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Holiday Time Savers

Healthier Holidays!

Use the following holiday time savers to save time and help you with your holiday cooking chores.

Holiday Time Savers

Use the following time saving ideas to help you with your holiday cooking chores so you will have more time to spend with family and friends. No matter how busy you are, you need not sacrifice the pleasure of cooking and baking for the holidays.

Simple Garnishes

Dress up a side dish, such as mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes with a long sprig or two of fresh rosemary or thyme.

Convenient Ingredients to have on Hand

These are great suggestions for anyone to follow, not just diabetics.

  1. Nonstick spray coating. Forget the mess of greasing pans.
  2. Seasoning blends. One sprinkle adds a dose of good taste. Try the following:
    • Italian and pasta seasonings
    • Cajun seasoning
    • Pepper blends
    • Fajita seasoning
    • Pumpkin pie spice
    • Five spice powder
    • Minced garlic in a jar. 1/2 teaspoon equals one clove garlic.

Jump Start Baking

Keep these basics stashed in your freezer:

  • Whole bags of toasted nuts and coconut.
  • Grated ginger-root and finely shredded citrus peels, wrapped a teaspoon at a time in plastic wrap.
  • Frozen egg substitute - for cutting calories and for an emergency if you run out of whole eggs.
  • Mix up some basic cookie dough to have on hand for unexpected "drop in" visitors.

Help with Herbs

You cannot beat the flavor of fresh herbs. However, fresh herbs are not always available. Alternatively, perhaps you are too busy to clean and snip them. Nevertheless, dried herbs make convenient stand-ins. Substitute dried herbs for fresh (and vice versa) by using 1 teaspoon dried mild-flavor herb (basil, mint, oregano, and savory) for 1 tablespoon snipped fresh herb.

Add flair to dinner rolls with fresh herbs. Before baking the rolls, brush them with a mixture of one egg white beaten with 1-tablespoon water. While the egg white glass remains moist, place fresh Italian parsley or sage-leave on the rolls. Brush again with the egg white mixture. Bake as directed. For stronger-flavored herbs, such as dill weed, marjoram, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme, use 1/2 teaspoon dried herb for each tablespoon of fresh. If you are adding a ground form of a dried herb, use even less.

Impromptu Appetizers

  • Layer 3 ingredients -- olives, marinated feta cheese cubes, and marinated artichoke hearts - in a stemware glass dish.
  • Dress up a round of Brie.
  • Cut the Brie round into five wedges. Top each wedge with kumquat slices, champagne grapes, edible flowers, and sprigs of herbs.

Tips for Each Cleanup

  • Dish up dinner in the kitchen, from pot to plate; forget about serving dishes.
  • Line casseroles and roasting pans with foil. Then discard the foil after dinner.
  • Line salad bowls with plastic wrap. Check out some of the holiday colors of plastic wrap that are available.
  • Invest in nonstick cookware.
  • Use disposable foil cookware for those messy recipes.
  • Marinate in plastic bags, placing the bag in a bowl in case it springs a leak.

Slimming Tips

Here are a few ways to bring pleasure -- not pounds -- to the holiday festivities:

  • Complement the appetizers you are serving with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables -- they add color and crunch.
  • Cut down on or avoid alcoholic beverages. Refreshing -- yet lower calorie -- options include equal parts cranberry juice and ginger ale, or a tall vegetable juice on the rocks with a dash of bottled hot pepper sauce and a celery-stick stirrer. Hot teas, spiced with cinnamon, ginger, or mint, make a virtually calorie-free alternative to hot mulled wine and ciders.
  • When you eat, pause after sampling each appetizer. That way, you will give your stomach time to tell your brain that it is satisfied. Once the party starts, savor the socializing -- not the snacking. Talk more and eat less.
  • After the party's over, take a walk around the block with the co-hosts to discuss the fun you had. Remember that an occasional indulgence is not going to cause that many harms. The key to good health is maintaining a balanced diet most of the time.

Holiday Recipe Index