Skinnyfied Christmas Recipes from the TY Ranch
What a Merry Christmas it’s already been at the TY Ranch! The day after Thanksgiving Ty, Kase (Ty’s 5 ½ year old boy), and I loaded up on the 4-wheeler and found the perfect cedar tree to cut down and bring back to the house. This is a tradition we want to pass down to Kase, as it was one of my favorite things to do growing up! Man…the tree didn’t look nearly as big out in the pasture as it does in the house! My mama had just thrown me a Christmas decoration shower back home in Lancaster, SC in honor of Ty and my upcoming wedding! It was so fun decorating the house with all the thoughtful gifts from families who watched me grow up from a little girl!
After the decorating it was off the National Finals Rodeo to work for a few days before heading back to the ranch. Kase flew back to Texas for an early Christmas celebration. Santa made an early trip to drop Kase’s ranch toys off and to give Rudolf and the reindeer a chance to get their legs stretched after a year off! Family and friends came over to exchange gifts, enjoy some home cookin’, and to just spend time together!
Oh let me just tell you… I’m a proud new chicken mama! Ty and I gave his mama, Joy, a chicken coop for our Christmas Eve and then on Christmas Day, Ty surprised Joy and I each with two Silverlaced Wyandottes! The man who owned the ranch before Ty, Frank Green used to raise a hybrid dove & pigeon cross so we turned that coop into my chicken coop! The hens have already been so much fun! I can’t wait until they start laying eggs this spring! There is nothing like orange-yolked fresh ranch eggs.
I love the rich Holiday foods and I always enjoy the baked goodies and try a little bit of every dish someone brings to the house! However, in my cooking I still try to be health conscious and make my recipes healthier by using whole food ingredients instead of overly processed ones. Below you’ll find a recipe for Maple Sweet Potato Spiced Soup which is so comforting on cold days and if there is any left, it can be enjoyed for several days after the Holiday! Your body will love all the nutrition packed in your little bowl and it’s a great way to stay on track or to get back on track to healthy eating after the Holiday. You don’t feel like you are missing out on anything!! This was a hit this Christmas at the ranch!
A favorite Christmas memory of mine is baking with my mama and sisters. I wanted to share that with Kase so he helped me bake Santa’s cookies and make some skinnyfied sausage balls. Instead of bisquick in the sausage balls, I used whole-wheat flour and baking powder. This recipe is also below!
Merry Christmas ya’ll!
Maple Sweet Potato Spiced Soup
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. carrots (about 6 large), cut into 1/2-in. pieces
- 1 lb. sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 3/4-in. pieces
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more if you prefer it to have more heat)
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tbsp. chicken or vegetable bouillon base
- 2 dried bay leaves
- ¼ cup maple syrup (optional to add more or less for desired taste)
- 2 slices whole wheat bread, cut or torn into 1-in. pieces
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are starting to brown at the edges 8 to 10 minutes. Add the spices and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the sweet potatoes, bouillon base, bay leaves and 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bread and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, drizzle the maple syrup over the top and toss to coat. Discard the bay leaves. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender in which you will do a batch at a time), puree the soup until smooth. Serve with the maple croutons.
Skinnyfied Whole Wheat Sausage Balls
- 1 pound breakfast sausage (mild or hot)
- 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup whole grain wheat flour (I prefer whole wheat pastry flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
- For more kick add ½ tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Shred one 8 oz block of cheddar cheese or use shredded cheese. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 c flour, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt (optional). Add shredded cheese and 1 lb of breakfast sausage to flour mixture. Mix with hands until it is all incorporated and you have a ball of mixture. Will look sort of dry. Form approximately 1" balls by rolling mixture between hands. (*You can make ahead up to this step. Cover and refrigerate formed sausage balls up to a day before baking.) Place balls on a large baking sheet and don’t let them touch. Bake at 350°F for about 20 min or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve warm.