holiday eating
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years,
Valentine's day, Easter, Fourth of July
Eat healthy food year round

Happy New Year

When celebrating the New Year, you need some good beverages to serve your friends and family. I am giving you a couple of easy to make and great to drink beverages. 

For those of us who don't do alcohol (for health or other reasons), I am posting a mock champagne. It was so good that I have been sipping it all day long.

Mock Champagne

New year beverages are also good for any party you are having.Mock Champagne and Grape lemonade

Mock Champagne

1            qt. apple juice
2            2 liter bottles of ginger ale
few        drops of red food coloring
frozen    decorative ice cubes (if you like) Just freeze ice with cherries or olives or mint or                 whatever you like in the center
Mix apple juice and ginger ale right before serving. Add a few drops of food coloring to make the mixture a light pink.  Put ice in glasses and add "champagne". serve with appetizer or dinner or just toast in the new year with it. Make sure to keep it in an airtight container so that the bubbles don't disappear.

Grape lemonade

Mix equal parts of frozen lemonade and grape juice together with the amount of water called for on each container.  My grandchildren love this drink with nothing else in it, but you can add ginger ale in place of some of the water to give it a holiday flair.

Game time snack mix

2   C crispy cereal squares (choose organic)
2   C low sodium or salt-free mixed nuts
1   C dried cherries
1   C dried cranberries
1   C dried blueberries
1   C dark chocolate chips
Simply combine all ingredients and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

When I was growing up, my mother always made mince pie for Christmas. My brothers and I didn't like it. After I was married, I remembered and thought I would try to bake one and maybe I would like it more as a grown up. Fortunately, I found the recipe below. It is so good.

My Favorite Mince pie recipe
I think it is from a Pillsbury bake off in the 1960's originally

2/3  C prepared mincemeat
1/2  C brown sugar
3     T cornstarch
1     C chopped pecans
1     C orange juice
Combine ingredients in a large bowl and stir. Put in a 9 inch crust. Roll top crust, cutting slits for steam to escape. Any small cookie cutter will make a nice design.

What do you do with that leftover turkey carcass--turn it into soup.  Click the picture to get the recipe for tasty turkey soup. We made this after Thanksgiving. If you have a turkey for Christmas, that will give you some nice soup and you can relax from all that holiday cooking.

Labor Day can be a restful family day
A fruit salad is refreshing and easy to make for 
Labor Day or any day

Watermelon fruit salad

Ingredients and directions:
cube from 1/4 to 1/2 of your red watermelon
Cube and add about 1 1/2 cups of yellow watermelon
Cube and add 1/2 a good sized cantaloupe
Add two cups red or green grapes
Chop and add 1 or two nectarines (I use one large one)
optional: 1 cup chopped plums and 1 cup pineapple and 1 to 2 bananas
If I am going to save some salad to make smoothies, I don't add bananas at 
this time as they can get mushy. 

Mix all the fruit together in a large bowl. Juice one good sized orange and add juice to the fruit. Stir well. If you make the salad an hour before dinner, it will have a nice juice. You can add bananas about 15 minutes before serving. 

Fruit Salad Smoothie

This smoothie is so simple to prepare.  Just scoop the desired amount of leftover watermelon fruit salad into the blender container.

Add 1 banana and 1 cup of crushed ice. Add 1 T chia seeds and 1 T flax seed if you like. Blend to desired consistency and enjoy. 
This smoothie is not thick. It is more like juice.

Fourth of July

The fourth of July is a good time for a family get together. We will soon be outside enjoying the fireworks and relaxing. We chose to fix fajitas with black beans, vegetables and rice. With the men barbecuing and the women preparing the vegetables, it doesn't take long to have a meal ready.

How to prepare our fourth of July peppers
for the Fourth of July buffet

You will need a metal basket similar to the one pictured above.  Cut the peppers into strips. We used red, orange, yellow and green peppers and large onions which we cut into triangles.  
1. Pour olive oil into a large bowl. Add Mrs. Dash seasoning. We chose Southwest chipotle       flavor. Mrs. Dash seasonings have no msg or salt. They are a healthy choice. Then add some crushed red pepper. Stir together and add peppers.  Toss to coat well
2. Place peppers in metal pan and cook on your barbecue with the cover down until tender.  For the fajitas we barbecued flank steak and chicken and then sliced it with an electric knife into thin strips.  Place the fajitas in a dish on your buffet table or counter. Serve with some Mexican rice, beans and toppings that your family enjoys. Don't forget fresh, crisp vegetables. You can feed a a good number of people with not much work and it is delicious. Use paper plates for minimal clean up.

after dinner on the 4th 
relaxation for health

holiday eating can be very challenging. When you have been eating healthy foods for months all of a sudden it is the holidays which are full of fattening and cholesterol laden traditions. Candy, cookies, processed foods. There are so many temptations. The good news is, you can cook a tasty and nutritious dinner for your family. Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, Easter, Fourth of July in the U.S. Every country has special holidays with special foods.

For the children (and some adults I know) Christmas is always coming. The day after Christmas, someone will start the countdown for next year, on Facebook of course.

things to remember 
about holiday eating

1. Buy a natural turkey.

You will sometimes need to  shop around for a good turkey. Choose a turkey which has not been injected with anything. Look for labels saying 100% natural. If you live close to a whole food store, that is the best place to buy your turkey. Some turkeys in the grocery stores have been frozen for months before they are put on display as natural. Those are a better choice than the injected ones, but fresh-never frozen are what to look for.

2. Replace bread with cornbread in your dressing.

I always make cornmeal dressing with homemade cornbread. If you buy your cornmeal at a whole food or health food store, look for non genetically modified varieties.  Read the labels.  

You can also make your own cornmeal by grinding pop corn. Grinding corn in a blender can pit your jar and discolor it.  If you have an extra blender container jar, you can relegate one to grinding whole grains and have a jar that is not pitted as well. Be sure to use non genetically modified popcorn.

3. Instead of canned vegetables, use fresh or frozen

4. sweet potatoes are a traditional part of most family's holiday meals.  Use maple syrup instead of sugar or a little honey. Sweet potatoes contain many nutrients. Instead of marshmallows on top put pecans or walnuts.  Very tasty. 

5.Pumpkin is another treat you do not need to give up.  Use alternative sweeteners and alternative milk.  you can leave the crust off and it will still be delicious. Or you can use tapioca flour or nut flour in the crust. A pecan crust is tasty. Fresh pumpkin is easy to use, but Libby's canned pumpkin seems to have no preservatives or additives so it appears to be a good choice.

6. Dark chocolate is good for you in small amounts. Chocolate chip cookies and pies and cakes are not. Try my avocado chocolate chip cookies. Make some healthy trail mix.

Maple pecan sweet potatoes

a peeled sweet potato

1. Peel one or two sweet potatoes

sweet potatoes chopped in the pan

2. Cut in chunks and put in steamer

sweet potatoes steam in in a pot

3. Steam covered for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender.

sweet potatoes in the baking pan with pats of butter on them

4. Add about 2 T butter cut up. Stir until butter melts. Cut into smaller pieces if you like

pour on some 100% pure maple syrup

5. Pour on 1/3 to 12 c syrup and stir.  You may chop sweet potatoes smaller if you like.  It is now ready to eat or bake for a while to blend the flavors and thicken the syrup. Bake about 10 to 20 minutes at 325 degrees stirring occasionally.

sprinkle on fresh pecans

6. Sprinkle with pecans and serve.

Tips for above dish: Use grade B maple syrup for the best flavor. Grade A works, but grade B makes this much nicer. You can also use honey or a combination of honey and maple syrup. I usually order maple syrup online as it is a little cheaper and you can get larger quantities. I use a lot of maple syrup in my kitchen.

Eat black eyed peas as you ring in the New Year

It has long been a tradition in the south to eat black eyed peas on New Years Day to bring good luck throughout the year. I am from California, but have lived in Texas long enough that it seems best to eat those black eyed peas each New Years day. The tradition evidently began after the civil war when food was scarce.

Centuries ago, the Sephardic Jews ate black eyed peas as a part of Rosh Hashanah. This were said to bring good fortune. This tradition may have come to America with Jewish families who settled in the south.

Black eyed peas are an extremely healthy food.  In just 1/2 cup of peas, you get:

  • 8.9 grams of fiber.  
  • Plenty of calcium, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium
  • Vitamin A
  • Zero cholesterol

As with all foods high in fiber, these beans are good for lowering cholesterol as well as for bringing you luck in the year to come.

New Year
Crock pot black eyed peas

holiday eating reminds us that for good luck in the new year, you need to eat some black-eyed peas.Black eyed peas - so tasty and so good for you

you need:

  • 1 lb. dry black eyed peas
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 finely chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 t oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • water to cover 
  • cajun seasoning as desired - or let those who want it sprinkle it on at the table

Sort and rinse the peas, then add to the crock pot with remaining ingredients. Cook until peas are soft.

Some people add bacon or ham which gives a great flavor, but is not so great for your cholesterol. If you use bacon, be sure to fry it first so some of the fat is cooked out. You may also add chopped green peppers and other vegetables of your choice. Serve with a fresh salad and cornbread. Good luck will be yours - or so they say- if you eat this meal on New Year's day.

Avocado cookies are so chocolatey and good.

We would love to hear from you. Do you have some healthy holiday recipes to share? Let us hear from you below.

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Texas New Years Traditional Foods 
12 GRAPES at midnight with a wish with each, represents 12 months of the years wishes to come true.(we had non alcoholic sparkling grape juice and a kiss …

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