Holiday season usually means several parties to celebrate, Thanksgiving feast, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New year among other celebrations! One of the great thing about holidays are get together, eating yummy food and being with family and friends: loved ones. However, I dread January as I tend to gain a bit weight somehow From Diwali, to Thanksgiving, to Christmas and New year eve party and party food. Are you like me? If you are then know what I am talking about. If you do not gain weight, then write quickly and tell us your secret!
There are so many parties during last few months of the year:
Office Christmas Party
Friends parties (Some of us have more than one different gatherings)
New year Celebrations
When we had Thanksgiving gathering, where we had so much food, and 5 types of pies, plus more desserts dishes. We shared and ate leftover for days! It sure was fun, but not for my body. I have already plan to make sure my end of year gatherings are fun and healthy both.
That means we will be eating, drinking and be merry! So no wonder when it comes January 1st, we all have new year resolution to lose weight and be fit.
Prevention is always better than a cure, if we are just bit careful on what we eat, we might be able to avoid weight gain that happens to most of good people. I admit it, it is hard for me as I love to cook, I am always cooking and sharing meals or eating out in those gourmet restaurant does not help.
However my biggest problem are my mom who think, that only way can show our love towards each other by finishing their food! And if you say” Mom, I am careful and eating healthy and I can not eat your fried dumpling”, oh the guilt trip she gives, oh my. No one can resist it, not me either, specially when my mom’s cooking is so yummy to me!.
Do you have mom or relative like that? Than you’ll know what I am talking about.
Here are my top ten ways, I am trying to keep my health, fitness and little sanity intact during this holidays. Hope this will help you celebrate meaningful holidays that are healthier.
Eat a healthy snack before going to party. When I host a party, I try to keep some healthier but when I go to my relatives and friend’s party there may or may not be healthy or vegetarian choices so I usually eat a little before going to party and it helps me when I am not famished to choose better food.
Eat more vegetables: Being vegetarian it is easier for me to choose vegetables and fruits but even if you are not vegan or vegetarian, you can choose various vegetable choices with your meat and potatoes to balance out the nutrition and fat.
Skip gravy, cheesy and high fat choices: These gravys, cheese dips and friend snacks are high in fat and if we eat too much, it sure will add to our waist and other places on our bodies. If you can not resist and skip it like me, make sure you take little for taste only. Everything in moderation will be much better thing to do.
Drink more water: Sometimes we are thirsty, no other liquid quenches our thirst like cold glass of water, so drink it through out the day. 8-10 glasses is generally recommended for most people. Added benefit of drinking water is also, that it will keep us hydrated and it is calorie free.
Reduce Alcohol: For some people there can not be celebration without alcohol and that is fine. If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation and always munch some food with your wine or beer so to make sure you do not have hangover next morning.
Please your relative other ways: If you have relatives like mine who insist that if you loved them, you will finish their cheesy and fried dish, you have to be careful to stay healthy and not get fat. You can take little to show you love them and ask them that you loved the food so much you will get take out for home so you can eat it next day as well. They may just be happy enough to pack it for you, and not force you finish it right there. It may just work for you as well.
Less dessert: Not many can skip dessert and I am included in there. Our gathering have lot of sweet dishes such as pies, chocolates pudding, and more. Have little pieces of dessert instead of skipping it all together so you will not have deprived feeling of not having a sweet.
Exercise: Winter time is bad for going out and with many parties with food can be tough on staying healthy. So make an extra effort to exercise, dance and just do lot of walking when you can to keep fit during winter time.
Bring your healthy food to share: If you host a party, make sure you have plenty of healthy choices for you and others who might want to eat healthier along with traditional food choices. If you are going to friend’s party, offer to bring a potluck meal to share which is healthier so if there is nothing you can be sure to eat at least your own food you brought. This has helped me a lot, as a vegetarian I will always have a choice to vegetarian choices and host does not have to go out of her way to make a special meal for me.
Do not worry and enjoy it: Holidays comes once a year so take precautions but if you can not, just enjoy it and do not worry about it much. It is not fun to be party popper who does not join in fun, so do not make it obvious and go with flow.
We all deserve break once in awhile, so have little fun and eat food your aunt made specially for you. Wear that ugly christmas sweater that your mom bought you. Have a laugh and silly fun once in a while!
Being vegetarian is not new for many, some do it for health reason, some do it for ethical reason. One of my friend has gone vegetarian for saving money and being healthy. Even if you are meat eater, having vegetarian meal along with your meat and potatoes will balance your diet.
