Carbs, 0 grams Protein, 3 grams Fat

 

My next must have for tomorrow evening is my sweet take on nachos with my Nutty Chocolate Apple Nachos! This dessert nacho makes the perfect appetizer or sweet treat for your New Year’s party. And the best part, it’s only 91 calories per serving!

Nutty Chocolate Apple Nachos

Nutty Chocolate Apple Nachos

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups freeze dried apple chips
  • 2 Tbs natural nut butter
  • 1/8 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbs chopped walnuts

Directions:

Arrange apple chips on a large platter. Heat nut butter and chocolate in the microwave (or on the stove) until the consistency thins enough to drizzle over the apples. Drizzle the nut butter and chocolate evenly over the apples and top with chopped walnuts. Let stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to allow the chocolate and nut butter to harden slightly, then serve. This dish is best served within 10-20 minutes of assembly as freeze dried fruit becomes less crisp the longer it is exposed to air. (If the fruit is left out longer, it still tastes great, it just becomes less crisp)

Makes 6 servings

 

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

91 Calories, 9 grams Carbs, 2 gm Fiber, 1 gram Protein, 5 grams Fat

 

What will you be eating this New Year’s Eve?

 

Yum

White Christmas Sangria

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I’m dreaming of a white Christmas… sangria… one that contains few calories …. Lalala….

 

Are you drinking of relaxing over this holiday with a delicious cocktail that won’t pack in the calories and sugar? Me too! That’s why I decided to combine my two favorite adult beverages (wine & rum) into a healthy slimmed down sangria that pairs perfectly with this week’s festivities. On top of it being Christmas Eve, it’s also Joey’s 3rd birthday (can you believe it- we have a treenager!!), so I figured I deserved some celebration time myself- you know to mark my almost 1 month anniversary of being a mom of 2! So yes, I need a drink!

You do have to prep a little to make this drink (it doesn’t take long, I swear) because you want to allow time for the fruit to defuse into the alcohol for a sweet taste. You can still make the drink with the fruit without allowing it time to defuse, but it won’t taste quite as sweet. So if you can, make this overnight tonight and it will be ready for you to enjoy all day tomorrow – of course if you start enjoying it too early it may lead to a very early bedtime for you. Hey, maybe that’s the solution to Joey’s sleep problems- just kidding!

I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas, a happy holiday, and of course a happy & healthy New Year! Enjoy!

White Christmas Sangria

Slimmed Down White Christmas Sangria

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle Pinot Grigio (750 mL bottle)
  • 1/2 cup fruit infused white rum (I used Bacardi Razz)
  • 1 cup 100% white grape juice
  • 2 cups seltzer water
  • 1 cup sliced red apple
  • 1 cup sliced green apple
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries

 

Directions

In a large bowl, place sliced fruit, rum, and wine and chill for 2 hours. In a large pitcher, mix together the fruit & alcohol mixture along with the grape juice and seltzer. Add 1 cup of ice to chill. Serve by scooping some fruit into a wine glass and pouring liquid mixture on top. Makes 12 servings.

 

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

95 calories, 8gm carbs

 

*Remember if you have #diabetes, alcohol can increase the chances of hypoglycemia- drink responsibly, test blood sugar often, and never drink on an empty stomach

Yum

Slimmed Down Chocolate Martini Recipe

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Skinny Chocolate Martini

After 9 months of no drinking (for a wonderful little reason), I am pretty excited about being able to sip on a few holiday cocktails this winter. Every Christmas, my dad loves to make these amazing chocolate martinis. The problem is, though, that I am pretty sure he uses about a gallon of chocolate syrup to make each one. Yes they are delicious, but they are like having three dessert servings in one sip! So I thought why not play around with the martini recipe until I can discover something delicious, but at the same time, slightly healthier than just sticking a straw into the container of Hershey’s syrup. Of course, experimenting with cocktail recipes is certainly not the worst job to have! Enter the “Decadent Chocolate Martini” – a slimmed down version of the original with all of the same great taste. Just remember to pace yourself if you whip up a batch- they are delicious, but they are strong!

 

Decadent Chocolate Martini Recipe

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz Kahlua Rum
  • 5 oz Vanilla vodka
  • ½ cup non-fat Chocolate milk
  • Chocolate syrup, optional
  • Ice

 

Directions:

  1. In a martini glass, drizzle chocolate syrup and place in freezer while you mix other ingredients.
  2. In a mixer, combine all ingredients. Shake until mixed completely.
  3. Drain liquid from mixer into glass. Enjoy immediately.

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

267 Calories, 34 g CHO, 1 g FAT, 4 g PRO, 115 mg Sodium, 12 g sugar

 

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan

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What’s red and green and easier to make than a roll of pre-made sugar cookie dough? My festive Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan of course! This is one of my favorite recipes since it not only tastes great, but it takes less than 5 minutes to prep and make. You can toss it together and run out to finish your last minute shopping while it cooks. And if you make enough, you can have easy leftovers for tomorrow too!

This time of year between trying to juggle end of the year work projects and deadlines, last minute shopping, wrapping (which I loathe!), Joey’s birthday (I can’t believe he’s turning 3 already!!), and oh yea a brand new baby(!!!) it’s just too crazy to even think about what to make for dinner. I really didn’t want to resort to take out since I’d like to eat as healthy as possible before all of the large holiday meals. And that’s where this recipe came in. I love me some chicken parm (who doesn’t?), but it can be very time consuming. When trying to multitask while watching a toddler who loves to climb and jump off furniture and a new baby who loves to be held, I need to make my recipes as simple as possible. So I thought, why not throw all of the chicken parm ingredients in the slow cooker and see what happens. Luckily, the result was delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs skinless chicken breast
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbs minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Coat the bottom of a slow cooker with olive oil and place the chicken breasts on top. Sprinkle on breadcrumbs and garlic. Pour the tomato sauce on top and then add the Parmesan cheese. Cook on high for 4 hours. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, top with fresh mozzarella and allow to melt. Serve warm with a side of steamed veggies (I chose steamed broccoli for a red/green festive combo) and enjoy!

 

I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Yum

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