Guest Post: Cute DIY Holiday Cards!

Today, on Dietitian Debbie Dishes, I have a special guest – Esther from Chocolate Runner Girl! We connected through Elf for Health and I’m so excited to have her share her card making expertise on the blog today. 

Hello all!  This is Esther over at Chocolate Runner Girl!  It is my privilege to be a guest blogger today for Debbie!  Thanks to the Elf for Health (Elf4Health) challenge, we were matched together for a fun blog exchange!  I normally post about food and fitness, but I wanted to step out of my box today to talk about something else in my life that I am passionate about.

During this time of year everywhere I look there seems to be Christmas/holiday cards on sale.  A few years ago as I looked for some cards to send my family and friends, there was nothing that really stood out to me.  I decided that I would make my own!  I was a bit overwhelmed at first with where to start, but once I got going I found a style that was pretty simple, and it was a lot of fun!  I ended up making cards for other holidays and celebrations and even starting a small (as in tiny) card business! It is a fun way to add a personal touch to all special occasions!

I first purchase my supplies from a craft store, like Michaels, or Hobby Lobby.  I tend to buy my paper in bulk since I make many cards at the same time. The craft stores have aisles of paper to choose from, and I have to admit I have a hard time only choosing a few!  So many pretty colors and patterns!!
Over the past few weeks, several friends have asked me how I make my cards, and I can’t think of a better time to share some of my tips!

Here is an example of how I made a card for this holiday season. Once I have picked my paper, blank card, and any stickers or stamps to add to it, I grab a glue stick  and scissors & get ready to put the card(s) together.


Step one: Fold and cut the paper to the size of the card. It is helpful to lightly trace the back of the paper with a pencil to know where to cut.

Step two: Glue the paper to the card and then cut any extra paper off!

Step three: Add any embellishments such as stickers, stamps or both 🙂

Here are some samples of cards: I like to make some more traditional cards, and some that are fun too!  I am a huge fan of sparkles, so adding anything that glitters to the cards makes me smile!



You can check out more:
Facebook pages: Esma Card Company and Chocolate Runner Girl
Twitter: @run_chocolate
Instagram: chocolaterunnergirl


Dark Chocolate Peppermint Macaroons

Will and I just got back from a lovely wedding weekend in Memphis for our friends Alex and Johnathan.  Our flight back to Chicago this morning was early so we had most of the day off today to catch up on grocery shopping, weekend food prep, and of course an annual tradition – watching Elf! I was in the mood to do a little bit of baking so I whipped up a batch of these macaroons. Macaroons are so easy to make and are absolutely delicious. I put a different spin on these by adding some peppermint extract and drizzling in dark chocolate. Macaroons are a great little treat for those working to stay healthy over the holidays. They are a lot lower in calories than other cookies, plus you have the added benefit of some fiber from the flaked coconut. Macaroons are also a great DIY gift for family and friends – even those with food allergies since they are gluten-free!

Peppermint Macaroons 2

Peppermint Macaroons 3

Peppermint Macaroons

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Macaroons 

(Makes 12-15; Gluten-Free, Low Fat)


  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • 1-2 ounces melted dark chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place egg whites in bowl and whip until they form soft peaks.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients except for chocolate to the whipped eggs. Stir gently until well mixed.
  4. Drop coconut mixture by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Bake for 15 minutes or until cookies begin to brown around the edges. Set on the counter to cool.
  5. Melt chocolate over the stove. Drizzle onto macaroons. Let cool and serve!

Harvest Hot Toddy

Now that cold weather is here to stay, I wanted to share my version of a classic winter drink with you. The hot toddy is honestly one of the perfect alcoholic drinks for wintry nights and they are super simple to make. I love sipping hot tea in the winter and the addition of a little bit of gin makes it even better! We actually found a locally sourced gin called Death’s Door which blends really well with the spiced tea in these. Hot toddies are a great low calorie, low sugar beverage for holiday parties since there isn’t a lot of fruit juice or sugary syrup. The tea I used for these is one of my new favorites from Trader Joe’s called Harvest Blend Herbal Tea. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby, simply pick up an herbal tea with a strong cinnamon note to it.

December Blog Pics 065

Hot Toddy

Harvest Hot Toddy

(Serves 2)


  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 tea bags of harvest blend herbal tea
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 4 oz. gin (we like Death’s Door)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks


  1. Add tea bags to hot water and let steep for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Pour 1/2 oz. juice and 2 oz. gin into each mug. Add 1 cup of tea.
  3. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and lemon wedges.

