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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Holidays Recipes from Local Chefs

by Yvette Lynn 

Life is in the details, which frequently pass unnoticed during the holiday season. With all eyes on the grand finale of the holiday meal, slow down, breathe deeply and pause for the pleasantries in little details such as the fragrance of freshly baked gluten- and dairy-free vegan banana berry muffins, the many flavors in a healthy, but filling lunch salad and delighted taste buds savoring a flavorful side dish of haricot verts (thin French green beans) that’s likely to become an all-time favorite for beet lovers.

No-Bake Pecan Snowballs (Grain-Free, Vegan)


Yields: 12 balls

1 cup pecan halves
1⁄2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut 1 cup so Medjool dates, pitted

(about 10 dates)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1⁄2 tsp sea salt
1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
Extra arrowroot for dusting, or coconut sugar

Place the pecans and shredded coconut in a large food processor fitted with an “S” blade, and process until the pecans are broken down and crumbly. Add in the rest of the ingredients and process again, until a sticky dough is formed. (It should stick together when pressed between two fingers.)

Scoop the dough by rounded tablespoons and roll the dough between your hands, forming balls. Arrange the balls on a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place them in the freezer to set, about 1 to 2 hours. For a “snowball” look, roll the balls in additional arrowroot or tapioca starch—just a light coating will do—since the starch will not enhance the avor. It’s just for looks!

Note: If you’d prefer to roll the balls in co- conut sugar or shredded coconut, roll them in one of those options before freezing, so the coating will stick better.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars (Vegan, Gluten Free)


Chocolate Crust:

3⁄4 cup ground almond meal 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp melted coconut oil Pinch of sea salt

Peanut Butter Filling:

1⁄2 cup creamy natural peanut butter 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Topping:

1⁄4 cup cocoa powder
1⁄4 cup melted coconut oil 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper and set it aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the chocolate crust ingredients until a moist dough is formed. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined loaf pan and place it in the freezer to set.

To prepare the lling, you can use the same bowl to stir the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil and salt. Depending on whether you’re using salted or unsalted peanut butter, consider adding more salt to taste. Store- bought peanut butter cups are quite salty,

so I like to add a generous pinch of salt to mimic that avor. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the peanut butter lling over the top, using a spatula to spread it out evenly. Return the pan to the freezer to set.

Rinse the mixing bowl and use it again to make the nal layer. Combine the cocoa powder, melted coconut oil and maple syrup, whisking well to break up any clumps. Once the mixture has become a smooth chocolate sauce, pour it over the peanut butter layer, and return the pan to the freezer to set until rm, about an hour or two.

Once the bars are rm, grab the edges of parchment paper to easily li the solid bar from the pan, and use a sharp knife to slice the bars into your desired size. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to a month. ( e bars become very rm if frozen for too long, so I prefer serving them from the fridge a er the initial rming-up time.)

Source: butter-cup-bars-vegan

Banana Berry Muffins 


3 bananas, mashed

1/3 cup apple sauce

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup maple syrup

2 Tbsp sprouted chia powder

2 Tbsp sprouted flaxseed

1½ cup gluten free flour

½ tsp baking soda

Pinch of nutmeg

Mix bananas, apple sauce and coconut oil. Add dry ingredients. Bake at 325 for 25 to 30 minutes. Top with blueberries and raspberries. 

Freedom Teague, Food & Thought, 2132 Tamiami Tr. N, Naples, 239-213-2222.

Berry Kale Salad

 1½ lbs kale

¼ cup organic olive oil

1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbsp Swerve sugar substitute

¼ cup organic agave

1 cup black berries

1 cup raspberries 

1 cup diced strawberries

1 cup blueberries

1 cup dried cranberries

2 Tbsp poppy seeds

1 cup toasted pine nuts

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, Swerve and agave. Mix well. Toss with kale, fruit, nuts and seeds.

Paul Emmerling, Ada’s Natural Market, 7070 College Pkwy, Fort Myers. 239-939-9600.

Haricot Verts


3 lbs small to medium-size red beets

8 thyme sprigs

5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2½ tsp kosher salt, divided

1 tsp black pepper, divided

½ cup plus 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil, divided

1 lb haricots verts, trimmed and divided

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp whole grain mustard

1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano 

2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

Roasted hazelnuts for garnish

Chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350. Toss together beets, thyme springs, olive oil, salt and pepper in a roasting pan or baking dish; cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake in preheated oven until beets are tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove foil. Let stand until cool enough to peel and cut into wedges. Discard thyme springs.

Heat 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil in large cast iron skillet over high heat until smoking.

Add half of haricot verts in an even layer. Cook without stirring until charred on one side (about 2 minutes. Cook, stirring often, until tender-crisp (about 3 minutes).

Transfer to a plate. Repeat process with 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil and remaining haricots verts. Sprinkle beans with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Toss together beets, haricots verts, vinegar, sugar, mustard, oregano, chopped thyme and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and remaining ½ teaspoon pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Stir together shallots and remaining ½ cup grapeseed oil in small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until golden brown and crisp (about 15 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, transfer fried shallots to paper towels to drain. Top salad with fried shallots and garnish with hazelnuts and parsley.

Tracey Roskuski, For Goodness Sake, Sunshine Plaza, 9118 Bonita Beach Rd SE, Bonita Springs, 239-992-5838.

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