Recipe Round Up: Festive Holiday Eats

Happy Friday, friends!

It’s the weekend before Christmas, and it’s sure going to be a busy one with tons of holiday stuff going on:

  • Tonight – Oak Square Y Healthy Living Team holiday night out
  • Tomorrow – Workout, last-minute shopping, food prepping, Shannon‘s annual home friends Christmas party
  • Sunday – Workout, gift wrapping, food prepping, and a couple Christmas activities TBD with Tim
  • Monday – Sub Spin at 6am, half day at work, work holiday party, Tim’s cousin’s house for Christmas Eve
  • Tuesday – Presents and Christmas breakfast with Tim, my parent’s house for gifts with the immediate fam and dinner with my mom’s side, then heading down to New Bedford for dessert with my father’s side

Phew!  I still need to decide on some last-minute holiday food items to make for some of these occasions.  I figured I would do a little recipe round-up post today for any of you who may be in the same boat as me.  Here are my favorite festive recipes (some healthy, some not) to make for the holidays:

Breakfast

Green Apple Cinnamon Protein Pancakes
Use green food coloring to turn protein pancakes into a festive and healthy holiday breakfast!

Festive Pancakes

Cranberry Nut Bread
Works as a great foodie gift or option to bring to a holiday brunch!

Cranberry Nut Bread

Appetizers

Pita Christmas Trees
One of my favorites because they are too cute!  I’m making them on Saturday for Shannon’s party.

Pita Christmas Trees - Served

Tomato Basil Skewers
Definitely a go to for when I’m in a time crunch.  They are super easy to put together, plus the red and green colors stand out for Christmas time!

Tomato Basil Skewers

Cranberry Avocado Salsa
This also offers a nice fix of festive colors for the holiday table.  Plus, the flavors of cranberry and avocado together are unbelievable!

Cranberry Avocado Salsa - Closeup

Cranberry Cinnamon Apple Brie
I think anything with cranberries is festive, but maybe that’s just me.  Plus who doesn’t like a wheel of brie cheese?

Cranberry Cinnamon Apple Brie with Crackers

Desserts

Christmas M&M Pretzel Bites
I used this recipe from Valentine’s Day, just changed the M&M colors.  These are very easy to make, but not for the inpatient as you have to unwrap all the Hershey’s Kisses one by one.  There’s never any of these left after serving them at a party.  Sweet & salty is addictive!

Christmas Pretzel Bites

Christmas Tree Brownies
Another cute way to get in the spirit!  I had a ton of fun baking these last year.  This is what I actually brought to Shannon’s last year!

Christmas Tree Brownies

Mini Red Velvet Santa Hat Cupcakes
I just am obsessed with mini cupcakes, plus any time you can incorporate fruit into dessert it’s a bonus.  Liz just sent me a picture last week when she made them herself!

Santa Hat Cupcakes

Peppermint Bark
Yummy, but you need to time it perfectly so the layers don’t break.

Peppermint Bark

Red Velvet Cake with Peppermint Frosting
My latest and proudest creation, which you already know about if you’ve read F&F this week.  This is for any of you who want a dessert recipe that is NOT healthified.

Red Velvet Cake with Peppermint Frosting

Whole Wheat Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Frosting
I used this recipe for the cupcakes, and for the frosting just combined 1/4 cup butter, 2.5 cups confectioners sugar, 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, and 3 tablespoons of milk together.  Add red sprinkles, and you have Christmas cupcakes!

Christmas Cupcakes

Cranberry Pomegranate Christmas Punch!
And finally, you can’t forget a beverage to keep you sane throughout any stress you might encounter along the way!

Cranberry Christmas Punch

Anyone have a go to holiday recipe they’d like to share or add to this round up?

If you end up making any of these things, let me know!  Post a picture to my F&F Facebook page, or tweet a pic to me at @FitnessandFeta.  Would love to see how yours come out.  Have a great pre-holiday weekend!

Getting Back on Track + Christmas Tree Brownies

Two things that don’t go together!

Are you guys working today or do you have the day/week off?  Obviously I’m not EXCITED to be back in the office, but I have never been so happy for Christmas to be over in my life.  And I must say it feels nice to be back into the swing of things.  At least it will for a few days until Tim and I take off for our New Years getaway.

I am pretty pumped for my packed breakfast and lunch today of cottage cheese, veggies, and fruit.  While I’ve tried to be good over the past few holiday celebration days, I didn’t do as well as I had hoped.  Which is okay – it’s the holidays and I don’t eat like this year round!  I definitely did better limiting myself and eating in moderation throughout the rest of the season, but from Friday through yesterday?  Not so much.

Today I will slowly come out of my food coma with the following meal and workout plan:

  • Breakfast:  Low-fat cottage cheese with cinnamon
  • Snack:  Banana
  • Lunch:  Mixed greens with shredded carrots, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and low-fat shredded mozzarella with a Chobani raspberry yogurt on the side
  • Snack:  Apple
  • Workout:  Two a Day Tuesday – taking Kix, teaching Circuit
  • Dinner:  Shrimp and veggie stir fry

And now that I’ve motivated all of you to get back on track after holiday indulgence, I’ll post an unhealthy recipe.

I know, I know, I’m so mean.

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about all the wonderful recipes I made for the different Christmas events of the weekend.  I’ll be posting them throughout the week.  I know these probably would have helped to have posted BEFORE the holidays, but there was just no way that was going to happen.  Maybe next year.  They’ll at least make a nice “What You Can Make for the Holidays” post next season.

Some are healthy, some are not.

First up?

Christmas Tree Brownies
(Not healthy)

Recipe inspired by Betty Crocker

Ingredients

  • 1 box (1 lb 2.4 oz) Betty Crocker® Original Supreme Premium brownie mix
  • Water, vegetable oil, and egg called for on brownie mix box
  • 2 or 3 drops green food color
  • 2/3 cup vanilla frosting from a 16 oz container
  • Miniature candy canes (unwrapped)
  • Red and green decorating sprinkles

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan).
  2. Line 9-inch square pan with foil so foil extends about 2 inches over sides of pan.  Grease bottom only of foil with cooking spray or shortening. —>  I used a 9 x 13 baking pan and just greased the pan instead of using foil
  3. Make and bake brownie mix as directed on box.
  4. Cool completely, about 1.5 hours.
  5. Remove brownie from pan by lifting foil; peel foil away.
  6. Cut brownies into triangles.
  7. Stir food color into frosting.  Spoon frosting into small resealable food-storage plastic bag; partially seal bag. Cut off tiny bottom corner of bag.  Squeeze bag to pipe frosting over brownies.
  8. Sprinkle with decors.
  9. Break off curved end of candy cane; insert straight piece into bottoms of triangles to make tree trunks.

I got so many compliments on these!

Kate was right, I definitely loved making Christmas tree shaped food this season.  She was referring to the Christmas Tree Pita appetizers I brought to my uncle’s birthday party a few weeks ago.  Our other friend from work ended up replicating those for a work event last week!  And as promised, were a huge crowd pleaser.

Anyways, I brought the brownies to Shannon’s party on Friday night.  Because Shannon always has the best display of desserts, I wanted to bring my cutest one there.  Most people at the party thought that Shannon made the brownies, and I took that as the utmost compliment!  Look, they fit right in with the rest of Shannon’s treats!  Check another crowd pleaser off the list.

Did you make any cute desserts for the holidays this year?  What are your plans for a post-holiday get back on track day?

I’m out.