Favorite Holiday Treats

I really love to bake. I am not very good at it, but I enjoy the challenge. I don’t bake very often because, to be honest, I don’t really have anyone to bake for and I’ll just eat it all.

 

But I do like to do some baking around the holidays. You have to load up on the sweet treats! There are so many delicious and adorable treats. So I indulge this time of year.

 

Today I am sharing a few of my holiday treats. Some of these are ones I make, and some of them are ones I am wanting / planning on making, so I can’t guarantee that they are amazing.

 

Holiday Treats

 

I make this red velvet layer cake with peppermint cream cheese frosting every year for Christmas. It is AMAZING and a family favorite. It is a little time consuming, but I promise it is worth it. Instead of 3 mini layers, I do 2 larger layers.

 

Holiday Treats

 

This frozen peppermint cheesecake is another favorite at our house. Can you tell we really like peppermint? This might be Charlie’s favorite. Side note – it calls for chocolate wafers and they were nowhere to be found. It resulted in Charlie coming home with 4 different types of cookies and they were all wrong – one was a weird breakfast bar. I highly recommend using Oreos for the crust. It is delicious and they are easier to find.

 

One other thing – the recipe calls for heavy cream, whipped. No matter what I do, I cannot get heavy cream to be whipped. I’ve tried many times and it never works. So if you are like me, or you are shorter on time, I strongly suggest you get Cool Whip.

 

Holiday Treats

 

I have had these peppermint sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting pinned for a while, but I am thinking this needs to be the year I finally make them! You can’t have too much peppermint, right?

 

Holiday Treats

 

These peppermint marshmallow hot chocolate cookies sounds amazing. This is another one I can’t wait to try. How could it be bad??

 

Holiday Treats

 

These candy cane cookies are so cute and fun. It also helps that they too are peppermint flavored.

 

So now your turn – what are some of your favorite holiday treats? Is there anything you make every year?

 

Want more holiday content? Check out my holiday gift guidefestive fashion picksChristmas decor on a budget and a buffalo check holiday outfit.

Recipe: Squash Casserole

Squash Casserole Recipe

 

It is hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner. So it is time to start seriously considering that Thanksgiving menu. If you are looking for something to bring to the family dinner (or Friendsgiving) or just looking for another side to add to your holiday meal, I have a delicious and easy squash casserole recipe for you!

 

We’ve been having this casserole for as long as I can remember, and like a lot of those, I don’t have a clue where it came from. My mom told me it used to be an eggplant recipe, but my grandmother decided to try it with squash one time and never went back. It is really good and really easy to make. You pretty much just mix everything together and cook. You don’t get much better than that!

 

Squash Casserole Recipe

 

Here is the printable PDF recipe card.

 

A few notes – for cooking the squash before, I cut it up into pieces and then cooked it in water in medium for maybe 15 minutes. Just cook it until it is tender. Let it cool and then chop it up. For the cheese, I mixed some in and then topped it with some more. You can never have enough cheese, right?

 

One other thing – the recipe says to cook for 30 minutes, which is what I put on the recipe card. But I had to cook mine a little longer, more like 40 minutes.

 

We ate this all of the time when I was growing up (it goes great with something like baked chicken and green beans!). It goes with just about anything, and it would be perfect to take for Thanksgiving! Many years it is part of our Thanksgiving meal. If eggplant is more of your thing, you obviously could substitute eggplant since that was what was originally in it. You could also do zucchini, and that would be good too! Another option would be a mixture of squash and zucchini.

 

If you are looking for an appetizer for Thanksgiving, my Antipasto Kebabs would be a hit as well!

 

Are there any recipes you always have at Thanksgiving, besides turkey ?

October Fitness Recap

Fitness Recap

 

A quick health update – I have been going to physical therapy for the past 5 weeks (2x a week), and I am feeling better! If you don’t know, I have been having knee problems since April. When I met with my physical therapist, she evaluated me and believes that it is my hip that is the problem not actually my knee. Apparently your muscles can get knots in them, and I have really large knots in my quad muscles up by my knee, which is making the muscles super tight and putting so much pressure on my knee.

 

We have been doing a lot of strengthening and stretching, as well as some dry needling, which is kind of like acupuncture. They put a long, thin, flexible needle in trigger points in my hip and basically wiggle it around until I scream. It is really painful (if you have issues), but I think it has helped. Also the heating pad is my new best friend, and I definitely don’t hate it! I pretty much spend my evenings glued to it.

