Broccoli Jingle Balls, Cucumber Wreaths, Pomegranate Pear Salsa, Olive Penguin Appetizers

Cucumber wreaths. (Super healthy kids photo)

Broccoli Jingle Balls

Ingredients ½ cup raw unsalted almonds ¼ cup bread crumb (or try chickpea breadcrumbs to keep the recipe gluten Free) 1 large head broccoli, cut into florets and steamed (about 2 cups)- or try riced broccoli in your freezer section! 1 cup finely chopped kale ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional) 2 tsp dried Italian herbs Salt and pepper to taste 2 eggs, beaten Marinara Sauce for servingDirections: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add almonds to food processor to coarsely ground (process until almonds look like large bread crumbs- key point: do not over process to a really fine consistency). Remove almonds from processor and set aside in a medium bowl. Add herbs, spices and cheese, mix together. Place the steamed broccoli florets in the food processor and pulse until chopped. (* if using “riced” broccoli from the frozen aisle, defrost and make sure to squeeze out any excess liquid) Add broccoli to almond, cheese, herb mix. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the eggs. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the mixture into small 1 inch balls with your hands. It’s okay to be firm with squeezing (forming balls) to assure they hold their shape. Place balls in each muffin tin. Bake until balls are golden and heated through, about 25 minutes. Cucumber Wreaths slice cucumbers into 3/4-1 inch chunks. With a small teaspoon, scoop a bowl out of the top. Fill well with low fat ranch, plain yogurt, or your favorite hummus. Top with veggies like finely chopped peppers. Use green to create the wreath and red for the bow accent! To turn these cucumber cups into wreaths, simply sprinkle green and red peppers around the outside of the cucumber, rather than in the middle!!Pomegranate Pear Salsa

PREP: 10 MINS TOTAL: 10 MINS INGREDIENTS: 2 fresh pears (any kind), cored and diced 1 fresh pomegranate, seeded half a red onion, diced 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves juice of half to 1 full lime small English cucumber, chopped jalapeno, finely minced (OPTIONAL) DIRECTIONS: Toss all ingredients together until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to 3 days.Olive Penguin Appetizers

Ingredients: Pitted Black Olives; Jumbo for the bodies and medium size for the heads. 1 or 2 carrots, peeled and sliced as directed below. Toothpicks or cocktail picks long enough to skewer through entire penguin (head, body, and carrot "feet". Cream cheese, room temperature, plain or flavored as desired (see below). OR pearl size fresh mozzarella A small sharp knife A small butter or canapé knife (blunt, rounded blade.) Damp paper towels or kitchen towel for wiping fingers and tidying cream cheese from olive "bodies" after filling and assembling. Platter, tray, mirror or plate for servingDirections: Slit jumbo olive lengthwise and fill with cream cheese OR mozzarella (this is the body, the cream cheese is the "tuxedo shirt". If using cream cheese to fill the 'tummy', use a small butter or canapé knife (cheese spreader knife.) You can use flavored cheese (or cream cheese mixed with a little dry-ranch dressing mix, etc.) Gently wipe "body" with damp cloth or paper towel to tidy any cream cheese smears. Use the medium size olive for the head (point the hole where the pit was removed to the back of the penguin body.) Peel and slice a carrot into thin rounds for the "feet", cut a small pie-shaped wedge from each carrot slice (reserving the "pie" shaped triangular piece for the penguins "beak".) Insert a toothpick through head, the body and into the carrot "feet" base. Insert reserved triangular piece of carrot into the small "x" shaped hole at end of medium-size olive for "beak". Arrange on serving platter; if not serving immediately, cover gently with cling-film and refrigerate until serving time.Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.