Many think Vegetarian diet means eating salads and Raw fruits, it is not the case. There are so many great vegetarian choices that are not only healthy, quick and delicious. If you are like me and sometimes need an inspiration from a cookbook, look no further. These 5 books in my cookbook collection is perfect for any cook who wants to make great tasting vegetarian meal. All you need is simple cookware pot, a few kitchen gadgets and vegetarian cooking recipe to start off making a vegetarian meal. When you cook at home, food is not only healthy but you will save money on eating out as well.
There are many of us eating more vegetarian diet for various reasons. One of the main reason for is that in general vegetarian diet is more healthier, unless your diet consist of soda and french fries only. One of our friend would like to try more healthier food, but he think that vegetarian diet is boring. In reality vegetarian diet can be full of variety food and you will not need to eat salads everyday. For those who might be in same boat as our friend or fully vegetarian, you will love our top 5 vegetarian cookbooks choices. These top rated and best selling vegetarian cookbooks have easy, fast, healthy and delicious vegetarian recipes to whip by anyone at home.
This book is written by Robin Robertson, and great for anyone who are short on time and wants to eat healthy home cooked meals. Who is not busy now a days? Not many. Quick Fix book also has dairy free recipes for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan. Quick fix book offers easy, simple recipes for new cooks to seasoned cook. The book has many recipes from salad, main meals, appetizer and more. It also has slow cooker recipes and shows us how to use pre-made food to create a quick meal. With these tips and recipe idea, cooking for yourself or party can be fun and stress free. It is not for purest who wants to cook everything from scratch, still offers fast healthy alternative to eating at fast food joint. Our favorite recipe are, Spinach and sun dried tomatoes quesedilla, Mediterranean Orzo Salad,and No-Bake Oatmeal Almond Cookies.
‘How to cook everything vegetarian’ is written Mark Bittman who has written and published numerous successful cookbooks. This cookbook has over 2000 recipes with illustrations. Book offer simple and delicious recipes for new cook to follow, there are no complex recipes or instructions which makes it lot easier for many of us cooking at home. A few of our favorite recipes from the book are Fava Bean and Mint Salad with Asparagus and Red Lentils with Chaat Masala.
This popular cookbook is written by Marilyn Diamond, who also has published many successful books in cooking and getting fit for life with focus on eating to stay fit and healthy. This cookbook has over 500 fit and healthy vegetarian recipes. It also shows why fitness and health matters and reasons we should eat certain way. The book makes it simple explanation making us want to be better at taking care of ourselves while eating good and diverse healthy food at home.
This paperback cookbook by Carole Raymond is perfect for students or those of us, who wants to cook frugal vegetarian meals. Make sure you get the revised copy, as new version is more updated with new and updated recipes. This cookbook has a few tofu and Nori recipes but most of the recipes are simple and easy to make and ingredients that you can find in most grocery stores.One thing we like about this cookbook is it offers lot of healthy alternative for everyone’s favorite food such as pizza, burritos and burgers and pasta. Our favorite recipes are Orange Rice and Black beans salad and Broiled Tofu with lemon vinaigrette.
This paperback cook book is authored by Jay Weinstein and has over 300 recipes inside. The book has simple ingredients that you will find in most groceries store, without hunting for those hard to find spices. Jay explains everything listed with recipe such as what is that? where to find it? and other possible questions. His writing has humorous tone with tons of fun stories about food and family. Our favorite recipes inside are, baked Ziti lasagna.
I have many cookbooks as I love cooking, but these top 5 picks will be great for any home chefs from a beginner cook to expert cook. Enjoy Cooking.
How to Make Vegetarian Food at Home:
In addition to these vegetarian cookbooks, please check out Videos of: How to Make Vegetarian Pizza by Vah Chef, he is very funny, energetic and shows great way to make many vegetarian and non-veg recipes.
What if you are vegan or want to try out vegan? It does not have be salad greens only, there are many wide varieties of many filling and yummy vegan recipes are there to try out, even for those who are not vegan or vegetarian! Here are some of the vegan cookbooks that you may like to try out!
Are you or someone in you know is chocoholic like me? Many girls and woman I know tend to love chocolates. You can indulge your chocolate lover friends and family with home made cookies that are perfect for Christmas potluck dinner, or make a perfect gift from heart that is not too hard on your wallet.