Holiday Gift Guide for Her

I love Christmas, but I get a bit anxious when it comes to Christmas shopping. It can be a lot of pressure, right? You want to get that “perfect” gift for the special people in your life. This means that I usually procrastinate when it comes to shopping since I spend so much time debating about what to buy. So, I haven’t started shopping for anyone on my list yet… Eek! Do any of you procrastinate on your Christmas shopping? In case you are like me and need a little inspiration before you do a little shopping this weekend, here are a few of the fun things I’ve come across online this week.

Holiday Gift Guide

  1. Knit boot socks from Etsy. These socks look comfy, cozy for keeping your toes warm in tall boots or just lounging around the house.
  2. African sunset necklace and matching accessories from Noonday. I love the current trend of large, colorful jewelry to add a pop of color to outfits. Not only does Noonday have beautiful jewelry, but they help provide a livable income to people in resource poor countries through their jewelry sales.
  3. Silhouette camera bag. After investing in a DSLR camera a few months ago, I have been on the lookout for a stylish yet functional camera bag. This silhouette camera bag looks like the perfect. If you have a photographer in your life, they would love this bag!
  4. Anchinalu scarf. Honestly, I feel that a girl can never have too many scarves. Any scarf like this one from Fashionable is a fun way to liven up an outfit. All scarves are hand crafted by women in Africa supported by this organization and includes a thank you note attached.
  5. A Bit Spotty Briggi lunch box. What better way to brighten up your workday than pulling this adorable lunch box out of the employee fridge?
  6. The Oh She Glows Cookbook. If you have a foodie, vegetarian, or vegan in your life – this is the cookbook for them! The author, Angela, is a fabulous blogger so I am more than excited to see what yummy recipes she has in store in her cookbook.
  7. The Simplified Planner by Emily Ley. I don’t know about you, but I could always use a little help to be more organized! This gorgeous planner looks like the perfect way to start 2014 off in perfect order.

Recipe Redux: Larabar in a Jar

Anytime I get to someone on my list that I just don’t what to buy for Christmas, gifts from the kitchen are often perfect. The theme for this month’s recipe redux was “adding merriment to mixes” or DIY gifts from the kitchen. As I was thinking about what to do for my gift from the kitchen I was debating about homemade granola or some sort of granola bar recipe. Then I remembered that larabars are often super simple to make with only a few ingredients and super delicious! Instead of “bars” I mixed this batch into small balls just to see how they would turn out. Since homemade larabars can tend to be more on the crumbly side, the ball shape held together much better.

Larabar in Jar


Larabar in a Jar

(Makes 10-12)


  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  1. Layer the ingredients into a glass ball jar in the following order: cocoa, coconut, dates, walnuts, chocolate chips.
  2. To prepare larabars/balls, pour the chocolate chip layer into a small bowl. Toss the rest into a food processor and process until it starts to clump together.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips. Shape into bars or balls.

Add a fun ornament and cute tag to the jar to make it look festive for gift giving!

Larabar in Jar 2

To see more great recipe redux posts, click on the link below! 

A Merry Memphis Christmas!

A few pics from our Christmas here in Memphis!
Salad with a side of Kinfolk.
Soy noodles, sun dried tomatoes, olives and veggie sausage pasta – Yum!
Roasted delicata on the side. 🙂
Impromptu tractor posing on our hike at Shelby Farms. 
Found this fixer-upper in the woods!

Enjoyed sipping this hot spiked cider by the tree! 
Honey came to investigate what all the excitement was about!
Then she joined in!
Christmas dinner! Cauliflower “rice”, veggie sausage, and beans Cajun style (by Will!),
with sauteed kale and roasted radicchio! 

Party Time!

One of the things I love most about the Christmas season is the renewed sense of closeness between friends and family. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been basking in the good cheer of shared food and friendships. It started with a cookie exchange between colleagues, followed by a Channukah celebration at our friend Josh’s, a food-laden Christmas party for Nutrition & Food Service at work, a graduation celebration for Genevieve and an End of the World party on 12/21/12. In each instance, I feel blessed to have become part of a community of good friends here in Memphis; friends who invite me to share in their lives not only during the holidays, but year round. 
The existence of our families and friendships are not entirely dependent on the existence of [holiday] activities and traditions, but the sustenance of such rituals is the soil in which we cultivate a deeper sense of commitment, history, and meaning. A group of casual friends becomes a community, a family becomes a tribe.” Rebecca Parker Payne, Kinfolk Vol. 6
The Channukah party host, Josh (on the left) shares a bit of the history behind
the lighting of the Menorrah. 
Josh’s girlfriend, Amanda, still got to join in the fun via Skype!
In post-apocalyptic get-up for the End of the World celebration!
Luckily, the end didn’t come!
When we were watching it the other night, I realized I could totally use those tights again if I ever needed to dress up like the Will Ferrell version of Elf…
Have a Merry Christmas!!