11.29.2011

Thanksgiving Break Overview

I had such a great Thanksgiving break, here is the summary of it:


The first day of our break, we went on a short hike to go see the Elwah dam, which has been recently deconstructed.  During one of my classes this semester, a student did a report on the project, and it is so fun to see the results of it in action.


Later on the first day we went to Salt Creek which beautifully meets with the Pacific Ocean.  The mouth is very close to a random island on the coast.  Very fun place to explore!


After that, we ventured off to a local community college where they had decorated a local forest with artistic projects.  Very creative area and fun to wonder around in! (Free too!)


We then went to a brewery in Port Angelos called Peaks Brew Pub.  It was literally a hole-in-the-wall pub, but had the best beer Kevin and I have ever had.  The best beer on tap by far was their Ed's Big Ass Red.  My favorites were between the Ed's Red and the Wanda Fucca Pale Ale. The owner of the brewery even came over to talk about the beers to us.  Being so young, Kevin and I rarely get any recognition at restaurants or bars by any point of authority, so this was really special for us.  We obviously wished him the best of luck at any brewing competition for his Ed's Red.  After the brew pub we grabbed some much needed fulfilling Chinese food.


The day before Thanksgiving, Kevin and I took the Ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle, WA to meet up with my older brother and sister-in-law.  We met up at Pike's Brewery and Pub.  Their beers were pretty good, and their food was great!  After that, we went to a candy shop to get a chocolate covered twinkie and amaretto truffle.  Yum!

Thanksgiving Day

The next day was Thanksgiving!  I was so looking forward helping Kevin's dad with all the Thanksgiving meal preparations, but, of course, something always has to go not according to plan.  I was helping cut vegetables for a roasted root vegetable dish, when I cut into my left ring finger.... yep my left ring finger.  I cut into half of the side closest to my thumb, and halfway through the width of my nail.  So, Kevin had to take me the the emergency room to get two stitches on my left ring finger... yep my left ring finger.  He kept me company the whole drive as I hysterically and jokingly yelled, "well you can't ask me to marry you now!"  After a few hours in the emergency room, and a very pale and nauseous Amy later, my finger had two stitches and we were on our way back to Kevin's place for Thanksgiving.  The meal was lovely, without my 'bloody' help, and it was so nice to visit with Kevin's Grandma Terry (who loves Sex and The City just as much as I do). 


During the break we made several preparations for Christmas which included picking out a Christmas tree and decorating it, and setting up the Torres' extensive Christmas village.  Overall, I had a wonderful time with the Torres family and felt very at home and welcome.  What a wonderful Thanksgiving break!

What was the best part of your Thanksgiving break?  Did you get much preparation done for Christmas?








11.28.2011

Back from Thanksgiving Break!

I had such a wonderful time this past week spending Thanksgiving break with Kevin's family.  It was fun, exciting, eventful, and somewhat relaxing.  Unfortunately, I am coming back to a very busy school schedule, as this is our last full week, then dead week, and then finals week.  AHH!  I don't feel prepared at all.  On top of that, I am getting back to eating a strict nutritarian diet, as I had a lot of goodies during the vacation, with little exercise.  Needless to say, poor food and exercise decisions have left me feeling undernourished, lethargic, and unsuccessful in my health goals.  Well, I am ready to get back to it, school and my health.  I am hoping to get some time today to post some pictures from the trip and talk about my weak points when it came to my health decisions during the break, along with a few funny stories.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are ready for me to continue bringing you some great recipe ideas and health discussions.  As of today I will be joining the Dr. Fuhrman 2011 Holiday Challenge.  To join and participate along with me, click this link: http://www.drfuhrman.com/members/holiday-challenge/default.aspx

I'm a little late on the "What I am thankful for this Thanksgiving," but I think it's never too late to be thankful:

I am thankful that I had such a wonderful and welcoming family to spend the holiday with.

I am thankful that I get to visit my parents and hometown friends this weekend.

I am thankful that I get to spend Christmas with my parents, and brothers and sister-in-laws from out of town.

I am thankful that I have the knowledge and the willpower to make the healthiest decisions I can.

I am thankful that I am a senior at WSU and officially graduating in the Spring.

