lifestyle


5 Easy non-alcoholic drinks for the holidays

pictured: low calorie soda with raspberry Torani syrup, vanilla Torani syrup, and Perrier sparkling water in a Waterford wine glass /

The holidays are here! Chances are, you are hosting at least one party or event this season at your home. When hosting an event or party, it’s always a good idea to have non-alcoholic drinks for guests who are underage, designated drivers, or who don’t drink. Of course, it’s easy to provide water, soda, coffee, and tea; but what hostess wants to be that boring?! N’est pas de moi!

Since I am all about “easy” recipes when I entertain, I wanted to share my five favorite, easy non-alcoholic drink recipes for the holidays with you. I hope you love them; and I hope your guests do too! Of course, you don’t have to be a hostess to make these drinks. They can be made on any evening and served with dinner; or randomly throughout the day as a snack! They are that yummy! So, without further ado, here are five easy non-alcoholic drinks for the holidays:

Easy non-alcoholic drinks for the holidays

  1. Egg Nog Hot Chocolate: One of my favorite holiday drinks is hot chocolate with egg nog! I like to mix hot cocoa with one ounce of Budd’s Egg Nog. Budd’s is really the best egg nog, but if you can’t find it in your area, Southern Comfort also makes a good one!
  2. Butterbeer: If you are a Harry Potter fan, or you like sweet drinks such as cream soda, then you will love Butterbeer! Click here to read my no-fail recipe so you can make it at home for yourself, or any event you are hosting.
  3. Low Calorie Italian Soda: My favorite way to enjoy soda, without actually drinking soda, is with this trick! One tablespoon Torani Syrup, flavor of choice, and then fill the glass with mineral water. I prefer San Pellegrino or Perrier. To sweeten a fruit Torani Syrup, add half a tablespoon of vanilla Torani syrup. Works like a charm! Makes a 20-40 calorie soda, unless you use sugarless Torani syrup, then it’s a zero calorie soda! Love!
  4. Shirley Temple: This is an old fashioned favorite! Chances are, you grew up drinking Shirley Temples when your family went out to dinner. It was definitely my go-to drink as a child! It’s really easy to make at home too; so you don’t have to wait to go to a restaurant to order one. You can make them for the kids at your holiday parties; and any adult who wants a fun drink that is alcohol free. Love! To make a Shirley Temple, you use a high ball glass (or red wine glass if you’re feeling fancy), fill it with 3-4 ice cubes, one shot of Grenadine, and then fill the rest of the glass with Sprite. It’s that easy! Pop in a cocktail straw and/or maraschino cherry, and you have a fun mocktail for your guests!
  5. Hot Apple Cider: Most hot apple cider recipes are crazy! They have ten steps, and want you to do fancy things with cloves. Ain’t no-one got time for that! I don’t have an original recipe for hot apple cider, what I do have, is a link to an easy version. Click here to check it out. I love any recipe which is easy, and includes whip cream! Love! This is an apple cider recipe both kids and adults will love. It’s perfect for the holidays; and any cold evening when you want to warm up! It’s the coziest, low calorie drink I can think of! Enjoy!

A few things you might need to make these holiday drinks:

There they are! Five easy non-alcoholic holiday drink recipes for kids or anyone who doesn’t want alcohol. What are some of your favorite non-alcoholic drink recipes you like to make for yourself, your family, or your guests? Please share in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO
Cathy


The season of giving is here

wearing: blue hoodie sweatshirtblack long sleeve tee with “21” on the back c/o adidas / black and pink long sleeve tee c/o adidas / blue teepants c/o adidas / Superstar Shoes /

My children are growing up in bubble. I will admit it. They live in a comfortable home, with plenty of food on the table. If they want a new dress, or a new pair of shoes, I can buy it for them. My older girls have their own phones, and all three of my kids have their own iPad’s. They are privileged, and it is hard to tell them that they are privileged, because they don’t understand what that really means.

When my kids turn on the television, they see sitcom’s with families living in nice homes, with plenty of food and fashionable clothing. They don’t see kids who live in homes where the power has been turned off because the parents don’t have enough money to pay the bill, or worse, they don’t see kids living in tents because their family doesn’t have enough money to put a roof over their head.

In order to help my kids understand that what they have, and that they should not take it all for granted, I ensure they are exposed to the community at large. I need to make sure they understand the importance of giving back to the community.

Once my daughters entered middle school, I started doing volunteer work with them around Silicon Valley. I thought it was important for them to understand how many people are in need, and that if we work together, we can help them. You don’t always have to donate money, donating time is just as important.

My daughters have learned a lot through volunteering for the community. We have put together care packages for deployed troops, made corsages for Mom’s with children who have cancer, assisted with an event at a local museum, worked in a food pantry, harvested food for a food bank (yes, we picked fruit from trees!), worked on school fundraisers, and much more! They have learned that not everyone has their health, people put their lives on the line for the freedom of others, and there are people who don’t have money for food.

Volunteering has opened their eyes to the world outside their bubble in our affluent, suburban town where many people are concerned with buying new cars, remodeling their homes, and investing in the hottest new start-up. Through volunteer work, my daughters are seeing the big picture; not everyone has access to things we take for granted which are basic needs; food, clothing, and shelter.

When we are working hard harvesting food, making things for people in need, and more, we need to be comfortable! Thankfully adidas supports people giving back to the community, and they create the perfect, comfortable clothing to help use be as efficient as possible. I love their comfortable pants which help me bend down and move around when I am volunteering. It would be hard to work in anything else!

The holiday season is during the coldest part of the year. Many people are freezing and in need of more help than ever. Please take some time to find a place in your community this holiday season that could use your time. There is no greater gift, than the gift of time.

