Christmas

Red-and-Green After-Christmas Detox

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If you are like the majority of Americans who just celebrated Christmas, chances are you’re probably feeling a little, “OMG why did I eat that?” Or “Ugh, SO. Much. Pie.” Or at least feeling extra-motivated to hit the gym and “eat better” come January first. Why wait to feed yourself something healthy?

red and green detoxThis recipe is stupid-easy and super-satisfying. Yes, we are going to use a lot of hyphens for this one. Sorry, no bacon here, but maybe you’re bacon-ed out from all those holiday brunches and side dishes with their salty-crunchy garnishes?

I made this on the 26th and enjoyed the leftovers at work the next day. You can also serve this for two with some wine and crusty bread instead of seltzer from the soda fountain and a side of crackers in a Ziploc…

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale and/or spinach
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 handful grape tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed
  • red pepper flakes to taste

Directions: 

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and shallot. Sauté until fragrant and shallot is translucent.
  2. Add greens and cook until they start to wilt. Add red pepper flakes, if using.
  3. Add mushrooms and grape tomatoes. Cook until they begin to soften.
  4. Add chickpeas. Mix everything well and cook until greens are wilted, mushrooms and tomato are soft, and chickpeas are nice and hot.
  5. Serve garnished with grated cheese.

What foods do you like to make after a string of indulgent holiday meals? 

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Super-Food Granola

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Superfood GranolaThis year for Christmas, I decided to make some edible gifts for all the aunts and uncles in the family. I thought it would be fun to make something vaguely healthy but still festive.

So, after some thought, super-food granola floated to the top of the thought-pile. This recipe is very similar to my dark chocolate coconut granola, except with more add-ins. Enjoy on its own with milk or as a garnish on yogurt, oatmeal, or anything else that sounds good! I made a giant batch, but here’s a scaled-down version if you’re looking for something to get you through the week.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • cinnamon to taste
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 c  dark chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c dried cherries, blueberries, and/or strawberries (cranberries would work too)
  • 1/2 package Trader Joe’s roasted coconut chips
  • 4 tbsp chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Melt coconut oil, maple syrup, and honey in a microwave-safe bowl (~10-20 seconds). Whisk in cocoa powder and vanilla. Mix in 2 tbsp chocolate chips. Melt a few seconds in the microwave if needed.
  3. In another bowl, mix together oats, coconut, flax, cinnamon, and sea salt.
  4. Add chocolate mixture to oats. Stir to combine. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes. Remove and stir. Put back in oven and back another 15 or 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent burning.
  5. Allow to cool before adding dried fruit, coconut chips, chia seeds, and the rest of the chocolate chips and pouring into a storage container.

Serves 8

Did you make any edible holiday gifts this year? 

Home for the Holidays

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wallpaperWhen I arrived at my parents’  house on Monday night, my old room was in a state of disarray, thanks to my dad’s latest home improvement project. Even though I haven’t lived there in 10 years, it was still weird. I tried to view the mess/transition as a metaphor, and that actually helped. In a way, I also kind of loved seeing the old retro wallpaper 16-year-old me had wanted to paint over when the family moved in.

Christmas Eve morning, I went to hot yoga with my mom, sister, and aunt after interviewing someone for a writing project I’ve been working on. It was a great way to start the holiday. A little Christmas pre-tox, anyone?

Oh, and it snowed. Someone enjoyed that. dog on table

Christmas Eve dinner was fairly low-key this year, as it was just my immediate family. For some reason, sushi is the traditional appetizer in our house, and though we usually do Greek lamb, this year that was saved for Christmas Day, so we enjoyed salad and some items from a local Italian market. After my mom played us all her favorite parts of last week’s SNL episode, we traded a couple gifts and had dessert. I enjoyed a mini chocolate cake my mom made from a friend’s recipe—it was like a mini soufflé!

My sister and I always exchange our gifts on Christmas Eve. Remember when I posted our text conversation about dinosaurs? Now I know why she was asking my favorite. dinosaur planter

I think this guy is going to be a planter…or maybe a holder for incense once I put some little rocks in him.

Christmas morning I was up at the ass-crack of dawn because I heard my mother walking around. I read on the elliptical machine in the basement to kill some time until the rest of the house was up. We opened presents, had breakfast, and did stuff around the house until my mom’s side of the family came over.

As always, the food was delicious. I enjoyed an assortment along with wine.

It was a mellow Christmas holiday—no complaints! It’s always good when, at the end of the night, you feel like everyone had a nice time.

What did you do for Christmas? Any favorite food items? 

What I Ate Wednesday #142

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So wow—Merry Christmas! Happy December 25th! I know I keep talk ing about the time going quickly, but the holidays seriously snuck up on me this year. However, I managed to get all my shopping and prep done this weekend. I guess that’s one benefit to not being coupled up—I don’t have to deal with all the obligatory partner things like office holiday parties or cookie swaps at someone’s college roommate’s girlfriend’s place or whatever.

I’ll be back later this week with some pics to share from my holiday meals, but for this week’s  What I Ate Wednesday, I figured I’d share some of my weekend eats—aka the things I relied on to stay fueled as I cleaned out the fridge, wrapped the last of my gifts, and overall got my act together.  As always, many thanks to the lovely Jenn of Peas & Crayons for hosting the weekly link party—hop on over there to see more WIAW from other bloggers!

