I refuse to begin 2011 by resolving to do or not do something I know I will never do ... or not do! Make sense? Are you with me? How many times, over the years, have you promised yourself to get healthy or eat less or whatever???
I recently read some discouraging information, and I quote, “Most people fail in adhering to their stated New Year's resolutions. Specifically, 22% fail after one week, 40% after one month, 50% after three months, 60% after six months, and 81% after twenty-four months (Norcross & Vangarelli, 1988, as cited by Koestner 2008, p. 60).” I assure you I am in the first category ... I will fail within the first week! I’ve done it for years. For me, setting a New Year’s resolution is setting myself up to fail. Are you like that, too? What are we to do? Well, first, I will not be making any hefty resolutions on New Year’s. I will, however, make one each morning when I arise and take my first “I’m awake” breath. I will form an intention for the day as I stretch and look out my window at the world as it too awakens. As the sun squeezes through the trees in my yard beckoning me to face the day I will slowly stretch. It is at that precise moment I will make my resolution - whether it be selecting a heart healthy breakfast or taking a few minutes out of my day to exercise or just breathe more deeply. I don’t have a problem making a resolution I can actually achieve. Daily seems about all I can handle.
Before the holidays, I had a chance to see if I could resolve to eating just one of a cute dessert I found. This perfect little dessert was a challenge for me when I was making them. But I felt I could do as I promised myself and succeeded by only eating one! I loved the crunch of the wonton and smoothness of the filling. Remembering the promise I had made this morning I opted to test them on my "not-so-healthy-eating" husband instead of eating another one myself. I was surprised how much he liked them, too. As I continued making them, I had to continually say to myself ... one is enough ... I was successful.
Pumpkin Pie Wontons These adorable and wonderfully delicious individual pumpkin pies are so easy to make and fun to eat. My husband squirted some whipped topping on his, but to keep it heart healthy, I'd recommend passing on that! (I will note this change ... the recipe calls to spray the finished wonton with cooking spray and to sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon ... I whisked one egg white with a smidge of water instead as I found the cooking spray a little too greasy for my liking. I also substituted turbinado sugar for the sugar on top.) Enjoy.
Oh, I figured I could replace the pumpkin with about any type of fruit and have the same luscious results, but I haven’t tried that yet. Stay tuned ... or if you try it, let me know how it goes!
Bottom line? I'm not really one to make empty promises to myself. If I succeed in something one day I embrace it ... if I screw it up I know tomorrow is another day. Don't beat yourself up ... be realistic ... love yourself anyway!
Ho! Ho! Ho! Yep, it’s that time of year again ... cookies, cakes, pies, food wherever you turn. It’s a celebration and our society parties around food! I know I talked about this in my previous post, but it’s important so I hope you don’t mind a few more tricks to help keep you focused.Here’s a trick I learned this year ... aside from the few holiday treats I made this year, I also made cookies I don’t like - and yes, there are a few I’ll pass on. Do you have a cookie that just doesn’t do a thing for you? Bake it ... ignore it ... and feel good about it! Or give it away - people cherish homemade treasures from your personal kitchen, especially if you’re a good cook! We made our gingerbread men cookies over the weekend and some tiny ones will grace the tops of our presents for the grandchildren plus we made some gingerbread ornaments for our Christmas tree and those trees of our adult children who have children. Need a gingerbread man ornament recipe? Click How Do I Make Gingerbread Men Ornaments.
I am most comfortable in the kitchen so many of my gifts for my family start there. Once I learned of my unacceptable cholesterol levels, I had to assume my children may follow so the gifts coming from my kitchen will start them down the right path. Let’s step away from holiday baking for a minute and talk about some gift ideas.
My son loves his Grandmother’s pickled beets and has ever since he was about two years old. Pickled beets are quick to make and yummy. An easy gift for him (and his children). Yeah, I know it’s silly, but if you knew my son ... well ... he’ll love it. Note: if you really want a recipe for pickled beets, just comment below and I'll post it!)
In an effort to pass on the prepackaged oatmeal, I found a marvelous recipe for homemade, and really easy, oatmeal mix.
Stepfanie's Oatmeal Mix
Store in the refrigerator as flax seeds and walnuts can spoil quickly.
Need some ideas?
Blueberry Pecan Pancake Mix
The Food Network website offers many options for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner , etc. I found this great little quiche for our Christmas brunch:
Mini Spinach and Mushroom Quiche - great for brunch!
It won’t be long before we’re all making resolutions to “do better” than the year before ... but more on that later.
We're talking about cookies!! As the holidays quickly approach, I know my downfall will be cookies!!! I love all kind of cookies and there are some holiday favorites that I may just have to pass on if I’m going to maintain my plan for eating for a healthy heart.
But fear not, my fellow heart-healthy eaters ... I have options!!
Last year we made a simple holiday treat that were the hit of our neighborhood ... in fact, some of the local kids have already asked me if I had any yet! Ah, no ... but soon. Obviously I’m going to have to make more than I did last year!
