Apple Pie Alternatives this Holiday

The holiday season is upon us! It’s a time for getting together with family and friends, eating lots of yummy foods and just enjoying the time together. One thing that seems to be consistent at pretty much all holidays is apple pie. I swear, it is that pie that is perfect for any holiday. This year, if you are looking for something a little different, that is similar to the apple pie, but not the apple pie, then this amazing list of apple pie alternatives is for you!

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apple pie alternatives

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Are you drooling yet? Don’t those apple pie alternatives look delicious? Thursday is Thanksgiving and any one of these recipes would be a perfect addition to your dessert table. Wow your family and friends with something new and exciting for the holidays! You know someone will still make and bring a traditional apple pie!

Apple Pie Alternatives

That’s quite a list, isn’t it?!? There is definitely something for everyone on there. Especially for the kids. My son is a huge fan of apple pie, whereas my daughter would prefer one of the apple pie alternatives. Most likely she would like the oatmeal apple spice cookies or the apple pie taco boats. My guess is, the fact that it has the word “taco” in the recipe name is what will win her over with that recipe! She loves tacos almost as much as she loves desserts!

Which One Will You Make?

You still have plenty of time. Which one of the recipes above will you be making for the holidays? I’m leaning towards the Snickers caramel apple pie. Not only is it an apple pie, but it uses up all those leftover Snickers bars from Halloween. Win win!


Knee Surgery Do’s and Don’ts

As of today, it has been almost six weeks since I had surgery on my knee. Initially, I was VERY nervous for this surgery. It was my second surgery for the year (yep…I had my gallbladder out in January) and it was my leg being operated on. My means of getting around. I was terrified. Thankfully, my knee surgery went well and the recovery has gone pretty well too. These do’s and don’ts for knee surgery recovery are super important.

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knee surgery

Knee Surgery Do’s and Don’ts

One of the biggest things that will help you after any surgery, especially knee surgery, is to follow ALL of the post-operative directions. Failure to follow the directions can make your recovery longer, or…worse, it you can injure yourself further. While some of the directions seem silly, just follow them!

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DO take your physical therapy seriously

Like the directions your doctor gives you, the directions and exercises your physical therapist gives you are important too. I do physical therapy twice a week for two hours each day. On my days at home, I do the exercises they have told me to do. I can’t tell you how many people I see at PT that walk in with flip flops on (and they are on crutches because of a knee surgery) and then proceed to complain about everything they are told to do. Do you want to walk normally again?

DO ice and elevate

The best thing you can do for your knee surgery recovery is to ice and elevate regularly. We tried propping my knee up with pillows, but it became very annoying to constantly have to fuss with them to get them right. A week after surgery, I bought a blue wedge designed to elevate the leg higher than my heart. Even now, almost 6 weeks later, I am swelling or I have pain when I’ve done too much, simply elevating my knee and icing alleviates almost all of my pain.

DO follow a healthy diet

This is probably the last thing you want to hear, but prior to my knee surgery, I joined Weight Watchers. I figured that would be the easiest plan for me to follow. The last thing you want to do, when you are recovering, is to gain a bunch of weight. That added weight will not be good on your knee. Not to mention, I am a firm believer that if we fuel our body with healthy foods, those healthy foods will help us heal faster than sugars and unnecessary carbs.

DO find the best place to sleep

Your bed may not be the best place to sleep. Not only is it usually on the second floor of the house (unless you are lucky and your bedroom is on the main floor) and the stairs will most likely be tricky, but the potential to roll over and tweak your knee is high. I have slept on a recliner down in my family room for almost 6 weeks now. It is truly the most comfortable place for me. I tend to roll over to my side when sleeping and right now, that would not feel good on my inner knee.

 

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DON’T sit in the front seat in the beginning

In the very beginning, I could only sit in the back seat. My kids loved it because one of them always got shotgun! Every movement the car made was felt by my knee. So what I did was sit in the backseat with my back against the door and my leg propped up. Piece of advice, pay attention to the person driving. Sudden stops can’t always be avoided. Paying attention will hep you stabilize your knee so it’s not tweaked too much.

DON’T overdo things

While you need to work hard at PT, know your limits. If you are going to the store, use one of those motorized carts the stores offer. Yes, they can be frustrating and embarrassing, but overdoing it by walking (even with your crutches) will do nothing positive for you and it will prolong your recovery. For instance, yesterday I did not use my crutches at all the entire day while I was home. Today I tried to walk in Sam’s Club to do our shopping and 10 minutes or so into the trip, my husband had to go get me a cart. My physical therapist told me the minute I start walking with a limp, I need to grab the crutches.

DON’T get discouraged

The one thing no one tells you when you before surgery is the amount of emotions you will go through. I can’t tell you how many times I broke down and cried. The first time was the day after surgery and I could barely bend my knee at all when I was doing the heel slides exercises my surgeon told me to do. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was not that! The most recent time I broke down into tears was yesterday when I panicked about my second knee surgery in 2019 and all of the recovery involved with that one. Despite ALL of those emotions, don’t get discouraged. If there is one thing I know, while the recovery is slow, I am getting better and so will you. Just follow your directions!

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I hope this list of do’s and don’ts for knee surgery recovery is helpful. Remember, every single person’s recovery is different. Try not to focus on where you think you should be. Instead, focus on doing your best at each and every PT session and listen to your body. If something is causing you pain, stop and speak with your therapist. This way they can determine if you should continue on with that exercise or stop it. Good luck!

