Anna Wootton

Christmas Recipe Round-Up: Part 1

As you may remember, my camera was sold on eBay before Christmas and so all of my Christmas pics were taken with my iPhone (my new camera is on its way; I bought it in the online Boxing Day sales – yay!)

I love the iPhone 4S camera – it’s great quality – but it’s just so sensitive to movement I can’t get anything but shaky pics. The best I can do is something that looks sharp in small, but as soon as I blow it up I am majorly disappointed, so any suggestions would be welcomed!

Okay, segue over. Now onto rounding up the festive eats! Because it was Christmas and because I was sans camera, I didn’t take too many photos so I’ll just include some Christmassy shots I took over the holiday weekend ;).

Let’s begin with some appetizers and snacks I was able to make a day or two before Christmas. Note: If you follow me on Instagram, a lot of these photos may seem familiar – sorry about that!

I relied on the blogging world and family tradition for most of these treats so there will be more links than recipes!

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My dough balls! To be festive and fun, I bought some lollipop sticks from Michaels and just rolled the balls and then poked them with a stick and refrigerated them to set. Then I popped them into a Christmassy mug for serving!

The paler balls are from Fitnessista – and they are fabulous ways to sneak protein in but still feel like you are eating a delicious ball of raw cookie dough. SO good! Here’s the recipe – I really don’t change it much at all. Check them out here.

The other balls are date balls and there are lots of recipes for variations of these throughout the blog world. I make mine with 1/2 cup Medjool dates – chop them up in a food processor and then add in 1/4 cup almonds. I then threw in a handful of oats and a handful of chocolate chips so they would taste really cookie dough-like! Here’s the recipe in ‘written out form’:

Anna’s Date Dough Balls

INGREDIENTS (makes 8 balls)

1/2 cup Medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Handful (maybe 1/4 cup at most) oats
Handful (also maybe 1/4 cup) chocolate chips


1. Chop dates in food processor.

2. Add in almonds and, when well combined, throw in oats.

3. Add chocolate chips at the very end, only mixing to combine, not chopping.

4. Take small amounts of the mixture and roll into a ball shape. Place on wax or parchment paper in the fridge to set.

Nutritional information below is per ball if makes 8 balls!

Nutritional information courtesy of

Then it was time for the ‘sweet and savoury’ bites, which were mince pies (sweet) and my crispy quinoa cakes, just made into miniature patties and baked that way instead. Click here for the recipe for the quinoa cakes.

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Mince pies are an absolute British tradition and I was raised on them. As a kid I hated them but they are an acquired taste – you either love them or you hate them – and I soon grew to love them as I got older and my tastebuds became a bit more sophisticated (have I mentioned that I was an EXTREMELY picky eater as a child? I only started really enjoying vegetables in my late teens!).

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Typically my mom and I would make these together, making the pastry and rolling it out and then spooning jarred mincemeat into the pastry cases, topping with a pastry top and dusting with milk and sugar before baking.

NOTE: In case someone asks, traditional mincemeat is made with suet (kidney fat) and is therefore not vegetarian, but honestly nowadays I think you’d find it difficult to find a jarred version at the supermarket with suet in it – most of the jars I come across are vegetarian. Just check the ingredients list if you’re not sure – mine just had dried fruit, vinegar and some seasonings. Others may contain rum or brandy or both. If you see suet on the list, just know it’s not for the vegetarians!

Last year I decided to ‘healthify’ the recipe a bit by simply omitting the top layer of pastry (changing them, I guess, from mince pies to mince tarts). I always enjoyed the mincemeat part of it anyway and the pastry was a bit overwhelming before, so now it’s a perfect balance. Mr. Snowman sure likes them ;).

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This year, I decided that since we’re making mincemeat tarts, I would cheat and buy ready-made tart crusts (in the freezer aisle of most supermarkets). I bought them in regular and mini sizes. So there’s no real recipe here – buy a jar of mincemeat, a pack of pastry crusts and spoon a little into each crust and bake on 400 F for about 20 minutes or until golden. Easy!

I always like to say, mincemeat tarts are the only meat I’ll eat ;).

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Those are all the appetizers I prepared in advance. I’ll be back tomorrow with a post on the appetizers I made the day of, and then we’ll hit up the main meal before the end of the week, I promise! Now that I’ve eaten all the food, blogging about it is a good way for me to still feel I’m indulging while trying to get my healthy eating habits back lol!

By the way, true story:

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This is the fireplace channel, a channel devoted to a shot of a crackling fireplace, sound effects and all.

Our TV provider, Shaw, provides this channel throughout British Columbia and maybe even all of Canada (I’m not sure).

It runs on a 10 or 15-minute loop and towards the end of each loop an arm in a plaid shirt appears to stoke the fire. True story, that arm has its own Facebook fan page, with over 38,500 likes! So many people want to know more about the plaid arm :). Search for the Facebook page, it’s called The Guy Who Pokes The Fire On the Fireplace Channel. SO funny!


  • Have you ever heard of/tried mince pies?
  • Do you love ’em or hate ’em?