Holiday Treats for College

Holiday Treats for College

The holiday season can be a very challenging time for many, with various parties and events.  For college students, it is also very stressful because of the end of the semester and final exams.  Whether you are still finishing up at school or just finished finals, unwind with these semi-healthy holiday treats.

Sweet Potato Fries & Kale Chips

Both of these vegetables are in season during the winter and are hearty sides for a meal. Sweet potatoes have beta-carotene and Vitamin A, and kale has fiber, iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K.  Both vegetables can be prepared simply in the oven with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Cover two cookie sheets with foil.  Thinly slice a medium sweet potato into either fries or circles.  Cover the pieces with a thin layer of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  On the other cookie sheet, cover with two large handfuls of chopped kale.  Add a dash or two of olive oil and also salt and pepper.

The kale chips should stay in the oven for less than 10 minutes. Rotate them around 5 minutes or so.  They are done when most pieces are crispy.

The sweet potato fries take longer to bake.  You should flip them around 10 minutes or so (the bottoms will start to get brown).  They should be done in less than 20 minutes.  The inside may still be tender.

Gingerbread Men

Instead of the premade dough, try these wholesome gingerbread cookies made with real ginger.  This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Feeding the Whole Family, by Cynthia Lair.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Blend ¼ c. softened butter and ¼ c. dried cane juice until creamy.  Add ¼ c. brown rice syrup, ¼ c. molasses, and 1 T. ginger root; continue mixing.  Combine 3 c. whole wheat pastry flour, 1 t. baking soda, ¼ t. cloves, ½ t. cinnamon, and ½ t. sea salt in another bowl.  Slowly add the dry mix to the wet ingredients, alternating with ¼-½ c. orange juice.  Work the dough and roll it onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet.  Cut the dough with cookie cutters and decorate with dried fruit or nuts.  Bake for 8 minutes at least, depending on how thick the dough is.

After the cookies cool, the gingerbread tastes great with cream cheese buttercream frosting, if you feel like indulging.  Whether you do that or not, enjoy this tasty seasonal treat, made with whole grains and complex sugars, which will keep you full for a longer period of time.

Whatever you celebrate, enjoy the holidays, and try some new things!  Happy holidays everyone.