Treading Lightly
Treading Lightly

15+ Christmas Cookies to Gift (And Eat Right Now)

Yes, yes, the decorations are lovely, but hands down my favorite part of holiday festivities (after the people) are the Christmas cookies. For years my mom and I have made big plates of Christmas cookies and wintery desserts to give out as gifts. I love spending the time together in the kitchen… and eating all of the gooey cookies straight out of the oven.

This year my boyfriend and I decided to forgo any decorations in our small space since we were both going home for Christmas. Instead, we are making a batch of cookies each week to eat and share. It’s also my first year baking 100 percent gluten-free, and so far, two weeks in, it’s going great!

Christmas Cookies to Gift

Christmas Cookies and Other Goodies to Gift

These are all cookies that look beautiful, hold up well, and feel special as a gift. But I beg you, don’t forget to save some for you too.

Christmas Cookies to Gift

Easy Shortbread Cookies

I love taking the dough for these and splitting them into different cookies. I’ve made them with cranberries, topped them with jam, and even sprinkled them with candy cane pieces. I’ll be adapting them to gluten-free flour this year.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Stuffed with Nutella

I used to work with Dzung from Honeysuckle Catering at Sunset, and people would go CRAZY for her cookies. We would seriously run down the halls to try to get there first. They go FAST.

I’ve only had her original version (just leave out the Nutella for the recipe), but the look on people’s faces when they bite into this Nutella stuffed version is pure heaven.

Zebra Cookies

My brother asks for these every year. You probably should too.

Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies (GF)

I’ve made these twice… in the past two weeks. If sugar wasn’t bad for you (and I wouldn’t get sick) I would make them when no one was home and eat the whole batch.


Bonus: These cookies look amazing, but they are all cookies I haven’t made yet so I can’t vouch for their tastiness.

Super Soft Gluten-free Sugar Cookies (GF, V)

Chocolate Brownie Cookies (GF)

Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I’m a sucker for salted chocolate chip cookies. The sheer number I have eaten is unreal. I might just need to try to make these gluten free with my own flour blend…

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies 

These have a vegetable in them (pumpkin), therefore they are good for you.

Homemade Salted Butter Caramels

Chocolate Loaf Cake

This recipe makes my mouth water every time I see the picture on my Pinterest. It doesn’t help that it’s the cover photo for my dessert board.

Clementine Butter Cookies

I’m usually a fan of thick, chewy cookies, but these thin cookies look soft enough to melt in your mouth.

Salted Caramel Sauce

Natural ingredients, beautiful finished product.

Christmas Cookies to Gift

Raspberry Hand Pies (GF, V)

I would cry tears of pure joy if someone gave me buttery, homemade gluten-free hand pies. Huge hint.

Cookies to Eat Right Now

Christmas Cookies to Gift – healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

My Standby ‘Healthy’ Oatmeal Cookies

Gingerbread Men (GF)

Sure, you could give these away. But why would you share them?

A photo posted by Angela Liddon (@ohsheglows) on

Jumbo Chocolate Chunk Cookies (GF, V)

You only have to dirty a single bowl.

Perfect Holiday Party Treats

These treats are the perfect thing to share.

Chocolate Molten Cakes in a Cupcake Pan (GF option)

I made these for a work holiday party last year and they were a huge hit. They worked out great with gluten-free flour.

Chocolate Sheet Cake (GF Option)

This recipe feeds a crowd and comes together FAST. I’m so happy to just pour on frosting and be done with it. Plus, just grab the entire sheet and go. You can decorate it like the cake above or make your own chocolate trees. I won’t tell if you just leave it plain too.

2-Ingredient Dark Chocolate Truffles (GF, V)

People go crazy for little bites. Especially if it’s something that is relatively healthy.

12 Must Have Vegetarian Fall Recipes

Fall has shaken me out of a bit of a food rut. It’s so easy to get stuck eating pasta a couple nights a week and a soup the rest. But fall doesn’t have to be boring. These vegetarian fall recipes are healthy, quick, and delicious. All of the recipes can easily be made gluten-free and/or vegan.

Did I mention they are also easy? I can’t stand recipes with endless instructions and ingredients. Nor do I care for things that have to be made exactly the right way or they fail epicallyThese recipes are perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a cozy weekend meal. All of them are recipes I have made multiple times and still love.