I will admit, I am little better than average cook and not so great baker, so I am experimenting baking things and experimenting. I got this recipe selection from Martha Stewart Cookie Collection and changed it a bit to make to my taste as a vegetarian person.
This cookies are great for Christmas time as well any other times, we may have sweet craving. You and your loved one will enjoy these delightful cookies as it blends cocoa powder and coffee flavors in it.
This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps: This cookies looks like little snow covered brown hills. These cookies will stay fresh about a week in air tight container. If you still have left over cookies after 5 days, call your chocoholic girl friends to help you finish it and make some more.
Prep: 45 Minutes
Total: 1 hour and 45 minutes
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 teaspoons instant espresso or strong instant coffee
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted Margarine or vegan butter
2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
Egg Replacer for 1 egg, or Use 1 over ripe mashed banana
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon soymilk
Confectioners’ sugar, for coating
How to Make Cookies:
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder, and salt.
In another bowl mix with an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in mashed banana until well combined; mix in cooled chocolate.
With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat in soymilk until all if mixed well.
Flatten dough into a disk; wrap in plastic. Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls.
Pour confectioners’ sugar (about 1/2 cup) into a medium bowl; working in batches, roll balls in sugar two times, letting them sit in sugar between coatings.
Place on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart.
Bake until cookies have spread and coating is cracked, 12 to 14 minutes; cookies will still be soft to the touch.
Cool cookies on a wire rack.
Share it with friends and family. But before you share, first make sure you eat some.
These cookies crack in oven while baking, it is supposed to, so do not worry. It will make rustic look like snow covered hill.
If you want to check out More recipes check out more Recipes here.
If you love cooking or not, making this recipe is fairly easy for any one. Baba Ghanoush can add a great flavor to any party and it’s easy and quick to make. Sometimes I roast eggplant in oven and sometimes when I am in hurry, I use my toaster oven to roast the eggplant in high heat. It cooks up fast. It is vegan recipe so it is great for vegan, vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
You need to add Tahini, Garlic, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice and put in food processor to coarse constancy or fine pureed dip per your taste. Add extra garnishing touch with Cilantro and olive oil and you’re done. It is that simple. You can serve it with pita or bread.
Around the World: Interesting Tidbits
There are similar dishes made from grilled eggplant similar to “Baba Ganoush” around the world, eaten and loved by many people.
In Palestinian homes, it is made with wild eggplant from the Arabic meaning ‘of the earth.’ It is made with tehina, olive oil, lemon and parsley.
In Lebanon, baba ghanoush is a starter or appetizer and quite famous dish eaten everyday.
In Egypt it is mostly served as a side-dish or salad. It is made of aubergine with finely diced onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables mixed inside it.
In Israel, both the traditional version made with tahina and a variation made with mayonnaise is eaten.
Also in Greece, it is called melitzanosalata(meaning “eggplant salad”).
In Romania, the eggplant spread is called “Salat? de vinete” (eggplant salad).
In India and Pakistan it is known as “Baigan Bharata”, it is made with grilled charred long eggplant, with onions and tomatoes.
There is also Bulgarian eggplant salad/spread, called kyopolou.
1. Sliced the eggplants in to thin disc if using large eggplants. If you are using long thin ones, slice it in half on long side.
2. Put some olive oil all over the eggplant, salt and pepper.
3. Put Eggplants on foil for easy clean up. You can use oven or toaster oven to roast the eggplants.
4. Roast until eggplant skin is charred and feel soft to touch, turning the eggplant over once. It can be 20-40 minutes, depending on size of eggplants and type of oven you may have.
5. Take it from oven, let it cool. Peel the skin or keep it. It is up to you. I usually leave skin as it is for rustic flavor.
6. Roughly hand chopped the eggplant and put in food processor or blender.
7. Add Grated Lemon peel, Lemon Juice, Garlic Cloves, Tahini, Salt as needed and Olive oil and puree until smooth as you like.
8. Take out mixture in to shallow dish or serving bowl.
9. Drizzle more olive oil, peperika and finely chopped cilantro for garnish.
10. Serve at room temperature, with toasted pita triangles, crackers, or other breads.
How to Make Video:
For those who like visual learning of how to Baba Ganoush, here is video of how to make it. I make it often at home, but my skills at video and picture taking are so minimal, I always leave to professional!
Enjoy and check out other food and recipe posts from Heart and Mind: