Curried Pumpkin Soup with Fried Sage Leaves

I love making soup with all types of squashes, but my favorites are butternut squash and pumpkin. They are hearty, can be made sweet or savory, and feel grounding especially when paired with warming spices. This recipe hits most dietary considerations and comes together very quickly! It’s a delicious and comforting meal on windy autumn or cold wintery days. The almond-coated fried sage leaves are a crunchy bonus! (Butternut squash can easily be substituted for pumpkin for another variation.)

Grandma’s Crescent Cookies

Growing up my grandmother used to make these deliciously buttery and crumbly crescent cookies around the winter holidays, when the days reached their darkest. They were a favorite Christmastime treat of mine, but since I had to change my diet, I wasn’t able to enjoy them anymore. This year, I created a grain-free version that rivals the originals, crumbles and all!

While this recipe does use butter (I’m working on developing a vegan version), I replaced the white sugar and powdered sugar with monk fruit, a sugar-free fruit sweetener, to keep it paleo (you can also use coconut sugar). Hope you enjoy these delectable cookies this holiday!

Spiced Marinated Olives

What’s not to love about salty, savory olives? I didn’t think I could love olives any more until I made marinated olives using wholesome and warming spices and herbs–a perfect accompaniment for a holiday meal like Thanksgiving or Christmas. In fact, you don’t need a seasonal reason to make these; they can become a staple in your fridge as they are in mine, all year long.

Golden Raisin & Ginger Cranberry Sauce

I was never a fan of cranberry sauce growing up because of how gummy and gelatinous it was, not to mention it was usually overly sweet. This version eliminates all the gummy ingredients like gelatin and pectin, tones down the sweetness by using fresh orange juice and honey, and adds a few unique ingredients like ginger and golden raisins. For a dash of spice, I recommend cayenne pepper! It pairs wonderfully with other Thanksgiving favorites.

Candied Pecan Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is an adaptation of my grandmother’s famously sweet and buttery mashed sweet potato dish that she used to make for Thanksgiving–true to her Southern roots! Since I try to avoid most dairy and refined sugar, I substituted vegan butter for dairy butter and coconut sugar for brown sugar, but it still packs a punch. It’s so sweet and creamy, you might just think about forgoing the pumpkin pie… This dish has become a Thanksgiving favorite and staple of mine and my family’s; it just might become one for yours too!

Snickerdoodle Cookies (Vegan, Grain-free)

There is a lot to love about these cookies starting with the fact that they are super light and chewy. They’re also vegan, grain-free, and oil-free. They aren’t considered paleo because I use white sugar to maintain their pale color, but substituting for coconut sugar will do the trick. I often make them when I’m dying for a sweet fix after dinner but don’t have a lot of time to make something time-intensive because they are super easy to whip up.

Lemon & Almond Poppy Seed Muffins

These just may be my favorite muffins ever. Light and fluffy, sweet and lemony, they are a perfect start to the new year! The poppy plant and poppy seeds have been an important decoration and food item throughout the Christmas season through New Years Day for centuries. It is thought that when eaten during this season they will bring love and money. Besides all that, they are simply delicious! These have become a staple in my own household because they are perfect for quick breakfasts, pair wonderfully with coffee or tea, and also make for a healthy snack or dessert. Enjoy!

Springerle (Anise) Cookies

I recently read a wonderfully interesting book about the plants, spirits, and rituals at the origins of Yuletide, or Christmas. In it, I was introduced to a host of Christmas traditions and foods, most of which originated in Scandinavia, Germany, and other surrounding countries. One such recipe was Springerle cookies, German anise cookies, which are made during the Christmas week. While these cookies are typically made with wheat flour, powdered sugar, and embossed with various designs using wooden molds, I have Paleo-fied the recipe and used cookie cutters instead. For those of us unable to eat the traditional version, these anise cookies will certainly lighten up your heart and home this Christmastime!

Bread Rolls & Buns

Today you can buy gluten-free or vegan dinner rolls or buns, but many of those found in the grocery store are made with a lot of unpronounceable filler ingredients that lack any nutritional quality. This recipe, however, has only 5 ingredients and can be whipped up within 15 minutes! It’s made from potatoes and cashews, so would not be suitable for those strictly following the Paleo diet or who have a nut allergy. But, for those of you who are simply grain-free, low-FODMAP, or vegan, this is the recipe for you! Enjoy the dinner rolls on their own or with a bit of vegan butter or cheese. The buns can be used for tofu or veggie burgers or fritters. 

Chocolate Pecan Cookies

When I started baking using alternative ingredients to wheat flour several years ago, cookies (and pancakes) were the hardest for me to figure out. They seemed so finicky. I had difficulty getting the correct consistency and texture. Thankfully, I’ve figured them both out! This is one of my favorite cookie recipes. You probably noticed from many of my recipes that I’m a huge chocolate fan (and who isn’t?!), so not surprisingly, these cookies are about as chocolatey as it gets! Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Blue Cheese Quiche

While this quiche is technically crust-less, the sweet potatoes brown and crisp to help make up the difference. This is my go-to breakfast dish if I have several guests over and especially for Christmas morning when you need something scrumptious and filling but don’t have time to prepare something extravagant. The best part? This can be assembled the evening before!

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Fudge

Fudge has always been a favorite treat of mine. Whenever I pass one of those boutique chocolate shops making fudge in the window I can’t help but stop. Smell. And go in and buy some! In recent years, my diet has prompted me to create my own. What’s unique about this recipe is that all sugar comes in the form of dates! Using rich, dark unsweetened chocolate cuts out the refined sugars and milk products. Go on, have several fudge squares!

Gingerbread Hot Cocoa & Mix

What makes this version unique is the addition of ground ginger and cayenne pepper. Get ready for a spicy kick! Instead of making one cup of hot cocoa at a time which is time-consuming, you can make a large quantity of it, store it through the winter, and enjoy a mug whenever you desire!

Gingerbread Cookies

Growing up, gingerbread and gingersnap cookies were my favorite Christmas treats! This year, I finally attempted my own and I’m pleased to say the first cookie batch exceeded my expectations. In fact, the photos shown here are taken of that first batch!