Cookbooks You Need For The Holidays And Tips To Stay Healthy

Hey all you domestic little home makers! I put together a list of my fav new holiday cookbooks that you will want to check out before you start making your menu for Thanksgiving.

european cookiesEuropean Cookies for Every Occasion

Allright first of all, I love cookies. That said, it would be hard to find me a cookie cookbook I didn’t like. This one appeals to me though because of all the gorgeous pictures! I like pictures in my cookbook because then I know what to aim for and I like having a visual in mind when I’m trying a new recipe. My professional chef brother in law prefers his cookbooks without pictures but poo poo for him. I like me some pretty pics to look at. (Yay Pinterest!)

Secondly, of course, the recipes in here are amazing and easy to follow instructions make this book great for beginners (or busy, distracted moms!). If you want to wow your friends and family this Christmas with fancy baked treats then this is the book for you. The book by itself would obviously make a great gift, but I personally prefer to bake things as gifts and then put together “food baskets” as Christmas presents. Yes, I’m “THAT” person!

From Chocolate Crescents and Lemon Bars to Jam Blossoms and Cherry Kisses, European Cookies for Every Occasion includes cookies for every skill level. Each recipe includes easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions to make sure you succeed in making the perfect cookies for the holidays as a special treat for your guests or to give as a hostess gift.

Along with more than 200 full-color photographs, the book also includes tips on setting up your kitchen and techniques for working with marzipan, melting and molding chocolate, and handling dough so that your cookies will come out perfectly every time.

Price: $15.99 ($9.99 Kindle Version)

Buy It:

new england recipesChef Daniel Bruce Simply New England: Seasonal Recipes That Celebrate Land and Sea

Being from New England and having grown up here my whole life, I think this cookbook is pretty dang cool. Just in time for Thanksgiving too! With 125 original recipes and 158 color photographs, you will be baking away from now until Christmas.

In this beautiful cookbook, chef Daniel Bruce of the Boston Harbor Hotel highlights food that is deeply rooted in New England soil with dishes that are respectful of their ingredients and simple to prepare; dishes that he enjoys cooking at home and sharing with his own family and friends.

“Great food doesn’t have to be complicated,” says Bruce. “These are dishes that I make over and over again because they taste good and they work. I hope they will become part of your personal culinary history as well.”

Price: $24.80

Get It:

deliciously holistic book coverDeliciously Holistic: Healing Foods Recipes And Lifestyle Tips To Help Increase Your Energy And Immunity!

Some people think to themselves “Oh, it’s the Holidays! To hell with my diet! I’m going to enjoy myself!” Ya know what I have to say to that?! HAHAHA! How much are you going to “enjoy” yourself when you find yourself 10+ pounds overweight come January 1st? How much are you going to “enjoy” yourself when you have to spend $50+ month on a gym membership instead of treating yourself to a nice pair of shoes? Hmmm????? I stuck to my diet so well last year during the holiday season that I actually LOST 3 pounds over the holidays AND I still got to taste EVERYTHING.

Why not try something different this year instead of the same old vicious circle? Learn how to eat healthy foods that make you feel good and you’ll be less likely to let loose and eat junk for the next 2 months.

In “Deliciously Holistic”, holistic chef and certified healing foods specialist, Shelley Alexander, provides everything needed to prepare delicious, healthy foods that nourish, strengthen, energize, and helps heal the body. Deliciously Holistic demonstrates with 154 mouth-watering recipes that good nutrition never has to be at the sacrifice of great taste! This beautiful, colorful cookbook includes a comprehensive shopping guide; seasonal meal plans; vibrant color photos of prepared foods; and recommendations for useful online resources. This book also provides information about how to use healing superfoods; tips to improve digestive health; how to stock a holistic kitchen with the best proteins, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, natural sweeteners, healthy oils, and beverages; along with a bounty of recipes using healing foods.

Price: $22.31

Get It:

Tips For Staying Healthy During The Holidays

shelley alexander

Shelley Alexander

Wondering how you are going to bake all those delightful treats and Holiday meals and still stay healthy? No worries! Holistic chef and certified healing foods specialist Shelley Alexander, author of “Deliciously Holistic,” (, a new, full-color cookbook featuring more than 154 of her favorite healing foods recipes and 50 pages of holistic lifestyle tips to increase energy and immunity, offers six tips for quick and convenient healthy eating during the holidays.

