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Here’s a delicious side dish for any meal this holiday season that uses Brussels sprouts, a vegetable hard to make little ones eat!

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts


1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon (or 10 grinds) black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375 °F.
2. To prepare the Brussels sprouts, remove any yellow or brown outer leaves, cut off the stems, and cut in half.
3. In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts, olive oil, salt, and pepper together. Once all of the Brussels sprouts are coated in oil, spread them in a 9-by-13-inch (or larger) baking dish or sheet tray to roast. Place in oven. (You may want to line your sheet tray with foil for easy cleanup because the caramelizing process leaves a sticky residue.)
4. After 15 minutes, stir the Brussels sprouts with a spatula or large spoon to even out the browning. After 30 minutes, stir in the maple syrup.
5. Continue to roast the Brussels sprouts for about 15 more minutes or until they are fork-tender (about 45 minutes total).
6. Toss the roasted Brussels sprouts with the hazelnuts and devour!

Yield: 6 servings.

Note: Steps 1 through 4 can be done day in advance. Store Brussels sprouts covered in the refrigerator, and finish with Steps 5 and 6 right before serving.

*Recipe courtesy of award-winning chef Chloe Coscarelli, author of Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, and in honor of FarmSanctuary.com. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Doxy's Stuffed ArtichokesDoxy’s has an original line of starter mixes that can be used to season anything from halibut to hamburgers. Made with all-natural ingredients that are vegan and low in sodium, Doxy’s mixes come in a variety of flavors that include Ranch, Onion, Dill, Smoky Chipotle, and Basil Poppy that will turn any average dinner into a culinary craft. This recipe for stuffed artichokes has an abundance of flavor and can be made without the Genoa Salami for vegans.

Doxy’s™ Stuffed Artichokes


3 Fresh Artichokes
1 1/2 cups Plain Panko
1 packet Doxy’s™ Refined Ranch Starter
10 slices Genoa Salami, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
Olive Oil


1) With a sharp knife, cut about 1 inch off the top of each artichoke, or enough so you can see the light leaves in the center. Then cut the stems off of each artichoke, so they can stand level when placed on a plate. Snip any sharp ends off the leaves and stretch them open a bit by hand.

2) In a large skillet begin to heat about 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil over medium-high heat and add the Panko, Doxy’s™ Refined Ranch Starter and Genoa Salami. Stir frequently, toast until Panko is golden brown and remove from heat.

Spoon a generous amount of Panko mixture onto the top of each artichoke and begin to spread it out so it falls into each leaf. Add more of the mixture, ensuring that each of the outer leaves gets a generous amount of the toasted Panko. Once all of the artichokes are stuffed, add about 1/4 inch of water to a large stock pot and carefully place each artichoke in the pot, being careful not to spill the mixture. Cover the stock pot with a lid and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and allow to steam for 45 – 60 minutes.

NOTE: Check water level frequently as it evaporates quickly. Add more water as necessary.

Artichokes are done when an outer leaf pulls away easily.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Doxy’s™.*

ID-10075961“Volunteering is a great way for families to spend time together. It can benefit a child’s psychological, social and intellectual development and instill a lifetime of generosity,” says Richard Peterson, vice president of education for Kiddie Academy® Child Care Learning Centers. “Children learn from and even mimic their parents’ actions; therefore, a family volunteering project can help to reinforce positive life lessons.”

Five Tips to Encourage Family Volunteering

Kiddie Academy (www.KiddieAcademy.com) offers the following tips for nurturing your child’s generous spirit during the holidays and throughout the year:

1. Remind your children that generosity isn’t only about donating money – volunteering your time and talents are a great way to share. Make hats for local hospitals, visit nursing home residents, or offer to host a reading event at a local library.

2. Demonstrate that volunteering can be an year round activity. Along with your child, plan an ongoing volunteering project that benefits a cause that’s close to your hearts. For example, a monthly visit to an animal rescue center to assist the staff with walking and feeding the pets.

3. Involve your child in donating outgrown clothes, toys and books to a local charity. Set up a designated “donate” box in your home, and encourage your child to participate in adding items to the box, and delivering them to the chosen charity each month.

4. Read books together that highlight the importance of kindness. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister and The Lion and the Mouse by Aesop all feature acts of generosity. Consider adding them to your home library.

5. To find a family volunteer opportunity in your community, visit the All for Good website ( http://www.allforgood.org/)

For more tips on finding “teachable moments” to help children learn about the rewards of generosity for themselves and for others, parents can visit the Kiddie Academy Family blog at: http://www.kafamilyessentials.com/.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Flax Seed CookiesTry making this healthy and delicious Flax Seed Cookie recipe courtesy of Carrington Farms with your Santa’s helpers at home this holiday season!

Carrington Farms Flax Seed Cookies


1-cup oatmeal blended until flour-like
¼-cup flax seeds blended until flour-like
1 can cannellini beans drained and blended till smooth
½-cup oatmeal
¼ cup Carrington Farms Flax Seeds
½ cup or so of raisins
½-cup applesauce


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Add dry ingredients together in separate bowl. Set aside. Place the rest of the ingrdients together and stir to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and make a wet type texture not too dry, but not soupy. Place on cookie sheet in small teaspoonfuls.

Baking time varies on the wetness… keep testing them and don’t overcook… they don’t raise much!

