It’s finally here! Christmas is undoubtedly one of the craziest, yet wonderful times of the year. Between shopping for gifts, decking the halls, and enjoying your favorite traditions, the most rewarding part of all the preparation is often feasting on Christmas eve or Christmas day, and of course sipping on some holiday cocktails.
Not too sure what your appetizer lineup is gonna look like this year? We’ve got you covered! Here are some quick, easy, and delicious appetizers that will have you and your guests taking second helpings!
Candy Cane Caprese Board
Okay but seriously, appetizers are never complete without cheese in some shape or form. Better yet, in the shape of a candy cane in the true spirit of Christmas.
Here’s what you will need
- Mozzarella cheese
- Basil leaves
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic glaze
- Sea salt
- Toasted Italian bread
What to do
- Start by slicing a fresh ball of mozzarella cheese. Then slice up a tomato.
- On a cheeseboard or wooden plank, arrange the slices of mozzarella and tomato in the shape of a candy cane, being sure to alternate mozzarella and tomato as pictured above.
- Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt onto the candy cane.
- Fill a small bowl with balsamic glaze for dipping, and garnish with basil leaves.
Cranberry Brie Bites
Another deliciously cheesy appetizer on our menu this year are these Cranberry Brie Bites. They tast just as good as they look too!
Here’s what you will need
- Crescent pastry dough
- Cranberry sauce
- Wheel of brie cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
What to do
- Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees, and coating your work surface with a layer of flour.
- Coat a miniature muffin tray with nonstick spray.
- Roll out your crescent pastry dough, and pinch together at the seams. Cut the dough into small squares. Place each square into the muffin container.
- Fill the dough with a dollop of cranberry sauce, and garnish with chopped pecans and rosemary.
- Bake until golden brown, which should take about 15 minutes.
Puff Pastry and Prosciutto Wraps
What you will need
- 2 rolls of puff pastry dough
- Sliced prosciutto
- 36 spears of asparagus, cut in half by length and width
- Shaved parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- Sea salt
What to do
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Unfold both sheets of puff pastry, cut along the seams. This should create 6 long rectangles. Roll them out to make them slightly thinner.
- Cut each of the 6 rectangles in 3 equal pieces to create a total of 18 pieces of dough.
- To prepare the asparagus, toss it in avocado oil and season using salt and pepper.
- On a lined baking sheet, place appropriately sized slices of prosciutto onto the dough, and top with 2 asparagus spears. Sprinkle shaved parmesan on top.
- Wrap together the opposing sides of the puff pastry dough and press to seal. Coat with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Have a safe and happy holiday!
Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
Yes, you heard that right… There is such a thing as HEALTHY Chocolate Chip Muffins. By adding some bananas into a mix, you can feed your chocolate obsession while watching your weight. Although the traditional muffins can have over 300 calories, this banana chocolate chip muffin is only 170 calories per muffin.
Below are some substitutions that make this recipe an healthy alternative to the classic chocolate chip muffins.
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour: Whole wheat flour is the perfect substitution for regular all-purpose flour. It has so much more nutrition and adds a nutty delicious flavor to the muffins.
Greek Yogurt: For this recipe, yogurt replaces the traditional butter for our muffins. This is because it will keep the muffins super moist like butter but it is a healthier alternative and adds some protein to keep you full. We recommend using plain greek yogurt because it contains the least amount of sugar and is similar to sour cream in baking.
Honey: For this recipe, we used an all natural sweetener instead of sugar. Since honey is sweeter than sugar, you can get away with using less of it, meaning less carbs altogether!
Ingredients (Serves 12 Muffins)
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or white whole wheat flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 bananas
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon olive or melted coconut oil
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Let’s Get Started
STEP 1: Spray 12 muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt.
STEP 2: Add honey, vanilla, oil, egg, bananas, milk, and yogurt to a blender. Blend on high for 1 minute or until combined. Add vanilla, coconut oil, egg, yogurt, almond mill, and chocolate chips into the bowl and stir until combined.
STEP 3: Divide your batter evenly into each muffin tin and sprinkle each muffin with some more chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
STEP 4: Let muffins cool for 5 minutes on tray before transferring to a wire rack. The best time to serve these delicious muffins are when they are warm and soft.
If you don’t finish everything, don’t worry. Muffins can be placed in a ziplock bag and left frozen up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, simply microwave the muffins for 30-45 seconds to thaw out. Enjoy!
Delicacies From Each State In The USA
From sea to shining sea, America is pretty big. The United States in total is nearly 4 million square miles, and geographically speaking is the third largest country in the world. Not to mention, the USA is extremely diverse. This not only means that there are so many beautiful cultures being represented in each American, but there are so many different cuisines across the country.
Shrimp and grits is a true taste of Southern Comfort, that began as a popular breakfast for fisherman. Now, it’s a favorite in the Heart of Dixie!
Santa Claus would not be too thrilled to hear that one of Alaska’s most famous delicacies is Reindeer hot dogs. And yes, you heard that correctly!
Besides being a mouthful to say and eat, Chimichangas are one of Arizona’s most iconic dishes. This fried take on the classic burrito is delectable!
