Hi Darlings, I’m Aubree Holmes!
I’m a recipe developer, home cook, designer, and above all, momma to three. This holiday season I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes and entertaining tips with the Darling community.
During the holidays especially, we cook not just for ourselves, but for our beloved friends and families. This can be quite tricky when those friends and family have dietary restrictions that we aren’t used to cooking around. As one of those people with dietary needs, I’ve learned how to eat around the dishes I have to avoid on the holidays, but it sure means a lot when loved ones prepare an option or two that I can fully indulge in.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing unexpected recipes specifically designed for festive gatherings at home, and for a range of dietary needs. While the recipes here will be free of grains, refined sugar and dairy, they will satiate the pickiest of eaters as well as the most unassuming. The idea behind these recipes is to not only feed a diverse group of guests with varied preferences and restrictions, but to help you feel good all season long.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to splurge as much as anyone and believe that finding balance in the way one eats is essential. These recipes are not about being rigid throughout the holidays–they’re about maintaining high energy levels and finding balance during a notoriously crazy time of year that can leave us drained and depleted. Gut health and mental health are inextricably connected, and the holidays are as critical a time as any other to stay mindful about how we’re caring for ourselves and each other. My hope is that the recipes I share in the coming weeks will delight your senses, inspire creativity in the kitchen, and help you maintain overall well-being into the new year.
As a Southern girl living in Southern California, my recipes honor craft and nostalgia, unexpected flavors and super fresh ingredients. Many are adaptations of treasured family recipes updated to be more nutrient-dense and to withstand high ingredient standards. Each recipe demonstrates that grains, dairy and refined sugar are not only easy to avoid, but will not be missed. Many of my recipes are surprising in flavor profile, others are shamelessly classic for the sake of satisfying cravings. They are designed with flexibility in mind, and are suitable for many dietary needs.
In this space you’ll discover holiday desserts that won’t put you to sleep, warm and cozy fireside treats, unconventionally festive side dishes, clean Christmas baking and so much more. To kick us off, I am presenting my newest fan-favorite appetizer: Prosciutto-Wrapped Spiced Stuffed Dates.
This decadent and supremely delicious appetizer relies on a suite of flavors to bring sweet, savory, creamy and holiday-spiced goodness all in one bite. Wrapped and stuffed dates are by no means new to the recipe scene, but irresistible nevertheless. To switch things up a bit, I stuff these with a non-dairy ricotta seasoned with a variety of warming spices. It should not be hard to find plant-based ricotta at your local grocery store, just bear in mind the label and try to select one that uses whole food ingredients only. If you don’t have to worry about dairy sensitivities, feel free to use a dairy ricotta or even better a sheep’s milk ricotta which is gentler on digestion. Adding a small slice of honeycrisp apple and piece of pecan adds a bit of tang and crunch. I’ve found that wrapping these in prosciutto rather than the typical bacon creates the perfect savory crisp to hold it all together.
Prosciutto Wrapped Spiced Stuffed Dates
YOU WILL NEED:
1/2 cup non-dairy ricotta
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
24 dates, pitted
1/2 Honeycrisp apple, cut into 1” long matchsticks
1/4 cup pecan halves, halved lengthwise
4 ounces prosciutto
Preheat the oven to 400F.
In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta and spices.
Gently open each date lengthwise on one side. Stuff about 1 teaspoon of the ricotta into each date, followed by a piece of pecan and piece of apple.
Cut the prosciutto slices in half lengthwise.
Wrap each stuffed date in a piece of prosciutto, gently pressing to ensure it holds together. Brush each date with maple syrup.
Place the wrapped dates on a lined baking sheet and bake until the prosciutto is golden brown and crispy, about 15 minutes.
Serve right away, and enjoy!
For more delicious recipes like this one, please visit Aubree’s website HERE and look on her Instagram @aubreeholmes!
Images via Carla Choy