It's post-Thanksgiving in the US and it seems like a lot of my friends are having that kind of reaction to the weekend. On the bright side, I also see them sharing some new healthy recipes and ways to eat better, so I have to think they are at least trying to stay on track as we head into some food-laden holidays.
The best way to do that, I think, is to accept that you will likely eat some things that aren't on your List of Acceptable Foods. (I always feel like things that like that should be capitalized. It makes them sound so serious!) So, accept it and do your best to work around it. I try to build parties and holiday gatherings into my schedule as cheat days. And by cheat days, I mean cheat meal, not literally an entire day of cheating... or you for sure will end up like poor old Ralph.
If you're attending a potluck, that helps because you can make sure you are the one that brings something healthy. Oh now, don't give me that look! If you have read any of my previous posts, you know that healthy does not mean gross, boring, or tasteless! In my experience, the "healthy" dishes I take to gatherings are always met with rave reviews. And, no these people aren't just being nice. Trust me... they aren't those kind of people. (Just kidding, they are lovely people, but they would not ask for the recipes if they didn't really like the food!) I think the reason that my recipes are such a hit is because they all are made with whole, natural, delicious food. No added junk.
Chili-Maple Pepitas. The linked recipe has eight different ways to make them. I've only made a few but the chili-maple are my favorite!! I make a big batch, or even a double batch, and store them in a jar. Then they are handy for whenever a need a little crunchy snack. (In my area, I get raw pepitas at Trader Joe's.)
Needing something sweet? How about a candy bar! I adapted these from a clean eating (yes, I am not kidding!) Butterfinger. My kids tell me they taste more like Snickers since I added toffee. Either way, that has to be a win, right?! I cut these into smaller pieces and keep them in the fridge or freezer so I don't eat them all right away! But truly sometimes it's just a nibble we want, isn't it? And this can definitely fill that requirement! The bonus is they really don't take that long to make.
Craving cake? Almond Joy Cake is.... OMG.. it is just the best! I have had notoriously UN-clean eaters rave about this cake. No one ever knows it's not loaded with sugar and junk. Another super easy recipe too. (If you haven't figured it out by now, I am not just about eating clean, I am about making it easy!) Take this to your next holiday gathering and you'll see what I mean! Or just make it and save it all for yourself! That works too! You can eat it for breakfast or dessert.
Okay, so you probably need something besides cakes and candies... (if not, browse through my posts, and you'll find tons more great recipes!) so here's what's on tap at my house this week:
Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes - Actually, these aren't on the menu because we had them a couple weeks ago but I wanted to share because I think you'll you'll really like them!
Pasta with Marinara - I love this marinara recipe for its simplicity. But it doesn't lack flavor. The addition of a little red wine really makes all the difference. Just toss with with some whole wheat pasta (or use spaghetti squash). The blog I linked to also includes a link to some crazy good meatballs. If you're in the mood, make a batch of those too and freeze what you don't need.
Pizza - MR makes the pizza around here. We get a whole wheat crust from Trader Joe's (in the refrigerator section), and he makes a batch of sauce if we don't have any on hand - just crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning and olive oil -- and then we add the topping we like. You can always make your own crust too. Frankly, time is often the mitigating factor around here so it's just easier to have the TJ's crusts in the freezer. Just have to remember to get one out to thaw!
Pepperoncini Brisket - This is a two-ingredient recipe! Not kidding. A brisket and a jar of pepperoncini! Put the brisket in the slow cooker, dump the jar of pepperoncini over it (liquid too) and cook for ten hours on low. If there are leftovers, shred them and reheat for some really fabulous sandwiches.
Pumpkin Chipotle Soup - This has just the right amount of zing. Don't add more chipotles than it calls for... I'm not kidding! Not because it makes it too hot. It just changes the flavor and kind of ruins it. When you buy that can of chipotles in adobo sauce you're going to wonder what you'll do with all the extra... don't worry, just store them in a jar in the fridge because you're going to make this again... soon!
Is there something else you're craving? I'd love to help you clean it up or offer you a better substitute. Drop me a note in the comments and let's figure it out. While I can't guarantee you won't eat the whole thing occasionally this season, I can offer you some pretty amazing alternatives!
What are you eating this week? Whatever it is Keep it Clean!