This elegant Cranberry Pistachio Mint Goat Cheese Appetizer is perfect for Christmas. It takes just five ingredients and is so easy to assemble.
Last night, my husband and I attended a live concert at Grace Farms by the Broadway Inspirational Voices.It was an incredibly inspirational performance, putting the Christ back into Christmas for me. Around this time of year, I start stressing out about decorating the house and buying gifts (can you relate?!?!). So, taking the focus off of this busy-ness and placing it on what I can do with the gifts God has given me to help othershelps keep things in perspective.
Broadway Inspirational Voices is a non-profit organization comprised of adiverse choir of Broadway artists united to change lives through the power of music and service. They are in the midst of a kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to create their second albumGreat Joy II: Around the World (their first album,Great Joy: A Gospel Christmasreceived a Grammy Award nomination).All the proceeds from theirrecord sales go towardstheir outreach programs . I am sharing this with you because I was so inspired by the message shared by this group of talented folks.
I made this Cranberry Pistachio Mint Goat Cheese Appetizer recently for our Women’s Ministry Christmas party, along with a Cranberry Pecan Brie Appetizer (recipe to come). It’s so easy to assemble and beautiful, and perfect for a party.Honestly, I can’t even call this a recipe. All you do is roll a log of goat cheese (I used Trader Joe’s Honey Goat Cheese) in a mixture of dried cranberries, toasted pistachios and chopped mint. Just adrizzle of honey on top and you’re good to go.
Good morning! It doesn’t feel much like December outside, but Christmas is less than two weeks away. I imagine you might be looking for holiday party-worthy treats and breakfast options that can serve a crowd, so I rounded up twenty-three recipes for you.
Below, you’ll find everything from cookies and other baked treats, to snacks and sides, to meatless main dishes and a few drinks, of course. You’ll find them organized by category, plus details on which are gluten free and/or vegan.
If you’re looking for more holiday-related inspiration, check out my 2015 holiday gift guide , kitchen essentials shop , favorite cookbooks list and holiday Pinterest board !
Lemon, Rosemary and Olive Oil Shortbread Vegan
“A simple, quick recipe. This method of using liquid oil is much preferred by myself over the traditional cold butter method. The olive oil really lends itself to the dish, instead of simply providing moisture. Its gentle aroma pairs wonderfully with the almost sweet fragrance of lemon, and the rosemary adds a little depth in the background…” – Louisa
Spicy Molasses Cookies
“I made these last night… oh my they are soooo good. I love all the spices you used – especially the twists of black pepper it adds so much. I crushed some up and added them to a persimmon frozen yogurt recipe. LOVE!!!” – Kari
Dark Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons Gluten free
“I just made a variation of your macaroon (found the recipe at Saveur). Since my kids love chocolate chips I added chocolate chips into the coconut mixture. They are fabulous, and easy (a great help at Passover) Thank you!” – Ann
Healthier Gingerbread Cookies
“Tried this recipe this past weekend and they were a hit! I used the dough for cookie decorating with my friend’s three-year-old daughter who also loved them! The cookies had a great gingerbread taste that wasn’t too much (I used the regular molasses) and the texture of the cookie was perfect for decorating… and eating after…” – Maura
Cranberry Orange Granola Gluten free and vegan
“This was outstanding. My house smelled heavenly. My new favourite snack!” – Xena
Healthy Banana Bread! Gluten-free option and vegan option
“I just made this last night since I had a couple of bananas that needed to be eaten! I used coconut oil, almond milk, eggs, and maple syrup to sweeten. AMAZING! Probably the best banana bread I’ve had. It’s not too sweet and makes a perfect breakfast. You can’t even tell it’s whole wheat flour. I brought it into my office to share and can’t wait to break it to everyone that it’s actually healthy!” – Christine
Maple-Sweetened Pumpkin Muffins with Oats Gluten-free option and vegan option
“These are AMAZING! I’ve made them twice, once with fresh cranberries – perfection. My housemates and I are very happy to have this recipe in our collection. Thanks, Kate!” – Tenley
Gingerbread Granola Gluten free and vegan
“Absolutely love this granola recipe. I’ve made and shared with my friends and they rave about it! Thank you!” – Sharon
“This was a hit!!! Oh wow! I made this for a military squadron holiday party, and holy bajoly, it flew out of the bag. I could barely get it out of my house because I couldn’t stop munching. This tastes like a gourmet specialty treat. The cool thing is (well, aside from the deliciousness), is it was beyond simple to make. And cheap! Thanks for posting. I can’t wait to make a batch for my family, here at home.” – Allison
Rosemary Roasted Nuts Gluten free
I don’t have reader feedback to share on this one, but I can vouch for these amazing spicy and sweet nuts!
