It’s November 25, the trees are bare and spiky, the house is warm and cozy and there are 3 pumpkin, 2 apple, and 1 mincemeat pies (yes you live in PA, you know what mincemeat is) sitting in the cold waiting for the day of family and eating, fun and football, food coma’s and conversations on the couch. Mom is bringing cranberry salad and turkey, sis has the sweet potato casserole and rolls, and your niece from Philly is coming and bringing green beans, candy, and all sorts of snackables for the game of the Eagles vs. Cowboys.
Today, after getting the kids off to school you head for the shower to get ready for your own day, and make a quick stop to make sure your weight is still on track before the holiday season. Oh, it’s ok, but a slight twinge of anxiety hits thinking of the 5lbs you do battle with to lose every year after Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is one place that losing is gaining, and cutting your losses means you get to carry around extra. Everybody always told you that metabolism slows after 30, but nobody told you what to do about what some people consider the slow march of age, and those extra pounds.
We’re all in this Together
No, we’re not going to hit a few tunes of High School Musical (we’re trying to forget the days when our tweens watched and sung that a few hundred times) We’re also not going to pep talk today, but just give out a few common sense pointers to keep feeling healthy and happy throughout the next month.
Never go hungry. Now you can take this two ways, but today it means to avoid saving up your appetite for a party where the majority of food is rich appetizers and sugary drinks. Let’s be honest though, who doesn’t go to a party for the food? Have you ever been invited somewhere that wasn’t going to provide any return for coming in the way of nourishment and sustainment?
I’ll be truthful, I’d consider it a dud, and think about not going. Having something for guests to eat or drink has been a worldwide custom for thousands of years and I’m definitely not a fan of doing away with this, just of hitting the food stores a little more moderately. Enjoy, eat, but take some and move away from the table, then go find someone you really like to talk with who isn’t there just to eat but to socialize. After all, that is the point.
In all things moderation. You are your own best moderator, and if you don’t exactly slap your hands, you still have control over what goes in your mouth. Here’s my honesty blurb: sometimes that feels impossible. Things transport into your mouth that you never intended to have end up there. Delicious cakes, pies, cookies and extra potatoes sort of just floated into my gastrointestinal system and suddenly my waistline is 3 inches wider than 3 hours before. We’ve all been there, and felt angry with ourselves for eating too much, but these 1-2 tips will help tremendously.
Metabolism flows best if you don’t stop eating for awhile, and then suddenly submerge digestion into a comatose state. Its the equivalent of sitting around all day, and then trying to get a whole day’s work done in 1 hour. It’s better to eat at least 1 meal before the holiday dinner, and preferably 1-2 snacks.
Best thing you can do for yourself and waistline is to take smaller portion sizes to start with, unless it’s vegetables. This is not denying eating the fun stuff, because you’re still eating it but just in happier quantities. You can always take seconds, but throwing up (or feeling like it) when too much is eaten is just a really, really bad idea. There’s wisdom to the saying, “save room for dessert,” as well as freedom. Plus, someone is going to have to eat all those tasty leftovers tomorrow, and that way it can be enjoyed twice without the extra pounds.
When the holidays come, we hit them sitting with about 1500 extra calories that creates extra energy that has to go somewhere, but also leaves two opposites pushing, pulling and fighting each other for top dog.
(One) is the extra fuel your muscular system desperately wants to burn, while (two) is being smothered in a heavy gravy of a digestive system that just wants to groan and sleep it all off. Usually they compromise with a grumpy mixture of moving the extra energy to fat storage (which you will be fighting to target later on) while your body and mental systems are left trying to balance the after effects of the battle.
Tip - If you do end up eating too much, don’t sack out and snore while everyone else watches the game, don some fleece or furs and take a 15-30 minute walk. The cold air will rev your metabolism and walking will burn some excess energy that the calories caused. When I say energy that doesn’t mean that you will feel like moving, but that inside your body there is a powerhouse of calories released that results in a physical shutting-down response of the body while it tries to funnel all the extra to a place where it can safely be kept. (Usually hips and thighs in women) You might have to to really pep talk yourself to get moving, but it will be completely worth it, even if the dishes had to wait until later.
Host a Party
If you are having a party, focus on making 1-2 things as appetizers and side dishes that are filling, fabulous and yet healthy. Our resident food gourmet at Kauffman’s has pulled together a tasty recipe that is simple, easy, and yet has the power to “wow” all that are present with a good mix of flavors, fruit, carbohydrate and delicious cranberry. This would also work as one of those snacks mentioned earlier in the days to keep your hunger from becoming a ravenous beast that can eat 3 meals in 1.
CRANBERRY AND POMEGRANATE BRUSCHETTA
1 pound fresh cranberries, washed
2 t. of chopped fresh ginger, doesn’t need to be chopped super fine.
1 cup sugar
¼ cup honey
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
zest from one orange, keep back a bit for garnish
¾-1 cup pomegranate arils or seeds*, keep a few for garnish
finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, for garnish
1 thin, good quality baguette, sliced approx. ¼ inch thick
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (lower fat is a good option)
Put cranberries, ginger, sugar, honey and Sriracha in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
Add the cilantro and pulse a few more times, but not too much because the mix should be chunky.
Transfer to storage, add pomegranate arils and orange zest, refrig. for at least 2 hours or until you are ready to serve
Preheat oven to 350°F, slice crostini
Place baguette/crostini slices on prepped pans, brush lightly with oil, sprinkle with salt 3. and a grind of pepper.
Bake for 14-18 minutes or until golden, rotate pans halfway through.
To assemble bruschetta, whisk softened cream cheese until creamy. Spread around ½-1 T. of the mix on each slice of bread, top with a scoop of relish, garnish with orange zest, if you like.
The Countdown is on! 3-2-1…
As you hit this holiday season remember that life is a balance, of relaxing and working, eating and playing, and always being thankful always in all things. Gratitude is the reason we celebrate this day and this life, and these two (celebration and gratitude) should never be pulled apart because they go hand-in-hand with everything.
Ever tried the Thankfulness Challenge? For 5 days you write down something every day that you’re grateful for. This week join us on ----> Instagram, Pinterest or FB and post something you’re grateful for from Tuesday through Saturday, even if it’s shopping on Black Friday.
GO ---> We’re grateful today, for health, for pumpkin pie, warm fires, for apples and cranberries, and one of the biggest reasons: all of our family, customers and friends.
P.s. Aren’t these the cleverest dinner rolls you’ve ever seen, I think these at least get honorable mention.