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:


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


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


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!

Some Sweets for Saturday

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Two more dessert recipes for you guys!  I’m almost done posting all the recipes I promised you I would.

Peppermint Bark

Recipe inspired by


  • 12 ounces chocolate chips –> I used dark chocolate to try to make this a bit healthier
  • 1 pound white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup peppermint candy, crushed


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Line a 9×13 pan with foil, letting it hang over the sides.  Spray foil.
  3. Pour the chocolate chips in an even layer on the foil.  Place in oven for 5 minutes or until almost melted.
  4. Remove from oven, smooth with an offset spatula or knife.  Place in refrigerator until cold and firm, about 20 minutes.
  5. Melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler or in a metal bowl over simmering water (don’t let bottom of bowl touch water), until chocolate is almost melted.
  6. Remove bowl from water and stir until completely melted, stirring in extract. Let cool a bit so it doesn’t melt the chocolate layer when you pour it on top.
  7. Pour this over chocolate layer, and, working quickly, spread to cover.
  8. Sprinkle with crushed candy.
  9. Chill until both layers are firm.  Lift foil out of pan and shake off excess candy.  Trim edges.  Cut into 2” wide strips.
  10. Peel bark from foil and cut each strip as desired.  Chill in covered container.  Makes about 2 pounds.

Lesson Learned:  Don’t wait too long between steps 6 & 7, or else the two chocolates won’t stick together and you end up with bark that falls apart.

The bark tasted great!  But I was bummed about the layers separating.  I still brought it with me to Tim’s cousin’s house on Christmas Eve though.  I just instructed everyone to make sure to take a chocolate layer with their white chocolate bark chip.

Better luck next time.  Any tips for me?

Mini Red Velvet Santa Hat Cupcakes

Recipe inspired by 5 Girls Chiropractic


  • Half an 18.25 oz box of red velvet cake mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp applesauce
  • 1 large egg and 1 egg white


  1. Preheat oven to 325º
  2. Combine the cake mix, water, applesauce (healthier option than oil!), egg and egg white.  Beat the ingredients until smooth.
  3. Spoon the batter into mini-muffin tins, lined with your favorite holiday wrapper and bake for 15 to 17 minutes.
  4. Let the muffins cool for 1 minute before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Red velvet = festive!!

For the frosting, you can really do whatever you want.  You could go store-bought, you could use a marshmallow fluff, or you could try this low-fat cream cheese frosting that I decided to make.

Low-Fat Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe inspired by SkinnyTaste


  • 8 oz 1/3 fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.

And for the Santa part?!

Just slice the top off the strawberries and place upside down on the cupcakes.  Put a dab of frosting at the top and use coconut to make a little pom-pom.

Super cute huh?

Lesson learned:  Dry the strawberries before placing them on cupcake.  If you don’t, the moisture makes the cream cheese frosting run a bit!

Special thanks to Shannon for letting me borrow her mini muffin tin!

Anyone baking any desserts to ring in 2012?!

Have a fun and safe New Year’s Eve, everyone!