I am thankful for this blog, in testing my culinary skills, sharing my experiences, and keeping track of all my recipes!

I am thankful for kale.

I am thankful for homemade peanut butter.

I am thankful that I have a left ring finger. (more on this story later)

The thing in my life I am most thankful for this year is Kevin.  I have never been so happy and peaceful since meeting Kevin, and I appreciate every moment we have together.  Love you Kevin!

Now that Thanksgiving has past and you have had time and plate-room to be thankful for the food, what are you most thankful for?

11.17.2011

Creamed Kale and Onions

I've seen several recipes for creamed kale, which is usually a cashew and soy milk based cream with some sauted kale, but most of them seemed pretty plain, so I decided to make my own!  In my versions I have onion slices that are not pureed into the sauce for an extra crunch, and some red pepper flakes for a bit of spice.  I have this dish pictured by itself, but for the leftovers I'm planning on having it on top of barley and adding in some whole cashews, Yum!

Creamed Kale and Onions

Ingredients: 
4-6 c kale, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1/4 c vegetable broth
1 onion, 1/2 finely chopped, 1/2 thinly sliced
1 c non-dairy milk
1/4 c raw cashews (+extra if you want to add it to the final dish)
1 t garlic powder, or 2 t minced garlic
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t red pepper flakes (optional)

Sauce                          Onions                             Kale

Directions: In a large skillet, saute finely chopped onions in the vegetable broth until translucent, about 8 minutes.  In a food processor, process the cashews into smaller particles.  Add the sauted onions, almond milk, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes into the food processor and process until creamy.  Saute thinly sliced onion for 5 minutes, adding water to saute as needed.  Add creamed sauce and bring to a simmer.  Once at a simmer, add the kale and toss with tongs for 5 minutes, or until kale is slightly wilted and well covered with cream sauce.  Serve by itself as a side dish, or top a whole grain with creamed kale for a heartier meal.

Amy's notes:  When I made this recipe the first time, I added 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and found it a bit too hot.  Be cautious with how much you add, depending on your spicy preference.  Since the red pepper flakes go into the food processor, a little goes a long way!  Also, the first time I made this, I had barely 4 cups of kale, but next time I will use much more, probably around 6 cups.  In the picture, I served my Creamed Kale and Onions with my Pumpkin Wild Rice Soup.


Kevin and I are leaving for his hometown of Sequim tonight to start our week-long Thanksgiving break.  I'm very excited to get to spend the vacation with his family, while going on a road trip at the same time!  We have a lot of day trips planned, as well as trying some yummy food!  So, my blog will temporarily be turning into a traveling food blog with not too many recipe posts.  Hope everyone has a fun and save Thanksgiving holiday!

What is your strategy for eating nutritiously during a road trip, while still getting to try the new fun foods you find? 



11.16.2011

Spicy Cajun Cauliflower Snack

A week or two ago my sister-in-law gave me another great recipe that I just had to try!  She sent me this link from the Weight Watchers website.  The only change I made was to add a bit of cayenne pepper and cajun seasoning.  Hope you enjoy this guilt-free snack just as much as I do!

Spicy Cajun Cauliflower Snack

Ingredients: 
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite size florets (helpful video)
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t chili powder
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 t cajun seasoning
salt and pepper to taste


Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray, or cover with alumninum foil and spray for easy cleanup. Place cut cauliflower in a medium size bowl (there should be 4-5 c when cut), and add seasonings.  Toss to coat well.  Spread spiced cauliflower evenly on baking sheet and bake till cauliflower is tender with a fork, but not wilt-y or mushy.  Stir and turn cauliflower halfway through baking.  This took me ten minutes total to bake.  

Amy's notes: Serve cauliflower warm or cold.  I kept leftovers in a large storage plastic bag and used them for snacking all week.  I bet this would be a great recipe for a Thanksgiving party for pre-dinner snacking I know we all do!  Pair with roasted red pepper hummus for a great flavor combo!

What is your favorite "go-to" snacking items at parties?

11.15.2011

Kale is Awesome!