 

I’ve still got 5 more physical therapy session to go, but I am really hoping to be done after that. Obviously I will be taking my workouts really slow for a while, once I am able to start back.

 

 

 

One thing that I need to focus on in strengthening my glutes. My physical therapist told me it will help the front if the back is stronger.

 

I’ve done a quick at home arm workout, a quick at home ab workout, and a quick at home HIIT workout. Since I need to work on my glutes (when I get back to working out), I thought a quick at home leg workout would be good.

 

At Home Leg Workout

 

I can’t tell you how anxious I am to get back to exercising, even if it is just a little bit, which it obviously will be for a long time. Although at this point I am just happy that I am in a lot less pain and moving in the right direction. I can now clean my house without nearly being in tears by the end, and I can climb the stairs at work without almost screaming. I call that progress!

Recipe: Chili

Chili Recipe

 

One of Charlie’s favorite things to eat when it starts to get cool is chili. He was so excited for me to make it for the first time this year. Someone about the first bowl of chili of the fall is so incredibly good.

 

I mentioned in my meatloaf recipe post that I have certain food things that I am really weird about. Chili is another one of those things. I don’t eat other people’s chili. I would NEVER order chili out in a restaurant. And I would never try making another basic chili recipe besides this one. There really isn’t any need because this one is SO good.

 

I believe this recipe was my grandmother’s recipe. My mom has been making it for as long as I can remember. Where it came from before then, I don’t know.

 

It is super easy to make, and even though it cooks for a little over an hour, you don’t actually have to do that much other than stir it every so often! Also, it only has 9 ingredients, and 2 of them are salt and pepper.

 

Chili Recipe

 

 

This recipe is for a mild chili, which is all I can handle. Charlie would probably like it even more if it was spicier. You can always get the spicier chili mix to kick up the heat. I use McCormick’s, but I am sure you could use any variety of chili mix. Just like with my meatloaf, I use ground turkey because I don’t eat beef. But you can always use ground beef if that is more your thing.

 

We like to top ours with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese. And of course have some saltine crackers to go with it too. Charlie really likes having a grilled cheese and dipping his grilled cheese in the chili, which really grosses me out, but I’ve gotten used to it.

 

Here is a link to the PDF recipe card.

 

If you like this, make sure to sign up for my newsletter. I am going to have my favorite white chicken chili recipe (also SO good) in this month’s Edit. It will be going out next week!

 

Are you excited it is chili weather? What is your favorite chili recipe?

Favorite Fall Recipes

Not only do I switch out my clothes for the cooler weather, but I also tend to make different food in the fall and winter. I opt for a little bit heartier dishes, soups, and just about anything you can make in the crock pot.

 

Charlie is already looking forward to the fall recipes. He really loves this time of year (Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday). One of his favorite things is chili, and I will be sharing my chili recipe next week.

 

These are a few of my favorite recipes to make for fall:

 

Favorite Fall Recipes

 

This Chicken Pot Pie Soup is so delicious when the temperatures start dropping. I eat soup all year, but when it gets cooler, I make more and more soups. This one couldn’t be easier or more wonderful! I like to top mine with a biscuit if I have one.

 

Favorite Fall Recipes
Another favorite soup recipe is this French Onion Soup. Gimme Some Oven has some of the best recipes. It is one of Charlie’s favorites. I use vegetable broth instead of beef broth so you can easily make it vegetarian.

 

Favorite Fall Recipes

 

This Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti is a hearty, easy meal perfect for fall (really it is perfect any time!). Who doesn’t want a yummy dish of pasta when the weather is cool?

 

Favorite Fall Recipes

 

Now is the time that I start breaking out the crock pot. Something about the weather getting cooler goes hand in hand with the crock pot. My mom recently made this country chicken and vegetables for us. It was so delicious and the perfect comfort food. The only thing she did different was she didn’t add the sour cream. That sounds weird to me, but it may be really good.

 

Favorite Fall Recipes

 

And if you are looking for something sweet this fall, my suggestion is an apple pie. The best apple pie recipe is from Martha Stewart. I have been making this for years. A warning – it is pretty much an all day process. But it is so worth it. I made it for Thanksgiving last year, and everyone loved it!

 

What are some of your favorite fall recipes? Charlie is dying for me to make crock pot chicken and dumplings, but that a little more late fall / winter meal to me. I’ll be making it soon enough!