Festive Pomegranate Guacamole Gluten free and vegan
I don’t have reader feedback to share on this one, but I can vouch for this crazy-looking guacamole. It’s surprising and delicious.
Favorite Green Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Pepitas Gluten free and vegan option
“Made this a couple of days ago and I can’t wait to make it again this week. Simple yet so tasty and refreshing. Yum!” – Nella
Honey Mustard Brussels Sprout Slaw Gluten free
“Kate! I made this slaw for Thanksgiving. I was a little worried about how it would be received by my very traditional, mid-western in-laws but it was a ROARING success! Everyone asked for the recipe :)” – Emma
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Gluten free and vegan option
“This is amazing! I made this for Thanksgiving dinner and everybody was in love with it. I didn’t have any nutmeg though, so I subbed cinnamon in, but it tastes absolutely wonderful. Thank you for posting this!” – Rachel
Spinach Artichoke Enchiladas
“Oh goodness, these are delicious! I was salivating reading the recipe so made them tonight and they are wonderful. What a unique and perfect combo, thanks for sharing Kate!” – Brittney
Brussels Sprouts Pizza with Balsamic Red Onions
“I prepared this pizza for friends and family last night, and wow! It easily zoomed to the top of my pizza recipe list. Only modification was to caramelize the red onion for longer (maybe 30 minutes). Don’t be afraid of the red pepper flakes, they played really nicely with the balsamic and onion sweetness.” – Leslie
“You have inspired me to start cooking… I made this recipe a few weeks ago for the family – so delicious and such a great presentation that it is going to be a side dish for thanksgiving this year. I’m going to try the tahini version this time though to make it dairy free… Thanks for all of these amazing recipes that I can actually make!” – Jessica
Spinach Artichoke Lasagna
“I made this Saturday and baked it on Tuesday; I didn’t freeze it but I’m sure I could have and it would have been fine. It was so, so delicious. It really was like having spinach artichoke dip in my lasagna. And the tomato sauce is really delicious and tastes so fresh – which I have never before experienced in a lasagna. Thank you so much for this recipe!” – Caryn
Quinoa Vegetable Soup with Kale Gluten free and vegan
“I made this today and it’s SO delicious!! I will definitely be making this many more times in the future. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes with us.” – AL
Spiced Apple Margaritas
“My family has a tradition of making enchiladas every year for our annual holiday gathering. We swapped out tradional margaritas for these and they were a big hit! Still distinctly tasted like margaritas, with an appley hint.” – Jennifer
Ruby Red and Rosemary Honey Cocktail
“I just made this last night and it was fabulous. My only substitution is that I used rosemary vodka that I recently infused. So good As far as a name, it’s so similar to a greyhound that I may call it the Rosy Greyhound. :)” – Mary
Earl Grey French 75
“My husband made these for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, they were delicious and a hit with our guests! I have to say that your website has become my go to site for creative, delicious, healthy, and easy to follow recipes. Thank you!” – Tiffany
Fresh Cranberry Margaritas
“These were a hit at our thanksgiving pie party last night! Thx! Love the rim spices!” – Rhonda
More holiday resources you might appreciate: my 2015 holiday gift guide , kitchen essentials shop , favorite cookbooks list and holiday Pinterest board !
Lighten up your holiday menuwith these colorfulHealthy Christmas HolidaySalads. Your guests will welcome some healthier options.
Christmas is just around the cornerso if you’re planning your holiday menu, take a look at theseHealthy ChristmasHoliday Salad recipes. They’re full of festive, vibrant colors, and they’re clean and healthy. Your guests will thank you for providing some healthier options to round out the holiday feast.
And, If you’re still looking for more holiday menu ideas, check out these holiday posts:
100+ Healthy Holiday Appetizer Recipes 100+ Healthy Holiday Breakfast and Brunch Recipes 100+ Healthy Holiday Side Dish Recipes 100+ Gluten Free Holiday Side Dish Recipes 100+ Healthy Christmas and Holiday Dessert Recipes
Cookie always comes running when I pull out the vegetable peeler. I swear, she can hear it slice through the air before it even touches a carrot. Then she starts jumping up and down for carrot scraps. She can be very demanding. I’ve created an entitled little carrot beast, and I’m not sorry in the slightest.