Optional Additions

¼ cup pure maple syrup or if watching sugar you can use agave syrup or pure raw sugar.. or none of these.. up to your taste
Can add chips, nuts, or sesame seeds…
¼-cup millet
¼ cup amaranth grain
Bran buds can be added… lots of fiber
Grape nuts can be added

*Recipe and image courtesy of Carrington Farms.*

ID-100117214The holiday season is filled with opportunities for children to be caring and compassionate. And for parents, it starts with showing your kids how it’s done! Let your children see you helping elderly neighbors rake their leaves, being kind to those around you in crowded stores, collecting canned goods for the hungry.

Here are five easy ways to teach your kids values – and do some good for others – throughout the year.

Five Easy Ways to Teach Your Kids Values

By Kathy Saulitis

1. Talk to your children about issues affecting your neighborhood, your community and the world. When my oldest son was in elementary school and was involved in a holiday food drive, he didn’t immediately see why people needed help at all. His initial reaction was, “They just need to go get a job!” In simple language, I explained about income versus expenses and how the very people we were helping to feed may be working several jobs but still are short for food. As a young problem-solver, he thought for a while and then suggested ideas for how our country might deal with hunger in new ways. He got it!

2. Use the dinner hour to talk about reaching out to others. Do you have a neighbor that may be sick or lonely? Are there struggling families in your community? Do you know someone in the service who is deployed? Talk to your children about how they feel about these situations and get their input on ways your family can help.

3. Appeal to your children’s interests. Does your family love the outdoors? Do your kids like to get their hands dirty? Try volunteering for a park or beach clean-up or help plant a community garden. The more you draw on your children’s interests, the more motivated they become.

4. Find a hands-on, family-friendly volunteer project. You can find family-friendly project ideas and resources at www.generationOn.org or check out your local HandsOn Network affiliate.

5. Start a family tradition of volunteer service during the holidays. The holidays are times of excitement, tradition and family togetherness. When our children were younger, we would make Holiday Hope Chests to donate to area homeless shelters. It was fun to watch the kids choose with care their special gifts for children they imagined opening the boxes on Christmas morning.

When the holidays end and the new year begins, remember every day is an opportunity to teach your kids to care and share, be compassionate and have an attitude of gratitude for even the smallest things in life.

About the Author

Kathy Saulitis is senior vice president of programs for generationOn, an enterprise of Points of Light that helps young people change the world through volunteer service.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

For quick morning fuel during the holiday season, serve these muffins with your favorite salsa.

On-The-Go Muffins with Chiles and Corn


12 large eggs
1/2 cup Green Valley Organics Kefir
1/4 teaspoon salt and ground black pepper
1 cup corn (fresh or frozen) coarsely chopped
1 can (4.5 ounces) mild green chiles
1/4 cup each: chopped fresh cilantro and thinly sliced scallions



Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375º. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin (with cups of 1/2 cup capacity) with vegetable cooking spray. Assemble your ingredients.

Beat eggs with kefir, salt and several grinds of pepper. Stir in corn, chiles, cilantro and scallions, reserving some of each for the tops. Add Kefir, salt, pepper to eggs. Add corn, onions, chiles, cilantro to eggs.

Pour egg mixture into muffin cups to 2/3 full.Pour egg mixture into muffin tins.

Bake until golden brown and puffy, 18 to 20 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack. Serve. (Can be refrigerated for several days; microwave to warm.)

Makes 1 dozen.

*Recipe and image created for Green Valley Organics by Pam Anderson, who along with her daughters, blogs at threemanycooks.com. She is AARP’s official food expert and a contributing columnist for Runner’s World magazine. She is former Executive Editor of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and the author of seven cookbooks.*

Created by Pam Anderson from ThreeManyCooks.com, these large and bountiful muffins will be a holiday favorite for years to come!

Big Beautiful Muffins with Cranberries and White Chocolate


3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup dried cranberries, plus a couple of extra for studding the muffins
1 cup chopped white chocolate*, plus a little extra for studding the muffins
1 1/2 cups Green Valley Organics vanilla yogurt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flavorless oil, such as canola


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; add cranberries and chocolate; toss to combine.

Whisk yogurt, eggs and oil in a medium bowl. Add to dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.

Spray a 12-cup muffin tin (with cups of 1/2 cup capacity) with vegetable cooking spray.

Use a large ice cream scoop to divide batter evenly among the cups; stud muffin batter tops with additional cranberries and chocolate. Scoop batter into muffin tin.

Bake until muffins are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Set on a wire rack to cool slightly, just a few minutes. Remove muffins from tin and serve warm.

About the Chef

This recipe was reated for Green Valley Organics by Pam Anderson, who along with her daughters, blogs at threemanycooks.com. She is AARP’s official food expert and a contributing columnist for Runner’s World magazine. She is former Executive Editor of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and the author of seven cookbooks. “When my daughters, Maggy and Sharon, were growing up we frequently made muffins together. I like to use yogurt to make muffins because it creates a thick batter that you can generously scoop high in the muffin tin to create a gorgeous puffy muffin. Thinner batters (made with milk) overflow before they puff.”

*Note from Green Valley Organics: We love the holiday combination of cranberries and white chocolate, look for lactose-free white chocolate; or replace with kosher pareve dark chocolate or nuts, such as walnuts.