Healthier Easter treats

Sure, homemade is healthier. But do you want to know the REAL secret behind why this blog shares so many fun ideas to try at home?


Growing up in a small church, we had a fundraiser each year where the church ladies would spend all week making country ham sandwiches and homemade easter treats.

My mom introduced me to this sacred tradition when I was probably 5 or 6...


Picture it. A little set of blonde pigtails racing around a room filled with CANDY. Aka- it was heaven.

I learned how to make homemade peanut butter eggs and slippery pot pie and apple dumplings in that old kitchen. And when you make them, you get to taste them 😉

Many of the ladies who taught me how are now too old to use their hands so much or have taken their seat in heaven, but I still remember Mrs. Mary Ann adding crisco to a recipe like it was water and the way Mrs. Pat patiently poured chocolate into the Easter egg molds. They said one day I'd make these things for my own family and it seemed like a lifetime away.

It's kind of bittersweet having that day be TO-day.


The treats were always delicious, but those memories couldn't be bought with $1,000,000. I'd give anything for one more Easter in the kitchen with them.


So whether you're missing someone special this year or you have pigtails of your own running around the kitchen, you can make these easy treats at home and start building memories for your family that will someday be more precious than any Easter basket. 💝


Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

Ingredients:

-Dark chocolate (60%+) bar or chips

-Coconut oil (2tsp per 1c chocolate)

-Sugar free peanut butter

-Cane sugar (not necessary but makes them more solid)


Health Benefits:

-Antioxidants from cacao help fight free radicals in the body + reduce inflammation

-Coconut oil contains omega fatty acids that support brain health

-Nut butters contain protein and heart-healthy fats, as well as brain boosting omegas


Preparation:

-Place sugar in a blender or food processor + pulse until powdered sugar forms

-Mix half the sugar into your nut butter and sprinkle half on a clean counter or baking sheet

-Mix nut butter well and form roll into balls, then form them into egg shapes (or bunnies if you're feeling real fancy)

-Place PB eggs on a baking sheet and transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes

-In a double boiler (or the microwave), melt chocolate chips and coconut oil, stirring often

-Remove PB eggs from freezer

-Using a fork or skewer, dip PB shapes into melted chocolate (spoon chocolate over top as needed to cover well) and allow excess to drip off before placing on the original baking sheet

-Once all eggs/shapes are chocolate coated, return to the freezer for about 10 minutes

-If needed, do a second dip after the first layer has set completely

-Place eggs in a container or zipper bag (separating with parchment paper to avoid sticking) and keep in the fridge until ready to serve!

*If you choose to omit the powdered sugar, your eggs will be runny when you bite into them. Keep them in the freezer and thaw 5 minutes before serving





Extra Healthy Carrot Cake

*adapted from FitFoodieFinds and WellPlated by Erin

Ingredients:

CAKE

-6c almond flour

-4 large carrots

-1 teaspoon baking powder

-½ teaspoon baking soda

-1 teaspoon kosher salt

-1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

-1 teaspoon ground ginger

-½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

-Pinch ground cloves

-1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce

-2 large eggs

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

-1/4 cup maple syrup

-1/2c brown sugar

-1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

-2 tablespoons sunflower oil


CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

-1/2 cup fat-free cream cheese

-1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

-2 tablespoons maple syrup (or more to taste)


Health Benefits:

-Almond flour adds protein + healthy fats as well as fiber

-Carrots contain fiber and beta carotene to support eye and immune system health

-Warming spices promotes circulation and may reduce inflammation

-Applesauce adds even more fiber, reducing the glycemic load of this treat

-Eggs contain vitamin D, vitamin K, folate, choline, and protein

-Almond milk provides a lower-fat alternative to traditional options

-Sunflower oil is an excellent source of vitamin E and is a heart-healthy option (and costs the same or less than traditional vegetable oil!)


Preparation:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

-In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients

-Grate carrots and strain as much liquid as possible by squeezing in cheese cloth or a paper towel. Save the juice and add it to a smoothie!

-In a separate bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients except the oil

-Add dry carrots to dry ingredients and mix to combine

-Immediately stir in about 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the wet until well combined

-Repeat until all ingredients are incorporated well, then fold in the sunflower oil

-Fold in any additional ingredients such as toasted pecans or raisins or dark chocolate chips

-Lightly oil your baking dish (9x9, loaf pan, cake pan or cupcake/muffin molds will work) and line with parchment paper

-Add batter to desired pan and bake for about 20 minutes (depending on pan size, this may take up to 30-35 minutes)

-Check regularly- the center will still be super moist but a toothpick should come out clean.

-While cake bakes, whip up your cream cheese frosting ingredients and cool in the fridge

-Allow cake to cool completely (about 1 hour) before frosting



DIY (decorate-it-yourself) Chocolate Eggs

Ingredients:

-Dark chocolate (60%+) bar or chips

-Coconut oil (2tsp per 1c chocolate)

-Plastic eggs

-White chocolate

-Coloring of choice (check out these food-based options instead of food dye!)

-Optional- shredded coconut, almonds, edible Easter grass, jelly beans, etc.


Health Benefits:

-Antioxidants from cacao preserved to reduce inflammation + fight free radicals

-Coconut oil provides brain-boosting omega fatty acids

-The activity provides a boost of dopamine and serotonin by having fun!


Preparation:

-Wash your plastic eggs with soap and water and allow the dry completely

-Melt dark chocolate and coconut oil together over a double boiler or in the microwave

-Once melted, carefully (it'll be pretty hot!) spoon chocolate into plastic eggs. I recommend adding a spoonful to each half, allowing excess to run back into original bowl, and then clicking the two halves together. You can also allow them to dry separately and attach the two halves with melted chocolate once hardened

*The inside of the eggs should only have a light coating on them or they will not harden well

-Place eggs on a plate or baking sheet in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. It may be a bit of trial and error to find your perfect hardening time, so have fun with it!

-While the eggs cool, melt white chocolate and prepare decorating ingredients

-Once hardened, gently remove the plastic eggs (might have to warm them slightly with your hands)

-Place all chocolate eggs on a plate or baking sheet and go wild with decorating! Transfer white or colored chocolate to ziplock bags and cut a small hole in one corner and use to draw decorations or attach other nuts/candy to the outside of the eggs

*Expert level- let the chocolate egg halves harden unconnected. Once hardened, add your "decorations" to the center and connect the two halves with melted chocolate. Return to fridge/freezer to set. Then you have magic surprise eggs!

 

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