Lifestyle Recipes

Simple Family Holiday Feast

December 1, 2019

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and I’m thrilled to be celebrating with our little family of three. Since there isn’t a lot of extra time when chasing around a baby, I’ve learned that I have to simplify some things. So I’ve created a simple family meal that you can serve to your friends and family that doesn’t take too much time but will surely leave a good impression.

When it comes to holiday entertaining and you’re doing all the cooking is one of my best tips is: don’t make everything from scratch. If you can go to the bakery and buy a pretty loaf of bread, do it! No need to do every single thing by yourself; it just adds stress. For this dinner, I bought a roasted chicken from the grocery and added some fixins’. I made a Shredded Brussel Sprout and Kale Salad and Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Toasted Pecans (scroll down for the recipe). Everything else was easy but still adds color, flavor and life. I bought a loaf from a local bakery, made a cranberry sparkling drink to serve alongside water and wine for the guests.

Setting the table should also be fuss-free. If you have fine china, now is the time to bring it out. If not, simple white plates always work perfectly. Set a formal table and add a festive arrangement in the middle and let the food do the rest of the talking. I placed dishes around the table so that guests could pass them around and serve as a conversation starter. I always try to use what I have at home to decorate. I also delegate to family members. I’ll ask my husband to set the table or my mom to help me finish cooking, which is huge help when you are the host!

I love dressing up, having people over and sharing my favorite foods, especially during the holidays. But I certainly don’t think it should be stressful. Entertaining should be fun! We have done a lot of hosting at our house over the past month and I still feel like I have energy to keep going because I had help, didn’t over do it and made it fun.

Let’s remember why we celebrate this season and share all of your joy and gratitude with people you love.

These recipes are featured in the December issue of Franklin Lifestyle Magazine

Rosemary Mashed Potatoes with Toasted Pecans

Category: Lifestyle, Recipes

Rosemary Mashed Potatoes with Toasted Pecans


  • 4 pounds peeled sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • ½ tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. + ½ tsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. butter (I used vegan butter)
  • 2 tbsp. milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Stir maple syrup into pecans. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper and pour on pecans. Roast for about 7-10 minutes, watching closely being sure not to overcook.
  3. Pour cubed sweet potatoes into water and allow to cook until soft. Strain water and pour into large bowl. Mix in garlic, salt, pepper, 1 tbsp. rosemary, butter and milk.
  4. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes and seasoning together. Pour mixture into a 13x9 casserole dish.
  5. Once cooked, stir pecans together with remaining rosemary and sprinkle with salt if desired. Pour pecans over sweet potatoes and serve warm.
  6. To reheat, place dish in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.



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  • Reply martutz December 23, 2019 at 1:00 AM

    I love your outfit, and your family looks amazing! I’m also struggling for a healthier me, I’ve even start running with SportMe marathon training app, and I can say I’m on the right track now. Nutrition is an important part of my losing weight plan and your blog posts are super inspiring. Thanks for your recipe, gotta try it!

    • Reply melissahaithcock March 2, 2020 at 8:03 PM

      Thank you so much- that’s so kind! So happy for you and your health journey. Thank you for following along here 🙂

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