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Get Cooking! Holiday Favorites for Kids!

The holidays are a time to enjoy friends, family, good food and good cheer. They are also a time when you can’t turn your head without seeing articles and webpages with warnings that tell you to watch your weight and give you tips on how to resist the rich food and sugary treats! And while we’re trying not to overindulge, a lot of health-conscious parents are also on high alert with their children, making sure they don’t eat too much of Nana’s chocolate shortbread or Uncle John’s famous almond roca.

While it makes sense to be moderate in your kid’s food choices for the holidays, sometimes we need to just relax and let our children enjoy themselves. Especially if you tend to be the kind of parent that counts the exact number of peas your child ate before letting him have dessert.

Food can play a powerful part in childhood memories…. our mother’s butter-basted turkey on Christmas day, or the tangy taste of homemade cranberry sauce with our dad’s secret ingredient. There’s a reason recipes get passed down from generation to generation, and it’s because they help families stay connected. So go ahead, start making some holiday food memories of your own!

Here are my three favorite kid-friendly holiday recipes. The kind of recipes that say, “You know what, eat as much as you like, because today it just isn’t an issue!” Watch the look on your child’s face when you lift your food rules over the holidays. It’s pretty darn cute.


Sugar CookieSugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

(Recipe and photo from

A classic holiday treat. So easy to make, and your child can help decorate them too! The sky’s the limit, creativity-wise. You can try different colored icing, sprinkles, dried fruit, drizzled chocolate, just to name a few.

*Makes 5 dozen


1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 pound confectioners’ sugar
5 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon butter flavored extract


  1. In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture until well blended using a sturdy spoon. Chill dough for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove cookies from pan and cool on wire racks.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat shortening, confectioners’ sugar, water, salt, vanilla extract, and butter flavoring until fluffy. Frost cookies after they have cooled completely.


Nibble Bait

Mmm…a crunchy, savory snack your kids will love. If the adults don’t eat it all first!


½ box of Shreddies
½ box of Wheat Chex
½ box of Cheerios
1 small bag of pretzels
1 8oz can of peanuts
2 sticks of butter
3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt
½ teaspoon table salt


Combine the cereal, pretzels and nuts in a large roasting pan. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, add Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, garlic salt and table salt, then pour over the dry mixture. Roast at 250 degrees for one hour, stirring every ten minutes.


Peppermint BarkPeppermint Bark

There’s something so Christmasy and nostalgic about peppermint. It must be all those candy canes we ate when we were kids.

(Recipe and photo from


8 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
½ teaspoons peppermint extract, divided
8 ounces high-quality white chocolate, broken into pieces
25 peppermint candies, crushed


  1. Lightly grease a 9×9 inch pan with waxed paper, smoothing out wrinkles; set aside.
  2. Place the semisweet chocolate and one teaspoon canola oil in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. When the chocolate is melted, stir in ¼ teaspoon of the peppermint extract. Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared pan and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle half of the crushed peppermints over the chocolate layer. Refrigerate until completely hardened, about one hour.
  3. Place the white chocolate and the remaining one teaspoon canola oil in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the remaining ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract. Pour the white chocolate directly over the semisweet chocolate layer; spread evenly. Sprinkle the remaining crushed candy over the top and gently press in. Refrigerate until completely hardened. Remove from pan, break into small pieces and serve!

What are YOUR favorites? Feel free to share links to recipes in the comments section below!

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