New Year's

Whether you're having friends over for New Year's Eve cocktails, hosting a formal New Year's Day dinner, or planning afternoon snacks for the big game, these recipes are for you. Choose from festive appetizers, fabulous desserts, cocktail suggestions, and much more for great ways to greet the New Year.

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Sweet New Year's Eve Nibbles

My favorite New Year's parties are the ones that start early and continue into the wee hours--it gives me plenty of time to catch up with my friends. And time to sample party food that progresses from savory appetizers to sweet desserts as the night goes on. If you're going to that kind of party, and you're asked to bring an appetizer or dessert, or you're going where a big meal will be served, or even an intimate dinner party (where you're looking to create a fancier-feeling dessert)--bite-size treats are the way to go.

Easy New Year's Resolutions: Savor Some Soup!

Did you know that a cup of soup a day keeps the pounds away? No, we're not talking about the cabbage-soup diet fad, or the chicken-soup-for-the-soul craze. This is about having a cup of good old vegetable soup or other broth-based soup before a meal. It fills you up, it gives you a serving of vegetables, it's low-cal, and it's a tried-and-true technique touted by diet gurus from Weight Watchers to authors Fiona Kirk and Jean Barr in their new book, Soup Can Make You Thin. Plus, it's a warm and soothing way to start a meal. It doesn'tread more

Deep-Fried New Year's Party -- Good Luck!

Pass the Corned Beef and the Kale, the Black-Eyed Peas, the Champagne Risotto Balls and all the other New Year's Day foods associated with good luck for a prosperous 2013. But first make sure that each and every recipe in question is deep-fried. Better do as we say or your good fortune might not hold. Hard work? Not at all, thanks to the nifty chart from Macy's (below) that illustrates all five of the recipes in a simple, step-by-step way that will turn out appetizers your family and guests will devour. Good luck is one thing, but weread more

Festive Cocktail Recipes for New Year's Eve

I can't wait to kick back and relax on New Year's Eve,with friends, family-- and a festive cocktail! Champagne may be the expected drink du jour on the big night, but this year I'm celebrating by trying a few new cocktails recipes instead. From seasonal fruit paired with flavored vodka, to a sweet-and-fizzy sip, to a tropical-tasting thirst-quencher, these flavor combos will be sure to please any crowd on one of the biggest party nights of the year.

New Year's Kids Lunch: Baby Dragon Sandwich

The new year is upon us. According to the Chinese calendar, 2012 is the Year of the Dragon, which represents success and happiness. Now, of course the Chinese new year doesn't begin until the middle of January, but there's no reason not to celebrate now with this adorable New Year's baby dragon sandwich.

11 Easy New Year's Party Recipes

My husband and I never go out on New Year's Eve. We never entertain, either. Instead, we concoct a huge cleaning project -- the kind of thing we avoid during the rest of the year, like clearing out the crawl space on the other side of the basement wall. (What's all that black stuff in there? It couldn't be coal, could it?) We're usually in bed before midnight. Knowing that in the coming year, we won't have that crawl space on our consciences is way more fun than watching the ball drop in Times Square. That's really a choreread more

Easy New Year's Resolutions: Have Your Cake!

But switch up the slice of chocolate or yellow cake for a sweet, airy piece of angel food cake. Unlike traditional cakes, angel food is made with whipped egg whites and contains no fat, no cholesterol and about half the calories and half the carbs. If you're watching your blood-glucose levels, especially if you're diabetic or pre-diabetic, angel food cake is a great choice. Fewer carbs help keep your blood sugar more stable, which is why angel-food cake scores high dessert marks from organizations like the American Diabetes Association. Try making the cake with half granulated sugarread more

Easy New Year's Resolutions: Dive into Dip!

If you have a French-onion-dip habit you'd love to shake, trade it in for creamy hummus instead. Serving for serving, the savory Middle Eastern chickpea-based spread beats traditional fatty dips with its high quotient of protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin C and iron. Homemade hummus is much lower in fat than store-bought varieties and is a cinch to whip up, requiring little more than canned chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and the option of tahini (sesame paste). Need proof? Just check out our recipe for Easy Hummus with Tahini (pictured, left). With baby carrots or crunchy pitaread more

Easy New Year's Resolutions: Drink More Coffee!

