holidays

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? 

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? 

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? 

What to Eat on Thanksgiving Morning

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For all my non-American readers, apologies for adding to the plethora of Thanksgiving-centric posts. In a few days, this will all be over and we can get on with the winter wonderland madness.

I know there’s a lot of hype out there about the upcoming food holidays, but I’m just here to tell you that it’s okay to eat the amount that feels right to you—no matter if you’ve got an aunt pushing pie or even if you feel weird to not have reached that sweet, satisfied spot of The Perfect Amount even though the cousins have already started the “OMG I’m so fat” talk.

We are all different bodies with different appetites, and it’s important to be kind to ourselves and let our own inner cues tell us when we’re hungry and when we’re full. Put a little bit of the things you really, really want on your plate and enjoy it.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way…here are my two favorite ways to start your holiday off on a good foot:

1.) Do something active—nothing like a little endorphin boost to help you face the fam.

2.) Eat breakfast. Non-negotiable.

Oats & flax topped w/ veggies, goat cheese, turkey bacon, and a poached egg
Oats & flax topped w/ veggies, goat cheese, turkey bacon, and a poached egg

I know it sounds counterintuitive, eating before a big meal, but trust me. Putting a balanced dish in the bank will keep your metabolism going and ward off the urge to polish off the entire cheese plate before cocktail hour is even halfway over.

So what to eat? In a word: protein. Some of my favorite sources include plain Greek yogurt and eggs and egg whites.

3 Forty omeletEven better? Add some whole grains and fibrous fruits and/or veggies to keep you satisfied until the main event and more in check with what you’re really craving. A little healthy fat in the form of nut butter, olive oil, or avocado can also give you some staying power. Some easy, healthy options:

  • 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

IMG_2542Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you’re celebrating.

What’s on the menu for your Thanksgiving?  

A few Labor Day things

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I went with the bright pink
I went with the bright pink

Even though I had to work on Labor Day, I still enjoyed some time with my family over the weekend. Saturday a bunch of “the cousins” came over to my parents’ house for a BBQ, which was a lot of fun. Sunday was a low-key day that involved lunch with my mom, and mani-pedis. I literally hadn’t gotten my nails done since it was still cold out. Much-needed. My parents were nice enough to drive me back into the city, where we all shared some drinks and appetizers before they went to see a movie.

The past few weeks, I’ve been packing my lunch a little more often than normal—having something colorful to look forward to, especially working a humid, gray holiday, is really nice. Yesterday I enjoyed what I’m just going to call an antipasti salad: a few slices of leftover prosciutto (from the wine bar I went to with the ‘rents) over greens along with roasted eggplant and sliced mini heirloom tomatoes—plenty of balsamic and some grated pecorino. antipasti salad

It wasn’t quite a Labor  Day BBQ, but it was certainly enjoyable.

What was the best thing you ate over Labor Day weekend? 

For anyone else working Labor Day

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This is my second year in a row working the holiday, but hey, healthcare, paychecks, fun stuff. Luckily, I had a nice time catching up with friends and family this weekend, so I’m just pretending it’s another Monday.

How are you spending Labor Day?