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“tis the season to be feasting, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be mindful eating, so I approached local mum and family nutritionist Kirsty Bear from Nutz4Nutrition,
to help me share some recipes with our community that will no doubt become some of your new Christmas favourites!

*If you should make any or all of these recipes yourself, be sure to tag Townsville Family Life on social, Kirsty and I would love to see your creations*

Over to Kirsty……

I am going to show you 3 Christmas recipes that will surprise and delight the whole family!

Starting with Reindeer Poop (aka protein/bliss balls), I know sounds disgusting! Reindeer noses is a better alternative if “poop” doesn’t stimulate your appetite. But these little gems are nut free and kid friendly (unlike the traditional rum balls at Christmas). They are a big hit in our household all year round, and when my kids were younger, I would make batches of these to give to their friends at school instead of candy canes (I have a bee in my bonnet about candy canes but that’s a discussion for another day).

Then Mushroom and Bacon Salad: This recipe is my all time favourite. It is so versatile and colourful. You can eat it warm or cold, have it as a main or a side, and it is so easy to make. The added bonus here is it’s absolutely delicious and nutritious. I double, sometimes triple the amount and have it that evening warm, then we’ve got leftovers for the next day as a cold salad – one less thing you need to prepare on Christmas Day.

Finally, Mexican Dip:
An unusual mix but a perfect one for Christmas. This dip has three layers – the colours of Christmas – red, green, and white! It is also easy to make, and a healthier option compared to store bought dips.
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do. I have big plans for next year so keep an eye on my website and Facebook, I look forward to catching up with all of you in the new year.
Safe and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

christmas recipes

REINDEER POOP RECIPE
Ingredients – makes about 15 – 20 balls

• 10 medjool dates
• 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
• 1/4 cup pepitas
• 1 tbsp chia seeds
• 1/2 cup coconut flakes
• 1/2 cup oats
• 2-3 tbsp cacao powder
• 2-3 drops peppermint oil or flavour (optional)
• pinch salt
• desiccated coconut (to roll balls in)
• A little water

Method
1. Soak dates in warm water for 5 minutes
2. Drain dates, then throw into a food processor or Thermomix
3. Put the rest of the ingredients in the food processor or Thermomix
4. Blitz until the mixture comes together or until you get the consistency you want – can leave a little chunky if you prefer
5. Roll into balls (add a little water to help the mixture stick together) this is where the kids can help at any age!
6. Place desiccated coconut onto a plate. Now roll the ball in the coconut. Give it a little shake to get rid of any excess coconut.
Freezing / Storage
Best stored in the fridge. I haven’t tested freezing these yet but it’s not really necessary, they will last a month in the fridge anyway.

Some alternative ideas…

1. Replace the peppermint oil with orange – you could add a tblspn of orange juice and some zest or use 2 drops of Orange Oil (I use Young Living)
2. Replace the peppermint oil, add 1 mashed banana and some cinnamon.
At Christmas, roll these balls into a small size and then make into reindeer poop. Drop the coconut from the outside so it looks more authentic.

christmas recipes

MUSHROOM AND BACON SALAD
Serves 6

Ingredients:
• 750g medium size mushrooms – quartered
• 1 bunch of fresh asparagus – ends trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
• 1tbsp olive oil
• 1 – 2 cloves of garlic – sliced thinly
• 100g – short cut bacon or ham diced
• 1 cup of capsicum diced – red/green or both
• 1 purple onion – sliced
• ½ cup shallots – sliced
• ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes (please check ingredients for additives & preservatives)
• 2 Tbsp of freshly chopped Parsley

Dressing:
• 1/3 cup Italian 100% fat free dressing
• ½ tsp crushed garlic
• 1 tsp tamari soy sauce
• 2 tsp Dijon mustard

Method:

Heat oil in large frying pan, saute` bacon until browned. Add garlic and onion.
Add asparagus and capsicum, toss together for 2 minutes.
Stir through mushrooms and allow to cook but still firm. Fold through shallots, sun-dried tomatoes and parsley.
Remove from heat and transfer to serving bowl draining any liquid.

Dressing:
Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Once served pour a spoon full of dressing over salad on your plate. Doing this will make it last longer.
Salad will keep in the fridge up to 3 days.

christmas recipes

MEXICAN DIP

Ingredients:
• 1 435g can refried beans
• 300ml salsa (store bought or make your own)
• 1 tbsp Macro taco seasoning
• ½ cup mashed avocado
• 200g natural yoghurt
• ¼ cup reduced fat grated cheese
• ½ – 1 cup of red & green capsicum diced
• 2 shallots sliced

Method:
In a medium sized mixing bowl combine refried beans and salsa.
Spread over the base of a pie dish.
Mix taco seasoning with avocado and gently spread over the top of the bean mix.
Spread yoghurt over avocado then sprinkle cheese, capsicum and shallots over the top of the yoghurt.
Serve with rice crackers (Sakata are best option as they only have 3 ingredients).

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