Happy Holidays with over 160 Festive Recipes!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!

Here we are, very deep into the Holiday Season, with Christmas mere days away. Before we get into the heart of today's post, I want to point out last year's mega-mix, consisting of over 100 different Holiday Themed recipes! There are recipes for every aspect of a holiday meal!

(Don't forget to return, though! There are almost 60 more recipes at the bottom of this post!)

Take it easy on Santa ... he works hard!

HOLIDAYS are a time where MANY people start really feeling the squeeze, be it related to finances and gift giving or travel plans, visiting relatives, family and friends. It can also be a lonely time for many. I know at many points in my own history, I've felt the pressure of the holiday season, for EACH of the reasons above. I've felt the pinch of finances. I've been alone. I've been in the center of swarming friends and family, running willy-nilly, attempting to quickly whisk up some gravy for the mashed fauxtatoes. Holidays can be STREEESSSS-FULL!

This year I did my shopping early and am not actually cooking. This year, for me, is well planned and I cannot wait to see my family. My interests are covered, and I'm happy, calm and relaxed, but ... I wanted my holiday message to be infused with a fun, warm and fuzzy "Relax. Rrrreeeelax ...". Imagine we're all in a big room, eyes closed, legs crossed, sitting in the lotus position ...

 
 
Then, I sought to determine how to tie that message into a healthy lifestyle, or dietary philosophy, and I started to think about how challenging it can be to stay on track, with everyone placing cookies and candy canes on our desks, the holiday parties overflowing with sweet and spiked eggnog, the dinner table where saying, "No thanks." can be a downright insult to the host. It can be a minefield of delicate issues for someone working to control their blood sugars, regain or maintain health, and or lose weight. Arguments can ensue, awkward discussions and familial and peer pressure can dominate. Some of it can feel gut wrenchingly personal, too!

... RRReeeeeellllaxxxx .....

I wanted to put together a fun and celebratory "card" of sorts, to wish all y'all a wonderful Holiday Season, but, of course, I couldn't keep it simple, straightforward or basic. I had to meddle, tweak and twist. I wanted something festive, but with a sprinkle of message and a dash of humor. I set out to build my card and ...

 
 
... You know you've absolutely nailed it ... when it needs all kinds of explaining!

(I just rolled my eyes, as I typed that)

I took a slightly different approach with my card. I went for "self deprecating" ... making fun of all the various dietary philosophies. I'm actually a strong believer in several of these. I very much lean towards carb, soy, dairy, grain and sugar-free My aim was simply to give myself all y'all permission to enjoy the holidays. To relax and not worry about excess sugar for a day. Don't worry if someone hands you the bread basket. Don't be uspet if someone offers you some wine. Focus on friends and family. Enjoy the day without feeling burdened by your food choices.

Then, I realized that ... a diabetic doesn't have this luxury, or someone suffering celiac disease.

Then! ... I realized that the card was potentially in poor taste, which ... it probably is, but I tried, I worked hard, I really did mean it to be fun and merry, the intentions were honorable and ... I'm not usually one to steer too far from "bad taste".

In any event ... in all the sincerity and meaningfulness I can muster ... HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE!!!!

Looking at The Spread

As a kid, we would often go to my Grandmother's house for holidays. As a lover of food, from an early age, I was always excited to see what my grandmother would have for her spread. We would walk in and there was always food ... EVERYWHERE! Not just one or two simple things. Not store bought deli trays. It was always a wide assortment of fantastic food, covering every flat surface in the house! In addition to all the stationary foods, served "buffet style", for holiday grazing, but there was also always an amazing dinner!

If I were to try and recreate a similar scene for holidays in my own home, I'd pull heavily from the following recipes. These are all intended to be stationary, heavily "snacky", crunchy and perfect for holiday grazing. Perfect as people arrive, or mill about during New Year's Eve ...

Crackers, Chips and Nuts (the crunchy category):

Salt and Pepper Vegetable Chips

Rosemary and Sea Salt Crackers

Paleo Dipping Chips

Spicy Cumin-Cheddar Crackers

Cheesy Eggplant Chips

Kale Chips

Grain-Free "EVERYTHING" Crackers

Almond Crackers with Parsley and Chives

Spicy Cumin Kale Chips

Rosemary and Sea Salt Flax Crackers

Sweet and Savory Spiced Holiday Nuts

(for sugar-free, substitute your favorite sweetener)

Spicy Buffalo Roasted Nuts

Primal Parmesan Flatbread

Dippity-dos!

Bacon, Cheddar and Jalapeño Dip

Creamy Dill Dressing

Garlicky Sour Cream and Onion Dip

Roasted Hatch Chile & Garlic Cream Cheese Dip

Creamy Greek Cheese Dip with Goat Cheese, Feta, Artichokes and Olives

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Savory Bacon Herb Fat Bomb Dip

Artichoke Prosciutto Gratin Dip

French Onion Dip

Homemade Peanut Butter

(for sugar-free, substitute your favorite sweetener)

Raw Vegan Vanilla Cashew Cream

(for sugar-free, substitute your favorite sweetener)

White Pizza Dip

Buffet Items

Pancetta Crisps with Goats Cheese, Oranges, Pecans and Thyme

Turkey Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Salami Stuffed Banana Peppers

Chicken Truffle Tajine

Buffalo Ranch Stuffed Peppers

Jalapeño Big Bites

Crispy Chicken Skin with Goats Cheese and Pomegranate

Blackberries, Walnuts, Blue Cheese and Bacon in a Parmesan Cup

Paleo Chili Hand Pies

Sweets

Macadamia Coconut Brittle

Blueberry Struesel Muffins with Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Candy Bark

Walnut Cardamom Snowballs

Sugar Kiss Cookies

Red Velvet Cookie Cheesecake Cups

Classic Gingerbread Men

Mom's White Cutout Cookies

Pumpkin Muffins

Dairy-Free No-Bake Chocolate Coco-nutty Fudge

(for sugar-free, substitute your favorite confectioners sweetener)

Triple Coconut Lemon Bars

(for sugar-free, substitute your favorite confectioners sweetener)

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

(for sugar-free, substitute your favorite confectioners sweetener)

Holiday Bliss Balls

(for sugar-free, substitute your favorite confectioners sweetener)

For everyone else!

These aren't low-carb, but I found them while building the above list. These all looked super tasty, fun and interesting and seemed worth adding, because ... not everyone eats the way I do!

Avocado & Fig Salsa

Parmesan Quinoa Bites

Veggie Black Bean Dip

Rosemary Sweet Potato Chips

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Parsnip Hummus

Real Popcorn

Chicken Taquitos with Cream Cheese

WHEW!

That was a long one! I truly wish you all the very best holiday season! See you in 2014!!!

~ Santa Foodie