Cookie loved the development process for this carrot muffin recipe. It took me five tries to get them just right, so she got a lot of carrot scraps in the process. They’re based on one of my cookbook recipes (so good!!!), but these are packed with grated carrots, walnuts and raisins.
Unlike standard carrot muffins made with refined all-purpose flour, these are made with white whole wheat flour. That means they’re made entirely with whole grains, but you can’t taste them because white whole wheat flour has such a mild flavor. Then, Greek yogurt replaces sour cream, coconut oil replaces butter and maple syrup replaces refined sugar.
Combined, you end up with hearty muffins that taste like carrot cake. You can eat carrot cake for breakfast with these babies!
If you need gluten-free muffins, I’m guessing that a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend will work well here, but I haven’t tried it.
You might be able to make these vegan/egg free/dairy free—flax eggs and a thick dairy-free yogurt would probably be your best bets.
Author: Cookie and Kate
Recipe type: Baked goods
Serves: 12 muffins
Make it nut free: Skip the walnuts!
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #cookieandkate!
Healthy Homemade Dehydrated Dog Treats are easy to make, inexpensive and good for your dog.
I haven’t posted about our puppy in a while so I thought I’d give you an update and share some recent photos of our dear Sunny.
Sunny just turned one year old in October and she has been a wonderful addition to our family. She’s an Australian labradoodle which means she’s a mix of labrador retriever, poodle and cocker spaniel. At 35 pounds, she’s a medium size dog, although a little bigger than we expected. Her fur is exceptionally soft and she does not shed (although she does require quite a bit of brushing to keep her from getting matted). We’ve had a few grooming mishaps so finding a groomer that listens to what you want is really important.
Sunny has a wonderful disposition – she is really sweet and affectionate. Although she’s not lap dog size, she loves to cuddle with us on the sofa. I have to admit I was against letting her on the furniture to begin with, but have gotten used to it now. One thing I’ve learned is that it’s near impossible to train a dog to do things your way if no one else in the family enforces it.
She is a very athletic and active dog and needs lots of exercise. Her favorite past time is playing fetch with her ball (we found the ChuckIt! Ultra ball to be the most durable) and running around in the backyard. We’ve had to install a fence to keep coyote and fox out of our yard – Sunny had an encounter with a rabid fox in our yard several months ago and had to get a rabies booster and was under house quarantine for 45 days.
Although she is not a trained therapy dog, she certainly provides our family plenty of comfort and knows when we need some extra hugs.
Here are a few things to consider before getting a puppy (which is why it took us so long to get one for our family!):
Taking care of a puppy is a lot of work, especially during the first year, but it is well worth it if you are ready for the responsibility. Many years ago, before we had kids, my husband and Ihad a puppy and were both working long hours. In hindsight, that was a mistake – it was unfair to the puppy. We ended up giving the puppyto a familythat had the time to take care ofher properly.
It’s hard to believe how big Sunny hasgotten over the past year, especially after looking through these photos of her.
Recently, I’ve been making Homemade Dehydrated Dog Treats for Sunny. It’s so easy to make your own dog treats. I’ve seen chicken jerky, salmon jerky, sweet potato treats and so many more items in the store. They can be pretty pricey,so if you don’t own a dehydrated, it might be worth looking into. A dehydrator is also great for making kale chips and for drying out your iPhone if you get it wet (yes, I’ve tried it and can tell you it does work!).
I dehydrated sweet potato slices, banana slices and even Thanksgiving trimmings (turkey trimmings, sweet potato, celery and carrots that I used to make the turkey broth for my gravy).
You can also dehydrated roasted sweet potatoes. After scooping out the flesh from some whole roasted sweet potatoes, I dehydrated the extra pieces (including the fibrous pieces) for our pup.
The best part about making your own healthy homemade dehydrated dog treats it that you know exactly what goes into them. Plus, it’s so much cheaper.
Puppy Love #1 Puppy Love #2 Puppy Love #3: Puppies and Parenting Puppy Love #4: Puppies and Different Parenting Style Puppy Love #5: Forgive and Forget Puppy Love #6: Enjoying the Simple Things in Life Puppy Love #7: Are You Chasing Your Own Tail?