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

Cathy

 

*thank you to adidas for sponsoring this post


Thanksgiving meal hacks to save time

Thanksgiving meal hacks save time

pictured: OK, so this isn’t a Thanksgiving tablescape-you got me! Blogging hack-find an old photo on your phone and re-purpose it! This was taken a couple of summer’s a ago at a rewardStyle event in San Francisco.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite family holidays. I love waking up early, working out at the gym, and then helping my mom host Thanksgiving. When I was growing up, it was just my Mom and I. We never hosted Thanksgiving. We always went to my Grandmother’s house or my cousin’s house.

My family is big, so my Grandmother or my cousin had to do a LOT of work. They also had to do a ton of prep the day before in order to ensure Thanksgiving day went smoothly. My Grandmother cooked everything herself, but my cousin enjoyed a little help from her guests. We would all bring one dish to share, and to help ease her burden of hosting. She was very efficient, and had the best systems to make the day go smoothly. There were easily forty people at her house on Thanksgiving day, so I learned a few tips and tricks as a child at her house that I have brought into my adult life.

My great aunt hosted Christmas when I was a young adult, and she had a ton of tips and tricks I adopted as well. Now, as a married mother of three, I have taken my relatives tips and tricks, and incorporated them into my holiday hosting routine. I hope you like them, and I hope they help you too!

Thanksgiving Day meal hacks to save time

  • Host a potluck! Does your aunt make the best mashed potatoes ever? Does your sister-in-law make a killer green bean casserole? Ask them to bring their famous dishes to your house on Thanksgiving because you love love love them; and can’t imagine Thanksgiving without their delicious dish! They will be flattered, and you just saved yourself a ton of work. Pro Tip: If your relative or guest is a chef, cook, or works in some sort of food prep, don’t ask them to cook and bring food. Just ask them to bring their favorite wine, soda, or juice. I’m certain he or she would not want to feel obligated to cook on his/her day off from work.
  • Cheat on your dishes: Did you know that delicious green bean casserole other people always cook is actually made from green beans, Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, and French’s crispy fried onions? Oh yeah, the recipe is on the French’s box and also on Campbell’s website. It is really easy to make, and it looks complicated. Same with stuffing. My great aunt once shared her super-secret stuffing recipe, guess what it was? Stove Top Chicken flavored stuffing in a box. It takes five minutes to make. You can add chopped apples, raisins, and/or mushrooms to make it beefier. Or, you can add anything you want to add to your stuffing! It tastes great baked inside the turkey, or served alone. Super easy right? No-one will know unless you forget to hide the box. Haha
  • Prep the house the night before: Set the table, and clean the kitchen the night before Thanksgiving. Be sure to pull out all your big serving platters and place them where you can easily reach them. Line the pan you plan to bake the turkey in with aluminum foil the night before, and empty the dish rack in order to ensure a spotless kitchen. This way, the only thing standing in your way of cooking your Thanksgiving meal will be your breakfast dishes. Those are easy to clean! -Unless you start frying things, then you’re on your own.
  • Prep the food the night before: It’s easy to do a little bit of food prep the night before Thanksgiving. You can chop vegetables and then store them in the refrigerator; you can also clean the turkey, place it in the pan, and store it in the refrigerator., You can even make casseroles the night before. I do not recommend making the mashed potatoes ahead of time-don’t even peel them early. Mashed potatoes need to be made fresh-sorry!
  • Create a buffet: It takes forever to plate everyone’s food. Use your kitchen counter or other similar space as a buffet and let everyone serve themselves. It’s easier than waiting for people to pass dishes on the table, and it is way faster than plating the food yourself. Plus, who doesn’t love a buffet? I do!
  • Clean as you go: Did everyone finish all the mashed potatoes? Quickly clean the serving dish it was in and place it in the drying rack. You can chat with your guests in the kitchen while cleaning it. Did you know it literally takes 30 seconds to wash one serving dish? If you let everything pile up during the day it could take 30 minutes to clean everything, but if you clean random pots and dishes throughout the day, your end-of-day clean-up will be minimal. If you are worried about disappearing in the kitchen to clean one dish, remember this; it takes more time to escape to the bathroom than it does to clean a dish. So don’t worry about it, no-one will even notice unless they are in the kitchen.
  • Use paper products: Are you hosting more than twelve people at your home on Thanksgiving? Since most table settings are twelve, chances are you won’t have enough dishes for everyone; or you may not want to supplement your dishes with fine china. The easiest Thanksgiving Day meal hack is to use paper plates and disposable silverware. You can place a one-time use recycling bin and one-time use compost bin in your kitchen where everyone can throw away their scrapes, plates, napkins, and plastic silverware. This will eliminate cleaning dishes after everyone leaves, and you can wrap the bins up, and put them out with the recycling and compost. You will also feel good knowing you are recycling and composting instead of filling up a landfill. Love!

Low calorie soda alternative: I always feel guilty giving children and non-drinkers sugar heavy sodas during the holidays. So, my favorite hack, to avoid giving my guests diabetes, is to make a soda at home which ends up being under 50 calories. It’s really easy to make! You use one tablespoon of your favorite Torani syrup and add sparkling mineral water to the rest of the glass. Pro tip: I like to add a spoonful of vanilla syrup to sweeten the drink if I am using a fruit flavored syrup, it makes it taste more like soda-with a fraction of the calories.

Shop my low-calorie soda alternative and food cheats

Thanksgiving is a casual, family holiday which may include close friends. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone is relaxed on Thanksgiving and ready to pitch in! Also, don’t forget the most important thing on Thanksgiving, be thankful for what you have, and have fun!

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for stopping by!

XOXO
Cathy