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.


Merry Revolution to Me

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My birthday totally snuck up on me this year. The “oh s***” moment came yesterday while I was out for lunch with a friend I’ve known since, technically, nursery school, and we were talking about weird it is that all our friends are married and the ways in which we are and are not dreading our high school reunion.

“Oh s***,” I said, and smacked the table. “Tomorrow’s my birthday. F***.”

And then I joined the cookie-baking party that had been underway at my aunt’s house since 1 pm. I drank a glass of port and spaced out for a moment as I watched everybody work from the recipes they’ve treasured since “before Black Friday,” as my mom said—plus some awesome newer recipes they’ve added to the roster over the years. IMG_4085

I remember going to Cookie Baking day as a little kid, then as a pre-teen, a teenager…I’m sure I went when I was in college, but I’m drawing a momentary blank. And now I’m the age my mother was when she had her second child. If I feel old, I should take a moment to acknowledge my parents and shut my mouth about that one.

My mom loves to torture us with this picture
My mom loves to torture us with this picture

I have to admit, the past year was not at all what I expected, but in many ways, much better than I could have anticipated. From getting my license and my Masters,  to learning how to crack open my own damn lobster—and that McNuggets in bed is a deal-breaker for me (long story)—27 was a game-changer. I’m eager to see what this next year has in store.

I have some exciting things in the works that I’m looking forward to sharing with you along the way. If nothing else, cheers to that : )

Thanksgiving 2013-Obligatory Recap

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The unofficial over of my first cookbook, "How the F*** do I make this Food?: Cooking with Jess."
The unofficial over of my first cookbook, “How the F*** do I make this Food?: Cooking with Jess.”

To celebrate family and colonialism this year, I traveled to the motherland (aka New Jersey). Wednesday night, my mom and I had dinner and then prepped a few things for the next day.

Thanksgiving morning was pretty chill. I mean, aside from being balls-cold, it was very relaxing. Since we’re all early risers, we hung out in the kitchen with some coffee and make-your-own breakfast until it was time for my mom, sister, and I to head out for a hot yoga class. I really dug that the instructor focused a lot on balance—something I didn’t give a crap about when I was younger, but which has become a big focus of my practice in the past year.

At the end of class, this was on my mat:

follow your dreams

Kind of love that.

The meal itself was really nice. My mom and I contributed a dish of butternut squash roasted in coconut oil and tossed with wilted greens and a roasted garlic, white wine sauce. It was the perfect complement to all the other Thanksgiving foods.

Am I the only one out there whose favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is the turkey?  I mean, it’s also accurate to say that I love pretty much any roasted veggies, and I usually take some stuffing and cranberry sauce, but I can take or leave the potatoes and green bean casserole. For dessert this year, there were a couple store-bought pies and a caramel apple tart that my mom made from a friend’s recipe. We also enjoyed some wine with the meal.

All in all, it was a really nice day. I don’t think we’re doing the Black Friday thing this year, though I definitely am taking advantage of the opportunity to buy my feelings—and some Christmas gifts—at a discount online.

How was your Thanksgiving? 

What I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving

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Cinnamon Tempest tea

Seriously! This stuff is wonderful—and extremely close to my favorite Harney & Sons tea (and for way less money). In a completely different way from coffee, tea is one of those little pleasures in life that can help you slow down for a second. It doesn’t get much better than a hot cup of the stuff on a dreary day.

I’ve been trying to keep any complaints or “I’m so run down”-speak off the blog, but November has been very demanding, and after an emotionally challenging October, I’m more than ready for the stay-cation I have coming up. I can’t think of many better ways to celebrate my birthday than by not setting my alarm clock for a whole week.

I’ll be back later this holiday weekend with some food-related thoughts and photos, but for now, enjoy some tales of Thanksgivings past…

2011 Thanksgiving Photobomb--one of my favorite family pictures ever
2011 Thanksgiving Photobomb–one of my favorite family pictures ever

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving 2009

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving? Any favorite Thanksgiving foods? 

