Cocktails to Warm Up the Holidays

Cary, NC — Every Christmas gathering since the year my sister and I both ranked in the “above 21 club,” we have enjoyed putting together creative and festive cocktails for the family to enjoy as we unwrap our gifts.

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Toast the End of 2020 with Spiked Cider & Christmas Sangrias

Cary, NC — If there’s one must-have on my Christmas table this year, it’s booze.

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Vegan Christmas Breakfast

Cary, NC- On Christmas morning, I like to pop an eggy-cheesy casserole in the oven and let it bake while everyone is opening presents. A few years ago, that routine got a little more complicated when our youngest daughter decided she would eat a plant-based diet. You know, #GoVegan.

No more eggs, milk, bacon, sausage or any of what I typically think of as a “traditional breakfast”. For a while, our eldest complicated things further when she went gluten-free. Oh, and I don’t eat beef… welcome to my life!

This year I did some quick research for Vegan Breakfast ideas. I found a few that needed fake sausage or bacon, but I chose the following one because the ingredients were all readily on hand.


I like the idea of a Strata, which literally means layers. This recipe consists of layers of zucchini and tomatoes as well as mashed potatoes. Prep time is about 30 minutes, baking time is under an hour. You can prep it all the night before and stash in the frig til you are ready to bake it. To make this gluten-free, just choose a GF bread (like Udi Bread which is available at any Trader Joes).


  • 2 medium zucchini (cut into thin slices)
  • 1 tomato (seeded, and diced)
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (peeled and crushed)
  • 1 tsp dry Italian seasoning (Oregano, thyme, marjoram, dry basil)
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil
  • 10 leaves basil plus more for garnish
  • 1 C cashews, soaked for 30 minutes
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice plus zest
  • 4 med russet potatoes (boiled and peeled)
  • 4 leaves, sage
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and chopped finely)
  • 5 slices of your favorite bread (cubed)
  • salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat a large skillet, add the olive oil, then saute the garlic for just a few seconds. Then add the zucchini, tomatoes, and onions. Add pepper and Italian seasoning. Saute for 5 minutes or until zucchini softens but is not mushy. Let the liquid in the pan evaporate by turning on the heat to high if necessary.

2. Turn off the heat.

3. Make the basil sauce: In a blender, add the drained cashews, 2 cups of water, lemon juice, basil, and jalapeno. Blend and add salt to taste.

4. To make the mashed potatoes: With a fork or potato masher, smash up the boiled potatoes with the remaining olive oil, salt, sage and lemon zest.

5. In a large bowl, mix together the zucchini mixture, the bread, and half of the potatoes. Place this mixture in a 9″ x 12″ baking pan.

6. Pour the sauce over everything evenly. Press down to make sure the bread cubes are soaked evenly.

7. Scatter the remaining mashed potatoes on top.

Now it can be refrigerated overnight if needed.

To Bake

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place pan in the center rack and bake for 40 minutes.

3. After 40 minutes, move pan to top rack, turn oven to broil at 450 degrees. Broil for 8-10 minutes or until the potatoes and bread are a nice golden brown.

4. Remove from oven, garnish with basil and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

This recipe comes from Holy Cow! Vegan recipes.

Peppermint Bark Makes a Great Holiday Gift

Cary, NC – If you are like me, there are many people on your gift list. You need something small for impromptu gatherings, a client visit or a hostess gift. Homemade peppermint bark is easy to make and looks great in a pretty holiday tin or gift bag. Read more

Recipe Ideas for Christmas Dinner Main Course

Cary, NC – Whether you’re serving a family of four or the whole clan, we’ve got you covered with a few recipes for every taste. Read more

Recipes: Christmas Breakfast


Cary, NC — A collection of our favorite recipes for a hearty Christmas morning breakfast. Read more

Christmas Recipes: Trash, Turtles & Cheese Crackers

Christmas Candy

Cary, NC — Each Christmas, I make batches of Christmas goodies to give out to friends, family, neighbors, coworkers – anyone, really! It’s an easy way to show people you’re thinking about them. This year, I made three tasty, but easy, recipes to share with you. Read more

Recipes: Homemade Christmas Candy

Homemade Christmas Candy

Cary, NC — Like every family, mine has changed and evolved throughout the years–along with many of our Christmas traditions. However, each and every year, we always enjoy making homemade Christmas candy for friends and loved ones.  Read more

Cranberry Sauce Chutney


Cary, NC — Who likes that stuff that comes out of a can and calls itself cranberry sauce? Not me, I like a berry-rich, thick sauce that is not a jelly, yet doesn’t run all over the plate. Read more

Recipes for Christmas

Cary, NC – In the last three and a half years, we’ve published more than 60 local recipes. Here are some of favorites for Christmas. Read more