Polar Bear Marshmallows

Polar Bear Marshmallows

The holiday season is now here and it’s finally starting to get chilly here in the OC! The hot cocoa cravings have definitely hit me and today I have what is quite possibly the most adorable way to dress up your hot cocoa – with a Polar Bear Marshmallow!

Polar Bear Marshmallows

Polar Bear Marshmallows

I can’t take credit for this idea as I’ve seen it on the interwebs quite a few times, but I had to give them a try myself! These are pretty simple to make and just require a bit of time depending on how many you want to make.

Low Fat Broccoli Gratin

Low-Fat Broccoli Gratin

How is it possible that Thanksgiving is already this week? November has just flown by! We also celebrated Madeline’s 4th birthday over the weekend and had the most fun time at Disneyland where she got to have a special princess makeover!

We certainly can’t forget the veggies for your Thanksgiving spread! One of my favorite potato dishes of all-time is most definitely potatoes gratin. I mean, what’s not to love about creamy cheesy potatoes? It’s total comfort food at it’s best. So I made this broccoli gratin instead of potatoes this time around and it’s seriously delish. I also tried to lighten up the cheesy sauce a bit by using fat-free half and half and lower fat cheese. If you don’t care about the fat, use regular half and half and cheese!

Low-Fat Broccoli Gratin

This recipe will satisfy your craving for cheesy and creamy goodness without all the calories and starch. I used just broccoli here, but you could also do a combo of broccoli and cauliflower! Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables so of course, it would grace my Thanksgiving table. And who doesn’t love broccoli covered in cheese? That’s right. Nobody. I love the crispy panko topping on this too as it adds a nice crunch and texture to the dish.

One thing to note about the recipe is the second step where you toss the broccoli in some boiling water for a couple of minutes. This precooks the broccoli so it’s nice and tender when it’s done cooking. HOWEVER, I actually prefer my broccoli to be more al dente so I have also made this skipping the boiling and I actually prefer it this way. So, if you want your broccoli to be softer, boil it before baking. If you want it to be more al dente, skip the second step.

While I’m posting this as a Thanksgiving dish, this broccoli gratin is a delicious side dish to make year around, especially if you have picky veggie eaters in your house!

Low-Fat Broccoli Gratin

Pumpkin Mousse

Pumpkin Mousse

Today we are talking Thanksgiving desserts! What is your favorite? We usually make an assortment of pies, apple, pumpkin, banana cream, chocolate, etc. Pumpkin pie is my obvious favorite. Sometimes there is a total pie overload though and I like to break some of the pies up with something different.

This ridiculously easy pumpkin mousse is the perfect alternative to pie! It doesn’t require more than about 15 minutes of hands-on time and you can (and should) make it the night before because who has time to worry about dessert when there is turkey and a gazillion side dishes to make?

Pumpkin Mousse

This is a simplified mousse that doesn’t require any eggs, but I promise you it still has a rich silky texture. It’s also a little lighter than traditional mousse which I’m totally okay with after eating a big dinner.

You will start off by warming pumpkin puree, heavy cream, powdered sugar, and some spices in a sauce pan and then just have to fold it in with some homemade whipped cream and that’s pretty much it!

One thing to note – for the sake of the photos, I really filled up the glasses with the mousse, but I will say that filling a wine glass almost to the top is really too much. I recommend about 1/2 of what is pictured as an actual serving. You should get about 6 servings this way, but the exact servings may just depend on the size of your serving dishes.

Pear Walnut Stuffing Muffins

Pear Walnut Stuffing Muffins

I’m pretty sure I say this every single year, but stuffing is my most favorite Thanksgiving side dish. Always and forever. If someone told me they burned the turkey and every side dish and there was only stuffing? FINE BY ME! If someone told me they aren’t making stuffing? NOT FINE AT ALL!

Since I pretty much eat pounds and pounds of stuffing over the course of Thanksgiving weekend, I thought I’d try a little portion control this year and what better way to do that than with these stuffing muffins?

Pear Walnut Stuffing Muffins

Easy Creamed Corn

Easy Creamed Corn

Thanksgiving sides. How do we feel about them? Me personally, I’m ALL about the side dishes. Of course I like a delicious turkey, but I mostly fill up on the side dishes!

The truth is that I’m not sure I’ve had creamed corn. I mean, maybe at a restaurant or something, but corn is not typically one of the veggie sides we make for Thanksgiving.

That might need to change this year though because I finally made some myself a couple of weeks ago and oh my, is it yummy!

Easy Creamed Corn

Because of the season, I used frozen corn for this recipe. If you have access to good fresh corn, you can use it, but I know many might not with winter approaching. I start off by thawing the corn in some water on the stove for a few minutes. Then mix in some flour and half and half along with some other seasonings.

Easy Creamed Corn

Pumpkin Oat Bars

Pumpkin Oat Bars, Oatmeal

For the first year maybe ever, I am seriously considering starting to put up some Christmas decorations soon. I know, totally crazy, right? I don’t know what it is, it’s just fun for the girls and they like the lights. I’m not ready for the tree yet, but I know I’m still kind of nuts. We get to enjoy both Thanksgiving and Christmas here at home this year so I want to take full advantage of being home and not having to travel and just enjoy every second!

Though I’m ready for some holiday fun, I’m still enjoying all things Fall and pumpkin, per usual. I actually first made these Pumpkin Oat Bars back in August and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to post them!

Pumpkin Oat Bars, Oatmeal