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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 31, 2014

Indulgent bites: Holiday treats

By DEE SANDQUIST, Hy-Vee Dietitian | Dec 26, 2013

Holidays are a time to treat yourself and loved ones to delicious homemade dishes, but New Year’s resolutions can pressure people to stick to a restrictive diet or avoid yummy treats that might pack on pounds. Depriving yourself of treats over the holiday season can actually lead to more weight gain than the gain for people who do not restrict themselves, according to a 2008 study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. This season, indulge in these low-calorie bite-size appetizers (recipes below). Just one will leave you satisfied without feeling like you let down your New Year’s resolution. Plus, the salmon cucumber cups contain essential fats to keep you healthy this holiday season. The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish, such as salmon and tuna, each week to decrease risk of cardiovascular disease.
Creamy Salmon Cucumber Cups
Serves: 24 pieces, or 8 servings

All you need:
• 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
• 1 tablespoon nonfat or 1% milk
• 4 scallions, white parts only, sliced
• 4 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon
• 1/4 cup whipped cream cheese
•1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
• 2 large English cucumbers
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
All you do:
1. Process the cottage cheese and milk in a food processor until smooth. Add the scallions, salmon, cream cheese, lemon juice and a pinch of white pepper and process until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
2. Cut the cucumbers into 3/4-inch-thick rounds, discarding the ends. Using a small spoon, scoop the seeds and some of the flesh out of each round to form a small cup.
3. Fill each cup with about 2 teaspoons of the salmon whip and sprinkle with the chives. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 1 hour.

Nutrition per serving (3 pieces): Calories 60; Fat 3 g (Saturated 1 g); Cholesterol 10 mg; Sodium 190 mg; Carbohydrate 5g; Fiber 1 g; Protein 5 g

Molten Chocolate and Fresh Raspberry Mini Phyllo Tarts
Serves: 15

All you need:
• 1 tablespoon fat-free half-and-half
• 3 tablespoons chocolate chunks or chips
• 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ¼ teaspoon agave syrup
• Pinch of instant coffee
• 15 Mini Fillo Shells (1 box)
• 15 fresh raspberries
• Mint leaves, for garnish
All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small microwavable bowl, combine half-and-half, chocolate, vanilla, agave syrup and instant coffee. Microwave for 2 minutes on 50% power, stopping every 20 seconds to stir the chocolate mixture. It is important not to boil or overheat the chocolate. The chocolate should be melted into the half-and-half and be slightly warm, not hot.
3. Before filling shells, place the shells on a baking sheet and bake in preheated 350°F oven for 3-5 minutes for added crispness. Fill each shell half-full with melted chocolate mixture.
4. Top each with a fresh raspberry and garnish with mint. Serve immediately.

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