Chocolate orange goji berry clusters

I’ve been bit by some ravenous holiday beast.

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It’s even more intense than usual, and I’m so excited to start decking the halls. The Pilot keeps catching me trying to sneak Christmas decorations in from the garage. 

Along with the normal holiday excitement and preparation, we’ve also gotten into our longtime marital dispute: real Christmas tree vs. fake Christmas tree. The Pilot is 100% on board the real Christmas tree train, and while I like them, I prefer fake trees. I fully believe that the little pine needles multiply, grow legs, and disperse themselves all over the house in random places. Like, you’ll open the upstairs closet and step on a pine needle while taking a blanket out. How do pine needles travel upstairs?! They fly.

For that main reason, fake Christmas trees win. They stay intact, can be reused, and the Fresh Balsam candles from Bath and Body Works do a great job of filling our house with a piney Christmas aroma. We’ll see who wins the Christmas tree battle this year…. πŸ˜‰

In addition to thinking of fun activities to do with Liv this season -they have a Polar Express train a few hours away I know she’d love!- I’ve also been thinking of new holiday goodies and treats to make.

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I had a bag of goji berries in the pantry, and thought they’d be perfect for some little holiday clusters. 

In all fairness, they’re not the prettiest treats I’ve ever made, but they came out AMAZING. Maybe I can make a few for the Pilot to eat while I begin my Christmas tree negotiations πŸ˜‰

If you’ve never had goji berries before, I like to think of them like dried strawberries/raisins. They have a mild, sweet flavor, and are wonderful in baked goods and smoothies. They also have a high dose of antioxidants and are believed to help with eye health, athletic performance, immune system function and general wellbeing. (Check out this article for more info!)

One of my all-time favorite combinations, especially during the holiday season is chocolate and orange. I melted some chocolate, added some orange zest,

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coated the goji berries and stirred in some pumpkin seeds.

Glorious little clusters.

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Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

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Orange chocolate goji berry clusters

A wonderful chocolatey treat, high in antioxidants and a surprising kick of fresh orange.

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10


  • 1/2 cup dried goji berries
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/4 cup nuts/seeds of choice (I used pumpkin)


  1. In a double-boiler, heat the chocolate until smooth. You can also heat it in a glass bowl in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Just be careful not to burn it!
  2. Stir in the orange zest, goji berries and nuts/seeds
  3. Shape into six cluster shapes and cool in the fridge until they harden.
  4. Enjoy!


  • Serving Size: 6

Have a great day <3



So… real tree or fake? What’s your preference? πŸ˜‰

Any chocolates or favorite treats you love to make during the holiday season?

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  1. Jackie on November 13, 2013 at 11:25 am


  2. Captain Competition on November 13, 2013 at 11:28 am

    I grew up with a fake Christmas tree and didn’t know any better. As an adult my wife has always had a real tree. Once I went to the real tree – needles and all – I will not go back to fake. It just seems to make the holiday a little more special.

  3. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on November 13, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Oh my, these look delicious!

    Fake tree for me. Clean-up is so much easier!

  4. lucie on November 13, 2013 at 11:34 am

    So far, I never had a tree on my own, but I grew up with the real one and I would stick to it – besides that you can not really find fake trees here in Switzerland unless they’re tiny! πŸ™‚

  5. Amanda on November 13, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I was sneaky and got all of our Christmas decorations up this weekend when the hubby was out. He came home & Christmas had puked all over the house. I think I would put my decorations up after the end of September if I could. I just love everything about Christmas.

    I am on your side with the fake tree. I just hate the extra mess from a real tree. I have won the tree battle every year with my hubby.

  6. Maria on November 13, 2013 at 11:41 am

    These look great! I think I’m going to make them for my work Christmas party πŸ™‚ I’m all for a really full fake tree…not the kind that look chincy. The real ones scare me. If you don’t water it, they become a fire hazard and who really wants that? I can barely keep plants alive much less a tree. And of course, YES the Christmas tree scented candle.

  7. April on November 13, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Definitley REAL…even though i agree with you that pine needles fly:)

  8. Olivia at ohmy Olivia on November 13, 2013 at 11:52 am

    The title of this alone is definitely enough to make me NEED these! And REAL REAL REAL xo

  9. Katie D. on November 13, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Fake, so that it can be up for a month!

  10. Lindsey on November 13, 2013 at 11:59 am

    We do real, and I love it even though you’re right about the needles. I feel like I find them until April or so. The one thing I struggle with is the killing a tree for a month of my personal enjoyment. There are programs where you can buy one with the roots, plant outside, dig up the next year, etc. which I think is an awesome idea, but I think my landlords would get mad if I planted a tree in our 10 sq foot yard.

  11. Abby @ Change of Pace on November 13, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Great recipe- thanks for sharing! I go fake all the time. So much cleaner and easier, especially with a rambunctious dog!
    By the way, happy belated birthday!

  12. Katie on November 13, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I hate to agree with the Pilot, but I have to say real! I had a fake tree my whole life until I moved out on my own, and while the pine needles can drive me crazy, it’s something about the picking out/cutting down/smell of the real tree that makes it feel like Christmas!

