Tag Archives: Holidays

Are you planing on hosting a New Year’s party this year? Wondering what fun festive appetizers you can serve? I have gathered all my appetizer recipes in one spot. Now you can celebrate the New Year in style with these festive appetizers! Some of these appetizers can be made ahead while others are best made the day of your party.


Fun Festive Appetizers


Antipasto Kabobs

My husband and I love to entertain. However, when we have company I like to enjoy the company and not spend all my time in the kitchen! I am always looking for recipes that I can make ahead or at least reduce my time in the kitchen. I really don’t want to be spending time cooking in the kitchen when I could be enjoying our company. These antipasto kabobs are the perfect solution!Antipasto Kabobs


Brie Leek Tartlets

I love making appetizers using the frozen miniature phyllo tart shells. They come together in no time at all and make such a nice presentation. These little appetizers are always a hit every time I serve them!Brie Leek Tartlets


Cherry Tomatoes Stuffed with Feta

I love appetizers that can be made ahead and just pulled out as the company arrives. This simple recipe makes 4-6 servings depending on appetites! They are the perfect fun festive appetizer to enjoy at your next gathering.fun festive appetizers


Maple Glazed Snack Mix

Similar to the regular Chex Mix but made with maple syrup – what’s not to love? Plus it’s a wonderful way to use up leftover cereal!fun festive appetizers


Snax Mix

This recipe was handed down from my mother-in-law and I make it every year at Christmas. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without making my mother-in-law’s famous Snax Mix. Not only do we enjoy eating this ourselves but I usually make an extra batch to give away to friends and family.festive fun appetizers


Hot Feta Artichoke Dip

There are many variations of the hot artichoke dip, but this one is my favorite. It is easy to mix up; you can mix it up ahead of time and then pop it into the oven just before your company arrives. Every time I have made this dip it’s been a big hit. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!fun festive appetizers


Homemade Crackers

I love making Homemade Crackers. I’ve tried several recipes before but this recipe is a real winner. My daughter shared this  recipe for homemade goldfish crackers over a year ago. She is very good about cooking from scratch and making sure she knows exactly what her children are eating. These crackers are perfect for snacking or enjoying with a glass of wine. No matter how you enjoy them I can guarantee they won’t last long! They also are easy to make and you can whip up a batch in no time.fun festive appetizers


Veggie Nachos

Perhaps when you think of nachos you think of oozing cheese and lots of calories, but you can enjoy nachos and not have all the fat and calories! This is a quick fun festive appetizer or we often eat it for dinner. If you have left overs the next days the bean–corn mixture is wonderful added to a salad!fun festive appetizers


Blue Cheese and Artichoke Dip

I’ve mentioned before the wonderful cooks that are in my husband’s family. I love visiting my mother-in-law because she is always trying new recipes and passing them along. On one of our visits my mother-in-law gave me this Blue Cheese Artichoke Dip. It sounded delicious and even fairly healthy! The only ingredient that wasn’t completely good for you was the blue cheese! When we had company recently I decided to mix up a batch and see how it went over. It was a big hit and there wasn’t any left at the end of the evening. I served it with pita chips and baked tortilla chips. I’m sure you could also serve it with vegetables as well.fun festive appetizers


Crispy Cheese Crackers

Did you ever see a recipe in a magazine and think… “that looks yummy, I think I will make it?” Most of the time when I do this I have good luck and the recipe comes out just as pictured. I received the latest issue of Taste of Home and saw a recipe for Cheese Crispies. We had company coming for dinner in a few days and I decided I would make this appetizer. Unfortunately it didn’t come out quite as expected!Crispy Cheese Crackers


Cheese Toast


My sister-in-law is an amazing woman. Not only is she a successful business woman but she is a fabulous cook. Many of her recipes have become favorites of ours including her recipe for Cheese Toast. Thankfully the recipe only makes 12 pieces, although you could double it for larger crowds. It is so delicious you might be tempted to eat more than you should!festive fun appetizers


Spiced Nuts


Are you a fan of spiced nuts? How about candied nuts on top of a salad? Spiced and candied nuts made great gifts. They are also a delicious, portable snack. Did you know you could make them yourself? Here are a few recipes for a no-fail method for a crunchy treat that will take you minutes to make in your kitchen!

