Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sugar-Free Stevia-Sweetened Holiday Punch

When I was a kid I loved going to my aunt's or grandma's house for the holiday and getting a special cup of punch. It was always a bubbly kid-friendly treat and it made you feel festive and full of cheer. There is something about the holidays that bring out the inner cheerful self. You don't need a lot of sugar or "adult beverages" to make this happen either. In fact, your body will thank you for it if you do not overload on empty carbs and calories of sugar. So, that is why this festive holiday punch is so great. It is sweetened with stevia and fresh and frozen fruit. Gorgeous too. A beautiful punch bowl is the perfect centerpiece to any party-table. Forgo the soda and sugar-filled crap and stick to some sparkling fruity goodness that will bring your whole holiday table and party together. 
This punch recipe is super simple and has all your favorite seasonal flavors. You can make it in your own festive punch bowl in minutes. You can also get the kids involved or add a few different flavors depending on your tastes or what you have available. I like to stick to a cranberry-apple combo and use stevia to sweeten.

Cranberry Apple Holiday Punch Recipe
2 liters of mineral or sparkling water (Pellagrino, Perrier, or Gerolsteiner)
4-6 cups of fresh apple cider
6-8 ounces of pure cranberry juice concentrate
55-60 drops of NuNaturals stevia liquid
1-2 cups of frozen whole cranberries
1 fresh apple, horizontally sliced with the seeds in

In a large punch bowl, pour in all of the chilled liquid ingredients and stir together. Then add in the frozen cranberries to help the punch stay chilled and add flavor and color. Lastly, slice an apple horizontally, leaving the seeds in and you will see how the slices will look like they have a star in the middle. You can pop the seeds out at this point if you want. You can double and triple this recipe if you desire, or mix a back up amount in a pitcher to re-fill the bowl when it is running low. If you want to trade out the cranberries for frozen raspberries and juice, that is also a great option. It is just that simple, and no sugar needed!

Which leads me to this amazing NuNatural's stevia giveaway...

NuNaturals is a health company that sells many varieties of stevia products. You may be asking, what is stevia? Stevia is an herbal sweetener derived from a plant native to South and Central America. It has been called over the years the sweetleaf plant or sugarleaf plant and is called stevia because of the bontanist who first researched it. I first tried stevia in the powder form sometime last year because I was curious about it. You hear so many good things about it. Like how it is calorie-free, doesn't raise your blood sugar and is an herb so there is no weird additives or allergic reactions. I was curious to try and reduce the use of other sweeteners, but also to try and bake with a combination of stevia and another sweetener. I was skeptical of how it would taste. And, it turns out that it is actually very good. It helps you spread the sweetness and have even a more complex sweetness to your treat. Not to mention...less calories...and no changes to your blood sugar.

Last summer I bought a stevia plant from my local farmer's market. I liked seeing the real plant where my stevia extract came from and it was also fun to add the fresh leaves to tea, lemonade and desserts for an added touch of sweetness. It was also fun to have friends over and have them just pick a leaf off and eat it. It is surprisingly sweet and is actually 30 times sweeter than sugar. Yet, it is calorie free because it the stevia sweetener is derived from the green leaf. When the leaves are dried and made into a powder or extract, the sweetness is amplified and is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar and that is why you only need a few drops or pinches here and there to add the sweetness.

Yet, I was slow to try it out because of the cost. It seemed super expensive when I looked at the prices, but I started slow and tried a powder variety that I really liked. Then, last month I received an amazing sample of stevia products from NuNaturals. They were overly generous in the sampling of a huge variety of their product and more than helpful on their website with information, recipes, reviews and more. I was impressed, and as you can see from my last 4-5 recipe posts, I have made quite a bit of holiday cookie recipes with their great stevia product. I have also discovered that the price of stevia is totally worth it in the long run. My favorite is the NuNatural's pure vanilla stevia liquid. Perfect for baking! You use so little for each recipe that the bottle will last a very long time so the cost is worth. I honestly really like NuNatural's stevia over other brands I have tried as well. The product has a smooth sweetness and no noticeable aftertastes or bitterness. I am throughly impressed with NuNatural's product and think I found the brand I plan to stick with when it comes to stevia. Many thanks to NuNatural's for sharing their product with me. I am loving it in my gluten-free, dairy-free, and now sugar-free baking!

And, best of all, NuNaturals wants to offer a giveaway to my fact, they want to gift to 4 winners in this amazing giveaway. And, on top of that, for those who don't win but are really wanting to try their product, NuNaturals will offer a discount code for all of my readers. And, as always, they also will send you (or anyone) samples of their product in a the mail. (All of these details will be listed below).

