Un-traditionally Traditional

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Traditional flavors like peppermint, pumpkin, and gingerbread make the holidays special. This year, take these classic flavors to a new level with some untraditional applications.

Eggnog is more than a holiday beverage. The rich concoction is a perfect base for homemade ice cream or pie filling.

Better yet, pour that eggnog pie filling into a gingerbread crust – simply substitute pulverized gingersnaps for graham cracker crumbs in any graham cracker piecrust recipe. Try swapping gingersnaps for graham crackers in other recipes, too.

Don’t limit pumpkin to pies, pumpkin bars or quick breads. Try pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies or pumpkin muffins for a healthier snack. Or move to the savory side by incorporating pumpkin into the main course by swapping an equal amount of plain canned pumpkin for some of the tomato sauce or purée in your favorite chili recipe. It tastes good, adds nutrients and lowers the acidity.

Seasonal favorites like nuts, figs and dates are great in baked goods, but also pair well with cheese. Dried fruit is a nice alternative to grapes on any cheese platter.

Fresh or dried cranberries make apple-based dishes more festive, but also add a surprising burst of tartness to ordinary stuffing.

Garnish desserts with crushed candy canes for a refreshing peppermint flavor. Want the taste without crushing candy canes? Use one to stir your hot coffee, tea or cocoa.