Desserts Holidays Recipes Sides

Holiday Favorites, Both Naughty and Nice

pumpkin fondue

When summer ends and the weather begins to turn cool, I can’t help but think of the holiday meals that lie ahead.  While many families whip up heavy, meaty dishes during this indulgent season, mine takes another approach.  We love to make light, veggie-heavy dishes featuring the best seasonal produce – not because we’re trying to be healthy, but because this food tastes good!  Sweet potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, squashes, and hearty winter salads always occupy significant real estate on our holiday table.  However, we definitely save room for dessert!  I guess you could call our holiday tradition “Naughty & Nice.”

Here are some of my family’s favorite dishes.  Try them at your house this holiday season – you’ll never see veggies (or cookies) disappear so fast!

Baby Greens with Persimmon and Pomegranate

holiday vegetables

The crunchy textures and sweet flavors of this salad keep everyone going back for more.  Plus, persimmons and pomegranates are only in season for a couple months every year, so I love using them as much as possible while they’re around.  Mmmm.

holiday traditions

Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries, Pistachios, and Lemon

This dish will quickly erase any memory you have of mushy, bitter, cafeteria-style Brussels sprouts.  And it’s super easy.  You just quarter and roast (roasting is just baking at a high temperature, like 425) the Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Then while they’re still warm, toss them with a little more olive oil plus fresh lemon juice, dried cranberries, and toasted shelled pistachios.  That’s it!

Pumpkin Fondue

I wouldn’t exactly call this “light,” but it is seasonal and does involve a vegetable 😉

The recipe, which my friend Kari introduced me to, is based on Ruth Reichl’s, and it is so incredible, I don’t recommend making it unless you have LOTS of people to share it with.  Otherwise you may end up eating a whole pumpkin yourself, which would be a shame because then you wouldn’t have room for one of the best desserts in the world…

Grandma Dixie’s Homemade Oreos

homemade oreos

My grandma Dixie was making these looooong before homemade Oreos were trendy.  We’ve been leaving these out for Santa on Christmas Eve since I was a little girl (he loves them too, FYI), and they are by far my favorite holiday indulgence.  The recipe is super simple, and one big perk of these cookies is they’re best after sitting for a day or two (the filling kind of melds into the cookie instead of squishing out the sides….OMG I’m starting to drool), so you can easily make them before family and friends start arriving at your door.

homemade oreos

Are you ready to sink your teeth into that baby or what?!  I am.  In fact, I better sign off and go find some chocolate.

Look forward to sharing more — and hearing some of YOUR — holiday traditions and recipes throughout this season!

I created this post as part of Frigidaire’s Talk Turkey Campaign.  Share your own recipes and tips at Frigidaire’s Make Time for Change site.  For every recipe or tip that’s shared, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save The Children’s U.S. Programs, which creates lasting change for children in need.

**Kari Lauritzen is my friend and fellow personal chef in Los Angeles.  She introduced me to the idea of making fondue inside a pumpkin – such a wonderful discovery!**


  • Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries
    October 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Oh my, all of these dishes look and sound SO good! The Baby Greens with Persimmon and Pomegranate and the Pumpkin Fondue especially stick out to me! Do you have any tricks to make preparing pomegranates easier? I love them, but they’re always such a pain to peel and prepare!

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats
    October 14, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    oh my goodness, those cookies look amazing! And do does that pumpkin fondue! I’m obsessed with squash right now!

  • Amelia
    October 15, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Fall might be my favorite season simply because of squash! You will love this pumpkin fondue 🙂

  • Amelia
    October 15, 2011 at 10:22 am

    You will love this salad, Ashley! For pomegranates, just break in half, submerge in a bowl of water and pull the seeds away from the pith under water. Here’s a video demonstrating how to do it .

  • Angie
    October 15, 2011 at 11:28 am

    OK. Those cookies look incredible!! I’m so excited to try them. Grandmas have the BEST recipes!

  • Amelia
    October 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Grandmas ARE the best 🙂

  • Alayna
    October 16, 2011 at 9:03 am

    That pumpkin fondue looks incredible. I am having a Halloween Party and this might just be on menu.

  • Amelia
    October 16, 2011 at 10:30 am

    It is the perfect Halloween party food. I love making it in small pumpkins instead of one big one, then you can just pull out one at a time so every guest gets to eat it hot & fresh!

  • shelley hudson
    October 22, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    That was a hilarious joke you made about making the cookies ahead and saving them for houseguests a few days later. Good one, Meels!

  • Amelia
    October 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Ha! Ok, so for people other than me, who don’t coerce you to babysit, its nice to have dough in the freezer.

  • Michelle
    November 14, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I tried this suggestion for preparing a pomegranate but found that alot of the essential juice was gone. The seeds seemed to be watered down & not as juicy.

  • Amelia
    November 15, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Sorry you found these less yummy, Michelle. After draining the seeds, lay them out on a paper towel and pat them dry – this should help – since when there’s water on the outside, they can taste less flavorful (just like eating a wet strawberry or blueberry). Let me know how this works, and thanks for your feedback!

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