By: Lauryn Gilliam
Do you have a menu item that you salivate for all year long because it only comes out during the holidays? I am bouncing right into the spirit of Christmas and all its glorious deliciousness. Join me on a journey around town where you can get the city’s finest confections all December long. Perhaps I should take us on an equally important journey through all the gym memberships we can join in January? Truthfully, by the time we get here, we probably all need a little break. It’s all about balance and a treat here or there is okay. As a psychotherapist in my day job, I speak to my clients about staying in the moment and being mindful of that precious time to stay centered in the present which really helps to melt the stress of the holiday hustle and bustle. So take a sip, nibble and savor it with all five senses this season!
I picked items from places that readers from the entire metro Nashville area would be able to get to, so here we go. Okay, so we all know about Starbucks and their annual Peppermint Mocha’s and their famous Pumpkin Spiced Latte’s…but I have to let you in on some new ones…at least for me this year…Iced Eggnog, Gingerbread Latte and if you miss Oprah, she has a Cinnamon Spice Chai for the non-coffee drinkers (growing up in Louisiana and living in New Orleans I can’t even comment on that!). Don’t forget to grab a Cranberry Bliss Bar or a Gingerbread Loaf for your power snack later.
Look, if it’s a sleepy slow moving Saturday morning and you are now ready for a big breakfast, try the Cinnamon Chip Pancakes at First Watch or go for the Pumpkin Spice or Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pancakes at IHOP. For lunch, stop by Panera for their delicious vegetarian Autumn Squash Soup. It’s warm, creamy, fresh and good for you but doesn’t taste like it! I swear I would eat that every day if my family would put up with it. Which Wich has the perfect sandwich to cure your cravings for Christmas dinner ahead of time. It has carved turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce on it. It’s no wonder the name of it is “Thank You Turkey.” Check it out on brown bag number 8! Don’t like coffee or tea but want something tasty to sip on? Pull through Chick-Fil-A and grab one of their famous Peppermint Milkshakes…you are going to need a treat after waiting in their drive-thru line!
Head to dinner at Carrabba’s and order their stocking stuffer special holiday menu item, the Meatball Magnifico. This is one huge meatball seasoned with breadcrumbs and Italian spices and stuffed with parmesan cheese. Prefer your after dinner sweets in the form of slicing through a sugary cream cheese concoction…try these holiday selections at Cheesecake Factory. Personal fave this season is the dark horse that was introduced to me by my twelve-year-old. It’s light but still rich and delicious. Peel open a pack of three Candy Cane Peeps dipped in dark chocolate in the privacy of your own home with a strong cup of coffee and it will do the trick! Jeni’s ice cream is featuring a Spiced Sweet Cream: Holiday Notes flavor that you will want to buy by the quart to partner with the Christmas pies this month or just plop a heaping spoonful atop your coffee. Coffee is getting to be a theme here, sorry, but it does cut the sweetness!
Speaking of drinks, here is a fantastic host/hostess gift – bring a bottle of Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Creme Whiskey Liquor with this recipe rolled up and tied around it provided by Whisper Creek’s website. 1.5 oz Whisper Creek, .5 oz Cake Flavored Vodka, .5 oz Coffee Liqueur and .5 oz cream, blend and serve over crushed ice or serve straight up rimmed with crumb cake topping. If you prefer a non-alcoholic host gift, then bring in the adorable and festive holiday Bundtini Cakes from Nothing Bundt Cake. They are delicious in their own right and you can pick your poison of cake and frosting and then it is decorated to look like the perfect centerpiece for the dessert table. Pick up a dozen of the Bundtini’s for the kids, you will be the hit of the party.