Bookmark (or PIN) this collection of 100+ Healthy Holiday Breakfast and Brunch Recipes and refer to it often.
(Updated to include more recipes for the holiday season)
One of our Christmas morning traditions is to prepare a big brunch. We open presents really late – tortuous for the kids, but it teaches they a little self-control. Another tradition is to have each of the kids choose a Bible verse and read it aloud to everyone. After we take some family pictures, everyone rips into their presents. We’ve been doing this since our kids were young, and even now that they’re much older, my boys and their cousins still squeeze onto the same sofa in our living room and read their Bible versus. It’s so cute. I know this won’t last much longer, so I savor every moment.
Hearty brunches are perfect for entertaining family over the holidays. Everyone gets to sleep in a little more and the host and hostess can get away with making one meal instead of two. With all the holiday indulging, I thought you might appreciate a collection of Healthy Holiday Breakfast and Brunch Recipes.
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Chocolate Banana Marbled Muffins , Eggplant Pepper Mushroom Turkey Sausage Hash , Smashed Avocado MisoToast with Poached Egg and Furikake , Blueberry Banana Yogurt Smoothie , Breakfast Coconut Quinoa with Fresh Fruit , Chocolate Oatmeal Pancakes , Veggie Quiche Cups (The Kitchen is My Playground), Mini Frittatas with Ham and Cheese , Fruit Quinoa Salad with Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing (Krafted Koch), Garlic Fried Brown Rice with Filipino Garlic Turkey Sausage and Poached Eggs, Breakfast Burrito (Spoonful of Flavor), Chocolate Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rolls , Food Faith Fitness, Cinnamon Sugar Banana Pecan Bread (Running To The Kitchen), Breakfast Stuffed Arepas with Crispy Pancetta, Egg,Avocado and Tomato , Red Potato Bell Pepper and Spinach Breakfast Hash (Neighbor Food), Brazilian Acai Breakfast Bowl
To make it easier to plan your menu, I’ve divided this enormous list of recipes into several categories:
Pick and choose your favorites from one or more of these categories and you’ll have a hearty brunch spread for your family and guests that everyone will appreciate.
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Fruit Quinoa Salad with Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing (Krafted Koch), Creamy Chia Seed Greek Yogurt Pudding with Raspberry Puree , Quinoa Coconut Walnut Crunch Yogurt Fruit Parfait, Blueberry Banana Yogurt Smoothie
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Chocolate Banana Marbled Muffins (GF), Cinnamon Sugar Banana Pecan Bread (Running To The Kitchen), Chocolate Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rolls , Food Faith Fitness, Cranberry Crumb Coffee Cake (Amy’s Healthy Baking)
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles (The Lemon Bowl), Strawberry Banana French Toast Casserole , Chocolate Oatmeal Pancakes , Whole Wheat Pancakes with Apple Crisp Topping (Food Faith Fitness)
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Breakfast Coconut Quinoa with Fresh Fruit , Banana BreadBaked Oatmeal (The Roasted Root), Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal (Spoonful of Flavor), Quinoa Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bake
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Eggplant Pepper Mushroom Turkey Sausage Hash , Butternut Squash Hash with Apples, Sausage and Kale (The Roasted Root), Hash Brown Cauliflower and Potatoes , Red Potato Bell Pepper and Spinach Breakfast Hash (Neighbor Food)
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Breakfast Burrito (Spoonful of Flavor), Easy Spicy Shakshuka (Neighbor Food), Maple Walnut Scotch Eggs (Popular Paleo), Creamy Eggs with Garlicky Greens, Avocado & Chili Oil (The Pig & Quill)
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Healthy Bacon Egg Potato Breakfast Casserole , Veggie Quiche Cups (The Kitchen is My Playground), Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Quiche (The Law Student’s Wife), Mini Frittatas with Ham and Cheese
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Smashed Avocado MisoToast with Poached Egg and Furikake , Breakfast Stuffed Arepas with Crispy Pancetta, Egg,Avocado and Tomato , Brazilian Acai Breakfast Bowl , Garlic Fried Brown Rice with Filipino Garlic Turkey Sausage and Poached Eggs
Can you tell that I just barely had enough light left to photograph this salad? Imagine me in the backyard, trying to stand very still (like, don’t-breathe still) over a plate of salad while Cookie chased squirrels away. Click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click, and after all that, I only got a few photos that weren’t blurry.