10 Best Cookie Recipes for a Party

One thing I like taking to holiday parties (or to just make) are cookies. This year, for Thanksgiving, I volunteered to bring gluten free desserts. I plan on making gluten free brownies, but I also will be making a platter of gluten free cookies. Rather than scour the internet for the best of the best cookie recipes, I compiled the 10 best cookies recipes for a party! All of these recipes can be made gluten free!

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best cookie recipes

10 Best Cookie Recipes

Cookies are the perfect thing to take to a party or holiday get together. They are easy to make and most recipes you can make a head and freeze until you need them. Let’s not forget, everyone loves cookies. They are also good to have when kids will be there because kids don’t always like the pies that adults have at the holidays.

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Without further ado, I give you the 10 best cookie recipes that are super easy to make, freeze well, and are a great crowd pleaser. Keep these cookies in mind when you are doing your holiday cookie swaps!

  1. Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter Cookies
  2. Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
  3. Pumpkin Coffee Cookies with Maple Icing
  4. Sweet and Salty Cookies Recipe
  5. Butterfinger Cookies Recipe
  6. S’mores Cookie Recipe
  7. Strawberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies
  8. Kit Kat Cookies Recipe
  9. Gluten Free Jam Thumbprint Cookies
  10. Oatmeal Apple Spice Cookies

Don’t these sound like the best cookie recipes?!? I just recently made the jam thumbprint cookies and they were amazing! The jam thumbprint cookies and two others (that I will share the recipes for later) will be the cookies I take to Thanksgiving this year. The nice thing about ALL of the cookie recipes above is that you can make them with regular flour or gluten free flour. The Namaste gluten free flourbest cookie recipes is my favorite gluten free flour brand. I highly recommend it. Everything I make with it turns out perfectly.

What is your go to cookie to make?


Banana Mini Muffins with Chocolate Chips

Banana muffins are a staple in our house. I swear the kids leave three to four bananas in the basket just so they will get too ripe to eat, but perfect for muffins! This week was no different. Since my daughter got her braces on, certain foods have become difficult to eat. While muffins are soft, she likes to break them apart and she said big muffins take too long to eat. So, to help her out, this week I made banana mini muffins with mini chocolate chips!

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banana mini muffins

Banana Mini Muffins

Delicious recipe for gluten free banana mini muffins with mini chocolate chips.

Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Keyword banana muffins, mini muffins
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 36 People

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Butter softened
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Bananas ripe
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 TBSP Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 Cups Gluten Free Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your mini muffin pan with liners or pick up this great silicone mini muffin pan. You won't need any liners and the muffins pop right out.

  2. In a large bowl, mash your bananas. Make sure to mash them well so you don't end up with lumps.

  3. In a separate bowl, cream together your butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, bananas, milk and vanilla extract. Be sure to mix between each new addition.

  4. Next add your baking soda, salt and gluten free flour. Mix in between each addition. 

  5. Fill your muffin wells with the banana mini muffins batter and place in the oven for 13-15 minutes. If you chilled your batter before baking, you may need the full 15 minutes.

  6. Allow the mini muffins to fully cool before storing them in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes

*You may sub regular flour for the gluten free flour. 

These banana mini muffins are super moist (I cringed typing that word, but it’s true) and absolutely delicious. They are great for kids lunches or snack time. For my daughter that just got braces on, they are super easy for her to break apart and eat, without wasting a ton of time at lunch!

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If your family likes muffins as much as mine, be sure to try our other favorites:

Any gluten free recipe can easily be made with regular flour. You just substitute 1 cup for 1 cup! I’ve made each of those recipes with both gluten free flour and regular flour. While I haven’t tried it with the regular flour (allergy), the kids like it either way! If you were to ask my daughter, the apple spice pumpkin muffins are one of her favorites.

banana mini muffins


Best Christmas Pajamas on Amazon

One of the things we have always done for the kids for Christmas is give them a new pair of Christmas pajamas. Sometimes they are Christmas themed, other times they are just a fun new pair of pajamas. It totally depends on if I get the pjs early enough before the stores start selling out of the sizes I need! My favorite year was the year that I got Christmas pajamas for the whole family. My goal is to do that again this year.

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Christmas pajamas

Image via Pexels by Miesha Moriniere

Christmas Pajamas for Babies

I still remember the adorable baby pajamas I got for my son for his first Christmas. That was 14 years ago. Back then, it seemed like there wasn’t that many cute baby boy stuff. Not like today. While I was able to find a super cute pair of pajamas for him when he was a baby, the stuff they have now is great! These are a few of my favorites!

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Aren’t they cute?!? I honestly don’t know which one I would pick! I have a little baby nephew and he would look so cute in any one of those (the ones for boys, that is)!

Christmas Pjs for Toddlers

When my daughter was a toddler, she really wanted a long nightgown. So we got her a red plaid one just like the one pictured below. We even found one to fit her favorite doll! She loved it! When it comes to toddlers, you want to find something they are interested in. My son loved dinosaurs when he was little. He would have loved those dinosaur Christmas pajamas.

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Matching Christmas Pjs for the Family

Like I said before, my absolute favorite was when I got matching Christmas pajamas for our whole family. It was fun and our pictures were super cute! Some of these family matching sets even have pjs that you can buy for your dog! Don’t leave your dog out of the fun. Well…unless your dog tries to tear apart the clothes you put on them…then you may want to forget about the dog!

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One of the things we do with the Christmas pjs is we wrap them up and give it to the kids on Christmas Eve, along with a board game and sometimes a movie that we can watch together on Christmas Eve. It’s a fun tradition and one that we all look forward to each year!

What fun Christmas traditions do you have?