This queso has a spicy secret: It’s not cheese.

5 KC bloggers share healthy(ish) holiday party recipes

Try making chai tea popcorn on the stove. It’s worth it.
This creamy hummus gets it’s bright color from fresh parsley and tarragon. Cookie + Kate
Like spicy food? This take on jalapeno poppers is the dish for you.

Happy holiday season! To me, this means twinkly lights, board games, gift-giving, and endless cocktails and appetizers. While I don’t think winter celebrations are the time to eat just salad and abstain from alcohol, I do think that it’s possible to indulge intelligently.

Spring for a sparkling water in between glasses of wine and choose vegetable dippers over grain-based ones at least some of the time. If you make little switches here and there, you’ll have real hope of making it to New Year’s Day with jeans that still fit.

Volunteering to bring a snack to the tree-trimming party is the best way to ensure you’ll have a snack that’s more nutritious than your typical cheese-based casserole--but you should 100 percent have a small piece of that casserole on the side.

For more nutritious appetizer options, you don’t have to look any further than these local blogs.

Vegan queso, Minimalist Baker

Dana blogs from Portland now, but she’s a Kansas City-area native! This “queso” is perfect if you’re craving the creamy, spicy dip, but don’t want to deal with a dairy belly. It’s cashew-based and it blends easily even without a fancy Vitamix.

Green goddess hummus, Cookie + Kate


This beautiful, green hummus will offer an awesome pop of color on a table full of beige foods. And don’t let the herbs throw you off—Trader Joe’s has your back!

[Get more stories like this straight to your inbox. Sign up for the Sidenote.]

Chai tea popcorn, Bev Cooks


If you’re snuggling with friends and “Christmas Vacation,” make this popcorn. It’s super-simple, cozy and pairs well with bourbon.

Jalapeno, bacon and cream cheese chicken poppers, Stay Snatched


These decadent bites are perfect for a low-carb dieter that’s still looking to indulge. And they’re the kind of snack that is delicious hot, but maybe even more so at room-temperature after a car ride to the house party.

Rainbow kale power salad, With Salt & Wit

Volunteer to bring the salad to any dinner parties! You can pack it with fiber-filled, nutrition-packed veggies so you aren’t stuck with a soggy iceberg lettuce situation. This kale salad would look gorgeous on any holiday table, especially with the contrast of the green kale leaves and the red peppers.

Happy holidays and happy partying! May your indulgences be worth it, and may your pants still button in 2018.

9 gifts to stock a home bar

4 gifts to unite Missouri and Kansas

7 bath and body gifts for couples who share everything

5 new spots to #shoplocal on Black Friday

5 gifts that prove gratitude isn’t just for Thanksgiving

10 gift ideas for the music nerd on your list

KC experiences to give as gifts, from $5 to $1,795

5 KC bloggers share healthy(ish) holiday party recipes