My vegetable of the week this week is KALE!  Since becoming a nutritarian, I really had not had much kale in general.  I always thought it was pretty expensive, but kale bunches actually stretch pretty far.  On Dr. Fuhrman's food score scale, kale is #1 with 1000 points!

For those of you that don't have a Dr. Fuhrman's Nutrient Density Scores, here it is a condensed version of it:
Nutrient Scores
1000-500                      Kale, Collards, Bok Choy, Spinach, Arugula
500-100                        Cabbage, Romaine Lettuce, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Green Peppers,
                                         Artichoke, Carrots, Asparagus, Strawberries, Pomegranate Juice,
                                         Tomato, Blueberries, Iceburg Lettuce, Orange, Lentils            
100-50                           Cantaloupe, Kidney Beans, Tofu, Sweet Potato, Sunflower Seeds,
                                          Apple, Peach, Green Peas, Cherries, Flax Seeds, Pineapple,
                                          Oatmeal, Mango
50-30                             Cucumber, Corn, Soybeans, Salmon, Almonds, Shrimp, Avacado,
                                         Skim Milk, Grapes, White Potato
30-20                             Walnuts, Banana, Chicken Breast, Eggs, Peanut Butter,
                                         Whole Wheat Bread, Feta Cheese
20-1                               Whole Milk, Ground Beef, White Pasta, White Bread, Apple Juice,
                                          Low Fat Yogurt, Potato Chips, American Cheese,
                                         Vanilla Ice Cream, French Fries, Olive Oil, Cola

Today I put Kale in my Pumpkin Wild Rice Soup before I zapped it in the microwave, and it was delicious!  
What is your favorite way to eat Kale?

11.14.2011

Pumpkin Wild Rice Soup

What a busy Monday!  I had class from 11 to 5 today, then worked on a PowerPoint presentation for an Environmental Assessment class.  Wish me luck on presenting tomorrow!  From being so busy today, it was very nice to have a soup on the crockpot today.  This is a new rendition on my Pumpkin Basil Soup I made earlier this month, but a bit heartier and with more dynamic flavors and ingredients.  

Pumpkin Wild Rice Soup
Ingredients: 
1 1/2 c carrots, peeled and chopped
1 c apples, chopped
1/2 to 1 c mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 c cauliflower, roughly chopped into florets
1 handful fresh basil leaves
6 c vegetable broth
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed, separate
1 c dried wild rice, +2 c water, precooked on stovetop
1 t salt
1 t ground pepper
1 t cumin
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t cayenne pepper

Directions:  In a crockpot, combine roasted pumpkin, carrots, apples, mushrooms, cauliflower, basil, vegetable broth, and 1 can of white beans (save the other can for after soup is done cooking).  Cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3.  One hour before soup is done, prepare the wild rice with 2 cups of water on a stovetop.  In a blender, or with an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth and creamy.  Add pureed soup back into the crockpot and (optional) remove 6 cups of soup, save for another recipe or to have as a puree only soup.  Add the wild rice and last can of white beans to the soup.  Cook on high for 20 minutes.  Serve in large bowls with a small amount of cheese garnish and basil sprig.  Enjoy!

Amy's Notes:  Nearing the end of the recipe, when I reloaded the pureed soup back into the crockpot, I decided I wanted to save some of the soup as a sauce for pasta that I'll freeze and use another week.  If you want your soup to be more liquidy than thick, do not take out the extra soup like I did.  I found that I wanted to add more salt and pepper to my soup after I served it, but remember that salt is better tasted when applied directly to the served meal, and not mixed into a large soup.  

This was a lovely, warm, hearty soup that was perfect on a day like this in Pullman (it was cold, cloudy, and extremely windy!).  From writing and blogging about cooking and eating, I have noticed so much more that the weather and season in general influences what I like to eat.  November should be the month of warm yummy soups.




How does the weather affect what you crave and what foods you end up making?

11.11.2011

Thai Peanut Vegetable Pizza

Well, I am getting worse and worse about scheduling my blog, and I apologize!  Today I will feature a recipe that was meant for World Wednesday this week called Thai Peanut Vegetable Pizza.  I got inspiration for this meal from needing to use up the Thia Peanut Sauce I made in bulk a while ago, and the craving for an old favorite pizza from a restaurant in Spokane called Rock City Grill.  Their pizza had much more cheese than mine, and was loaded with shrimp and chicken, instead of the loads of veggies on top of mine.  

