>A Few Carrots Cancel out 2lbs of Sugar…Right?

>I love the Holidays. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE Holiday Parties! This past Saturday evening, I attended a “sometimes annual holiday party.” It was a blast! An excuse to dress up, listen to Christmas music and snack on some Holiday treats? Count me in!

The star of the show was definitely the Egg Nog (courtesy of Mike and his family recipe).

This stuff was dangerously good. It also had 2 Lbs. of sugar in it. Recipe below – if you’re brave enough.

This was my contribution:

A few plates of vegetables. Very inexpensive and only took a few minutes of prep. We did buy pre-made dip as time was limited. You’ve got to pick and choose your battles 😉

But my favorite?

Brie encased in pastry and topped with Blackberries. YUMMMM!!!

Eggnog (Mike’s family recipe)

Ingredients:
One dozen eggs
1 pinch of baking soda
2 lbs. of granulated sugar
1 qt. milk
1 qt. Sweet Cream
2 qts Whiskey or Bourbon

Beat the yokes and whites of the eggs separately. Then pour together.
Beat into a stiff batter.
Add the remainder of the ingredients.
Stir. Set in fridge overnight.
Enjoy!

There was a lot of other yummy treats, but these were the highlights. By the way, who counts veggies as a highlight to a dinner party? THIS GIRL! In my defense, they were the first thing to get eaten up.

>Pho Time!

>Last night was definitely one of those nights where I knew I was not going to cook anything. It was also movie night. (We watched The Other Guys. Laughed hysterically for two hours). So instead of our usual Chinese takeout or pizza we opted for Pho!

If you’re not familiar with this Vietnamese treat run, don’t walk to the nearest Pho restaurant and get yourself a piping hot bowl. Pho is basically noodle soup, but with the addition of bean sprouts, jalapenos, lime, cilantro, mint and basil and whatever thinly sliced protein you choose. We opted for a mix of flank steak and lean briscuit. We ordered a few spring rolls and we were good to go.

Inexpensive. Delicious. Comforting.

>Green Is Good

>Planning an entire day of meals is always a struggle for me. Especially the snacks! At work we usually keep a large bin of almonds to snack on and I try to bring in fresh fruit. But sometimes you just want something crunchy and salty. A few weeks ago I read about Kale Chips. I can’t believe I had never heard of them before! So since then, I’ve been meaning to try them out. Last night I finally got around to it. It was amazingly easy and they’re oh so tasty!

Before:

After:

I plan on snacking on these today 🙂

>Let Them Eat Bread!

>One of the recommendations that the lovely folks at CrossFit advocate is that you stick to a more primitive diet, such as the Paleo Diet. Translation: no bread or dairy! This is a struggle for me as my two favorite foods are…bread/crackers and cheese. Luckily for me, I don’t really follow a strict paleo diet. I believe everything in moderation is mostly okay. Although, I do try to cut back on my bread and other processed foods intake.

This morning however, I was craving bread. When you are dreaming about bread in your dreams you know you have problems. And since I was short on time, whole wheat toast with all-natural peanut butter it was. And it was delicious! Two pieces of toast and coffee and I was good to go. Should have added some fruit, but I did bring an orange for me to snack on while at work. So not a total loss. For lunch I brought my favorite salad – spinach salad. I added a few pieces of leftover steak from last night and some Creamy Corn and Roasted Red Pepper soup from Trader Joe’s. All in all I had myself a pretty tasty lunch. I’m saving my orange for a mid-afternoon snack.

I’m including my recipe for spinach salad, if you care. It’s pretty basic and very adaptable to whatever you have in your refrigerator.

Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad

For the Balsamic Vinegar Dressing:
1 TBSP diced shallot
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 TBSP Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

Toss the diced shallot in a bowl. Add Dijon Mustard, Salt, Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar and whisk together. Keep whisking, and slowly start incorporating the olive oil. I pour the olive oil in a slow, but steady stream. It should start to thicken up (this is where adding the dijon mustard is a plus- it helps bind everything together). At this point I usually test it out and determine whether it needs more salt, more vinegar, etc.

I should point out that I like my vinaigrette on the vinegary side, so I add more Balsamic Vinegar and less olive oil. But that’s my preference. The great thing about making your own dressing is that you can adjust as you go to account for your own taste. I don’t measure anything when I make it, and it always manages to turn out okay…after a few adjustments here and there 🙂

For the Salad:
Spinach, washed and dried
sliced Red Onion
crumbled Feta Cheese
Sauteed Mushrooms (optional)
Bacon (optional)

I’m not putting specific measurements here. I trust you to use your discretion.

Saute the mushrooms in a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. I cook my mushrooms on medium to medium high for a few minutes, just until they get nice and brown and that mushroom aroma takes over my kitchen. I also cook the bacon before hand and store in my refrigerator to have handy for a quick spinach salad or to add in some pasta. NOTE: it is very difficult to keep cooked bacon in your refrigerator. The bacon monster usually comes and steals it all. It’s a problem.

>Everybody Else Is Doing It

>Whenever I would hit my parents with that line, it would inevitably be answered with “If everybody else jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?” In this case the answer is a resounding “YES!”

So here we go – I’m jumping into the world of blogging. Comments and feedback are most-appreciated. I will do my best to blog as often as possible. Once a day would be nice but I will shoot for a “more often than not” posting policy.