I know it’s December 10th, just 2 weeks before Christmas Eve and I shouldn’t really even take the time to write this blog to you because I’m REALLY behind this year! Randy and I are celebrating Christmas early this year (this weekend) with our kids and I don’t really have a clue what they all want. I know you all are probably under a time crunch too, so I’ll make it brief. I just really felt a need to connect with you before Christmas. Have you been busy bustling around since the beginning of December? I’m sure you have. It might look something like this:
This is the annual Christmas bazaar at Scotland County High school, where P.E.O., an organization dedicated to women’s education, has their annual Chocolate Stop booth. We all bring chocolate goods in hopes of raising funds for those in need of scholarships. These women are pillars of our community, being members for decades. Anna Lynn Kirkpatrick and Ann Luther set the example of Godly service we all can learn from!
I visited my daughter Shannon in Waynesville this past week along with my daughter Sammi. We prepared home-cooked meals for freezing for the almost new parents of our first grandchild (Baby G) who comes in less than a month! Plus, we just HAD to make some Christmas cookies too!
This is Scotland County Hospital’s annual Christmas party. They all are playing the left/right/left game! It was a hoot! A lot of employees worked really hard to make this party a terrific success, and it was!!
All of our congregation came together this Sunday to put up Christmas decorations and later had a voter’s meeting.
This is Memphis Community Players’ annual Cantata we saw yesterday afternoon, singing songs praising our Lord with such absolute beauty, it made me cry!
And let’s not forget the “stuff of life” that needs attending too, like those annual checkups at the vet for our furry friends. My dogs really want to terrorize those poor birds!
I know I’m not any different than any of you. I’ll bet you’re probably even busier! All of our kids have left the nest now and are officially married, but somehow, I’m still very busy, especially this time of year! But I just wanted to know how you’re doing now. I mean health wise. If you feel like you’re flying by the seat of your pants, having a much higher level stress, barely getting supper on the table (or just grabbing what you can, when you can), not really fitting in exercise and even shorting yourself much needed sleep! Believe me, I totally understand! I’ve been there. I’ve just made a couple of changes this year to really bring the stress level down, thus being able to deal with the unexpected life challenges that always come with the season:
I. Pre-plan healthy meals and make enough for another meal-I can’t tell you how many meals of strictly cheese, sausage and nuts were eaten by my husband and I in the past when I didn’t take the time to plan a healthy meal because I was soooo busy. The reason I recommend getting in that planning mode, if not now, then right after the holidays, is that not only do you feel better, have more stamina and a healthier immune system with a balanced meal, you also have a level of peace that only comes with planning. This is a meal I made last night for Randy and me, it’s a Sweet Potato and Bacon frittata:
It was terrific! I served it with a side of roasted fennel and tomatoes, but a simple salad would be just as good! As you can see, the entire frittata serves 4 (I had to scold Rand when he reached for seconds=a second meal):
So I plan to eat this again on Wednesday so I can have some time to get ready for the kid’s Christmas!
I routinely get 5 magazines: Bon Appetite, Cooking Light, Food & Wine, Cook’s Country and Cook’s Illustrated. I know, kinda crazy! I just love food!!! I usually adapt the recipe by increasing the amount of vegetables, decrease the amount of fat (and add some chicken broth or stock for flavor instead, or sub a lighter fat like coconut milk instead of cream) and maybe zing it up with some more spices or herbs if it fits my fancy. Then I input the recipe ingredients in MyFitnessPal to see if it fits my macros for the day (see Time To Think About A New You? for my info on this plan) If it doesn’t, I tweek it till it does, then I’m set with the recipe, no more guessing, I just call it up on my recipe list in MyFitnessPal!
II. Exercise daily, even if it’s just a very short session, but make it count!- You all know I’ve embraced weight lifting as another tool in my exercise chest, along with cardio (see You’ve Got the Power With Weight Lifting! Part II). What I’m doing differently with exercise, and I’ll say it’s a real epiphany, is to mindfully concentrate on the exercise I’m doing, while I’m doing it! Visualizing the muscles that I’m working:
I know I’m not only working harder and smarter, I’m actually spending less time exercising! Along with that getting more of the results I want in both physique and that “quiet-the-mind-peace” that only comes with a quality exercise session.
III. Budget your time for your health and the meaningful message of Christmas- Don’t skimp on your sleep, it’s a setup for the waging of your hormones, namely leptin and ghrelin. You need both but in the right amounts. Leptin decreases hunger and ghrelin does the opposite. When your sleep is compromised so is your store of leptin and your appetite increases, setting you up for those holiday binges. PLUS, lack of sleep, compromises your immune system! Also, don’t forget to take those quiet moment breaks to refocus on what is important. My Christmas serene silences are looking at the Christmas tree and thinking of all the blessings God has bestowed on me and my family, even if some days I don’t see blessings, obscured by negatives or too many distractions. Gratitude always has a way of getting us out of whatever pity party we might be throwing ourselves and getting us right back on track! I know it sounds like a cliché but Jesus is the reason for the season and gratitude for the sacrifice He made for us puts everything in a true-North, God-lead perspective!
Randy and I really want to wish you the Merriest of Christmases from our family to yours! Best wishes for the Happiest and HEALTHIEST of New Years!
Recap of :HOME SPRINKLED WITH HEALTH FOR THE HOLIDAYS
I. Pre-plan healthy meals and make enough for another meal
II. Exercise daily, even if it’s just a very short session, but make it count!
III. Budget your time for your health and the meaningful message of Christmas
I’m encouraging you to try this simple sheet pan meal listed below. It’s a meal for 4. It is super easy to put together, easy clean up (just one dish), has great flavor AND it’s our actual leftover meal we are eating tonight (I had to take time to talk to you tonight instead!) Winner dinner in my book! Please enjoy!
DINNER ON A SHEET PAN:
ROASTED PORK WITH
POTATOES & APPLES
Equipment: stove, rimmed baking sheet
1 ½ pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 T. olive oil
1 T. dried thyme
1 T. dried rosemary
1 ¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 lb. Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 large apple (10 oz.) or apples cut in slices (I use an apple that is tart and crisp like Granny or Honeycrisp)
1 lb. green beans
3 T. chicken stock (broth can be used instead, stock is just more flavorful)
2 T. unsalted butter
1 ½ T. apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven (do not remove pan while oven preheats).
- Rub pork with 1 T. olive oil, 2 tsp. dried thyme, 2 tsp. dried rosemary, ½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper. Remove pan from oven. Immediately reduce oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Bake pork 5 minutes.
- Combine remaining 1 T. olive oil, remaining 1 tsp. thyme and rosemary, ½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, potatoes and apples; toss to coat.
- Remove pan from oven; add potatoe mixture to pan with pork. Bake at 450 degrees F until a thermometer inserted in pork registers 140 degrees F, 11-13 minutes. Remove pork from pan and let it rest (tent it to aluminum to retain heat) and place on cutting board. Add green beans to pan with potatoe mixture. Bake at 450 degrees F until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Place potato mixture in a separate dish. Add remaining ¼ tsp. salt, stock, butter and vinegar to hot pan. Scrape browned bits of goodness (fond) with a wooden spoon and stir in butter until melted. Cut pork into 12 equal slices. Drizzle stock mixture over pork.
Nutrition Info: 413 calories/ 34.3 g. carbs./ 16.4 g. fat/38.2 g. protein/ 431.1 mg. sodium/5.1 grams fiber
*Recipe adapted from Cooking Light