Thai Peanut Vegetable Pizza


Ingredients: 
2 c red cabbage, chopped
2 c small mushrooms, quartered
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 c green onion, chopped
1/2 c unsalted peanuts
1 c shredded low fat cheese (mozzarella)
2 T fresh basil, chopped
2+c Thai Peanut Sauce (recipe here
whole wheat pitas or pita halves

Directions:  Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.  Place pitas on an oven sheet and bake for ten minutes, to warm the base of the pizza.  In a medium sized bowl, mix together the red cabbage, mushrooms, red onion, green onion, peanuts and cheese.  When pitas are done warming, heat the oven up to 225 degrees F while you assemble the pizzas.  Pour and spread a good amount of the Thai Peanut Sauce on top of each pita, then sprinkle fresh chopped basil onto the sauced pizzas.  The, place a heaping amount of the cheese veggie mixture on top.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese is well melted.  Serve and enjoy!

Amy's Notes:  The veggie cheese mixture is enough to make around 6 pizzas if you are liberal with the toppings like I am.  For the sauce, I always make it in advance and save the sauce and any leftover toppings for pizzas another day.  To make this recipe quick, just put together the pizza and zap in the microwave for less than one minute.  I did this for my lunch earlier this week and it was still pretty good, but the veggies weren't quite as roasted and the "dough" was not as chewy.  Later in the week when I was making pizzas I tried adding kale to the mixture and found it delicious!  Tonight when I made it for me and my dad who is visiting for the weekend for WSU Dad's Weekend, my toppings were cheese, shittaki mushrooms, red onion, green onion, belgium endive, and kale.  Very yummy!

Since it's Dad's Weekend here at WSU, I thought I'd talk a little bit about dads and food!  My dad an I have always had similar tastes in foods.  We both have liked somewhat odd-ball things such as thai pizzas, ruebens, tartar sauce with our fries, (we love) pumpkin pie, (we both go nuts over, you guessed it) nuts, we both chew on ice, and like to have oatmeal in the morning.  Some memories of my dad growing up were when he made us french toast in the mornings sometimes on the weekends.  There was nothing particularly fancy about how he made french toast, but it was some of the best!  Because we are both eating a nutritarian diet now, I will not be making him french toast for breakfast this weekend.  I'll be making Pomegranate Muesli (from Dr. Fuhrman's member center recipe guide), which is pretty much cooked or uncooked oats with fruit and almond milk or orange juice.  More on this later in the weekend!

My dad and I both have a difficult time stopping snacking when we eat things like nuts (or cookies before ETL).  Are there any odd eating habits you share with family members?  Do you think our taste buds are genetically similar to family?

11.08.2011

Sugar


Well this has been a hectic week for me so far, and it's only Tuesday!  I'm going to keep this post short by directing you to an interesting video on youtube called Sugar: The Bitter Truth.  It's a little bogged down by biochemistry... which I'm going to pretend I understand slightly.  Overall it gives a logical reason why sugar is so unforgiving in our body, especially over a long period of sugar addiction abuse.  Definitely worth the time to take a listen, but maybe fast-forward through the chemical reaction breakdown to get the nitty-gritty info.  When he is talking about sugar in the diet he is meaning added sugars such as white sugar and high fructose corn syrup, not the natural sugars found in fresh and dried, unprocessed fruits.  Hope you enjoy!

Another interesting thing to take a look at is this article talking about how fatty foods could be neurologically as addicting as drugs such as cocaine: 

Fatty Foods Addictive Like Cocaine in Growing Body of Scientific Research


What is your opinion of added processed sugar in the diet?  Do any of the processed or convenience foods you own NOT contain some form of added sugar?

11.07.2011

Dr. Fuhrman's Apple Strudel

Well, so much for posting a crockpot recipe on Crockpot Monday.  Here is the breakdown of how Crockpot Monday failed.  I planned on making Quinoa Corn Chowder from Savvy Vegetarian on Sunday night.  I started the recipe in the crockpot on low around 7 p.m. and went about my evening playing flag football and watching tv with Kevin.  When it got time for the recipe to be done, however, the potatoes weren't cooked, and it was getting to be pretty late.  I decided it needed a few more hours on low to finish cooking the potatoes, so I set my alarm for 3 a.m. to come turn the crockpot off and I would put away the chowder in the morning.  Seems I have a knack for sleeping through alarms at 3 a.m., and I let the crockpot go all night long.  The edges of my crockpot were burnt and the chowder well well overdone.  I had this for dinner tonight after I took and end of recipe photo-shoot.  It tasted just fine, not amazing, but eatable.  The pictures from it, however, were terrible looking.  It was more of a brown color than the recipe pictured on the website, but I'm sure that if I try it again I will just do it on the stovetop and get a much better result.  

In an attempt to do a last minute recipe for Monday (not crockpot), I was craving a dessert with apples in it.  I made Dr. Fuhrman's Apple Strudel, which turned out wonderful!  The only changes I made to the recipe was an addition of 1/2 c oats, to make it more crunchy and apple-pie-y, and 1/4 c chopped walnuts instead of ground raw almonds.  Here it is (as the original recipe).

Dr. Fuhrman's Apple Strudel
Ingredients:
1/4 c apple juice
3/4 t vanilla extract
1 t cinnamon
1/4 c almond milk
3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/4 c raisins, chopped
1/2 c old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 c ground raw almonds

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a bowl, mix the apple juice, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk until combined.  Stir in the chopped apples, raisins, oats, and ground almonds.  Pour into an 8x8in baking dish.  Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.


Maybe I can get some better inspiration for next Crockpot Monday.  What is your favorite nutritarian, veggie-loaded crockpot recipe?



11.04.2011

November: Another Great Month to Eat in Season!

November is yet another great month to eat in season produce!  So far I have most enjoyed fresh pumpkin this month, but I also plan on trying out jicama, beets, arugula, and acorn squash in a few recipes. Here is the list of what is seasonal:


What's seasonal?- November
Acorn Squash          Coconuts              Persimmons     
Apples                Cranberries           Pomegranates
Arugula               Dragon Fruit          Pummelos
Bananas               Fennel                Pumpkins
Beets                 Jicama                Quince
Butter Lettuce        Kumquats              Romaine Lettuce
Bok Choy              Mushrooms             Sweet Potatoes
Broccoli              Oranges               Turnips
Brussels Sprouts      Parsnips
Cauliflower           Pears


Which seasonal foods will you be using this November?  Are you using any for Thanksgiving?

11.03.2011

Pumpkin Basil Soup


Wow is this soup good!  I got a pumpkin from Green Bluff orchards a few weekends ago while visiting Spokane, and I've just been itching to use it!  I got the original recipe sent to me from my sister-in-law who enjoys a Weight watcher diet with a focus in fresh produce and local sustainable meats.  This is a Weight Watchers recipe originally, and I changed it to use real roasted pumpkin instead of canned, and fresh chopped basil instead of dried oregano.  Thanks Katie for the recipe! 

Pumpkin Basil Soup

Ingredients:
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 lb roasted pumpkin (how to)
3 1/2 c vegetable broth
1-16 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 T fresh basil, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a large soup pot, water saute onions (or with a very small amount oil) over medium-low heat until tender, stirring occasionally (5-10 minutes).  Stir in pumpkin, broth, beans, and basil.  Simmer for eight minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.  Turn off heat and let stand for ten minutes to cool.  In a blender, process soup in batches until smooth.  To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top each with 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese if desired.
Amy's notes: I used fresh roasted pumpkin for my recipe, but it could easily be substituted for canned pumpkin, around 15-16 ounces.  Make sure to use canned pumpkin, and not canned pumpkin pie filling.

This has been one of the better recipes I've made in a while.  So good, in fact, I am making a second batch as I type this.  It's predicted to snow tomorrow here in Pullman, and I could think of nothing that would make me happier on a snowy day than having more warm Pumpkin Basil Soup.  As I am now making it (ok I'm making a 1 1/2 batch because I just couldn't resist), I realized that I did not have more white beans for the recipe, so I am omitting them to try the soup with all veggie ingredients.  To adjust for this I added only 3 cups of vegetable broth per batch.  In eating it now, I can tell that it is less creamy tasting, but I still love it!  So there you go, two ways to make a pumpkin soup!  Enjoy!