What I Ate Wednesday #138

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Happy almost-Thanksgiving! I know a lot of you are probably deep into your Turkey Day prep. I’m heading to see my family after work sometime later today. My aunt is hosting Thanksgiving this year and having a lot of the meal catered, but many of us are bringing dishes as well. Predictably, I’m making a few vegetable sides.

Before the holiday madness starts, let’s take a second for a little What I Ate Wednesday, shall we?  Since the last few weeks, I shared Sunday meals with you, here’s a glimpse of what I ate last Thursday, when we served an early Thanksgiving dinner to the patients at the facility where I work. Thank you as always to the lovely Jenn of Peas & Crayons for hosting the weekly link party. Take a visit to see more WIAW from other bloggers!

Since I was staying late last Thursday to help with dinner service, I didn’t have to go in until 11. It was nice to sleep in until 7:30 (hah) and, like, have a morning at home. I even got to run a few errands before heading to work. The day flew by pretty quickly, and soon it was time to go put stickers on the table cloths in front of people on modified-texture diets so servers would know who was puree, mechanical soft, etc. As the dietitian, my job was mostly to keep on eye on things and be on hand to answer questions and handle any issues like “Can this person have the potatoes on their diet?” or “Am I allowed to give more soda?”

I hate being told to “just watch over things.” Maybe it stems from my experience working banquets in college or just being one of those people who always feels the need to be doing something, but I’d much rather be scooping food onto plates in the kitchen or even walking around refreshing drinks. I’ll get up and talk in front of 500 people or pass plates, but ask me to stand in the back of an auditorium and make sure everybody gets the right diet texture, and I’m a twitchy ball of nerves. Go figure. Luckily, everyone seemed to enjoy the food, and the live band got a lot of people up and dancing—walkers and all. I’d say it was a successful night, but goodness, am I happy it’s over with!

Here’s what I ate to stay fueled throughout the day…

  • Breakfast: Eaten at home for a change! Still not sick of these pumpkin cranberry oats–especially topped with PB & cranberry sauce.
  • Lunch: Big salad—I also added some tuna for extra protein.
  • Snack: (unpictured) Dry-roasted edamame and a macintosh apple
  • Dinner: Shortcut shakshuka and (unpictured) toast with hummus & eggplant
  • Snack: A sliced banana with nonfat ricotta and a drizzle of maple syrup (loving this lately)

What are your Thanksgiving plans? 

‘Tis the season…

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If you’re going to eat crap this holiday season, at least let it be the real deal? snowman poop

Anyway. Happy Monday!

While you were grilling

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overnight oats (Greek yogurt, oats, chia seeds, ground flax, cinnamon, and blueberries)
overnight oats (Greek yogurt, oats, chia seeds, ground flax, cinnamon, and blueberries)

So I know I did my fair share of grumbling about working on Memorial Day, but it was actually pretty productive and mellow. I”m one of those weirdos who doesn’t mind working a weekend because everything is so much quieter. For example, I actually had time to sit down and chat a while with some of my patients, and I also caught up on some super-exciting pressure ulcer notes for a monthly report. I also happen to really like the other RDs I work with and had a nice time working alongside a few who were also spending the holiday at their desks.

They are also awesome for not looking at me like I was/am crazy for photographing my breakfast and lunch.

kale & quinoa salad with black-eyed peas

I actually got out on time, so after a catnap, I spent a while relaxing in Central Park before coming home to clean, catch up on Mad Men, and make breakfast for the next couple days. Another David Bowie dance party  may have happened.

I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t a little jealous of the happy shiny people walking around with beer and sex in their faces, but hey, I don’t even really like beer.

One big highlight: At least I was getting paid for my time at work, unlike when I was a dietetic intern working Labor Day

What did you do for Memorial Day? Ever work a holiday?