If you have a membership to a food club like Costco or BJ’s I would suggest stocking up on a large bag of nuts. My favorites are peanuts or pecans. You could also use almonds or cashews. You can make the nuts sweetened or spiced depending on whether you are using cinnamon and sugar or spices such as cayenne pepper and garlic salt. Try a few of the recipes, enjoy them as a family or give them away as gifts!nuts, homemade candied pecans, recipes, prudent living, frugal tips

It can be quite a challenge to eat healthy during the holidays. There are so many delicious foods available at every gathering you attend. It can be hard to resist your favorite cookies or sweets. Here are six tips to help you approach the season and eat healthy during the holidays. It is possible to enjoy the season and not put on extra pounds.6 Tips To Eat Healthy During the Holidays


  1. Be realistic as you approach the holidays and understand that now is not the time to try and loose weight, instead try to maintain your current weight.


  1. Don’t skip meals. This may result in over eating! Instead include lots of fiber in your diet by eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This will help satisfy your hunger. If you have errands to run or plan to be gone all day pack some healthy snacks to take along with you.


  1. When you attend your next party use a small plate and fill it with vegetables and fruit before going to the entrees and desserts. Leave spaces between the items you put on your plate so you can actually see your plate and not have it piled high with food. It is possible to eat healthy during the holidays.


  1. Plan time for exercise during the holidays. Exercise not only helps relieve stress but also helps you to prevent weight gain. If you aren’t going to the gym regularly plan other ways to get exercise in during the day. Park a little further away from the store for example so you get a few more steps in when running errands. Even a short twenty-minute walk each day will help you feel better.eating healthy during the holidays


  1. Do you usually spend time baking during the holidays, making cookies and other goodies to gift? Try to take the focus off food and take time to make non-edible gifts such as decorations or treats for your furry friends. Friends with dogs would love getting treats for their pets!eating healthy during the holidays


  1. Practice healthy holiday cooking. Prepare your favorite dishes using less fat and calories. There are many recipes online to help you cook healthier holiday favorites.


Enjoy the holidays and follow these simple tips to help you eat healthy during this season. Remember the reason for the season, and enjoy the company of your friend’s and family.eating healthy during the holidays

One of the best things about the holiday season is all of the time you get to spend with your family and loved ones, creating memories and carrying out traditions. As you bring children into your yearly Christmas traditions, it’s natural for some of your traditions and plans to change as your life does. Adding and omitting traditions and holiday trends through the years is normal. But there are also fun ways to incorporate your children into your Christmas decorating traditions this holiday season.decorate


Gingerbread houses


Gingerbread houses are a family friendly way to decorate and have fun. You can purchase gingerbread house kits or make the gingerbread materials yourself. A fun way to let your children express themselves is to let them each decorate their own houses, and maybe even host a little gingerbread house decoration contest. Bonus to gingerbread houses? They’re a pretty delicious decoration.


Holiday wreaths


Having a holiday wreath on your front door to welcome guests in is a great way to show your guests your festive holiday spirit. There are a lot of different ways that you can make a wreath. The great thing about making your own wreath is that it’s entirely customizable, a lot easier than you’d think, and very kid friendly. The first thing you’ll need is a material for the base. Fronds and branches are great for this. And then, from there, it’s just a matter of decorations. You can use things like burlap, christmas ornaments, monogram letters, or even christmas lights, to really make your holiday wreath special, unique, and festive. Read here to get more ideas for wreaths you can make yourself.


Other yard decor


Making a holiday wreath is just the beginning of your potential home exterior christmas decorations. DIY yard decor can be as simple or extravagant as you want it to be. Have your kids help your string colorful lights around a few bushes or shrubs. Another fun decoration idea is to make homemade lumineers. Cut designs into the sides of brown paper lunch sacks, and then fill the bottom of the sacks with sand. Place artificial tea lights in the sand, and then use these homemade lumineers to decorate! A great way to use them is to line your walkway with them.