Granted, I had all weekend to make this salad, but I just had to wait until mid-afternoon on Sunday to get to work on them. I miss long summer days.
At least my cooking efforts were rewarded with one epic fall/winter salad. I modeled it after my current favorite restaurant salad from The Mixx in Kansas City. I went there for a late lunch after my return flight home from NYC and ordered this beaut.
I took notes on the flavors and on how they don’t peel the butternut squash before roasting—a major time saver. Who likes to peel butternut squash? No one! The skin helps the butternut retain its shape while roasting, but I couldn’t tell that I was eating butternut peel.
I also loved the roasted apples in the salad, which lie somewhere between fresh and dried on the flavor/texture spectrum. They’re a little dehydrated and concentrated in tart Granny Smith flavor. It took me a couple of tries to get those right at home. The trick is to roast them just long enough to make them tender, but not so long that they pop open.
The restaurant listed a honey-sage dressing on the chalkboard menu, but I swear, that day, it tasted like a ginger dressing to me. I loved it, so I made a ginger dressing for my homemade version. I also opted to use maple syrup instead of honey, which means that this salad is vegan!
Their salad includes farro, which is my go-to whole grain for salads, but I haven’t been able to find any at my grocery store. I used wheat berries instead, which are very similar but need an extra twenty minutes or so for cooking.
I should warn you that this salad requires some effort, but it’s a fantastic meal-in-a-bowl and leftovers will keep for a couple of days. If you’re in a hurry, you could use some pre-cooked or leftover whole grains and just toast the pecans.
Author: Cookie and Kate
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4 servings
Recipe inspired by The Mixx ‘s abruzzo squash salad. Make it nut free: Substitute pepitas for the pecans. Storage suggestions: This salad is best served immediately, but leftovers should keep well, refrigerated, for a couple of days.
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #cookieandkate!
Enjoy this Skinny Queso Cheese Guacamole Dip without guilt for Game Day.
This post is sponsored by Peapod
Ourfamily is full of football fans. In fact, we drove 24 hours round trip last weekend just to see the University of Michigan vs. Ohio Statefootball game. Although Michigan lost, the school spirit was incredible, with over 100,000 people at the game. There was a Michigan fan in front of us who stoodup every time Ohio State had the ball, flailing his arms in the air and screaming for everyone to make tons of noise.
I developed this recipe for Skinny Queso Cheese Guacamole Dip for Peapod recently. My goal was to come up with a lightened up version of a favorite game day dip, a healthier version of the florescent orange dip you find at concession stands.
Myversion of Queso Cheese Dip is made with real cheese, not shelf-stable cheese (with preservatives and additives). Lightened up with chicken broth and cashew milk (you can use low-fat milk if you like), it’s a healthy spin on a tailgating classic.
This dip combines two favorite football dips into one – warm Queso Cheese Dip and cool Guacamole. My boyscame up with this idea. I have to admit I was skeptical about the combination, but it is absolutely delicious.
Healthy dippers like carrots, celery and bell pepper stripsmake a welcome addition to just chips. Peapod offers a wide selection of fresh produce, including organic options, that would make great dippers (e.g., carrots, celery, bell peppers, grape tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini).
For more tailgating recipes for game day, check out these recipes on From The Pod :
Spicy Baked Chicken Tenders with Secret Sauce (gluten-free) Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings Tomato Feta Dip Grilled Peach and Cherry Tomato Quesadillas Grilled Pitas with White Bean Spread and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili with Blue Cheese Sour Cream Slow Cooker Chili Casserole Slow Cooker Italian Beef Subs Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork Chili
The holidays are here! How did that happen? I’m starting to make my list of gifts to buy for loved ones, so I thought I’d round up a few of my favorite things that you might like to give to your family and friends. I’m just as particular about the items in my home as I am my recipes, which is to say very particular.
Here are some of my tried-and-true favorites, from clothing and accessories that are worth every penny, to natural skin-care products that work, to my favorite non-fiction read of the year and the ten-dollar gold earrings I can’t stop wearing. You might find a few new favorites to add to your own wish list, too!
For even more ideas, check out my kitchen essentials , as well as my favorite cookbooks and last year’s holiday gift guide . Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I’ll get a small commission if you purchase through my links (at no cost to you, of course). Thank you for supporting Cookie and Kate!
Tad Coleman Field Print : If you’re curious about the blue print behind my little tree, you can get a better look at it here . It’s made by a local Kansas City illustrator and available for purchase online, along with lots of other fun prints.