And to be fair, most of them would be great year round. These are just the recipes I reach for when it’s cold and I’m already hungry.

calafia cafe buddha bowl-skin-cleanse skin cleanse

Vegetarian Fall Recipes: Dinner

1-Pot Kale Sweet Potato Curry

If you only make on dish off this list, it has to be this one from Minimalist Baker. I cannot shut up about it. So easy. So filling. So satisfying. It’s my new go-to “stew.” If you don’t like sweet potato, a squash or really any vegetable would substitute well.

Enlightened Miso Power Bowl

This bowl is straight out of the Oh She Glows Cookbook. I love bowls, especially when someone else is going to make it for me. This one feels filling and interesting without forcing you to cut every vegetable in the market and cook it separately. I’ve made the Orange Miso Dressing (swapping olive oil for the toasted sesame oil because it’s not my thing) to use on other dishes. Oh, and it has 20.3g protein in each serving. Score.

1-Pot Vegetable Penne Pasta

For those lucky enough to live in California and still have ripe cherry tomatoes, this one from Love and Lemons is golden. It reminds me of the frozen Trader Joe’s pasta dish my roommates ate nearly daily in college, but it’s even better. I overload it with vegetables so I don’t have to feel guilty for not making a side dish. You seriously just throw everything in the pot, wait a few minutes while it cooks, and devour.

Gnocchi With Pomodoro Sauce

This recipe from Foodie Crush makes me make Homer noises. My boyfriend and I have made this recipe so many times that we don’t need the recipe anymore. To be fair, it is simple with only a few ingredients. We don’t do the cheese or broil – who can wait that long!?! (It’s only an extra eight minutes, so totally feel free to complete the recipe as written.) We made it with a bit of mozzarella once and it was good, but for my dairy-hating stomach we just sprinkle on a bit of aged parmigiano-reggiano afterwards. I also frequently just make the sauce to use over pasta or another dish. It’s that good and stupid easy.

Miso-Kale Noodles

I am head over heels for miso. The salty stuff makes my heart beat a little faster (and it’s not the extra sodium). To make this recipe I start with Veganomicon’s Udon Recipe. Due to dietary constrictions I now make it with zucchini instead of the mushrooms, garlic olive oil, no onion, and rice noodles instead. It’s a forgiving recipe and I just want to drink the broth anyway. If you don’t have to eat low-FODMAP, the original is great.

Butternut Squash Kale Risotto

I’ve only made this recipe once, but it seemed like a sin not to include a butternut squash dish. The recipe turned out pretty well, but there was a bit too much liquid and I had some trouble cooking the squash evenly. Next time I would roast the cubed squash while I made the rice and cut out a time-consuming step.

Vegetarian Fried Rice

Fried rice is of course a great idea year round, but it’s also a nice way to use up leftover rice and make a fast hot meal when you don’t feel like cooking. You can really use any vegetables that sauté well, even a frozen medley. I use this recipe from The Kitchn as a guide, and I highly recommend opting for the fresh ginger.

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

Tacos are a year-round staple around here, but there is something distinctly fall/winter about this dish for me. It’s hearty without being heavy. You can easily swap in rice for the quinoa, just be sure to check the water ratio and increase the cooking time.

Polenta Bake with Feta and Tomato

This dish is another one where you can pretty much add what you like. It makes a great base for just about any veggie. It’s also really quick.

Veggie Bowl

There isn’t really a recipe for this, and that’s why I like it. But here’s the basic principles: 1. Roast or sauté whatever vegetables you want. 2. Make or use leftover rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, etc. 3. Put it in your bowl. 4. Drizzle with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon or add whatever sauce you want. 5. Completely cover in parm until you can no longer see the contents of the bowl (optional).

Vegetarian Fall Recipes: Breakfast

Let’s be honest, I eat toast 95 percent of the time. Usually with butter and sunflower seed butter. But when I don’t eat that (or eggs), these are my favorites. Did I include this section just so I could talk about waffles? Yes.

A photo posted by Kate (@cookieandkate) on

Easy Gluten Free Oat Waffles

I would happily eat these every day. Breakfast, snack, you name it. They are incredibly filling because they are made with oat flour – not to mention nutritious and protein packed. I thought the texture would be dense, but I was so wrong. This recipe by Cookie and Kate ruined me for waffles. I only want these ones… okay I’ll eat a different one if it really came down to it.

