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.

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!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Most puddings are laden with artificial flavors and refined sugars. Not to mention many contain gelatin, milk, or egg yolks, which is not appropriate for vegans. Well, this version is vegan and doesn’t contain any of the processed ingredients normally found in store-bought versions or mixes. The rich, creamy texture and mouthfeel comes from the avocado and banana, while the sweetness is derived solely from the banana and dates! Since this rich, filling pudding has a high healthy fat content, it’s best served in 6 to 8 oz glasses and shared. 

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!