Lighter Recipes for the Winter Holidays


Pita Christmas Tree Appetizer

Serves 16


4 pita pockets                                                     16 thin pretzel sticks, halved

½ c. nonfat sour cream                                     ½ c. guacamole

2 tbsp. parsley, finely chopped                       ¼ tsp. garlic pepper seasoning

¼ c. red bell pepper, finely chopped

  1. Cut each pita into 8 wedges. Insert pretzel stick half into center of bottom of wedge to form “tree trunk”.
  2. In small bowl, mix sour cream, guacamole, parsley and garlic-pepper blend. Spread about 1 tsp mixture on each pita wedge.
  3. Blot bell pepper with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp bell pepper on each wedge as “ornaments” on the tree. If desired, cover & refrigerate up to 8 hours before serving.


Citrus Wassail

Serves 13


2 quarts unsweetened apple juice                2 c. unsweetened pineapple juice

2 c. orange juice                                               ½ c. lemon juice

¼ c. sugar or sugar substitute equivalent  1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp cloves

In a Dutch oven, combine all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.


Kwanzaa Green Pea Salad

Serves 6


½ c. light mayonnaise                                        1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp vinegar                                                     1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper                                         32 oz green sweet peas, thawed and drained

1 medium onion, finely chopped                        2 eggs, hard boiled, chopped

1 tsp chopped parsley

  1. Mix together mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper to make dressing.
  2. In separate bowl, combine peas, onion, and egg. Stir in dressing.

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Garnish with parsley.

Eid al-Adha

Arabic Salad


2 tomatoes, chopped                                      1 cucumber, peeled and chopped

½ onion, chopped very fine or several scallions    2 tsp cumin

dash of coriander                                               dash of cayenne pepper

1 – 2 tbsp lemon juice                                        1 tsp vinegar

  1. Put all of the above ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Add about 1 tbsp of water and mix with hands.
  3. The salad flavors if it sits for a bit.
  4. Serve with pita bread or falafel.


Sugar-Free Rugelach

Yield 64 cookies


1 c. margarine                                                   8 oz cream cheese, softened

2 ¾ c. all purpose flour                                   2 tsp vanilla extract

1 c. chopped raisins                                          1 c. chopped walnuts

2 tbsp ground cinnamon                                  1 c. apricot spreadable fruit

  1. Cream together the margarine and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. Blend in the vanilla. Mix in the flour. Chill the dough.
  2. To make the Filling: Mix together the chopped raisins, chopped walnuts, and cinnamon. If you have a food processor, place the whole walnuts and raisins into the bowl, sprinkle with the cinnamon, and chop them together by processing in short pulses.
  3. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a 10 – 12 inch circle 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured board or between two sheets of waxed paper.
  4. Spread a light layer of preserves (approximately 2 tablespoons) onto each dough circle. Sprinkle each circle with approximately 1/4 cup of the chopped nut-raisin-cinnamon mixture.
  5. Cut each circle into 16 wedges using a pastry cutter or a pizza cutter. Roll each wedge from base to point. Place point down on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes at 375 degrees F (or until golden). Remove to racks to cool.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: