3 Holiday creations - hummus, barley mint apple salad and fruit pizza

My favorite part about the holiday season is being around family. But like any holiday, memories are typically being created when food is involved. And when it comes to the holiday season, I couldn't believe more in my saying that "if you eat well most of the time you don't have to worry about the rest of the time." 

I will never diet, fast, cleanse or detox before during or after the holiday.... or anytime of the year. EVER.

Despite enjoying occasional treats and eats, the same relationship with food and my body alongside the same tips and tools are carried with me during the holiday meals. I'm not alone in this, for both Karel and I love traditional foods around the holiday and neither one of us want to be served anything sugar-free, fat-free or anything that has some restricted word in front of it. Don't tell me what I am not eating - tell me what I get to enjoy. We do not leave our meals feeling stuffed, horrible or miserable but instead, we smile because we enjoyed a fabulous meal (and dessert) with our family and feel thanks that we get to reflect on another year of crossing finishing lines and being in great health. We also think about those who may not be in good health and wish that they could share these special moments with us. 

Despite the large portions and higher calorie/fat/sugar meals that people are served, there really isn't a lot that we should stress about with holiday eats. If anything, the BEST thing I see coming from holiday eating is holiday cooking....which typically involves REAL FOOD!

Unless you are microwaving a frozen turkey dinner or buying store-bought pumpkin pie, I'd imagine that most people out there would enjoy grandma's cobbler or your family members secret gravy for the turkey.

Oh - and Campy loves the holiday's as well.....especially when anyone "accidentally" drops something.


Lucky Campy - he gets his own Thanksgiving plate....

Too much Turkey?

So despite a few holiday-themed chemical concoctions...

And delicious looking, yet "a thanksgiving meal in disguise" drinks and eats...

Starbuck's Venti 2% Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha
660 calories
22 g fat (14 g saturated fat)
95 g sugar

I'm all for the holiday eats and being super creative in the kitchen.

I have a few recipes that I created yesterday for two holiday edition of my normal  HeartWise (for men and women) class that I teach at Baptist Medical Center Beaches as a clinical Registered Dietitian. It's important to me that although I am speaking to a room of heart attack victims and individuals who are at risk for cardiovascular disease that they do not leave the room feeling overwhelmed or restricted with their food but instead inspired that they have a new way of living life - yes - for many it's a new lifestyle and way of thinking about food but it isn't until you have to make time for illness that you are reminded of how important it is to take care of your health. Prevention is cheaper than medicine.... and it tastes/feels better too :)

The creations were well-received so I thought I'd add a little inspiration to your holiday menu (or daily eats).....enjoy!

Lemon Garlic Hummus

2 heads garlic
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp tahini 

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth (or to the consistency of your liking).
(very garlicky! If you'd like a little less garlic, use 1 head of garlic)

Makes ~1.5 cups


Barley salad with apples and mint

½ cup orange juice
1 ½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
2 cups barley
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 large green apple - chopped
1 large red apple - chopped

1. Cook barley according to package.
2. Combine orange juice, vinegar, orange zest and mint leaves in a bowl and combine.
3. Add barley and apples dressing and stir until coated.
4. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. 

Fruit pizza
1 sugar cookie dough
Whipped cream cheese
Fruit of your choice (seasonal)

1. Press cookie on nonstick large pan (sprayed with nonstick spray) until ½ inch thick. 
2. In 350 degree oven, bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool. 
3. Spread a light layer of cream cheese on cookie and top with fresh fruit. Refrigerate before serving.