J.Crew Stadium Cloth Cocoon Coat : This warm, classic coat is one of my favorite purchases of all time. I call it my Princess Kate coat. The eye-catching color brightens up cold winter days and I get compliments on it everywhere I go. I bought this coat a couple of seasons ago, so it’s no longer available in royal blue, but it comes in a ton of other bright colors this year.
Everlane Casual Petra Bag : Everlane makes the most amazing clothing and accessories for men and women, with total transparency on where the items are made and how much they cost to make them. I treat their leather tote bag like my briefcase. My 15? MacBook fits perfectly inside, even in its neoprene case. The quality of this bag is far superior to the similar totes at J.Crew and Madewell. I don’t think I’ll ever need another one!
Frye Melissa Tab Knee-High Boot in redwood vintage leather: This year, I splurged on the most gorgeous pair of brown riding boots. I’m still wearing my first pair of riding boots, ten years later, and I intend to wear these for at least as long. They’re also available in black and in wide-calf sizes as well. If you can’t find your size, check Zappos .
Radha Organic Rosehip Oil : I’m cleaning up my skincare act and this natural oil is working wonders. Rosehip oil came recommended by Monique , who has the most amazing skin, so I thought I’d give it a shot. It’s very moisturizing and, I swear, it seems to be fading some faint age spots on my cheeks. I just apply a few drops at night since it has a light orange tint to it. If you’re worried about breakouts, I haven’t had any from this oil. Did I mention it’s only $12?
Osmia Spa Series Rosemary Body Mousse : Super luxurious, rosemary-scented body mousse that really moisturizes. I love the smell of this stuff and it doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin. Osmia makes a lot of wonderful natural skincare products and their founder, Sarah, is a really passionate, funny lady and former E.R. doctor.
Beautycounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer : Beautycounter is a new cosmetics and skincare company that uses strictly non-toxic ingredients. I traded in my Nars tinted moisturizer for their version and I like it even better. It’s light and provides a nice amount of natural-looking coverage. The built-in sunscreen has saved me from several sunburns already.
Le Creuset 5.5-Quart Dutch Oven in white: Will I ever be quiet about my Le Creuset Dutch ovens? Nope. This heirloom-quality pot makes everything taste better and looks great on the table. The 5.5 quart size is perfect for making 4 to 8 servings of soup, pasta, rice and so forth. Amazon is offering a nice price on the white one right now, but it’s available in even more colors at Williams-Sonoma .
FashionABLE Legesse Tea Towels : My friend Kelly helped design these woven cotton tea towels, which benefit the Ethiopian women who made them. These absorbent towels wash beautifully, come in lots of great colors and patterns and are reasonably priced at $16 each.
Vitamix Blender : Here’s another item I can’t stop talking about. Vitamix is offering refurbished blenders with soup and smoothie functions for $329 right now. They come with my favorite blender container (the tall one), too. I have a refurbished Vitamix and it has never failed me. Give the gift of ultra-creamy soup this year!
Earlywood Ladle : Another soup-related gift, a handmade wooden ladle. Treat this beauty well and it will live forever.
Ikea Sittning Salad Server Set : I’m really digging these retro salad servers from Ikea! Available in stores only.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking : I identified with so much of this book. It helped me better appreciate my own quirks and the diversity of personality traits around me. Steal away from the holiday hubbub with this one, and know that you’re not the only one who needs plenty of peace and quiet.
Withings Activité Pop Smart Watch : This watch is a really cute fitness tracker. It counts your steps and tracks your sleep automatically. I’ve gotten a number of compliments on its looks and people freak out when I tell them it works like a FitBit, too.
Old Navy Striped Compression Leggings : Meet my all-time favorite yoga leggings. These are so soft and comfortable. They’re stretchy but never lose their shape, and they’re thick enough that they’re not see-through in the slightest. I also love Old Navy’s black leggings, but there’s something about the fabric of this striped version that makes them even better. If you’re in between sizes, I find that their leggings run a little snug.
West Elm Bodega Glassware : Really nice looking and cheap glassware. These glasses look delicate but they’re plenty durable. If you need extra glassware for guests this year, these are perfect—only $36 for a set of twelve. You can purchase them individually in stores.