Quinoa Oatmeal

Thug Kitchen is a staple in my family. I always have at least one jar of this oatmeal in my freezer. Between the quinoa and the steel cut oats, it’s packed with protein. When it isn’t berry season, I stir in some frozen fruit. My absolute favorite way to make this is with an entire can of full fat coconut milk. It keeps me full longer and the flavor is subtle. (It ends up being close to two cups and I just add water to get the full four).


Still hungry? I have tons more recipes here.

What’s your favorite fall recipe or ingredient?

6 Healthy Cookbooks

These healthy cookbooks were a breath of fresh air and a fun way to try new recipes. I am on a major crusade to add more vegetables and nutritious foods of all kinds to my daily diet. To get inspiration, I have been checking out loads of cookbooks from the library after reading Skin Cleanse  – I had 10 at home at one point. From a couple of my old standbys to new goodies, I highly recommend them all.

6 Healthy Cookbooks-6-healthy-cookbooks

6 Healthy Cookbooks

1. The Oh She Glows Cookbook
I loved this book. Every recipe is stuffed with vegetables and whole foods. I made the miso orange bowl that was ah-maz-ing. More please!

2. Thug Kitchen
I can’t get enough of this cookbook. It makes me laugh every time I flip through it or make a recipe out of it. Thug’s blasé approach to cooking is refreshing and makes my time in the kitchen so much less stressful. No other cookbook has ever encouraged me to take a break and check my Tumblr while I waited for something to cook. My mom gave this to me a couple Christmases ago (you heard me), and I’m still discovering new recipes out of it. I can’t recommend it enough.

3. My New Roots
The pictures in this book are stunning. It felt full of light and the seasonal recipes were a fun way to remember that nature takes care of variety for us. Some of the recipes had a few more ingredients than I usually use, but for the most part they are straight forward. I saved quite a few recipes to whip up sometime soon.

4. Superfood Smoothies
I wanted to love this book. I really did. But I just couldn’t. It was a great introduction to a lot of new ingredients and it definitely encouraged me to open my mind at least a tiny bit about what I can put in my smoothies. But a lot of the recipes just didn’t suit my taste. Totally worth a perusal regardless of how you feel about vegetables in a smoothie.

5. The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon
I do wish these recipes had fewer ingredients and overall less sugar, but I do love me some bowls. I really enjoyed seeing so many different takes on one of my staples. Bonus, the photos are gorgeous.

6. The Homemade Pantry
Sometimes you just need to step up your snack game and kick the packaged stuff to the curb. I’ve written about this one before, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. If you want to get a little more in tune with what you are eating and you love snacks, this one is for you. It’s also great if you are hoping to be zero waste (or just have fewer chip bags in your trash).

Is anyone else hungry now?

More Books: You can see all of my recommendations here.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

On Thanksgiving I wasn’t satisfied with my usual oatmeal. To make it more festive I decided to add some pumpkin. But it turned out so well that I plan on eating it throughout the fall and winter, not just on the holidays. This recipe packs a punch with more than 15 grams of protein per serving and vitamins A and C, potassium, manganese, and more.

1/2 cup thick rolled oats
1 cup soy milk
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon brown sugar or more to taste
pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste

I microwaved it in a bowl instead of cooking it on the stove, but the stove is always an option as well.

I am currently fighting with blogger about uploading photos, so please check out the picture here of my tasty breakfast!

Quick and Easy Vegetable Stir Fry

There are days when I terrify my roommates in my search for something to eat. When I am hungry, I have no patience and I must eat at that very moment. I like this recipe because it’s incredibly easy and it’s ready in minutes. When I am really in a hurry I use brown rice I have frozen or quinoa because it cooks quickly.

1 cup vegetable stock
8 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons white wine, or vegetable stock
1 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon ginger
2-6 cloves of garlic, depending on taste
4-8 cups of vegetables of your choice
1 package firm tofu
1. Heat up the pan and oil (I like to use coconut oil)
2. Saute your vegetables, starting with the ones that take the longest to cook and slowly adding in the rest.
3. Add the ginger and garlic.
4. Saute until the vegetables are nearly cooked through.
5. Whisk together the vegetable sauce, soy sauce, white wine, and cornstarch. Add to pan.
6. Continue cooking over medium heat until the sauce thickens and the vegetables are cooked through.