Here’s what I ate on Sunday…

  • Breakfast: Zucchini bread oats with PB
  • Lunch: A bunch of veggies (cheers to cleaning out the fridge) and pulled chicken from the slow cooker, topped with hummus
  • Greek yogurt with cocoa powder and homemade granola—recipe coming! After I snapped this picture I added some homemade cranberry sauce that needed to get used.
  • Dinner: Leftover mushroom lentil bourguinon; toast with hummus & roasted eggplant; an unpictured square of dark chocolate
  • Snack: Cottage cheese (the No Added Salt kind) with granola

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently? 

Remember to Eat Breakfast this Christmas!

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Like Thanksgiving, Christmas is a major food holiday. I’ll spare you the “how to cut calories” talk because :

1.) That information would have been more helpful yesterday, and

2.) Everybody and their mother-in-law has already posted a healthy holiday eating guide telling you to swap in Greek yogurt, apple sauce, and pureed veggies for more fattening and caloric ingredients. And yes, we all know we should alternate each alcoholic beverage with water but, well…

It’s f***ing Christmas. Enjoy what you want to enjoy in the quantity in which you want to enjoy it and know that tomorrow is another day and that you can and should feel empowered to take care of yourself by making choices that will benefit your body in the long run.

That said, you should eat breakfast on Christmas morning. If you’re cooking, you’re going to need the energy. Regardless, trying to “save” calories and showing up for the cocktail hour ravenous will only make it harder for you to stay in tune with your hunger cues. Oh, wow—who ate all the caviar? Or, if you’re like me and feel a glass of wine halfway in, drinking on an empty stomach will only make you drunker that much faster, which never helps, well, anything.

3 Forty omeletHere are a few of my go-to “food holiday” breakfasts:

  • Greek yogurt with chia seeds and fruit
  • Egg white omelet with lots of veggies and a side of whole wheat toast—or an egg white scramble if the idea of an omelet is too f***ing labor intense on a major cooking day—totally been there
  • Oatmeal with ground flax and chopped apple cooked in, topped with some PB or almond butter. Or this.
  • Savory oatmeal: with spinach, scallions, garlic, and a poached egg on top (like so)
  • Skim  or 1% latte and a piece of fruit

A lot of food blogs and magazines have also been posting some great recipes for Christmas brunch dishes if you’re spending the holiday with friends and family and have a lot of people to feed. For example, I saw this Breakfast Slab Pie recipe on Smitten Kitchen yesterday and almost wished I had a house to fill with people (whose people, I don’t know) just so I had a reason to make a casserole dish of spinach-potato-cheese-and-egg goodness. Maybe in another life.

Cleaning out the Fridge

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Good morning! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. If you’re traveling for the Christmas holiday, wishing you smooth, safe travels. Anyone else been eating strange things in an attempt to clean out the fridge before heading out of town for a few days?

egg whites with veg messThis was a steamed potato with an assortment of veggies and scrambled egg whites—topped with hummus because, well, why not? It may not be pretty, but this bowl was packed with nutrients and kept me full for hours.

I’m looking forward to spending a couple days with my family. And writing some kind of “year in review” post. Or at least commenting on last year’s resolutions

What are some of the concoctions you’ve come up with when cleaning out the fridge before a trip? Any travel plans for Christmas or New Years? 

Say it with a stick blender this holiday season

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This article on the How About We blog cracked me up last night as I was taking a break from wrapping presents to procrastinate on the internet. (Sometimes I think I should actually try How About We‘s dating services since I dig their blog so much, but that’s a post for another blog that does not exist.)

Anyway, the author of this post makes the case that an immersion blender is basically the perfect gift for anyone on your holiday gift list. Here’s an excerpt:

You are giving the gift of blended cold drinks, soups, sauces, batters, and smoothies. And yes, you can absolutely blend all of those things with a normal, standing blender. But would you want to? An immersion blender lets you blend whatever you’re blending right in the container you made it in — bowl, pitcher, pot, whatever — which means you don’t have to pour anything, which means you don’t have to spill anything. Transferring soup from pot to blender back to pot makes soup essentially not worth making. But with an immersion blender, that isn’t necessary, because you do your blending right in the pot. Or the bowl. Or the pitcher. Whatever.

Hand blender

The point is, it’s easy, it’s basically instantaneous, and most importantly, it requires virtually no cleaning, unlike your standing glass monolith. With an immersion blender, you just pop the blending head off the base and rinse it. You’re not just giving an immersion blender, you’re giving the gift of time.

I actually received a stick blender as a gift after finishing my dietetic internship from my aunt and her husband. I think I need to use it soon to make some rosemary mashed potato soup—the secret-ingredient white beans add a nice dose of protein and fiber. I think even Nora Ephron would approve of this version of her favorite comfort food.

I also have to note that the title of this post makes me think of this Rolling Stones song—not Christmas-y at all, but if you can’t say it with a stick blender, you can always say it with dead flowers. It took  me a long time to be able to listen to this song because I used to sing it with an ex all the time (all kinds of weird, I know)—thank god I outgrew the cringe-phase.

Do you have an immersion blender? What do you like to use it for?