Vermont Farm Table Live-Edge Walnut Board : That beautiful background is a live-edge walnut board from Vermont Farm Table. Vermont Farm Table is a family-owned business that makes gorgeous wooden kitchen tools, as well as my dream dining table.
Everlane Silk Short-Sleeve Crew : Meet my latest Everlane obsession, this super elegant silk tee ($75). You can dress it up with a long necklace or fold up the sleeves for a more casual look. The sleeves are a little longer than your average women’s cut tee, which means they are actually flattering. Everlane now offers a ton of different styles of silk tops, as well as exceptionally soft cashmere sweaters. Their menswear is really sharp, too.
8mm Gold Bar Earrings : These super simple, dainty 14-karat gold-filled earrings are handmade in Brooklyn and cost only $10. I put them in and forget that I’m wearing them for days!
West Elm Felt Mistletoe : How cute is that mistletoe? It’s festive and requires practically no storage space. I’m also enamored with West Elm’s brass frame ornaments , which look like hanging Polaroid frames. I think I’ll order a monogrammed frame for one of Cookie’s Instagram prints. 🙂
If you need even more ideas, don’t forget about my kitchen essentials shop , favorite cookbooks list and last year’s holiday gift guide !
You’ll want to bookmark (or Pin) this collection of 100+ Healthy Holiday Appetizer Recipes and refer back to these tips forplanninga cocktail party menu.
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Black Bean, Pomegranate and Avocado Salsa (Two Peas and Their Pod), Coconut Shrimp with Thai Chili Ginger Sauce (Joyful Healthy Eats), Spicy Tuna Avocado Cucumber Appetizerswith Pickled Ginger (Jeanette’s Healthy Living), Caprese Bites (Cooking On The Front Burners), Thai Chicken Skewers with Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce (Jeanette’s Healthy Living), Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms (Aggie’s Kitchen), Fresh Basil Hummus (The View From Great Island), Prosciutto Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese (Jeanette’s Healthy Living), Kalamata Olive & Goat Cheese Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes (Tasty Yummies), Satay Beef Skewers with Peanut Sauce (Jeanette’s Healthy Living), Roasted Shrimp Cocktail (Jeanette’s Healthy Living), Endive Stuffed with Old Bay Crab Salad (Jeanette’s Healthy Living), Falafel-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas (An Edible Mosaic), Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (A Cedar Spoon)
(Updated to include more appetizer recipes for the holiday season)
I have to admit that appetizers are my favorite part of the meal, whether we’re eating at a restaurant or going to a holiday party. I just love being able to taste little bites of this and that. In fact, I’d rather eat a bunch of appetizers than eat a whole meal. The only problem with appetizers during the holiday season is that they’re often very rich, so the calories and fat start adding up quickly.
So, to help with holiday menu planning, whether you’re throwing a holiday party or just entertaining your own family, I’ve put together an enormous list of healthier, light holiday appetizers. I’ve categorized this huge list into Nibbles, Finger Foods, Skewered and Stuffed Appetizers, Bean Dips and Hummus, and Salsas and More to make it easier to pick and choose your favorites.
I’m always worried I won’t have enough food, so here are a couple oftips for how much food to makefor a cocktail party:
And here are a few planning tips that I’ve found help keep me organized for the big event:
For a recent cocktail party, I made:
Take a look around and let me know if you try any of these recipes. I know I’ll be referring to it through the New Year.
Pictured left to right, top to bottom: Honey Mustard Roasted Cashews (The Law Student’s Wife), Warm Rosemary Olives (The Kitchen is my Playground), Falafel-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas (An Edible Mosaic)
Pictured left to right, top to bottom: Spicy Tuna Bites (Food Faith Fitness), Caprese Bites (Cooking On The Front Burners), Coconut Shrimp with Thai Chili Ginger Sauce (Joyful Healthy Eats)
Pictured left to right, top to bottom: Greek Salad Skewers (Karen’s Kitchen Stories), Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms (Aggie’s Kitchen), Party Animals (The View From Great Island)
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Hummus Dip with Kalamata Olives and Capers (Jeanette’s Healthy Living), Fresh Basil Hummus (The View From Great Island), Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (A Cedar Spoon)
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Black Bean, Pomegranate and Avocado Salsa (Two Peas and Their Pod), Smoked Salmon Dip (An Edible Mosaic), Cowboy Caviar (From Valerie’s Kitchen)
What are your favorite healthy holiday appetizers? Do you have any cocktail party menu planning tips you’d like to share?