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!

Weekend Wrap-Up

Good morning.  I am a huge liar and didn’t announce the winner of my Larabar giveaway on Friday.  Using the random number generator (how I choose the winners for all my giveaways), the winner is commenter #16, Sheila Jeffrey!  Sheila said she is most excited to try the pecan pie flavor.  Sheila, please email me at to claim your prize!

Weekend Wrap-Up

I did a lot of things this weekend, but I didn’t feel too busy or hectic, which was a nice change of pace.


I actually took a vacation day from work to just breathe for a bit.  I taught Cardio & Core at 6am (yes on my day off, and yes I made it there), then spent a few hours at the Y busting out a ton of stuff that has just been sitting there waiting to get done.  I did some grocery shopping, ran some errands, and spent the afternoon cleaning the apartment and prepping for Friday night.  Tim and I hosted some work friends (actually, I think now most are ex-work friends) over at our apartment.  For the past three years, we’ve always had a group outing at Christina’s in Foxboro where we could pay $30 each for a buffet dinner, dj, dancing, etc. and get a $15 gift card back in return.  This year the facility closed, but Tim and I wanted to keep the tradition going so I put my hostess extraordinaire hat back on and we did our thing.  It was very fun to see everyone!  I didn’t take any pictures of people, but I did get a bunch of the food.

Holiday Party 2012 - Food

Tim made his super awesome spinach artichoke dip.

Tim's Spinach Artichoke Dip

We also made tomato, basil, and mozzarella skewers.  This is my favorite healthy Christmas colored appetizer!

Tomato Basil Skewers

Tim also made meatballs that we served in little finger rolls, but I didn’t snap a picture of them.  I was in charge of dessert, obviously.  I went with my go to pretzel bites, but this time I used Christmas colored M&M’s.  It’s the easiest recipe ever, but you do need the patience to unwrap a bazillion Hershey’s kisses.

Christmas Pretzel Bites

I also made Christmas cupcakes!  I used this recipe for whole wheat chocolate cupcakes, and I made a homemade peppermint frosting for them by combining butter, sugar, peppermint extract, and milk together.  Sprinkle on some red and white and stick a little winter decoration on top, and voilà – Christmas cupcakes.

Christmas Cupcakes

The last thing Tim & I made was a Christmas punch.  Festive and delicious, and I’ll post the recipe soon!

Cranberry Christmas Punch

Our friends were great and brought over veggie platters, chicken wings, tons of wine, other desserts, and more.  We really appreciated all of it!


Friday ended up being a pretty late night, and I was *this close* to skipping my planned Saturday morning workout, but Ashley texting me to see if I was still planning on going to barre class did the trick.  I headed over to Boston Body Pilates with Ashley and Aloisia for an 11am class.  The class didn’t necessarily leave me sweating or thinking, “Wow, what a GREAT workout.”  However, it was the perfect choice for still getting in some exercise when I was feeling tired and still a little sore from the previous week’s workouts.  My abs ended up feeling a little sore from the class on Sunday too!  The afternoon was spent doing a lot of nothing (look at me!), then Tim and I had a date night in Davis Square.  It started with a drink and appetizer at The Foundry, pizzas at Pizzeria Posto (wine bar I’ve been dying to try), and then another drink at Orleans.

Posto Pizzas


Sunday I ran a successful holiday Zumbathon at the Y, where some of my amazing instructors showcased their passion and skills and helped raise over $400 for group ex programming.  I kind of forgot how much I do enjoy taking a good Zumba class – these instructors all made it so much fun!


Tim’s friends Greg and Gina and their daughter Hannah came up for the event, well Gina came with me to take part in Zumba-ing the afternoon away while Greg and Tim took little Hannah to the movies.  We all went to eat after, and it was nice to spend time with them!  Sunday night was spent prepping for the week and curled up on the couch watching Homeland.  I’m seriously mad next week is the season finale.  Now what am I going to watch on TV?

Hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing weekend!  What did you do?

Be back later with my Weekly Workouts post.  Catch ya then!

Three Appetizer Thursday

Anyone entertaining for New Years this weekend?

Whether you are the one hosting or you need to bring a dish to someone else’s party, here are three healthy appetizer ideas for you. I made all three for Christmas, all three were super easy and fast to throw together right before company arrived, and all three were a huge hit!

Cranberry Avocado Salsa

Cranberry Avocado Salsa

Adapted from Beantown Baker, serves 4


  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 ripe avocados, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup halved cranberries
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Ground pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey, and red onion.
  2. Add avocados, cranberries, and cilantro.
  3. Season with pepper and toss to combine.

Cranberry Avocado SalsaThis recipe was a huge hit with my family on Christmas Day. Good thing I tripled the recipe because it was almost all gone by the time dinner was served! The cilantro seasoning gave the appetizer a ton of flavor. Instead of regular white flour tortilla chips, I served this with Stacy’s Multigrain Pita Chips and Food Should Taste Good Blue Corn Chips. Both combinations were great! The salsa made for a really festive dish too, with the red cranberries and green avocado all mixed together.

tomato basil skewers

Tomato Basil Skewers

Adapted from EatingWell


  • 16 small fresh mozzarella balls
  • 16 fresh basil leaves
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle
  • Balsamic vinaigrette, to drizzle
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Thread mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes on small skewers.
  2. Brush with oil and balsamic vinaigrette.
  3. Sprinkle with pepper, and enjoy!

Tomato Basil SkewersI didn’t count out the exact amount of mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes beforehand. I just made sure each skewer had two cherry tomato halves, 2 mozzarella balls, and 1 basil leaf. I ended up with 20 total skewers. You may notice that the above picture has 19… whoops! I used regular sized skewers, but cut in half. This was another festive dish with the red, green, and white color combo!

Cinnamon Apple Brie

Cranberry Cinnamon Apple Brie

Adapted from fANNEtastic food


  • 1 wheel brie
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 apples, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degress.
  2. Take the wheel of brie, and place it on a nonstick tray or a sprayed piece of tin foil.
  3. Add the dried cranberries on top, then add the chopped apple, and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and brown sugar.
  4. Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes, and then serve immediately with crackers so it doesn’t get cold!

Cinnamon Apple BrieCinnamon Apple BrieCinnamon Apple Brie Okay, maybe brie cheese isn’t the healthiest for you, but this was another big hit! The entire wheel was gone before dinner was served at my grandfather’s house on Monday, and I was asked to bring it back next year. Anyone else obsessed with brie cheese? We served these with wheat and whole grain crackers. Yum.

What are your favorite healthy appetizer ideas? Do you have any specifically for the holidays? Are you entertaining this weekend?

Have a great day!