Quick, easy, protein-packed oatmeal

It’s “the most important meal of the day,” and also the one many college students (and Americans) skip. When you are running late or rushing off to the next thing, it’s easy to cut out breakfast.

Because I value sleep just as much as starting out with a good meal, I like to eat things I can bring with me to work or my first class. I bring this protein-packed oatmeal in a commuter mug and eat it with a spoon when I’m on the go (the commuter mug keeps it steaming hot, even when I can’t dig in right away. It also contains the mess – just close the spill proof lid and toss it in your bag for the rest of the day.)

Protein-Packed Oatmeal

1/3 cup thick cut rolled oats
2/3 cup soy milk or water (I use soy for flavor and protein)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Dried or fresh fruit
Cinnamon to taste (I just shake it in until I like the flavor)
Nutmeg to taste (same as above)
Sugar, agave, honey, jam, or another sweetener to taste (or no sugar)

Follow directions from oat packaging for cooking.

Total protein: 15 grams

Blueberry Protein Muffins

I love all baked goods, and muffins are no exception. I also get tired of eating the same thing over and over after a few weeks. I decided to make these muffins as a fun way to mix up my breakfast or a snack, and the recipe itself is a great building block to make all kinds of muffins to keep things interesting. These muffins also pack a punch with 8.2 grams of protein each.
1 cup sunflower seed butter (this is my substitution for my tree nut allergy. The recipe called for almond butter)
1 cup whole wheat flour (substitution for almond meal/flour)
3 eggs, whisked
1/2 cup raw honey
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Although I did not make them vegan or gluten free, it would be easy to do so.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Beat the eggs in a mixer
3. Prepare all of the other wet ingredients, including the honey and the coconut oil, both of which will need to be heated slightly to mix properly.


raw honey in a jar
Raw honey is often solid and needs to be gently heated in order to incorporate with the rest of the ingredients well.



The coconut oil also needs some coercing to go from a solid to a liquid.



4. Mix all of your wet ingredients together until well combined.

Blueberry Protein Muffins

5. Add your dry ingredients and beat until just combined. The less you stir, the more tender your muffins will be.
6. Gently fold your blueberries into the batter.

Blueberry Protein Muffins batter


Blueberry Protein Muffins batter
7. Scoop into your silicon cups.


Blueberry Protein Muffins uncooked batter
8. Bake 15-20 minutes.
9. Eat right out of the oven because you are impatient and they smell amazing.


Blueberry Protein Muffins

Recipe adapted from PaleOMG.

Homemade Strawberry Sorbet

The strawberries from our local farmers market have been so incredible that I couldn’t resist making this delicious sorbet.
I thankfully have an electric ice cream maker which made this dessert more desirable. If you have an ice cream maker that you have to crank yourself, this recipe is possible, but it may make you swear off your ice cream maker forever.
When my brother and I were younger our mom taught us how to make ice cream. We both thought it was great until we were stuck in the kitchen turning the handle for the ice cream maker around and around again for more than 30 minutes. Our ice cream never fully set or froze right, and it ended up being a complete mess (but pretty good milkshakes). I just don’t have the mental toughness you need for a hand crank ice cream maker.
flat of strawberries
4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup water
1 cup fresh orange juice plus the zest (because oranges are not in season where I live I used fresh squeezed orange juice and zest from an orange that didn’t taste very good, but the zest was good)
1/2 cup sugar
1. Prepare your strawberries
2. Place water, orange juice, and sugar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil until the sugar fully dissolves (mine dissolved fully before it came to a full boil)
3. Add the strawberries and zest


4. Let the mixture boil for 8 to 10 minutes


Homemade Strawberry Sorbet
5. Use a hand blender to break down all of the berries and then pass the liquid through a fine mesh strainer.
6. Let it cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator to chill.
7. Pour it into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


Homemade Strawberry Sorbet in ice cream maker


By about 20 minutes my sorbet was starting to look like a really delicious slushie.


Homemade Strawberry Sorbet in ice cream maker
I took mine out of the mixer after about 30 minutes, but I wish I had kept it in longer. Once it was in the freezer in a different container it finished freezing, making it a challenge to get out and a bit crystalized and crunchy to eat. I guess that means I will have to make it again.


Homemade Strawberry Sorbet

Enjoy immediately.

Homemade Strawberry Sorbet

And toss the rest in the freezer to be eaten after every meal for the next few days until none is left.