Sweet & Spicy Pecans
Whether you’re enjoying the dishes you’ve loved since childhood or you’re bringing something new to the table, there’s simply nothing better than gathering for a meal. Food, especially around the holidays, brings people together in a unique way, creating the opportunity to bond generations, share traditions, and make new memories. As we head into these last few days before Christmas, we’ve begun to whip up some of our most cherished seasonal recipes, which inspired this post. While I’ll always hold tightly to the standbys that I can’t imagine the holidays without (looking at you, Christmas morning cinnamon rolls!), I love trying out a few new dishes each year that have been recommended by friends. Since one of the best gifts someone can share is one of their most beloved recipes, we’d love to treat you to that gift today. From our Gal Meets Glam family to yours, we wish you a table filled with delicious food and surrounded by people you love this holiday season. Here are a few of our team’s favorite recipes to get you started!
Perfect to complement cheese and crackers or another traditional appetizer, this sweet and savory snack is an easy crowd pleaser. Serve while hosting or package in mason jars as a Christmas gift.
2 tbsp vegetable oil plus more for the pan
3 cups pecan halves
2 cups walnut halves
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
1/2 cup loosely packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 1/2 tsp ground chipotle powder
4 tbsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
4 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Brush a sheet pan with vegetable oil. In a large bowl, combine the pecans and walnuts with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, the maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder. Stir this mixture and then add 2 tablespoons rosemary and 2 teaspoons sea salt.
Spread the mixture evenly on the sheet pan and roast at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Stir twice and leave in until golden brown. Add a dash of salt and the remaining rosemary once the mix is out of the oven. Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking!
(If you want to add more variety, try 2 cups whole roasted unsalted cashews + 1/2 cup whole almonds)
The aroma of warm spices filling the kitchen reminds me of my fondest memories of past holiday seasons. This sweet and simple recipe was passed down from my great-grandmother to my grandmother and then to my mom. For as long as I can remember, my mom has been making this cake when the whole family gathers over the holidays. This is an easy, go-to treat to bring along as a holiday hosting gift that everyone with a sweet tooth will enjoy.
2 cups of flour (self-rising)
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of chopped pecans
1 teaspoon of cloves or 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
3/4 cup Wesson oil
2 jars of pear baby food
Mix well (do not beat)
Bake in a tube pan at 350 degrees for 50 minutes
Autumn Chopped Salad (from Espresso and Cream)
Especially when you’re with a group that relies on beloved traditional recipes, the salad course can be an easy and welcome opportunity to introduce something new to the table. Thanks to an irresistible combination of sweet pears and cranberries, creamy feta, crunchy pecans, and salty bacon, plus the easiest “homemade” dressing ever, this means I never bring home leftovers after making this recipe for a crowd. It’s the sole reason I now always volunteer to bring the salad to holiday dinners!
Cookies play the starring role on my family’s holiday dessert tables, many thanks to my grandmother, who has been known to make nearly 1000 cookies each December to gift to friends and neighbors. Ever since I was a little girl, “caramel bars” have been my favorite from her repertoire. While I was forbidden to share her exact recipe on the internet, I promise the one linked is very similar! Delicious and decadent fresh from the oven, I personally think they taste even better after they’ve been refrigerated (though be warned, this means it’s hard to pass up a little bite every time you open the fridge!).
The holidays are a time of warmth and gathering. The rich aromas of mulled wine envelop the house as it simmers, and a cozy, steaming beverage makes guests feel even more welcome. White wine is the base of this wonderful take on the seasonal favorite, especially since it prevents the possibility of any unfortunate red wine spills (and stains).
This is one of my favorite childhood recipes that I always looked forward to each Christmas. These quick and easy cookies are fun to make with children since they are practically fail-proof. The large, firm, cake-like form makes them easy to handle and decorate. Children (and adults alike) can use their imagination to create a candy-covered masterpiece. All that’s needed is plenty of frosting, holiday sprinkles, and candy toppings. But the very best part (in my opinion) is eating them!
Mix with electric beaters:
¼ cup Crisco
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Fold in flour mixture until smooth
Put medium spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes
Make sure to let cool completely before frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup butter
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk
Mix together with electric beaters until creamy
Optional (but fun):
A few small drops of food coloring to frosting
Sprinkles, candy toppings
I am happy to admit that I am no chef, BUT I can whip up a mean salad. Especially if I’m following a recipe! (ha!) One of my favorite sites for flavorful and delicious ideas is Half Baked Harvest. Tieghan is always whipping up something creative that not only looks drool worthy, but has the taste to back it up. This time of year, I love incorporating fruits and vegetables that are seasonal, with a favorite of mine being persimmons. I love making Teighan’s Cranberry, Persimmon and Buratta Salad, which is always a crowd pleaser.
For most, making pizza at home means opening up the freezer and grabbing a frozen pizza, which always seems like a great idea until you realize it never quite meets the level of satisfaction you were hoping for. Making pizza can seem overwhelming and like a kitchen mess just waiting to happen but it’s a great activity to do with family and even kids can participate. I’ve made pizza in the oven and on my grill that rivals that of even the best pizza spots. What I personally love about making pizza at home is that I can get creative with toppings, sauce and cheeses. Making dough is pretty easy but if you are looking for a step to cut out I’ve also had great success with Trader Joe’s Pizza Dough. For me, the biggest difference is making the sauce from scratch and grating the cheese blend myself.
Pizza is one of those things where you don’t need an exact recipe for the toppings but following a rough guide is very helpful, especially for making the dough. I like this guide from NY Times (which requires a free account signup).