What is your favorite blended or pureed soup?  How have you used fresh pumpkin in your cooking?

11.02.2011

Kitty's Asian Slaw

Today, for World Wednesday I am featuring a recipe created by my mom, which has recently become a favorite of hers.  This recipe tastes fresh, crisp, and is aromatic of sesame seeds, making it both refreshing and savory.

Kitty's Asian Slaw
Ingredients:
Dressing:
1/3 c fresh apple juice
1 T honey
1/4 c rice vinegar
1 1/2 T sesame oil
1 t minced fresh ginger, more to taste
2 t soy sauce

Slaw:
4 c green cabbage, thinly sliced
2 c red cabbage, thinly sliced
2/3 c green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 c thawed frozen green peas
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 c roasted unsalted peanuts
1/2 to 1 cucumber, sliced and quartered
2 T sesame seeds

Directions: Whisk dressing ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Mix cabbage and remaining ingredients in a large bowl, except sesame seeds.  Toss slaw with dressing to coat well.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top for a great serving look.

Amy's Notes: For this recipe I used frozen sliced peppers because red bell peppers were an outrageous price at my grocery store.  Also, this recipe contains more oil (sesame) than I would normally use in a recipe, however, this makes several servings and the sesame oil really makes a difference in the flavor of the dish.  To make the oil spread a little farther, add an additional cup or two of sliced red or green cabbage, the sauce will stretch that far easily.  I ate it as a cold salad only, but I'm planning on having it with on top of steamed brown rice and some leftover Thai Peanut Sauce for a heartier meal.  Enjoy!

Thanks mom for the recipe!

What's the best recipe you've made with frozen vegetables?  What is your essential frozen vegetables to have on stock?


11.01.2011

Halloween and Now it Get's Scary!

As I said earlier this week, last weekend my roommate and I hosted a Halloween party at our apartment.  We spent a significant amount of time last week getting everything ready for the party, and was it a blast!  
Here is how our apartment turned out:
The caution tape on our door read "Come in for a BITE!"
Our apartment was all decked-out in streamers and cobwebs!
Yep, we even decorated the toilet! 

Jessie's adorable scared pumpkin!
And here is all of the food!



Meringue Covered Pumpkin Kisses

Meringue Covered Ghost Kisses (or as Kevin called them, racist kisses)

Cinnamon Apple Chex Mic

Garlic Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

One-Eyed Green Hairy Monsters (close-up picture below)
Oh and the costumes were pretty fun too :)
Kevin is a hobo... who got an education at our rival school.

We love Halloween!

I am a Train Conductor (and my overalls fit perfect!)

Here is a close-up picture of the cupcake... and my hobo

Some friends joined us to Eat, Drink, and be Scary
(as an angry bird, little red riding hood, and a maskless wolf)

Ready for a dance-off?
Ah Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year!  It is a no turning back point for fall, and a great time to stay in and cook.  Halloween has also been, in the past, the start of two months straight of not caring what I eat.  But not this year!  I am determined to keep my "treats" to holi-DAYS not the general season of holidays.  This year holidays will be quite different.  For starters, I will be spending Thanksgiving break with Kevin's family.  This means the temptation of on-the-road travel food, and wanting the traditional Thanksgiving foods.  Luckily, his dad loves help in the kitchen and wants me to make a dish of my own for the celebration.  I'm thinking I will make my Roasted Apples and Parsnips for Thanksgiving dinner.  I will also be making Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread, from a favorite blog of mine called Cookie and Kate, for them as a thank you for having me to visit for the holiday.  Also, this will be the first Christmas that my parents are nutritarian, so I'm guessing that will mean less goodies and more nutritious food!  I've already been told that in our "stockings" we will be receiving whole raw nuts instead of our usual candy.  I'm so excited!

What is your best strategy for being away from home for the holidays and trying to stay on track? (On a side note: I just got tomatillos from the grocery store because they were on a great sale, but I can't figure out what to do with them.  Any suggestions?)