The NuNatural's giveaway details include:
1.) This giveaway is open to FOUR (4) blog readers and will be selected at random by by me. The contest is open immediately and the winners will be drawn on December 22 at 9pm EST. You have 1 week to enter and tell your friends!
2.) The 4 winners will receive 1 box of NuStevia Packets (50 ct box) and 1 bottle of NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia Liquid (2 ounce bottle)
3.) The giveaway is open to Continental U.S. residents ONLY

What you need to do for a chance to win:
1.) Leave a comment on this blog telling of your favorite way or idea of a way to use stevia
2.) For extra chances to win, "LIKE" Hope for Healing Gluten-Free Recipes on Facebook, and "LIKE" NuNaturals  Facebook Page, and make sure to leave an additional comment each time you do that. You have at max 3 chances (3 comments) to get in the running to win.
3.) PLEASE leave your email address in each comment so that you can be easily contacted if you win.

In addition to your chance to win:
1.) You can send a self-addressed envelope to NuNatural's for a sample of their product. Send the envelope to:
NuNaturals, INC
2220 West 2nd Ave.#1
Eugene, OR 97402

2.) PLUS, all of my readers are authorized immediately for special discounts with a discount code when you order online from NuNaturals.  Go to their website:, and when you place and order and come to the checkout page you need to enter the code: BLG0612, and then you will receive a special discount of 15% off your entire order. And, if you buy more than $35 dollars after this special discount, you get free shipping in the continental US. This offer is effective now and ends 06/30/12.



  1. I like stevia in my tea because it doesn't have an aftertaste. I would love to try using it when I bake but the price has been keeping me away from it

  2. I'm a big coffee drinker. And by 'coffee' I mean I like some caffeine with my cream and 'sugar,' so those powdered stevia packets are great!

    sarahjmcwhirter at gmail dot com

  3. i love putting stevia is some greek yogurt to sweeten it up a bit

  4. I love vanilla stevia in oatmeal; it's so easy to cook with, just toss in a few drops as the oatmeal boils, and voila!

  5. I love to put stevia in my iced coffee along with some coconut milk. Delish!

  6. I forgot my email in my last comment: ellenp1214 at gmail dot com

  7. We've been planting stevia in our garden the last few years and we love eating it fresh for a sweet treat. Our other favorite way to use it is in lemonade and green smoothies. The fresh, bright green leaves look really pretty in drinks too.

  8. I enjoy stevia picked right from the plant muddled with fresh mint leaves in the bottom of a glass, mixed with sparkling mineral water and fresh lemon juice... refreshing!

  9. also, can you get the NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia Liquid at Harvest Health?

  10. I 'liked' NuNaturals facebook page! -erica

  11. I've only used stevia in baking as a replacement for some of the sugar, not all. It makes me nervous to replace all of the sugar with stevia.

  12. I like you on FB - Suzanne Hill.

  13. I like NuNaturals on FB - Suzanne Hill.

  14. I have used stevia in tea and in smoothies--what a yummy, fresh sweet taste. I would love to try it in baking! Thank you for offering this giveaway!

  15. I liked you on FB!! :-)

  16. I'm still hunting for a Stevia that doesn't taste to bitter to me. I'd like to try it in my tea and coffee if I can conquer the bitterness.

  17. i like using stevia in baked treats and coffee but haven't found one i truly love.

    pick me! pick me!

  18. "liked" you on facebook but i already liked you in real life :)

  19. I haven't ever used Stevia, but would love to make some of your cookie recipes and give it a try!

  20. I love to use stevia in my vegan pies

    katherinedibello (at) gmail (dot) com

  21. I use stevia powder in my coffee every morning! It sure makes a difference not loading up on refined sugar first thing in the morning. I am also very excited to try Nunaturals vanilla stevia liquid in sugar cookies! Healthy low sugar "Sugar Cookies" sign me up :)

  22. I've just started using stevia and I use it for most any thing I would use sugar in.

  23. I enjoy a fresh glass of lemonade and use the super concentrate NUNaturals powder to sweeten it! You're right - a little bit goes a very long way!

  24. I "like" NuNaturals facebook page :)

  25. In my coffee!

    shannoncarman at yahoo dot com

  26. Stevia is the only kind of sweetener my husband can have, I have not tried this brand, but would love to give them a shot!! Everything I bake has stevia in it, and we just made a great fresh lemonade too!

  27. "liked" NuNaturals on FB

    jennis81 {at} msn {dot} com

  28. punch looks great can't wait to try it