Thursday, January 2, 2014

Keepin it simple...

Morning, everyone!  Happy 2014!  Seesh...seriously??  WHERE DOES THE TIME GO???  I feel like not only December, but the entire of 2013 flew by in a blink.  One second we're having "Winter Cheese" in February and the next second we're ringing in a New Year.  Wild.  Such is life...that's what my Grandmom would sayJ

ANYWAY, thought I'd give you our festive but SOMEWHAT 'fit' recap of the last few days.  And by fit I mean I managed to NOT eat 20000 calories at every meal.  Which, sadly, is a HUGE accomplishment for me this time of yearJ  (it's also something known as COMMON SENSE to the rest of the planetI struggle with thatJ)

Between a doctor's appointment for Katie and wanting to run to the grocery store before the mad noon "New Years Eve" rush, by the time I got home it was nearly lunch time and I couldn't whip up this 'brunch smoothie' quick enough....
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 peppermint bark yogurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 drops of peppermint extract
  • 2 handfuls spinach (cause I needed to use it or lose it)
And I tried to keep my snack equally light... 

...cause I knew the BIG GUNS were right on the horizon!

Thanks to everyone chipping in, we had a veritable FEAST of celebration, including grilled corn guacamole...(grilled corn courtesy of Trader Joe'sJ friend's Potato CRACK!...(bacon-y and savory to the MAX!) 

...awesome Captain Crunch Chicken Fingers!...(my gals & I used to inhale these like they were GOLD back in the day!) 

...beef & blue cheese sliders...that I need to make again, like, YESTERDAY!.... 

...and another friend's classic crab dip that we always love & devour!... 

My plate was VERY HAPPY...give or take an extra slider & scoop of crab dipJ  Everything was spot on delicious and so fun!

We kept the party going with some coquitos....which are everything that is bad, but OH SO GOOD in the world!  Coconut cream, sweetened condensed milk, spiced rum.  Yes, yes and yes, thank you very much!

...and my friend's sparkly cupcakes fit for ringing in the New Year. 

And guess who managed to make it to meet 2014 head on... 
No sickness or cold was holding THIS child down!J

And since Katie slept till a record 9:30am (thankfully bypassing the early wake of a SUPER CRANKY childJ), Scott & I had our LITTLE breakfast as a duo.  And I do mean LITTLE, check out this MINI Panettone!
I knew I had to get it as soon as I saw it or risk having the normal-sized Panettone laying around till mid-February!  (although I will miss me some Panettone paninisJ)  But one slice of this buttery confection was JUSTENOUGH for me this year... 

And after some nice power yoga to kick off the year on a peaceful (yet powerful!) foot, I showered up and hopped right back into my PJ's to spend the rest of the day lounging around with Scott & KatieJ  Oh...and one more person joined our party...
This was the absolute ONLY thing I wanted for Christmas this years and I've since read it cover to cover.  Who reads a cookbook cover to cover????  Well, Pioneer Woman CRACKS ME UP with all her little stories and since all of these stories in this book were attached to HOLIDAYS, well, that made me even happierJ

And since her book starts with (wait for the shocker) New Years Day, I thought I'd try out using a few of her recipes for the day, including a smoothie filled with mango, peaches, carrots, banana, pineapple and fat free yogurt...

And her absolute MUST for New Year's Day dinner... 

Including a big pot of Black eyed peas...

...cast iron corn bread with sauteed peppers... 

...and some collards.  I took a little step off the pages of PW's suggestion of sauteed collards when I saw the yummy recipe for Collards Au Gratin on the bag of mixed greens.  It just sounded too "New Years Day/Celebratory" perfectJ 
  • 1 bag of collards or mixed greens 
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup half & half  (want to try this with 2% milk next time)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 laughing cow cheese wedges  (called for Gruyere, but the laughing cow lightened it up AND I already had it on handJ)
  1. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan before adding the onions and garlic on medium heat to saute about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the collards and cover the pot to allow them to wilt.  (The recipe suggested 3-4 minutes, but I left mine probably closer to 5-6.  Depends on how you like your greens)
  3. Add the chicken broth, nutmeg, salt & pepper and half & half and bring to boil for 2 minutes.
  4. Add cheese and mix to melt.
  5. Pour into a casserole dip, top with an extra sprinkle of grated cheese & bake at 375 for 25 minutes. 
I was so incredibly proud of this meal for no apparent reasonJ  I guess because it was the traditional dinner of a good ole southern woman which is pretty much everything I'm notJ hahahahahahaha....

And it probably helped that Katie's favorite food on earth is BEANS and I knew this would make her sick little self happyJ

The beans were tender, with a hit of smoke from the ham bone... 
...while the corn bread was tender and studded with peppers, and the collards-oh those collards-I will be making them nearly EXACTLY the same way VERY soon.  
I'm not normally a huge fan of collards since I usually find them tough & bitter (forgive me collards fans!), but I probably said the same thing about kale at some point and now kale & I are LIKETHIS.  Just gotta get used to em, much like the rest of my 'grown on me' listJ

And per tradition, I left 3 beans on my plate!  Beans on New Year's Day are suppose to bring good luck (Italians traditionally make lentils...opps), but leaving exactly 3 on your plate is supposed to bring EXTRA luckJ  I ain't takin any chances!J hahahahahahah 

And for dessert, we ended the night with a few random delights of Christmas before they're gone all too soon!   

And with all that said, I'm happy to say the scale & I are actually on speaking terms, unlike MANY MANY January 2nd's in the past!  Normally by today I'm ready to toss/freeze every sweet & treat in the house.  But since I was actually able to enjoy ALL of the treats in moderation this year (OK, OK...make that about 80% of the time...Christmas Eve, Day & Day after were WILD & they should beJ), I felt like I enjoyed it all, minus that feeling of grossness and swearing to NEVEREATAGAIN in the New Year!  Now I'm just ready to go back to eating normally and maybe pulling back on the sweets just alittttttlllleee bit extra.  I decided my 'resolution/goal' for the new years is to keep everything SIMPLE.  And eating DEFINITELY falls into this category.  I feel like 2013 was a year I figured out what REALLLLLLY makes me happy from the inside out and eating 'healthy/normal/NOT COMPLETELY STRINGENT THEN OVERINDULGING is definitely high on that list (right next to yoga, yoga & more yoga...a calm, quiet mind makes EVERYTHING simpler!).  Overeating (especially when I'm not hungry and eating just to eat) makes me stressed to the MAX.  I can't even TELL you how many times of been on the hamster wheel of "I ate bad, might as well go crazy the rest of the day/now I feel bad and need to eat water & air/I CAN'T LIVE ON WATER AND AIR!  GIVE ME FOOD AND LOTS OF IT" and then that WHOLE cycle starts again.  Who needs that???  It's not only unhealthy psychically, but a bazillion percent mentally as well.  I feel like 2013 was the year I really starting peeling back the layers and realizing how bad I felt MENTALLY from eating that way.  And realizing that throughout the year has been the thing that has helped me put the brakes on a binge before they even began.  Or at least helped me calmly realize I can pick myself up and start over rather than getting back on the hamster wheel.  I'm FAR from perfect at it, but definitely trying.  It's TOUGH 101, but sometimes a reminder for myself is all I need, so hopefully this little reminder will help you too if you feel the same way.  I'm right on that road with you!

OK!  That was FAR more than I intended to chatter on aboutJ  I'll leave you alone nowJ

Have a great THURSDAY!  (totally feels like Monday, so at least that's a good post-holiday thing, right??)

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