Make your own ornaments


Ornaments tend to break pretty easily once you have children running around. A great way to cut the cost of having to constantly replace your Christmas ornaments every year, is to have the whole family participate in ornament making activities. Not only will the whole family have fun, but you’ll save money. And your children will give the Christmas tree a little wider berth as they run around, because they’ll be proud of the ornaments that they made and won’t want to break them. A few fun homemade ornaments to make with your family include: salt dough ornaments, no cook cinnamon ornaments, pom-pom ornaments made from old t shirts, ribbons, and ornaments that are made from felt.decorate


Paper snowflakes to hang in the window


There are few things that fill a child with wonder as much as realizing something that they helped create is beautiful and can serve a purpose. One of the least expensive Christmas decorations that you and your children can make, is paper snowflakes. Distribute safe, kid-friendly scissors to your children, and let them cut designs into paper triangles. Once unfolded, they’ll be beautiful paper snowflakes. One of the best way to create these snowflakes, is to start with a square piece of paper. Fold that square in half diagonally, to create a triangle. Repeat this step two more times, and then begin cutting designs into the paper! After the snowflakes are finished, you can tape them up onto walls or windows. Or, you can tape/glue them onto fishing wire, and then hang the fishing wire from the ceiling. This will create an illusion of falling snow.


Keep it simple


The key to including your kids in your Christmas decorations, is to keep it simple. You don’t have to have your entire home decked out with Christmas lights that will make your electricity bill skyrocket, in order to be festive and spread the holiday spirit. Do-It-Yourself decor projects are fun, and will give you a chance to bring the whole family together to create something beautiful and festive.decorate

Are you anxious about the approaching holidays? Are you rushed and feel like there is just no time to get ready? Perhaps it’s your turn to host this year, wondering what you can do to get ready?countdown to Thanksgiving


Years ago I read an article that included several steps that you can take to get ready for the big day, whether it is Thanksgiving, Christmas or another family gathering. I wrote a few notes on an index card, placed the card in with my recipes and have used the advice every year since then. By following these steps the countdown to Thanksgiving will be seamless.countdown to Thanksgiving


First of all figure out the guest list. How many people will actually be coming for the big meal and find out if there are any sort of food allergies.


Have your guests help out by contributing a dish or a dessert. Be specific, ask your aunt to bring her wonderful creamed onions or your sister to bring her delicious cherry pie for example. Tell everyone you’ll do the turkey and let your guests bring the sides. Allowing others to contribute will help the countdown to Thanksgiving be easy. Once everyone has decided what they are going to bring you can fill in the missing items.countdown to Thanksgiving


Purchase your turkey ahead of time. If you are planning on cooking a fresh turkey place your order 2-3 weeks in advance.

Prepare and assemble any dishes ahead of time. Baked goods and piecrusts can always be made ahead of time and placed in the freezer.


The Saturday before Thanksgiving shop for your perishable food. If you have a separate dining room you can even set the table ahead of time. Get out all your china, servicing dishes and various serving utensils.countdown to Thanksgiving


Making a stuffing from scratch. On the Monday before Thanksgiving cut up the bread into cubes and place in a plastic bag. If your turkey is in the freezer take it out and put in the refrigerator to thaw.


The Tuesday before Thanksgiving cook, peel and mash your sweet potatoes, cover and refrigerate. Chop the onions and celery for the stuffing and refrigerate.

On the day before Thanksgiving prepare the stuffing and refrigerate. Cook the giblet broth for your gravy. Prepare the cranberry molds and refrigerate. Make the creamed onions. If you can, set the table and arrange the centerpiece. Bake any pies or desserts on the menu.countdown to Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving morning add the liquid to the stuffing and stuff your turkey. Start roasting the turkey so it will be done 30 minutes before you plan to eat. Set out a few nibbles for your company, this will help tide everyone over until dinner is ready.


By following these simple steps the countdown to Thanksgiving will be smooth and stress free. Most important remember what Thanksgiving is all about. It’s not about the turkey or the special dessert, but it is about the family and friends gathered around your table. Be thankful for each person gathered around your table and enjoy the daycountdown to Thanksgiving

Here we are, beginning a brand new year. A year of new beginnings and endless possibilities. Wherever the roads take you during 2017 I wish you all a wonderful year. I so appreciate each and every one of you and the time you take to read my little blog!happynewyear

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