Category Archives: winter
May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility.
~Mary Anne Radmacher
Want to find time during this hectic holiday season to cook healthy meals? If you find meal planning overwhelming, you are not alone. It’s all too easy to give in to the temptation to toss a frozen dinner into the microwave. But the reality is, it’s easy to incorporate healthy cooking into your holiday routine.
Here are a few tips to take the stress and anxiety out of planning daily meals for your family and friends.
1. Healthy cooking begins with preparation.
The secret to preparing nutritious, delicious meals in a hurry lies in the preparation. Before you even get out the cutting board and the knife, think about what steps are required to prepare your meal. Cooking can’t begin until the prep work has been done. But once the foods have been soaked or cut, the cooking process itself takes only about a half hour to fifty minutes. Once you retrain your thinking to focus on the prep instead of the cooking, the process goes much faster. Then you can just go into the kitchen and whip up a quick meal, because all the ingredients and components are ready to go.
2. Leftovers are your friends.
The biggest mistake busy home cooks make when planning a meal is not knowing how to use leftovers—repurposing food that has already been cooked in a different, creative way. You can even take it a step further and set aside time on the weekend to precook food to use in your meals during the week. Then when you’re crunched for time, you can whip up a quick meal on the go (and save money at the same time).
3. Design your menu around the largest meal.
If you’re having trouble designing a meal plan, tackle your largest meal first. From there, you can create smaller meals for the rest of the day. For example, if your biggest meal of the day is dinner, begin by listing all of the foods and ingredients you’ll need for that meal. Then your meals for breakfast and lunch will seem much smaller and easier, and won’t take as much time. This helps make the whole process less overwhelming. So instead of getting intimidated by facing three meals a day, just focus on the largest meal and then build the rest around that. Then designing the other two meals, such as porridge for breakfast and maybe a hearty soup for lunch, will be a much easier and more manageable task.
When you follow these basic steps, you’ll not only incorporate healthy cooking into your holiday routine, you’ll also be able to focus on what’s really important– celebrating the holiday season with family and friends.
Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
Winter means snuggling up in front of a crackling fire, building snowmen on the lawn, and gathering family and friends together for a holiday meal. Imagine snowflakes falling softly, bright red berries on branches, aromatic herbs and seasonings, and warming soups and stews. Because the energy of winter slows down and turns inward, this is an ideal time to nourish your body deep inside and build up your immune system.
Seasonal cooking will help your body stay attuned to the order of the universe, becoming stronger and more resistant to illness. The key to achieving this balance is cooking according to the seasons. For example, in winter time, avoid eating cooling foods, like salads and frozen desserts. Instead, you want warming, strengthening dishes like the following recipe, which includes hardy winter greens.
Emerald Sauté with Cranberries and Pecans
This delicious side dish infuses rich flavor and color to any holiday meal. Bitter winter kale nourishes heart function and expands the heart’s capacity for love and joy. Rich in calcium and antioxidants, kale also protects against macular degeneration and osteoporosis.
1 bunch kale, chopped
2 teaspoons untoasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons spring water
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries, fruit juice sweetened
lemon juice, to taste
shoyu soy sauce, to taste
- In a skillet, sauté greens in oil 2 minutes.
- Add water. Bring to boil, lower heat, and simmer, covered, 2 minutes.
- Season with lemon juice and shoyu. Garnish with chopped pecans and dried cranberries.
Food is not just about nutrition and calories—it’s also comprised of life force energy, related to the energy of the seasons, the time day, and your moods. When you balance your inner energy with external forces through seasonal cooking, you’ll not only have a stronger immune system, but also a more balanced life.
This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays!
Are you having an energized, exciting holiday season? Or do you feel sluggish and exhausted, barely making it through the entire day? If you feel tired and run down, you may be eating traditional holiday food and this kind of food depletes your energy.
If you want to feel stress-free and more energized, here are some things you can do to kick the holiday food habit and have an energized, vibrant, exciting holiday season:
1. Eat in moderation
The key is moderation, because when you overindulge, you become more susceptible to disease. Instead of filling your plate, choose a few items from the healthier dishes on the table and eat a smaller amount.
2. Eat energizing, exciting foods
During the holidays, you can tend to eat lots of rich, heavy, high fat holiday foods over a short period of time, which can shut down your digestion. When your digestion becomes compromised, your body becomes exhausted, and you feel tired and sluggish. If you want more energy without overdosing on caffeine, eat energizing, exciting macrobiotic foods. For example, use healthy substitutes for heavy, high fat ingredients, such as using almond milk instead cream.
3. Eat according to the season
During the holidays, the weather becomes colder. So, you adjust by wearing warmer clothes and putting on the heat. Remember to include warming seasonal foods in your routine, as well. When you eat seasonal foods, you’re less susceptible to colds. By eating foods that are warming, like soups, stews, and root vegetables, rather than cooling raw salads, you increase internal warmth and strengthen your immune system to fight colds and flu.
When you have a nutrition plan in place, you will not only make better food choices, you will also have more energy and stamina to get through the holidays. Wishing you a healthy, happy, holiday season!
Are you ready to snuggle up by the fire with a warm winter treat? Then you will want to try this holiday favorite.
Roasted Chestnuts are a fun and easy snack that satisfies your sweet tooth. They are a low-fat healthy alternative to candies and sweets usually served this time of year.
This recipe serves 1. If you have a group of 12 people, you’ll need 24. If it’s just you and your sweetheart, you’ll only need 4. The amount is up to you.
- Cut an X on the bottom of each chestnut.
- Place chestnuts in a shallow baking pan with the X pointing upward.
- Roast chestnuts in 425 degree F oven for 20 minutes.
- Peel and enjoy.
If you prefer the traditional approach, you can also roast chestnuts over an open fire. You will need a chestnut roasting pan and something to support the pan above the fire.
Even if Jack Frost isn’t nipping at your nose, this is still a great holiday treat.