Tag Archives: holidays

Weekly Eating – New Year 2019

 

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Boxing Day, Happy New Year!

Whatever and however you celebrate, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I know we did, even if the driving sucks it is always worth it to see family.

skyline in virginia

We also went to Niagara Falls, which was the boy’s first time seeing them. He thought they were “pretty cool”.   🙂

Niagara Falls

It was amazing being off Monday and Tuesday, and a rough reality waking up at 6am again come Wednesday. But at least it was a short week! Back to the usual grind come next Monday.

Monday:

Breakfast – I honestly don’t remember… we probably just slept in since we had driven home from Ohio the day prior!

Lunch – Leftovers from Christmas week. We came home with like 4 different meals  🙂  Several were not vegan, but I do not waste food if at all possible, so we ate them up this week.

Dinner – mom sent us home with a bag full of leftover turkey and gravy, so I added frozen mixed veggies and flour, topped it all with biscuits, and called it a pot pie

leftover Christmas turkey pot pie

We watched Bird Box on Netflix and drank fizzy wine for the New Year, and went to bed like the old folks that we are haha

Tuesday:

Breakfast – big smoothie of frozen mixed berries, amla powder, flax seed, and almond milk

Lunch – cooked a batch of sorghum and made a “everything in the fridge” lentil curry to go with it in the instant pot. And I thawed the leftover injera from Dec to make it more fun to eat.

sorghum curry

Snack – banana bread a friend gave us for Christmas

Dinner – I made a batch of saffron rice and a crazy lazy version of Hoppin John with black eyed peas for the New Year. No greens though, so this year might be disastrous for our finances haha

new years hoppin john

Wednesday:

Breakfast – big smoothie of frozen mixed berries, amla powder, flax seed, and almond milk

Lunch – leftover half of a tofu sofritas burrito from Chipotle on the drive home

Snack – hummus & cucumber slices

hummus and cucumber

Dinner – we tried jackfruit for the first time. The internet says it is a vegan superfood, and they are right! It doesn’t have much of a taste on its own, but it shreds just like chicken or pork, and cooks into whatever you want.

canned jackfruit

I made some rolls to put it on, and added some shredded carrots and cooked beans for bulk, and we had bbq sandwiches with baked sweet potato fries.

jackfruit bbq sandwich

Thursday:

Breakfast – banana bread from a friend & coffee

banana bread

Lunch – leftover mushroom soup from Christmas with a big salad of spring mix, blueberries, dried apricots, and walnuts.

soup and salad

Y’all this mushroom soup recipe has been in my family for generations, and we all wait all year for it. Is it vegan? Hell naw. Cause heavy cream and butter are lyfe in Ohio. But am I gonna let it go to waste? Hell. to. the. no.

Dinner – Pumpkin gnocchi with pumpkin I froze earlier, and thawed pesto, topped with cashew cream and hot sauce

pumpkin gnocchi with pesto and cashew cream

Friday:

Breakfast – big smoothie of frozen mixed berries, amla powder, flax seed, and coconut water

Lunch – a big salad, and leftover eggplant parm with frozen mixed broccoli and cauliflower

eggplant parm and veggies

Snack – Hummus & cut up cucumber

Dinner – I forgot to add one exception to my Veganuary rules… sushi. Sushi, wine, and popcorn are my kryptonite. So when a friend invited us to an over-due AYCE sushi night, I wasn’t about to say “no, put a pin in that until February please”. I had the most plates. 😀

The Weekend

The weekend will include cleaning the house from the tornado it has become. We need to put away Christmas things and generally tidy up the clutter. Mari Kondo has a show on Netflix now, so that’s hopefully gonna motivate me to keep purging clutter. I officially accepted the Dragons on Fire’s challenge to de-clutter and get rid of 1000 items this year!

shoes

I’m off to a strong start, decluttering 11 items starting with hats and gloves on January 1st. Then I tackled shoes, purging a total of 15 pairs and keeping another 28 pairs. Pretty sure the boy has maybe 5… (2 tennis, 1 formal, 1 hiking/snow, 1 slippers).

It’s not fair, for girls we have so many different styles compared to dudes, and need all the styles in different colors too! (Flats, flip flops, running shoes, ankle boots, tall boots, heels, formal or casual, black and brown…) But it’s a start.

quail

I’m also oh so happy to have my covey back! I missed these girls over break, and the pure jolt of joy when I find an egg. They had a great time on my friend’s farm, though one met a tragic end… the flock also accidentally expanded. Someone left a box with several quail, and the two groups were combined.

The person watching them kept a few, but I ended up coming home with 11 rather than 9, of which 9 or 10 are girls! So I’m not mad, that means oodles of eggs come spring time.

Food Total: $66.95

No produce box, deliveries resume next week. I also forgot to cancel the Butcher Box subscription, so that charge will show up next week, oopsie… At least their meat ‘meets’ my strict criteria! So the boy will get one treat night next week.

By the way, the deal they are running now is $25 for Alaskan wild salmon. If you use my affiliate link –> http://fbuy.me/lwpAj <– and sign up, we both get 2 pounds of wild salmon free! I would keep going for another box for that!

Meats $7.08 Dairy $7.06 Staples $24.17 Fruit/Veg $25.55
vegan burgers x2 kinds 7.08 flavored Greek 1.58 org salsa mild med 3.78 org avocados 4 x3 10.47
plain Greek yogurt 32oz 3.49 coconut water can x2 1.96 frozen berries x2 3.84
organic hummus 1.99 1.99 coconut water box x2 4.98 sweet potatoes x2 bags 3.38
hot sauce 1.49 bananas 11 1.39
organic seed bread x2 7.98 blueberries 1.99
wraps x2 3.98 big box spring mix 3.49
seedless cucumber 0.99

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

 

 

Super simple peppermint meringues

 

As a holiday or any day treat, meringues are so simple to make if you follow one simple rule: beat the crap outta the egg whites. Oh, and don’t let ANY fats touch the mix. Easy right?

And with less than 5 ingredients, and only 20 calories per meringue, these are an awesome holiday treat to have out at your party or give as homemade gifts.

I’ve made meringues before, with vanilla and a peppermint candy crushed and sprinkled on top. These take mint to a whole new level. I made a big batch, to give out to coworkers and neighbors. The swirl of color makes them cheery, and the peppermint flavor is very strong, so feel free to cut it down if you don’t want that.

Recipe makes about 4 dozen.

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp peppermint oil
  • Sprinkle of sea salt
  • Optional: few drops food coloring

IMG_6253

Step 1: Separate the eggs into whites and yolks. If you want to be super cautious, break each egg into one bowl, then combine them all in a separate bowl. This ensures absolutely no yolk gets in. The fats in the yolk will ruin the meringue and cause it to not rise.

IMG_6257

Step 2: Beat the crap out of the egg whites. Seriously, let it go for about 20 minutes. The eggs should bubble, then begin to “fluff” up. Continue until soft peaks form. That means if you dip a spoon in, it can pull up a peak, but it flops over when you remove the spoon.

IMG_6261

Step 3: Add in the sugar and the peppermint flavoring. You could also try anise, vanilla, lemon, almond… let your imagination run wild. Sprinkle in about 1/4 tsp of salt, and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. If you stick in a spoon, you can pull up peaks that then hold their shape.

IMG_6262

Step 4:You can either put it into ziplock bags with a hole snipped in the corner and pipe it onto cookie sheets, or just use a tablespoon to plop dollops on.

Bake in the oven at 250 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until fully hardened. You can also prop the door open and leave them overnight. I use a foil sheet so they are easier to remove. Also, you can add in a drop of food coloring at step 3 for fun holiday swirls!

IMG_6256

Bonus tip: If you put the yolks in a container with 1/4 tsp of salt or sugar per 4 yolks, you can freeze them for later use. The salt or sugar will keep them from becoming “gummy” for longer. Just mark if you added salt or sugar so you know which recipe to use them in.

Avoiding Holiday Overeating

You’ve made it through Thanksgiving with a few pounds of meat, stuffing, potatoes, beans, cranberry and pie stuffed into your stomach. If you still made it under your daily expected calorie allowance, great job! We’re all proud of you.

If you didn’t, welcome to 90% of America. But don’t despair. Even if you had that extra slice (or three) of pecan pie, you still have time to make up for it before we ring in 2014. 

But how can I avoid overeating? you may ask, since Christmas is just around the corner, and everywhere I go tempting cookies, cakes, candies and buffets will be shoved in my face 24/7?

Never fear, dear readers, I have scoured the internets and personal experiences to come up with ways you can avoid the “December 15” (like the Freshman 15, except it accumulates every year and intramural soccer plus late teen metabolism no longer gets rid of it over spring break).


15 Tips to Avoid Overeating During the Holidays

 1. Have a plan
The best way to avoid any food traps is to have a plan of attack. Where are you going: an office party, a family reunion, a friend’s big bash? If you’ve been to a similar event, you’ll have an idea of what types and portions of food will be served.

Decide ahead of time how much and on what you expect to indulge, put that amount on your plate, and then avoid the food tables for the rest of the night.

2. Plan exercise
Part of a successful holiday weight maintenance plan is to follow your exercise routine, or start a new one. If you normally run three days a week, put it in your calendar in pen, and keep that appointment with yourself.

Even though holidays are crazy busy and all about spending time with family and friends, don’t forget that YOU time is important too. You can also make a more conscious effort to be more active in general. Go up and down the stairs for each ingredient you need, do squats while you mix dough, play with the pups or kids in the snow (or leaves, whatever your weather) and take an after-dinner stroll each day.

3. Bring your own snacks or meals
If you are going to a potluck, great! Whip up a healthy casserole or slow cooker dish you know won’t damage your waistline if you have seconds. You may even introduce someone else to a new favorite.

Stuff a small bag of nuts, cut veggies or fruit, or granola bars in your purse or coat pocket. That way you can tame cravings if hunger strikes without washing down bacon-wrapped-ham and double cheddar mashed potatoes with a gallon of egg nog.

4. Don’t skip meals
Remember that trying not to gain weight is NOT an excuse to skip meals. This actually slows your metabolism because you’re essentially telling your body that food is scarce now, to which it responds by holding onto every morsel you do eat in the form of fat. Be smart about what you eat, but please do continue to eat. Especially breakfast.

5. Be realistic 
It isn’t always possible to bring baby carrots and have a salad only while those around you nom on piles of holiday treats. Sometimes you have to judge the options and simply choose the best of what’s available. Holidays are busy, so there will also be days where you just can’t cook a healthy meal for yourself or don’t want to bother thinking about it. Just keep an eye on portion sizes and moderation is always key.

6. Allow occasional indulgence
As above, this is also important in “real” life. No one is perfect, we all have that holiday treat or two we wait all year for. Whether it’s Aunt Mary’s peanut brittle, grandma’s perfect pecan pie, or your family recipe for the perfect cookie, make sure to build some indulgences into your holiday eating plan. This helps keep you on track the rest of the time. 

7. Know your limits & when to say no
If there is a treat that you just cannot help yourself around, be mindful of that and remove the temptation. If you know you will eat every gingersnap in sight, don’t bake or buy nine dozen and leave them out on the table.

Also don’t accept and eat food just to be polite or out of a feeling of obligation. Learn how to say no politely, or say thank you and then move the treat along to someone else who will enjoy it.

8. Browse and graze
Before you hit a holiday buffet guns blazing and head back to your table with five plates full to the brim, take a lap. See what is there and prioritize the foods by what you like and don’t get to eat as often, then focus on those dishes.

Had green bean casserole seven times in the past week? Don’t waste space on your plate and in your stomach. Don’t really like stuffing, but feel it’s necessary? Forget about it.

On a similar note, you don’t have only one chance to eat each day. Pick a few tiny samples of things that look good and try them. Then stop. You can always go back for more or to try different things.

9. Focus on experiences, not the food
Rather than giving in to the holiday food-frenzy, make the season about the experiences. Take a walk in the wintry air, pick out a tree, share holiday stories with friends, or drive around to look at light displays.

Anything to take the focus off the sugar rush all around and create memories that will live in your mind and not in your abdomen.

10. Drink lots of water
This is just a solid tip every day of the year. Water is fantastic for your skin, hair, digestion, immunity, and more. It also helps you stay satisfied; a lot of the time we mistake hunger for thirst without realizing it.

Drink a big glass with lemon when you wake up, sip on some hot tea by the fire, have a glass o’ H2O between each alcoholic beverage, or challenge your cousin to a chugging contest. Do whatever it takes to get your daily 8 glass minimum.

11. Fill up on fruits and veggies
If there are any fresh, raw options, those are always your best bet. Allow some heavier foods too, but fill the majority of your plate with salad, cut veggies, and raw fruit. If you fill up on three cups of veggies, you’re still probably only 300 calories into your day!

12. Skip dips, dressings, and gravy
Some of the worst health offenders are well-known. Gravy, ranch dressings, fruit or veggie dips, anything cream or oil based. If you must have gravy on your potatoes, just go easy. They will taste fine with 1/4 cup versus 1 1/2 cups.

13. Observe yourself
Pay attention to trigger foods or situations. Don’t allow yourself to hang around near the food tables. Don’t eat if you aren’t hungry, just because the leftovers are there. Distract yourself by chatting with family you only see once a year, or making a new office friend.

14. Limit alcohol
Alcohol is a two-fold danger. For one, it has fairly high amounts of calories alone, and if you’re the type to enjoy fruity mixed beverages rather than the straight stuff the calorie count can become absurd quickly.

A 100 calorie shot or a 900 calorie peppermint kahlua with cream are both excess calories that don’t leave you feeling full.

Secondly, alcohol lowers our inhibitions. Who hasn’t gotten the “drunchies” after a night of partying hard, only to regret the next morning the 5000 calories’ worth of tacos we ate at 3am?

As above, drink a glass of water between each beverage, choose wine or hard liquor in small quantities, and behave yourself. Mostly.

15. Analyze your reasons
There are so many varied reasons for over-eating, what is it that prompts you to pick up that fork again? Are you hurt by family pokes about your current weight? Does being home make you feel like a kid again and you’re seeking comfort?

Do you feel left out if you don’t stuff yourself? Are you afraid that you’ll never have access to this particular kind of cookie again so you must eat two dozen tonight? Ask yourself why, be honest with the answers, and then be rational in how to deal with the issues.

Don’t forget: Forgive yourself for slip-ups
We are all human. That’s a fact of life. We all have goals and ideals, but we all will sometimes mess up.

And that is OK. Really.

If you just ate three days’ worth of food in one sitting before you even realized it, just acknowledge it happened, think about why, and resolve to not let it happen again. And probably seek some pink liquid help for the severe stomachache you now have.

For more great articles on holiday overeating and how to avoid it:

California Pacific Medical Center
GroupHealth
AmIhungry.com
Prevention Magazine
Huffington Post

 

 

How do you say “no” to seconds of the holiday ham or cookies that are calling your name?