  • When shopping, check labels and avoid foods with a long list of ingredients. The best whole foods have one or just a few unprocessed or minimally processed, easily recognized ingredients, Alexander says. Among ingredients to avoid: chemicals, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, nitrates, MSG, genetically modified ingredients and preservatives (indicated by the initials BHT, BHA, EDTA and THBQ.)
  • Set aside a few hours each week to prep foods to eat in the days ahead. Cut up produce and store it in airtight containers. Lightly wash produce before using with natural vegetable wash or use one part white vinegar to three parts water. Make several homemade vinaigrettes or dressings to last all week so you can make leafy greens and vegetable salads in minutes. Clean and marinate enough meat or poultry for dinners over the next few days.
  • Start your day with a green smoothie. Cut and freeze organic fresh fruit to use in green smoothies. You can also buy frozen fruit that’s already cut up. Add organic kale or spinach, coconut water or nut and seed milks plus natural sweeteners such as dates or stevia for an energy-boosting beverage.
  • For your holiday dinners, plan on making at least three to four dishes that are both delicious and nutritious. Good examples are pasture-raised, wild turkey with sage and garlic, baked wild salmon with lemon and herbs, steamed greens, roasted heirloom root vegetables drizzled with balsamic glaze, pureed winter squash soups, and desserts made with seasonal fruits, spices, and healthy sweeteners like coconut sugar or raw honey.
  • Invest in a dehydrator. Dehydrate fruits and vegetables and raw nuts or seeds that have been soaked in unrefined sea salt water (which removes anti-nutrients, kick-starts the germination process, and increases key vitamins), and you’ll have plenty of on-the-go snacks with a long shelf life. Dehydrators are convenient and easy to use; Alexander recommends Excalibur.
  • Make batches of fermented vegetables twice a month. Alexander recommends eating fermented vegetables every day to keep your digestive system healthy. They’re loaded with probiotics – the good bacteria your intestines need. Mix a variety of organic vegetables such as carrots and celery into brine with warm filtered water, unrefined sea salt, and cultured vegetable starter or liquid whey, and mix with shredded cabbage heads. Pack the mixture into sterilized glass jars and allow the vegetables to ferment for five to seven days. Once done fermenting, store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Food For Thought…

“Stick to whole, healthy foods this holiday season, and you’ll feel so good, you won’t want to go near the buffet table at your office party,” Alexander says.

Cookie Week Comes to The Fashionable Plate

imagesWhat could possibly be more fundamental to any housewife worth her fashionable apron than a good chocolate chip cookie?  While I am probably quite a few years away from any kind of housewife status, every time I make cookies  I like to imagine myself serving warm chocolate chip cookies to beaming children and friends as I smile coyly and say, “oh no, they were no trouble at all. So easy.” That, in my mind, is a true picture of domestic bliss.

I have a small obsession chocolate chip cookies, but honestly, I doubt that I am alone. There’s something about the combination of butter, sugar, and chocolate that just turns magical when mixed up and baked into an amazing cookie creation. It’s true, I’ve met a few versions that put a bad name on chocolate chip cookies, but I still believe that they are the pinnacle of dessert confections. And yet, everywhere I turn there are different recipes promising “the best chocolate chip cookie.” Apparently there are endless ways to make amazing cookies even more amazing.

Monday marks the beginning of a 5-day-long quest to develop the best chocolate chip cookies. All week long we’ll be testing recipes and posting about them on The Fashionable Plate. And because everyone has a different ideal for cookies, I’ll be trying recipes to fit every crunchy, chewy, soft, and unique cookie lover’s dream. I will be baking a new recipe every day and posting the results here, so get ready to pull out your mixer and try some new takes on an old classic!

And if anyone has a nagging issue with their cookies that they want help with, or a great idea for their favorite version of chocolate chip cookies, leave us a comment and let us know!

The lineup is…

Monday: chewy cookies
Tuesday: crunchy cookies
Wednesday: soft cookies
Thursday: lace-chocolate cookies
Friday: cool cookie flavor variations

This post, and the Cookie Week posts, are written by Nell Birch, a high school senior in Boston, who is spending her final month of school in an independent learning project related to  cooking and the fine art of food blogging!  Many thanks to Nell and The Winsor School for her contributions to this blog and especially to our kitchen!



Cookie Lover’s Cookbook – Hermits Recipe Review

The Good Housekeeping Cookie Lover’s Cookbook
Gooey, Chewy, Sweet & Luscious Treats

Yummy cookies and brownies! This superlative collection straight from the magazine’s famed Test Kitchens features 250 of the most luscious recipes ever created, along with irresistible photos, a handy ringbinder format, and links to 20 cookie-making videos. The book features:

  • -Triple-tested and tasted recipes guaranteed to work in any conventional oven with any brand of ingredients, no matter what
  • -Chapters on cookie-jar favorites, easy-to-shape cookies, brownies, blondies and bars, health-conscious cookies, and holiday cookies
  • -Baking advice, tips, and essential techniques from the Test Kitchen pros
  • -More than 200 color photographs show step-by-step baking and decorating techniques, as well as the finished cookies
  • -Links to 20 cookie-making how-to videos, watchable on a smart phone, e-reader, or computer
  • -and more

I flipped through the book until I saw a recipe for hermit cookies and I immediately started getting out all the ingredients to make them! Hermits are my favorite cookies in the whole world and I had never made them before, so this seemed as good of a time as ever to try it out!

They came out SO YUMMY! (as you can see from the picture above) Moist, chewy, spicy and the house really smelled like “Christmas” when I was done. These went perfectly with a cup of espresso. YUM! They were definitely the best hermit cookies I’ve ever had! I can’t wait to try making another recipe out of this book.

