Christmas is coming! It is, in fact, only 6 days away... as this 12 Days of Christmas countdown keeps reminding me...
"On the 12th day of Christmas, FitCakes gave to me 12 Healthy Small Bites Recipes
On the 11th day of Christmas, 11 Kid-Friendly Recipes
On the 10th day of Christmas, 10 Holiday Leftover Makeover Recipes
On the 9th day of Christmas, 9 Healthy Holiday Brunch Recipes
On the 8th day of Christmas, 8 Takes on Gingerbread Recipes
On the 7th day of Christmas, 7 Crock Pot Recipes"
So I've been doing a lot of shopping and planning this week - erm, kinda last-minute, I know - I still have yet to enter Christmas season in the truly organized and proactive fashion that I always aspire to... But it's (mostly) done now, and I'm starting to get excited about the presents!
I just looove picking things out for my friends and family. I'm not saying I'm the best gift-giver on the face of the planet... but I do so cherish the opportunity to apply my knowledge of the people I care about to something tangible. You could legitimately say I get my kicks watching peoples' faces opening the stuff I thoughtfully picked for them. Does this make my gift-giving a little selfish, in a way? Probably.
Here are some examples of phrases I'd love to hear on Christmas morning: "Oh my gosh, how did you ever find a t-rex pencil sharpener? Now I really DO have a t-rex on every item in my house!" Or... "That is so thoughtful of you to have eaten two of the hot dogs out of this pack... you remembered how my OCD kicks in when there aren't enough hot dog buns for the hot dogs!" *Note: These are not actual phrases I've ever heard. Yet. But they do represent the kind I aim for.
Now, I can't really talk about the things I've actually gotten for people yet this year... you never know when someone might randomly decide to read this blog for the first time! But Santa Paws came early, so my dog already knows what his Christmas present is. Santa found a huge, velvety bed, filled with memory foam for little Chase!
Chase is a big fan of sleeping on beds - including ours when we neglect to close the bedroom door before we leave him alone in the house - so this sounded like the best gift ever. So far he seems to agree! There's only one problem. The cat also loves beds. Actually, Bean loves beds that have been pre-warmed for him. I think cats must have Jedi mind-powers, because somehow, the 50-pound black doggy that roughs him up during play-fights gives in the moment 12-pound Beanie gives him the evil eye. Every single time. Not sure how much longer it will be until the new bed gets pounced, but I'm betting it's not far off.
Hold on - were you waiting for me to start talking about pumpkin things and how much I love them? Oh, you.
Haven't you already seen my veritable shrines to pumpkin things in the past? I just can't get enough of the stuff. So you got another pumpkin roundup, of course! Only this time, I thought there should be one more recipe than in the last roundup, so for the 6th Day of Christmas, FitCakes gave to me 6 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes!
Before we get going here, though, be sure to check out how to make your own, EASY, homemade pumpkin puree!
Can we just take a moment to thank whoever came up with the idea for cheesecake? I mean, it is a cake. Of cheese. But it's a pie. It's a radical, crazy, wonderful idea, and I want to thank someone. Incidentally, I feel very strongly about pumpkin pie, as well. I wasn't sure if my head would explode when I combined the two... and then made it low-carb to boot... but I survived. Thank goodness, because I thoroughly enjoyed this particular combination of two phenomenal things.
English muffins are basically the fancy European cousin of bagels. If you combine them with anything pumpkin, they are the trendy, fun-loving, fancy European cousin of bagels. This is what I'm thinking when I say this sounds like the coolest recipe ever. Besides, did you know Leigha at theyoopergirl.com makes these vegan, with whole wheat flour, AND she makes them look easy? Yeah. I AM going to try these!
Pumpkin. Gingerbread. Two of the best things for the holidays, no? It only makes perfect sense to combine the two. This truly moist and delicious recipe just happens not to involve any animal products at all, which is pretty darn cool, especially when trying to be eco-friendly/healthy/can't-find-any-eggs-in-the-house.
Remember how I made risotto so much I had to stop calling it "risotto" in order to avoid being made fun of for making is alllll the time? Well it's recipes like this one that made me do it. Creamy pumpkin in creamy risotto is just a recipe for... well, awesomeness, I guess. This one, though, is way healthier and even a tad easier than your traditional risotto - which is pretty awesome, too!
[Another savory, baked application of pumpkin: Pumpkin Spaghetti Squash Tetrazzini]
I'm always excited when I find new twists on savory pumpkin dishes. This recipe blows my mind with the combination of sweet and smoky nuances, a touch of chipotle, and kale chips for garnish. It is just dripping with the essence of gourmet - that makes sense, right? I'm pretty sure this is going to taste as fantastic as bacon. Except, of course, in vegan form.
[Need more soup ideas like this? Try: Winter Glow Soup]
Yes, I've heard of this concept of the breakfast cookie. I've even made several cookies I think can and do make good breakfasts. And YET. I've never seen one that is actually SO convincingly breakfast-worthy. These are simply gorgeous, no? Like a bowl of oatmeal got all dolled up just so you could take it out on the town. And that's basically what it is: Beautiful, healthy, oatmeal to-go!
[Another scrumptious gluten-free + vegan recipe: Spiced Pumpkin Cookies for Everyone]