Creating a repertoire of delicious wintery foods can help evoke health, mindfulness and delight during the holiday season. Dr. Michelle May advises approaching the entire process of eating, including the menu planning, shopping and food preparation, with a spirit of mindfulness, which adds a deeper dimension of pleasure to the experience. “Cake becomes more than just cake,” she says. “It becomes something the family creates and enjoys together.” Savor these rituals and recipes with loved ones.
Memory-Making Christmas Cake
This nontraditional, healthy Christmas cake is alcohol,-sugar-and glutenfree. It relies on fruit for sweetness, almond meal for moistness and vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange essences for a perfect mingling of flavors. Prepare the cake with the whole family as a Stir-Up Sunday ritual, and keep it tightly sealed in the refrigerator until Christmas Day. Serve in small portions at room temperature or warmed in the oven and alongside vanilla bean custard or plain yogurt swirled with orange blossom honey.
Yields 20 servings
2½ cups (600 grams) mixed and chopped dried fruit (raisins, prunes, figs, apricots, currants, sultanas and/ or dates)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla bean extract
Zest and juice from 1 organic orange
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 organic free-range eggs
2 cups (200 gm) ground almonds (almond flour)
¼ cup (50 gm) walnuts
Preheat the oven to 300° F. Line the sides and base of a 7-inch round cake tin with parchment paper. Combine the dried fruit, spices, vanilla, orange zest and juice, olive oil and eggs. Mix in the almond flour and walnuts, then spoon the batter into the baking tin. Bake for an hour-and-a-half. Insert a skewer or toothpick to see if it comes out moist, but clean; if not, bake for up to 30 minutes more. (Cover the top if necessary to prevent over-browning.) After cooling, remove from the tin and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.
Courtesy of Teresa Cutter, author of The 80/20 Diet and founder of TheHealthyChef.com.
Yields 4 servings
Melody Moonlight’s story, which birthed the potion
32 oz apple juice
½ cup dried holy basil leaf
2 Tbsp dried orange peel
2 Tbsp dried rosemary
1½ Tbsp crushed cardamom
1½ Tbsp dried ginger root
1 Tbsp dried peppermint leaves
½ Tbsp ground nutmeg
1½ cinnamon sticks
13 drops each of essences of chicory flower, beech flower and rose quartz (all available at natural grocers)
In a large pot, bring the apple juice to a near boil. Add all the other ingredients and turn off the heat.
Read Melody Moonlight’s story at Tinyurl.com/LovePotionStory to infuse it all with magic and meaning.
Courtesy of Andy Bottagaro, potion maker at Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place, in Boulder, CO.