Tag: holiday

Spiced Holiday Gin Fizz Cocktail

spiced-holiday-gin-fizz

Nothing kicks the holiday season off better than a homemade craft cocktail to serve your guests or sip on as you decorate the house and listen to Christmas music. I love creating from scratch mixers for cocktails rather than purchasing store bought mixers. It gives so much more control over the quality of ingredients and is a fun way to experiment and put your signature twist on the drinks your guests will imbibe in.

For this holiday inspired gin fizz cocktail, I created a syrup using Demerara sugar with a deep molasses flavor. The syrup is simmered with fresh whole cloves, ginger, and cinnamon to add a spicy background along with sweetness to the cocktail. I used Hendricks gin because of its bright herbal flavor, but you can use your favorite brand or even whiskey would be amazing paired with this spicy syrup. The cranberry and rosemary garnishes are the icing on this holiday cocktail and give a super festive look.

Spiced Holiday Gin Fizz

Spiced Holiday Gin Fizz

Ingredients

  • 2 oz gin
  • 2 oz spiced syrup
  • Club soda
  • Sprig of rosemary
  • Fresh cranberries
  • FOR SPICED SYRUP
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Demerara sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger

Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients for spiced syrup in a saucepan over medium/low heat. Bring to a simmer. Stir and reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes uncovered.
  2. Strain syrup over a small bowl. Pour syrup into a mason jar and refrigerate 2 hours.
  3. To a cocktail glass, add ice or 1 large ice cube, gin, and spiced syrup. Stir. Top with club soda water and garnish with rosemary and cranberries.
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Maple Nut Cheesecake

Maple Nut Cheesecake FF

Today’s recipe is the reason we eat healthy all year long and take great care of our bodies – so that we can eat lots and lots of pie during our holiday celebrations. We want to eat healthy and still fit into our jeans come the new year. I can promise you that as long as you are mindful of your eating in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you won’t have to feel guilty indulging when the holidays come around. Like I say again and again, it is balance that is key. You shouldn’t think twice about indulging at holiday parties and get togethers. This is a time for celebration and joy. Like I said, be mindful in the days between and stay on your workout schedule, so that you already have a plan in place by the time January 1st rolls around. Part of a fresh and fit lifestyle is indulging!
Now, back to the pie. Who doesn’t love cheesecake piled with sweet, buttery, maple syrup coated hazelnuts, almonds, and pecans?! This maple nut cheesecake recipe is super easy to whip up and cooks all at once. Chill it for a few hours and it is ready to go. You can even freeze it if you are making it ahead of time. Best of all, this recipe is for 2 pies; so you can save one for holiday parties and one for you!

Maple Nut Cheesecake

Maple Nut Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • For Cheesecake Layer
  • 2 9 inch Graham cracker crusts
  • 2 packages cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • For Maple Nut Layer
  • 1/2 c maple syrup, at room temperature
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 cups unsalted nuts (I used pecans, hazelnuts and almonds)
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. For Cheesecake Layer: Using a hand mixer on low-medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Beat again until well combined and smooth.
  4. Evenly distribute amongst two pie crusts.
  5. For Pecan Layer: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, melted butter, maple syrup.
  6. Add nuts and stir well.
  7. Gently spoon mixture evenly over cheesecake layer.
  8. Fold foil around edges. This helps prevent burning.
  9. Bake in oven for 50 minutes. Allow to completely cool at room temperature for 2 hours. Chill until serving, at least 2 hours.
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Maple Nut Cheesecake Pin

Baked Apple Holiday Nachos

Baked Apple Holiday Nachos 1

In the weeks between Thanksgiving and January 1st, most of us gain weight without even trying. We indulge in the nostalgic dishes of the season and fill our glasses with festive punches, ciders and spiked nog. It’s the holidays, a time of togetherness and joy. The clinking of glasses and celebrating the excitement of a new year. Until we come to a screeching halt on January 2nd and suddenly we are wearing a different size pants than we were back in October.

This year, go into the holidays with a festive dessert recipe that won’t pile on the pounds. This recipe for Baked Apple Nachos is a festive take on my traditional Apple Chips. These addictive crispy apples ¬†get topped with a drizzle of melted butterscotch, dark chocolate, and toasted hazelnuts for a crowd pleasing dish that doesn’t scream “healthy!” This recipe is also a great snack idea for kids and makes the house smell absolutely incredible.

Don’t be afraid to indulge this season, but keep a few recipes like this in your back pocket to keep things balanced.

Baked Apple Holiday Nachos

Baked Apple Holiday Nachos

Ingredients

  • 3 large apples
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 c butterscotch chips
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 c roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Using a mandolin slicer or sharp knife, thinly slice apples and spread out on baking sheets. Remove any seeds.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake apples in oven 1 hour.
  4. Carefully flip apples. Bake 1 hour longer. Allow to cool in oven to room temperature. If you are going to do another batch, put that batch in the oven now.
  5. Toast hazelnuts in a small pan over medium heat, about 5 minutes.
  6. Coarsely chop hazelnuts.
  7. Melt butterscotch chips in microwave in a glass bowl working in 30 second intervals. Stir.
  8. Melt chocolate chips in microwave in a small glass bowl also in 30 second intervals. Stir.
  9. Arrange apple slices on serving platter. Drizzle with chocolate, butterscotch and chopped hazelnuts.
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