It’s that time of year again. It’s seems to come quicker and quicker as each year passes don’t you think?
Yup, the holidays. In our faces yet once again. What? Do I sound bitter? No, I’m not. Really.
I like the holidays just as much as anyone else. I mean what’s not to like – smells of Thanksgiving turkey, pies and cookies baking in the oven – it’s not only the season for giving, it’s the season for eating! And I like to eat just as much as the next person!
But I sort of get annoyed. I get annoyed at all those people trying to make all those delicious recipes into “healthier” versions. I don’t want a fake version of the real thing. Really. I really want the real thing, Really.
So what’s my issue? My issue is when you take all the good tasting stuff out of the real thing and replace it with “healthier” stuff, you’re usually adding a bunch of processed “stuff” that really doesn’t taste nearly as good as it did before you made it “healthy”. I really don’t want fake gravy or fake whipped cream, Ireally want the real stuff. Why? Because it tastes so good that’s why.
I really would rather have a small amount of something that tastes decadent and delicious than a lot if something that tastes eh. Wouldn’t you?
Holiday eating shouldn’t be about stuffing your face until you feel like you’re going to explode. It should be about enjoying really good food and feeling satisfied. So how do you do this? Well, for one, go slow – it’s not a race! Allow time for your brain and stomach to communicate with each other. Eating slower also allows you to taste your food and really savor it. Take small amounts of the foods you really, really like or you only get to eat at this time of year. Skip the food that you don’t really care about – it’s not worth it.
Remember while the holiday season is about 6 weeks long it doesn’t mean everyday is a holiday – so don’t eat like it is! Try and eat as healthy and balanced as you can on all the days in between. And keep moving! Find time to do some sort of physical activity as much as you can.
Okay, I think I’m done with my rant – for now.
So after all that, I do have an alternative to an ingredient that’s healthy. I know you’re probably saying – what, after all that? Hear me out. It’s healthy, tastes good and not filled with fake stuff. Homemade stock. Many recipes call for using broth or stock – this adds flavor to food. But when you purchase boxed pre-made broth or stock, it also adds a lot of sodium. I want to be in control of how much salt that’s in my food and, as a whole, we should all be watching our salt intake. Plus those boxed pre-made versions are expensive!
So here’s any easy way to “healthify” the broth or stock you use. When I was getting my undergrad, a fellow classmate shared this idea about a stock bag and I have been doing this ever since.I have used this idea to make chicken stock, fish stock and vegetable stock. Basically you save all your scraps, put them in a ziplock bag, and keep it in the freezer. When the bag is full, it’s time to make stock! It’s a win-win really. Inexpensive, no waste, super tasty and healthy.
So what have you got to lose? Start building your own stock bag now! And enjoy your holiday and your food.
- Base for vegetable stock:
- 1 bag of vegetable scraps (carrots, onion, celery, herb stems, fennel, leek, etc)
- 2-3 bay leaves
- head of garlic, halved
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 16-20 cups water
- Addition to make chicken/turkey or fish stock:
- chicken or turkey bones (I use leftover from rotisserie)
- or shrimp shells or fish bones (I use leftover from whole fish)
- Add all ingredients to large stock pot. Bring to boil, then simmer. Poultry stock takes about 4 hours, vegetable stock about 2 hours and seafood stock about an hour.
- Drain contents of pot through a fine sieve. Make sure you squeeze what liquid you can from the vegetables.
- Cool and then keep in container of your choice in the freezer.
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