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It occurred to me really late in the season that my husband and I have been upholding traditions with the families we were born into, but despite being married for three years, we don’t have any of our own traditions! Not that it’s an excuse, but your first child is born into a couple, and the next child is born into a family. It’s about time we started our own traditions with our own family. The day before we had to leave for “home” to celebrate the holiday with extended family, I decided it wasn’t too late to come up with a quick tradition or two, so we headed to Pick ‘n Save to gather ingredients for some Christmas recipes.

giving pretzelsThis was my two year old’s first Christmas with any understanding of Santa, so it was really imperative to me that I make it memorable. She is starting to retain words and develop a real personality so I just know she is remembering things, and I want to make the whole holiday season a special and memorable one for her. I also want her to understand the idea of giving, and not just receiving, so the emphasis this year was placed on her making handmade gifts for relatives. We thought it would be fun for her to cook and be part of the action. We are also taking measures to be healthier in our house so it ended up working out well that we saved making scads of cookies until the day before Christmas. It meant we weren’t munching on them for weeks on end, and anything that doesn’t get eaten or gifted on Christmas can be set out on New Year’s, and there are luckily only a few days between holidays! 

pick 'n save health keyHow ’bout some Almond Milk with those cookies?

Pick ‘n Save’s health key™ System also offers a helpful way to lead a healthier life. Pick ‘n Save puts color-coded icons to identify foods with healthy attributes in their stores. Whether it is organic, gluten free, no lactose, no added sugars, Vitamin C, etc, products that pass through certain filters are noted in that way so you are able to make an educated choice. Of course holidays are the time for splurging, so even if you don’t choose a meal that fits within the system, at least you are educated in that and you know to clock more treadmill time later on. 

When coming up with some traditions for my family, I decided to infuse some of our personalities into them so they would be more meaningful for our family. One of my favorite memories of the holidays when growing up was always making Christmas cookies. My favorite was wreath cookies, which we made for years growing up, but stopped at some point when I was in high school. I have missed making them, so it was fun to revive the tradition. I always wanted to make festive pretzel rods and we never did those growing up, so I am seizing the opportunity of being an adult with my own family to start this as a tradition. They’re easy, delicious, and a two year old can totally help. I also love that these recipes are perfect for Christmas, but none of them have Santa or anything specifically “Christmas” so we can enjoy them well into the New Year if we want! 

wreath cookiesWreath cookies are also super simple. Mix a stick of butter with 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract, a teaspoon of green food coloring, and 4 cups of marshmallows. Once melted, stir in 4 cups of cornflakes until they are turned green. Scoop them out onto wax paper and add red hots as desired. It’s tricky to get these into a circle, so I just leave them in blobs. Everyone knows what they are! You can make these a little healthier by choosing organic cereal and marshmallows, and I have been really into grass fed butter lately too. Or just indulge! 

pretzel rods with chocolateThese pretzel rods are really simple and healthier than a cookie! Simply melt chocolate over the stove, dip the end of a pretzel in it, and roll in sprinkles. You can also leave it with just chocolate. I have tried rolling these in crushed nuts before too and that is also very tasty!

My husband is really into gaming and always has a new game he is trying, so I thought a nice surprise for him would be starting our daughter out on Chutes & Ladders and Candy Land. These games are classics that every child plays at some point, and it will get her started on learning how to play “big girl games” later with daddy. I was so excited to think up this tradition because I knew it was one that would be really meaningful for my husband as well as the kids. 

Even though our recipes are not the picture of healthy living, that’s ok! The holidays are about indulgence and family. We don’t have to- and we shouldn’t- deprive ourselves of tasty food and favorite recipes, as long as we enjoy them in moderation. Using Pick ‘n Save’s health key™ System we are able to choose ingredients that are a little better for us if we want to and stay aware of how our health choices are affecting our bodies.

fridge organizationI am beyond envious of my mom’s fridge organization! I want to do this in the new year! 

Just like the rest of the world, I am hoping to revamp our food choices and get our bodies more active in 2015. We always feel our best when we eat a high protein diet with many clean foods. I mostly write about beauty with a mix of lifestyle posts like this one on my site, and there’s a reason for that. It’s the most fun for me to write about things that make me feel beautiful and happy- makeup makes me feel good on the outside, and eating well and spending time with those I love makes me feel good on the inside. My journey to ultimate health includes enjoying lots of things that feed my inner and outer beauty in the new year. I want my kids to grow up taking pride in their health, and using the health key™ System is a good way to start. We hope to spend more time at the gym as well, and I have already signed up our oldest for several classes at the YMCA in the new year. We are very excited to reach our healthy living goals!

Yet another goal of mine that affects YOU, reader, is to post more healthy and wholesome recipes on my blog. I hope to share much more of that type of content in the new year. 

I would love to hear about some of your family traditions, or a favorite recipe of yours that you enjoy this time of year. Please share with me in the comments below!

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13 Comments on Holiday Traditions & a Christmas Recipe

  1. Jessica
    December 30, 2014 at 10:47 am (3 years ago)

    Those pretzel rods look super yummy!

  2. Destany
    December 30, 2014 at 11:05 am (3 years ago)

    The pretzel rods – yes! So delicious 🙂

  3. Allison
    December 30, 2014 at 11:23 am (3 years ago)

    I’ve heard about the system for identifying “better for you” foods & think it’s terrific. We don’t have Pick n Save here.

  4. Kath Thefabzilla
    December 30, 2014 at 12:16 pm (3 years ago)

    I am happy to know that your are feeding your family healthy stuff. Carry on mama!

  5. Kristin Bassett
    December 30, 2014 at 1:16 pm (3 years ago)

    Send some of those pretzels my way 🙂

  6. Lola Seicento
    December 30, 2014 at 1:59 pm (3 years ago)

    OMG those pretzel rods are the perfect combination of sweet and salty! YUM!

  7. Krystal E
    December 30, 2014 at 2:55 pm (3 years ago)

    Those wreath cookies look fantastic!

  8. Renu
    December 30, 2014 at 3:37 pm (3 years ago)

    Those wreath cookies and pretzel rods are making my mouth water, seriously!

  9. Phyrra
    December 30, 2014 at 5:41 pm (3 years ago)

    I’d eat those pretzel rods!

  10. Jamie
    December 30, 2014 at 5:57 pm (3 years ago)

    Those cookies look delish!

  11. Shipra
    December 30, 2014 at 8:57 pm (3 years ago)

    Ooooh! Nostalgia strikes again! Those wreath cookies! We made those one year for Girl Scouts – we had a little “cooking badge” party, and that was one of the cookies we made. <3

  12. Summer Davis
    January 3, 2015 at 11:54 am (3 years ago)

    I love dipped pretzel rods! My son has Celiac Disease, so the GF Health Key Tags at Pick ‘n Save would really be a lifesaver for my family and me! #client


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