Fried pickles became super popular in Arizona in the 1960s, and have been a staple in their cuisine ever since! For a DIY take, batter some pickle chips and toss them in your airfryer!
California is known for being one of the healthiest and most sustainable states, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that they seemingly invented avocado toast.
These definitely are not the oysters you are accustom to. Rocky mountain oysters are not the best option for the weak stomached, as they are actually deep fried cow testicles. Anyway…
If you’ve ever visited New Haven, Connecticut, you’d know how passionate they are about their “New Haven style” pizza. Whether it’s as good as New York pizza is up to you to decide.
Believe it or not, Delaware has some pretty beautiful beaches. Rehoboth Beach, DE is an adored vacation spot. On the board walk you’ll find one of Delaware’s favorite delicacies: Thrasher’s french fries!
Sweet and sour all at once, no trip to Florida is complete without a slice of Key Lime pie (or a trip to Disney World)!
Though Georgia is of course known for their beautiful peach trees, Georgians LOVE to enjoy biscuits and gravy, especially when paired with some sweet tea!
Of course the Hawaiians have such amazing beach bodies, look at how healthy that Poke bowl is! It’s like Chipotle, but filled with fish, and colorful veggies. Where can we get our hands on one of these?
Don’t be fooled, that’s a Huckleberry pie right there, and it is one of Idaho’s most prized desserts!
Move over, deep dish pizza! Illinois has got another popular dish and it deserves all the clout! Italian beef sandwiches are a fan favorite in Chi-town!
You’ve heard of fried chicken but have you ever heard of fried steak?! This delicacy doesn’t have to be enjoyed just in Indiana, it can be found at some of America’s favorite comfort food chains like Cracker Barrel and Texas Roadhouse!
Fried catfish is an essential meal in the South, but it is especially popular in Iowa. This meal is delicious with some tartar sauce and veggies!
Bierock is actually a traditional German dish, made out of pastry dough and meat, but it is also popular among the German community in Kansas.
Burgoo, otherwise known as “Roadkill Soup” is a stew dish that is well known in Kentucky. We’ll stick to calling it Burgoo, though.
Are you noticing a trend here? Those southern states LOVE their fish! The Po’ Boy is a shrimp filled sub, served on New Orlean’s French style bread. We’ll take two please!
We’d be remiss if we did not give Maine the street creds for Lobster rolls. Nothing is more refreshing than one of these bad boys after a long day at the beach or on the boat on a warm summer evening.
Nobody loves Maryland more than Maryland. From their beloved flag, to their obsession with Old Bay seasoning, they love it all. They even love their famous crab cakes!
Boston, the capital of Massachusetts is not only home to the Red Sox and Boston University, but it is also home of the Boston cream pie, the state’s official desert.
Surprisingly, Detroit is famous for the Coney Island hot dog, not New York. The Coney Island hot dog is pretty much just a chili cheese dog.
Booyah! No, literally. Booyah is one of Minnesota’s favorite stews to warm themselves up during their freezing fall and winter seasons!
Okay, now we’re drooling. Mississippi mud pie is rightfully one of the state’s most prized dishes. It’s rich and decadent and makes the perfect dessert.
St. Louis is well known for it’s famous Gooey Butter cake. And it’s exactly that, oozing and goozing with sweet buttery goodness.
Montana is one of the most mountainous states in the US, so it only makes sense that they bring meatballs to the next level by using bison meat. They even love to stuff them with mozzarella. Bon apetito!
Nebraskans have no time for your run of the mill, average Joe grilled cheese. They love Cheese Frenchees, which is essentially a battered and deep fried grilled cheese sandwich. YUM!
Nevada is home to the City of Sin, AKA Las Vegas, so it only makes sense that one of their most famous delicacies is a cocktail, the Picon Punch!
Apple cider donuts may be a fall favorite for all Americans, but they are also a classic New Hampshire delicacy!
New Jerseyans are so passionate about Pork Roll Egg and Cheese sandwiches that there is even a debate over what it’s name is. Northern NJ folk think it’s called Pork Roll while those from South/Central Jersey proudly call it Pork Roll. What do you think?!
New Mexico is one of the many states in the Southwestern region of the US, so it only makes sense that their food mirror Mexican cuisine, which is why beef and chicken enchiladas are very popular in this state!
We all know that New Yorkers love their pizza and bagels, but did you know they are also well known for their Manhattan clam chowder?
Besides being home of the UNC Tar Heels and beautiful beaches, North Carolina is also home of the deviled egg!
Though Kuchen is a popular German dessert (it literally means “cake” in German, it is also well loved by people from North Dakota.
If you’ve ever been to Cincinnati, you’d know that the people their love Goetta, a mixture of meat and grain in patty form, similar to sausage. Like Kuchen, this dish is German inspired!
Whoever said that veggies don’t have to be delish definitely was not from Oklahoma! The people from the Sooner state love fried okra!
If you’re from Oregon and you have a sweet tooth, you’ve definitely made a trip to Salt and Straw Ice Cream. With their delicious variety of flavors, how could you not?