Sure coffee gives you the jitters if you O.D. on it, but sipped in moderation, your daily joe can help fight disease. According to a Finnish study of around 1,500 middle-aged folks, the lowest risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease was found in people who drank three to five cups of coffee a day. And, over the long term, according to the Nurses' Health Study, drinking coffee (caff or decaf) was tied to an 8 percent decrease in the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. No, this isn't an all-access pass to latte and cappuccino; stick toread more

New Year, New You: The Secret to Successful New Year's Resolutions

2012 is just days away! After a month or so of making merry, perhaps you're starting to think about those New Year's resolutions. Depending on just how naughty you've been over the last few weeks, you may feel like you need to make a dramatic change.

Easy New Year's Resolutions: Lighten Up (with Dark Chocolate)!

Sure, you were hoping we'd say, "Eat a whole bar! Bake a batch of brownies!" Sorry, it's not quite that easy. But a half-ounce of dark chocolate (not white or milk chocolate) a day was found to help lower blood pressure ... without packing on the pounds, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Aim for dark chocolate with 65 to 70 percent cacao (cocoa solids). And if lowering your blood pressure isn't reason enough to have a nip of dark chocolate, there's also the fact that it's one potent antioxidant that canread more

Easy New Year's Resolutions: Fry Your Chicken--in the Oven!

Crunchy, moist and delicious, chicken cooked up in the frying pan is a pretty hard dish to give up. But you can have all the flavor minus half the fat if you ditch the bubbling oil on the stovetop and oven-fry your chicken. Go ahead and dip the chicken in buttermilk and coat it with a mixture of flour and spices (such as garlic, paprika and thyme), just as you would for traditional fried chicken. But then spay a baking sheet with vegetable-oil cooking spray and bake the chicken at 425F for about 45 minutes. If you wantread more

Easy New Year's Resolutions: Pour on the Red Wine!

You can protect your heart and even drop a few pounds by making the switch from white wine to red. Now, that's a resolution you can easily keep! A favorite Zinfandel or Pinot Noir, like most red wines, contain antioxidants that lower cholesterol; resveratrol (a natural compound found in red-grape skins) helps regulate blood sugar, ward off memory disorders, and inhibit not only cancer cells from forming but fat cells, too. Of course, too much of a good thing is a bad thing when it comes to wine, so limit yourself to two glasses a day. Cheers!read more

9 New Year's Appetizers to Throw Together NOW

So Christmas wasn't enough! Last I heard, there was some kind of party-type deal this week as well. Who made up this schedule? Christmas was last week -- an epoch, except that we're still doing dishes from Christmas dinner. And now I have to think about New Year's Eve? Actually, I don't. David and I are spending the evening at the house of some friends, so it's their problem. But I'm still sorry for myself. Just when I've finally stopped feeling overfed, and have finally caught up on my sleep, bang! Here's a holiday where I have to stay upread more

Easy New Year's Resolutions: Try an AB&J!

Peanut butter and jelly is the go-to spread for a sandwich that kids (and their parents) love. But you can boost your calcium, iron and vitamin E intake by giving almond butter a try. Almond butter packs a whopping 692 percent more calcium and 169 percent more vitamin E (a super antioxidant) than peanut butter, and its smooth, rich and slightly sweeter flavor may make a convert of you. Plus it has less saturated fat. Fiber- and vitamin B-rich whole almonds are a great choice for snacking, too. Just don't, well, go nuts -- in order to watchread more

Easy New Year's Resolutions: Take Your Tea Green!

Change up the afternoon coffee break for a spot of tea -- green tea, that is (hot or iced), and you may just shed some weight and lower your cholesterol. According to a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a compound in green tea called EGCG helps rev up the body's metabolism for a short time. Study subjects who drank four cups a day lost six pounds in eight weeks. Another study showed that green tea helped lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and yet another that it helps the body tolerate glucose (good news for those whoread more

Easy New Year's Resolutions: Trade Out Store-Bought Pasta Sauce!

You don't have to be Italian to know that pasta and tomatoes just go together -- and tomatoes are vitamin C superstars. But commercial tomato-based pasta sauces amp up the sodium (more than 1,000 mg per cup, which is almost half the recommended daily allowance), and many contain high-fructose corn syrup, which adds about 23 grams of sugars. Canned tomatoes, on the other hand, have half the sodium and sugars, and they're fat-free! Saute the tomatoes in a little olive oil and toss with pasta and fresh herbs (or click here for our Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe).read more

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