You can get The Good Housekeeping Cookie Lover’s Cookbook: Gooey, Chewy, Sweet & Luscious Treats on or in your local Barnes & Nobles. I think they would make great gifts as well!

* The book for this review was provided to us free of charge for the purpose of product testing. This does not effect our opinion of the products in any way. We only write about products we personally like and use, regardless of how they were acquired.

Delish “A Home-Baked Christmas” Recipe Book

Delish A Home-Baked Christmas: 56 Delicious Cookies, Cakes & Gifts From Your Kitchen

From a magnificent Gingerbread House and Mini Christmas Puddings to beautiful centerpieces and edible gifts, this luscious collection from has recipes for everybody’s favorite holiday treats! Christmas will be especially merry with these thoughtful, beautiful, and tasty treasures, all presented in lavish and whimsical illustrations. With everything triple-tested for assured success, this will become an indispensable source of cherished family memories.

I was pretty excited to get this book to review! As soon as I got it, I flipped through and bookmarked 4 recipes I wanted to try. I ended up trying one of them and gave them away as Christmas presents!

It’s called White Christmas Candy. Soooo yummy! White chocolate, cherries, apricots, raisins and coconut.

You can get Delish A Home-Baked Christmas: 56 Delicious Cookies, Cakes & Gifts From Your Kitchen on or in bookstores.

* The book for this review was provided to us free of charge for the purpose of product testing. This does not effect our opinion of the products in any way. We only write about products we personally like and use, regardless of how they were acquired.

Moms Moves: 5 Ways I Impress My Family

I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother’s Day last weekend! I could sit here and write a story about how I had a lovely day, but that would be so cliche… No, instead I’ll tell you what REALLY happened!

I didn’t awake to breakfast in bed. Nobody gave me any flowers. Hell, I didn’t even get a card! Did I get five minutes to myself? No way. I spent the day working on my kitchen renovation after only 4 hours of sleep. Mudding, sanding, scraping, painting, with my mom at my side helping me.

Not a picture perfect Mother’s Day, but I did get to spend it with my mom, which I should be thankful for. And I am. Sometimes I do get jealous when I hear about all the other moms that get showered with gifts. Or just get to take a shower by themselves that is more than 213 seconds long…

Even though I don’t get treated like a queen at home, I still try to impress my family.

5 Ways I Impress My Family

1. I make dinner. Yup, that’s pretty impressive. I could call in takeout or delivery… Just sayin’.

2. I keep the house clean… for the most part. You probably can’t eat off my floors or lick my counter tops at any given moment, but I do my best to chase my two kids and clean up behind them while attempting to catch up on regular household chores.

3. I work from home. It’s an amazing feat to be able to run a business as big as mine AND keep the house clean AND raise two children under four years old AND be married to someone who travels for work all the time AND not completely and totally lose my mind. Yeah, that’s pretty freaking impressive.

4. Taking care of a TWO very high needs, high maintenance, high energy, in-need-of-constant-stimulation-and-attention kids. I know most moms think they have it rough and are probably overwhelmed from time to time, but my kids are INSANE!

5. Being married to someone with Aspergers. (High Functioning Autism) It’s a rough job but somebody’s gotta do it…

And once in a while, when I am not totally crazy and completely worn out, I manage to bake something special for my family. And when I don’t, we have cookies. Everyone always loves them so it’s a win win!

I just found out about Oreo Fudge Cremes and I’m looking forward to picking up a box the next time I’m at the grocery store… They sound yummy!

There’s Oreo creme under that fudge! Oreo Fudge Cremes are a thin, fudge covered cookie with an Oreo creme twist. Try them in Original, Mint and now Peanut Butter Creme and Golden! Visit for more info.

So how do you impress your family with all your supermom moves?

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Oreo Fudge Cremes via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Oreo Fudge Cremes.

Really Easy Candy Cane Cookies

I love buying baking magazines with recipes for exotic and beautiful cookies and baked goods.  It always seems like a great idea to make batches of holiday cookies to give as hostess gifts or share with my friends (or just eat by myself), but when it comes time to actually deliver the goods and make these complicated confections my mind kind of shuts down and I end up making brownies from a mix or just going to Starbucks and getting a latte instead.  If you are determined to whip up a batch of festive cookies but feel intimidated by the process, here is a super easy recipe for cookies that LOOK and TASTE delicious:

Candy Cane Cookies

1 large roll of slice and bake sugar cookie dough

Red food coloring

Coarse granulated sugar

Cut the roll of cookie dough in half and let it warm to room temperature.  Put a few drops of red food coloring in half the dough and blend well, so you have a white ball and a red ball of dough.  Chill both balls for about an hour so it is easy to work with.  Using your hands pinch off a few tablespoons worth of white dough and roll between your hands to form a stick shape, about 1/2″ thick and 5″ long.  Do the same with the red dough, wrapping each around the other to form a braid.  Bend into the shape of a candy cane, and place on a greased cookie pan.  Repeat until all the dough is finished.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake according to the wrapper directions, usually 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

These cookies are so easy to make that they are a fun activity for little hands.  There is a minimal amount of mess and the end result will leave you feeling like a kitchen diva!  Enjoy…