  13. Kristen on November 13, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Can’t wait to give these little treats a taste!

    I have to say, while I see the the nostalgia of having a real tree, I like the fake ones. I can’t stand the pine needles everywhere…plus my firefighter hubby loathes real trees. A lot of their calls this time of year involve real Christmas trees….and lack of common sense…buts that’s a whole other story.

  14. Melissa C. on November 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Love that you post healthy treat ideas! With 3 boys and a hubby, its so nice to get of my “rut” and explore with new recipes! Thinking of cutting my hair! Can you offer any advice? Do u have any regrets cutting your gorgeous hair? Do u find it more or less hassle having it shorter? Enjoy your blog so much ! U r an inspiration. I read your blog everyday to keep me focused and pushing toward my goal of losing 30 pds. At 160 and trying to get to 130ish.Thank you Gina!

  15. Marloes on November 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Real trees because of the smell, but! Fake always wins, I do loath the needles brrr!

  16. Amelia on November 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    After buying a real tree at IKEA 5 years ago, and having spiders all over my home from the tree, I will never have a real tree again! I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.

  17. Alicia on November 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I would prefer real however I stick with fake. I do not mind the flying needles or cleaning for it. i really hate to waste a tree! I have looked into how to keep(re-plant) and that is way too much work. So I stick with fake.

    I am not adventurous with candles though. But I may have to get a couple of those. Maybe it will help with the decision of fake trees.

  18. Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs on November 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    These sound delicious! I’ve never had goji berries, but smothered in chocolate seems like a good way to try them πŸ™‚

    I love a real tree, but my husband & I have a fake one — we travel at Christmas time, so we’re not home to tend to a real one. My parents still get a real one though, so I get to enjoy it while I’m there — minus the clean up! πŸ™‚

  19. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine on November 13, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    We were always a real tree family until two years ago when my mom became allergic. I hate having a fake tree, but I just tell myself I am saving a tree from being cut down and dieing.
    P.S. If you truly take care of your real tree and give it ample water, the needles shouldn’t fall off so much, haha!

  20. Annalisa on November 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I always grew up with a real tree, but when I got married my husband couldn’t believe we would cut down a tree and put it in our house for Christmas. I won the first year and we got a real tree, after the holidays my husband tried to replant it in the yard. It didn’t survive. We have had a fake tree ever since. Those treats look so yummy. I want to try them. Plus they look easy to make…my favorite part.!!!

  21. Carrie on November 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Real! We have the same marital ‘discussion’ every year except I am the one going for real and my husband is the one going for fake. This year will be the first in our little flat and I don’t think we will have one but will go a couple of Christmassy pot plants instead I think. πŸ™‚

  22. Brittany @ The Fit Phoenician on November 13, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    These look so good!! They remind me of my orange chocolate medallions! I might add goji berries in to mimic these πŸ™‚

  23. Lenore on November 13, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    REAL all the way! Pine needles found in May only make you miss Christmas more! Plus, it’s another way to show appreciation and love for your hardworkin’ hubby!

  24. Jacquelyn @justjacq on November 13, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    We’re a fake tree family now. Between my mother’s obsessiveness with cleanliness and her extreme allergies to the tree, we had to go fake. I still miss the smell and just overall feeling of a real tree, but I’m also kind of allergic so fake is just better. Plus we have a pretty nice tree. It has, as my Dad likes to call them, honey cones. (he can never remember their pine cones).

  25. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on November 13, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I’m so happy you posted this. I just got a few recipes that contain goji berries in them and I wasn’t sure about trying them. I was going to replace them with craisins but now that you’ve posted this I’ll give goji berries a try!

  26. Abi@AbsofSteel on November 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    real tree all the way!!! the pine needles are a tad annoying but it’s worth the magic of a real one

  27. Jessica on November 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    With pets, I think FAUX tree is the only way to go. It doesnt need to be watered, there is no sap or falling needles that can be eaten, AND when the dog gets under the tree to inspect the presents it is easier to pick up a knocked over faux tree vs the mess of a real one.

  28. Whitney @ Little bit of everything on November 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Real tree all the way! One of the best parts of Christmas is going out to the tree farm and cutting down your tree πŸ™‚

  29. Sarah on November 13, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Fake tree all the way!!! A real tree can catch fire easily, like scary quick. A real tree sheds. You cannot recycle a real tree. There are some really gorgeous, pre-strung fake trees out there (we have a beautiful 13 foot one), and get compliments all the time on it. I have all white decorations on it too. It’s stunning.

    It seems like the people who grew up in the North, or Midwest really go for the real Christmas trees. I really think it boils down to a demographic thing. (I grew up in Southern CA.)

    I took my kids to Polar Express in Arizona, 5ish years ago. They loved it. The oldest child (8 at the time) was a little too old for it, but she was a good sport and played along for her little sister. So I’d say go now, while the magic still looks real to them. It’s kinda cheesy for kids over 6, in my opinion.

