5 Holiday Recipes With A Twist

We’re all familiar with the traditional holiday recipes — the sweet potatoes and stuffing, cranberries and turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. These classics have made Christmas dinner one of the most anticipated meals of the year that has us coming back for seconds (and thirds).

But what if you wanted to take these traditional dishes to the next level, carrying them to soaring heights of culinary delight? Here are five easy recipes that will take your holiday meal from normal to bougie.

Red Wine Cranberry Sauce

Your basic cranberry sauce made magical by the simple addition of red wine and a touch of cinnamon and citrus.

Recipe: Alexandra Cooks 

Maple Butter Sweet Potatoes

The hints of maple goodness take this dish from ordinary to out of this world extraordinary. I made these for Thanksgiving and could not stop enjoying it. I told my boo that if I could marry these sweet potatoes I probably would.

Recipe: She Knows

Brown Butter Green Beans

Say goodbye to green bean casserole. This super easy recipe makes seemingly boring beans glam with butter, pine nuts and a hint of garlic.

Recipe: Food Network

Chiffon Pumpkin Pie

Gingersnap crust and a rum laced filling that’s as smooth and light as silk chiffon. Need I say more?

Recipe: Simply Recipes

Spiced Bourbon Apple Pie

There is only one thing that could possibly make apple pie any more comforting and delicious—the rich flavor of bourbon. This special addition accentuates and draws out the flavors of caramel and vanilla.

Recipe: A Beautiful Mess


4 Ways To Eat During The Holidays… With Food Allergies

Having food allergies is a major pain but can be especially difficult during the holidays. You either end up feeling left out of the fun or have to awkwardly dance your way around the issue when you’re invited to parties. While the holidays may force you out of your regular food habits, there is no need to despair of enjoying the season.  We’ve  put together a quick guide for not only surviving, but thriving during the holidays with food allergies.

1. Speak up. If you’re invited to a party or get-together, don’t be afraid to gently remind your host or hostess about your allergy. If he or she is truly a friend, they will graciously accept the reminder and go out of their way to make sure your food needs are met. Also, don’t be afraid to ask what when into a particular dish when you show up. It could save you a lot of grief.

2. Party up. If you’re very allergic, or just worried you won’t be able to enjoy yourself thinking about all the potential food traps, host your own party. You don’t have to go out of your way to make it an extravagant celebration, but inviting friends to come to you can make sure you’re in control of food prep. Also consider roping in your friends to help cook. Not only will they’ll learn what kinds of things you can eat, but also how to prepare them.

3. Cook up. Indulge in your favorite dish. Whip up a batch of your favorite allergy friendly food and bring it with you to social gatherings. Its a chance to share part of your life with those around you while gently making them aware of your needs. And chances are they will love being introduced to your special dish.

4. Live it up. Don’t become preoccupied with the constraint food allergies might put on your holiday adventures. Christmas and New Year’s are about so much more than that. Have fun with family and friends: go ice skating or sledding, have fun making decorations and crafts, celebrate with dancing and music and laughter. At the end of the day, your memories aren’t going to be built primarily on what you ate for dinner.

Where to shop: 

Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have an array of products and foods that are compatible with most common allergies such as wheat, soy, dairy and nuts. Although, Trader Joe’s chocolate is not soy allergy friendly. My friend B. who is soy/dairy allergic suggests trying Vivani chocolate which you can buy on


3 Easy Christmas Cookie Recipes

It’s that time of the year again! The smell of baked goods are starting to fill every home as the Holidays approach and fires are stoked. Soon, Santa’s going to want his milk and cookies, but what recipe do you make??

Here are three simple, fun, delicious recipes that my sisters and I bake every Christmas.

1. Soft Christmas Cookies


3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup margarine, softened

1 ½ cups white sugar

2 eggs

2 tsps vanilla extract


Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, set aside. In large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients until fully absorbed. Cover dough, and chill for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease cookie sheets On a clean floured surface, roll out small portions of chilled dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters.

Bake 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are barely brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.


2. Spritz Butter Cookies


2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 ¼ cups powdered sugar

2 egg yolks

½ tsp anise or almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Sit together the flour and salt; set aside. In  medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the egg yolks, anise/almond extract. Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients. Fill a cookie press with dough and shoot cookies about 1 ½ inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. If you like, decorate with sugar or sprinkles at this time.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven.


3. Gingerbread Men


1 (3.5 oz) package cook and serve butterscotch pudding mix

½ cup butter

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon


In a medium bowl, cream together the dry butterscotch pudding mix, butter, and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon; stir into the pudding mixture. Cover, and chill dough until firm, about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking sheets. On a floured board, roll dough out to about ⅛ inch thickness, and cut into man shapes using a cookie cutter. Place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. 

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are golden at the edges. Cool on wire racks.



The Importance of Being Earnest… In Dining

Everytime I drive down my street at dinnertime there’s a particular house that really should be banned from having an open front door. The scents which waft from behind that black screen have a sultry linger in my car the rest of the block.

By the time I get home from work I’m usually not in the mood to experiment with my culinary palette and typically fall into habitual recipes or leftovers… And I like cooking! So what about those gals that are afraid of the flame, or detest the chopping and stirring? Ladies, let us unite in a worthy cause…we can step up our mealtimes! Writer and advocate for feminine force, Virginia Woolfe once said “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Feeding yourself is important! Don’t scrimp on your major source of energy and health. But – you justly ask – how not to spend our entire paychecks?

There’s one tip that’s golden and will save you in a pinch, or a waistline’s cinch: Keep staples stocked. Whatever is healthy for you, won’t break the budget, and that which you often use KEEP THEM IN YOUR KITCHEN! Bread, milk, eggs, cheese, salad, nuts, and fruit are great starters.

Be educated and smart about what you eat so that your skin vegetables (oranges, melons, etc.) can perhaps forgo the organic sticker price while your eggs and milk that more directly affect your hormone levels should get some cushion. Clip those coupons, find the deals, split things at Costco, BUY SEASONALLY, and definitely keep up on the trends so you know you’re prepared for a price drop.

Phase two is USE EVERY PART. The Native Americans were famous for their entire use of an animal in skin, meat, claws (gross, I know, but resourceful), furs, etc.  This week’s challenge is to see how many meals you can make from a cooking a whole chicken including broth and meat. Use some of your vegetable trimmings in a fully-loaded egg hash the next morning.

And while you’re honing your resourcefulness for one, you might be brave enough to stretch that table to include friends. Reign in a dinner party either potluck, dutch, or donation style.

You’re allowed to be elegant…in fact you should! You’d be surprised what the dollar store, thrift stores (Goodwill and Amvets are my favs), and garage sales will offer in terms of eclectic or traditional dishes, tablecloths, candlesticks, even candles!

A nice board game, a creative twist on drinks, and great conversation is good for the soul. Hospitality is a dormant art who loves to be engaged! A clean house will make everyone feel comfortable, an internet radio station is great for background noise or themed-cooking, and your own enjoyment will bring gentle healing to the bullet holes of the busy day.

There is so much benefit in being intentional with our dining. Food is a source of communion with ourselves, the natural world, and each other. Bon Appetite!