Now, how about your beloved gingerbread men? Some recipes can provide a whopping “oh-oh” to those of us watching our fat and cholesterol. I found a recipe that cuts the fat, not the flavor. These gingerbread men use half the butter normally used in most gingerbread cookie recipes. Applesauce helps the cookies retain their moisture and gives them a soft texture while making them more heart-healthy.
Cook Time: 10 minutes / Total Time: 10 minutes
Per serving: Calories 94, Calories from Fat 16, Fat 1.8g (sat 1g), Cholesterol 11mg, Sodium 48mg, Carbohydrate 18g, Fiber 0.4g, Protein 1.5g
Want an even better one, nutritionally speaking? Try this site.
Need more options?
Want vegan sugar cookies?
How about Cranberry Almond Biscotti?
Whole wheat Spice Guys aka Gingerbread Men?
Now let’s really step outside our holiday box ... up to trying something new? Try Chocolate-Chile Mole Meringues
Most holiday cookies are loaded with butter, sugar, and white flour ... there’s really no escaping the temptation, but you can make smarter choices by going vegetarian to avoid typical holiday fats plus by limiting the number of cookies you eat/make AND making sure you have plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy combination of nuts and dried fruit, and get your daily exercise AND PLENTY OF WATER!!
During most holiday get-togethers food is the center of attention. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the just one more attitude or gee, I’ve never tried these before, or I’ll start my healthy eating plan after the holidays dialog with yourself ... so ... take a step back and remember you are important enough to start right now ... holiday or not. If you are hosting a holiday party, try to make the focus of your event something BESIDES food ... like caroling ... ornament decorating party ... bonfires (if you’re lucky enough to live where snow is only a memory of your past) ... games ... or go for a drive and see all the decorations and lights ... bottom line? Make good choices ... you’re worth it.
What to do, what to do!! I love to eat all my childhood favorites, especially around the holidays! What is a person to do to maintain a heart-healthy eating plan with all the holiday fare within arm’s reach? Fear not, my friends, help is just a click away! I love the Internet ... I love the vastness ... I love the accessibility - I love to research!There are so many websites offering a lighter fare for food prep, but where do you start? How about one at a time. Let’s start with Thanksgiving. Assuming you are not vegetarian you will be preparing turkey. If you are vegetarian/vegan I have a hunch you can find recipes to keep you faithful to your choice. For those who just want to lighten up those heavy holiday meals, I’d start with Vegetarian Times. Why, I hear you ask? Because taking your side dishes up a notch will get more veggies into your meals with little effort.Stuffing ... dressing? What’s the difference? Even famous chefs around the world cannot agree, but it is my opinion that if it's cooked INSIDE the bird it's stuffing and if it's cookout OUTSIDE the bird it's dressing. Now, back to the issue at hand. Is there a ‘good for you’ stuffing? Remembering moderation is important regardless of its health value (I often forget that!) ... but yes, there are some much better than others.
Fruit and Toasted Almond Stuffing
This recipe, created by Ricki Blau, won third place in Vegetarian Time's 2009 Reader Recipe Contest. Blau's family and friends range from omnivores to vegans, so when they gather for holidays she likes to prepare food they can all share. Blau put this recipe together last October when she hosted a few Canadian-American families for Thanksgiving dinner.
Per 1/2-cup serving: Calories: 343, Protein: 8g, Total fat: 15g, Saturated fat: 2g, Carbs: 46g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 380mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugars: 17g
Looking for some side dishes to replace or enhance your usual dishes? I’m sure you know all about the sweet potato casserole that finds its way to American Thanksgiving tables ... you know the one I mean with the cute little marshmallows sprinkles on top? Right? Well, here on Everyday Health, I found a great recipe that’s a bit more heart-healthy.
Smashed Spiced Sweet Potatoes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Nutritional Info (Per serving):
Calories: 113, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 243mg, Dietary Fiber: 3g, Total Fat: 2g, Carbs: 22g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Protein: 2g
Carb Choices: 1.5
Recipe Source: Eating Well
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 h
Rest Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 1 h 20 mins
Now, let’s talk about cranberry sauce. I hope you’re not opening a can of processed cranberry jelly or even the canned whole cranberry sauce that’s also available. This only takes a minute and uses heart-healthy walnuts, too! The sugar is still there, but you can substitute whatever sweetener you like.
Heritage Lane Cranberry Sauce
"I grew up on a secluded dirt road called Heritage Lane and every Thanksgiving my family would pick wild cranberries and make this sauce for our guests," reminisces Eden Hommes, who received honorable mention in VT's 2009 Reader Recipe Contest for this recipe.
Per 1/2-cup serving: Calories: 290, Protein: 3g, Total fat: 13g, Saturated fat: 1g, Carbs: 41g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 4mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 36g
All in all, most everyone needs to make a change. Many people make the decision to “blow it” because it’s the holidays and come January they’re beating themselves up. I'd rather pat myself on the back for a job well done! Wouldn't you?
More holiday recipes coming next week. I plan to stay true to myself this holiday season and keep my eye on the ball ... staying heart-healthy!
I am ...
... a former blogger for a health site, which means eating healthy aka heart smart
which has become a passion for me. I will start at the beginning when I first
discovered I had high cholesterol.