  30. JUNE on November 13, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    I’d let your husband win once in a while. While fake trees are reusable, they are also not biodegradable as their real counterparts. You can turn the tree to mulch after the season is over and have him be in charge of watering and cleaning up. 30% of our planet’s land is covered in trees and for most trees that are cut, new ones are planted in their place.

  31. Livi on November 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    yes!!! I’ve been waiting to see what the chocolate + orange was!

  32. Liz @lizziefit_ on November 13, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I have the exact same opinion as you! But my BF swears by a real tree. This will be our first Christmas living together after 3.5 years of dating so I let him win…. we will see how sane I am afterwards before making this an annual tradition πŸ˜‰ hehe

  33. Nicole on November 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Definitely a real tree

    Love these treats, they sounds so delish

  34. Gwen on November 13, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Those orange chocolate treats look amazing!
    We have always had a fake tree because it’s so much easier but I think it would be fun to have a real tree one year, maybe when we have kids just so they can experience the amazing smell. And yes, the fresh balsam candles are a must! What I also do with the fake tree is use the concentrated fresh balsam room spray and spray the tree so it smells real!

  35. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on November 13, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Real! I love the smell of the tree in our house. It may get messy but I just love it too much to get a fake one!

  36. Lauren on November 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I grew up in New York, and we always got a real tree. Going to the farm and picking out a tree was always the best part! Now, my parents live in Florida and have a fake tree. A) Christmas trees are outrageously expensive down there, and B) they have a much smaller house than we did in NY so they have no use for a big tree. I think when I have my own family and house, I’ll definitely want a real tree.

  37. JennP on November 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    We go for a real tree! Living in Florida, we need all the help we can get making it feel like winter πŸ™‚ I always figure as long as we’re buying a farmed tree from a lot, then we are supporting a homegrown industry and enjoying a tree for its intended purpose!

  38. Christie @ on November 13, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    These look SO good!! I will definitely give this recipe a try. I personally love a real tree in my house. I love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree πŸ™‚

  39. Alex @ Kenzie Life on November 13, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Oooh these look like a great way to use up the goji berries I have sitting in my pantry! And for me, it’s gotta be a real tree! But if it’s between fake and no tree, I’d go with fake πŸ™‚

  40. Molly on November 13, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    I made chocolate biscotti with almond flour that were amazing and delicious but I think the addition of orange would make them even better.

  41. Taylor @ Singletrackedmind on November 13, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Real Xmas tree!!! That smell is irreplaceable.

  42. Missy on November 13, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Last fall, we bought our first house. So when Christmas season came, we were both so excited to get a REAL tree since we were never allowed one in apartments. I completely understand your frustrations with pine needles. It’s coming up on the NEXT Christmas season and I’m still finding pine needles from last year’s tree! We haven’t discussed what we are doing this year, but we’ll see what we decide on.

  43. Shari on November 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    We bought a fake tree last year after a few years of having trees die before Christmas Day. My husband was thrilled that we didn’t have to clean up pine needles or worry about the dead tree burning the house down…

  44. Dianna on November 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    My fiance and I are 26 and 25. We finally are busting out of our parents house next year when we purchase our own home. I’ve been buying all the holiday decorations after the holiday on clearance. He doesn’t have an opinion on ANYTHING. However, when I asked what sort of artificial tree he wanted, he went nuts! and accused me of ruining the Holidays. I guess we’ll be a real tree family.

  45. jen on November 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    I grew up having a real one and figure the pin needles are only a pain for a month or so. Plus you can’t beat the smell!

  46. Amanda @ .running with spoons. on November 13, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    The combination of chocolate and orange is seriously LOVE. I’ve been doing my best to avoid bringing out the Christmas decorations until at least December, but I’m not sure I’ll make it. This is my favourite time of the year and I want to enjoy it for as long as possible. As for trees, I love real ones (can’t beat the smell!), but my building only allows us to have fake ones so… I buy evergreen candles πŸ˜€

  47. leigh on November 13, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Real trees all the way (although I too hate the needles)… Thankfully my husband agrees!

  48. Brooke @ on November 13, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    I have been decking the halls for about two weeks now!

  49. Kathy on November 13, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    I prefer a real tree but I totally see the appeal of fake for the tidiness and those perfectly placed lights, which drives me crazy every year. Fake trees have gotten so much more “life like” over the years though. As far as holiday goodies…my boyfriend and I just had “the talk” about how we have to eat impeccably for the next few weeks because come December…gang way! I make homemade peanut butter balls, peanut butter cups (Nigella Lawson’s easy and it makes a million), shortbread, 7 layer bars…and the list goes on. Delicious but oh, the sugar!
    Enjoy the rest of your getaway!

  50. Billie on November 14, 2013 at 1:04 am

    I live in the Germany and I guess the whole fake tree thing hasn’t reached us yet, because I could never imagine not having a real one. I’m not even sure where you would buy fake one here πŸ™‚ In fact, one of the major discussions in our house when I was younger was real candles or fake. But I think my dad was terrified sister and I would burn down the house, so he won. πŸ™‚

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