Amish Country lies in the heart of Lancaster, PA. Here, you can buy plenty of their famous Shoofly Pie, which is absolutely mouth watering, and worth every bite.
Rhode Island is one of the most beautiful coastal states in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It makes sense that one of their most famous dishes is fried calamari!
Oyster roasts are not only one of the favorite foods of folks from South Carolina, but it also serves as a social event.
Chislic is a beef cube appetizer that is widely popular in South Dakota.
Tennessee is known for being home to the music capital of the world, Nashville, but it is also known for sweet tea! No southern meal is complete without sipping on this southern comfort!
Everything is bigger in Texas, and so are their decadent pecan pies! You’ll want to save room for dessert while in the Lone Star state!
You wont catch people from Utah eating a Big Mac, they’d much prefer a pastrami burger!
The woodsy outdoors of Vermont are home to miles and miles of maple trees, so it isn’t surprising that they are so well known for their maple syrup production!
Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay is a hot spot for crabbing. Virginians love to eat blue crabs in any form, especially topped with some Old Bay.
Washington state is one of the many Pacific states of the US known for fishing salmon. One of their most beloved dishes is cedar planked salmon!
It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving to enjoy cornbread! Cornbread is a delicious compliment to barbecue food, especially according to West Virginians!
Wisconsin may be the cheese capital of the world, but don’t be mistaken, they love their beer brats, especially topped with onions and with a cold brew to wash it down with!
Soda bread isn’t just for the Irish, it’s a staple for people from Wyoming. Slap some butter on there and serve with some rib roast for a true taste of the Cowboy State!
Low Calorie Holiday Cookies Recipes
Let the countdown until Christmas begin! Now that we are amidst “the most wonderful time of the year,” it is time to break out those mixing bowls and get ready to make some delicious baked goods.
We found some of the sweetest recipes – but they come with none of the guilt! These recipes are both under 100 calories. Tis’ the season for some healthy eating!
Gingerbread Cookies – 54 Calories
Gingerbread cookies are a staple for holiday desserts, and now you can impress your friends and family with a healthier alternative to the traditional cookies – only 54 calories per cookie!
For the Cookies
- 1 cup + 6 tablespoons of white whole wheat flour
- 3/4 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1/4 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tablespoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tablespoon ground cloves
- 1/4 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoon unsalted utter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 tablespoon vanilla créme stevia
For the Icing
- 10 tablespoon confectioners’ style stevia
- 2 tablespoon nonfat milk
- In a large bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the unsalted butter until creamy and add the egg, and vanilla extract until combined. Gradually stir in the molasses and vanilla creme stevia.
- Add in the mixture from the large bowl, stirring just until incorporated. Be careful not to over-mix your dough!
- At this point, the dough should be a little sticky. Divide the dough into two pieces and wrap in plastic wrap. Place dough in the refrigerator and chill for 2-3 hours. For best results chill overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Remove your dough from the refrigerator and place on a floured work space. Roll out until 1/8 thick.
- Time to grab those gingerbread men cutouts! Lightly flour your cookie cutters, and press it into your dough, making sure that each cutout lies as close together as possible to minimize unused dough.
- After cutting out each cookie, peel the unused dough away from the shapes, and place them onto the prepared baking sheets. Re-roll the unused dough and repeat until each gingerbread man is cut out.
- Bake the cut out cookie dough at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
- Get ready to decorate! To prepare the icing, stir together the confectioner’s style stevia and milk into a small bowl. Spoon into a zip-topped bag and snip off the corner. Decorate as desired.
You have just made the ultimate healthy gingerbread cookies!
Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies – 20 Calories
Soft and chewy sugar cookies are the perfect holiday dessert for all ages! These healthy vanilla bean sugar cookies are only 20 calories each, so grab a handful and enjoy!
- 1 cup + 6 tablespoons of white whole wheat flour or gluten free flour
- 1/4 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 tablespoon salt
- 1 1/4 tablespoon unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cookies
- 1 large white egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean pasta
- 1 tablespoon liquid stevia
- 1/4 cup honey
Let’s do this!
- In a medium sized bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and whisk together until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla bean paste and liquid stevia. Add in the honey as well
- Add in the flour mixture to the separate bow, stirring just until incorporated.
- Transfer the dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap, and shape into a 1 inch tall rectangle. Cover the top of the dough with another sheet of plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (You can also leave the dough for up to two days for the best results).
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees, and line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- Take your dough out of the fridge, and leaving it between the sheets of plastic wrap, roll the dough out until 1/8″ and 1/16″ thick. After, carefully peel back one piece of the plastic wrap.
- Lightly flour your cookie cutters, and press it into the dough, once again making sure each shape lies as close together as possible. Peel away the unused dough away from the shapes, and place them onto the prepared baking sheets. Re-roll and repeat.
- Bake the cut-out cookie dough at 325 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Don’t forget to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rake.
- Decorate with sprinkles and icing as desired.
It’s that easy! Enjoy these low-cal recipes perfect for any holiday gathering!