How To Survive The Holidays With Your Waistline And Sanity Intact

sex-and-avocadoesMeet Ashley from Love What You Eat. Not only are you going to meet an incredibly talented lady but one with lots of wit to spare. I love her site for the information but also for the laughs! It’s these kinds of funny images you’ll find on her site. After all, every one needs to laugh. The type of information? Well, read on and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

It’s November, and that means one thing: National Deviled Egg Day (link:

Seriously, I kid (and I’m allergic to eggs).

November is the last month of sanity before the chaos of Christmas, and if you want to be all PC about it, let’s just say the holiday season.

The holidays can mean different things to different people:

– the inevitable 10 pound gain after it becomes acceptable halfway through the month for dinner to be 9 bacon wrapped scallops, 7 mini-meatballs, and 4 sugar cookies at the fifth after-work cocktail party you were invited to. Notice the distinct lack of green veggies anywhere

– standing in line for hours to buy just the right present for that special someone (in my Mom’s case, a Cabbage Patch Kid for me way back in 1985 … I hear they’re making a comeback!)

– losing your mind on your mother-in-law when she innocently asks if you made enough gravy, but you made herbed au jus (after you actually went to a farm yourself to pick out a free-range, heritage turkey named Tom)

Do yourself a favor: put down Pinterest, and make an actual plan to survive the holidays with your sanity (and waistline) intact.

Last time, when I had the honor of guest-posting here on Beyond the Peel, I wrote about how meal planning is my #1 secret weapon that I use to get a healthy, homemade meal on the table 95% of the time.

The same rules apply for holiday time, with an extra emphasis on what I call “freezer cooking”.

Freezer cooking = making a larger batch of whatever you normally cook (double or triple the recipe so you make 6-8 servings), eating it for dinner that night, and freezing the rest in single serve containers so you can have dinner on the table in 15 minutes flat.

Here’s exactly what I’m stocking my freezer with now in November so that I’m ready for the hectic holiday season (and I’m sure the odd cold or flu bug, too):

  1. Hearty soups: really, who doesn’t love soup?! Fine, for the odd guy out there who can’t bring himself to eat a bowl of manly bisque, you can make chili. Same diff. Do you want to know what the secret to a really good soup is? The broth. A good broth or stock is game changer, I tell ya, plus you can make it virtually for free. As of writing this, France and Josh have 21 recipes for soup on this site alone, and some only take 10 minutes to make! Another great resource is Pinterest, where I’m always pinning new soup recipes that I think pack a flavor and holistic nutritionist approved punch.

Coconut Spinach Soup2. Anything “en papillote”: a meal that always bakes up perfectly moist and cuts down on clean up, “en papillote” is one of my fave ways to make fish, chicken, or even shellfish (link to your most recent en papillote recipe). An extra bonus is that you can assemble the packets ahead of time and freeze them. Put them into the fridge in the morning, and they’ll be thawed enough by dinnertime to pop into a preheated oven for a half hour or less … just enough time for you to make a fresh salad, some quinoa, and maybe a glass of wine.

Cod en Papillote with Zucchini3. Stews of all sorts: technically, the definition of a stew is a dish of meat and vegetables cooked slowly in liquid in a closed dish or pan. I can buy cheaper cuts of meat, use hands-free cooking in my crockpot, and make a huge batch all at once? This is practically the holy grail of freezer cooking for this mama of a very busy one year old boy. Plus, this isn’t your Grandma’s stew. You know, the good ol’ stand-by of stewing beef + potatoes + onions + carrots + beef stock + stewed tomatoes? I’m talking about Slow-Cooker Coconut Ginger Chicken & Vegetables , Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken with Pears and Portabella Mushrooms , and Easy Paleo and Gluten-free Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon.

So there you have it, 3 ways to fill your freezer so you can survive the holidays with your waistline and sanity intact. You can also learn to use your freezer to cut your cooking time in half. Read about here.

If you want a 30 day plan for surviving December, complete with weekly grocery lists delivered directly to your inbox, then come on over and join me in the 30 Day Stress Less Challenge: Holiday Edition.

What’s the one thing that you do every year just to get through the holidays? Share it in the comments below, even if it involves drinking a gallon of eggnog (hey, whatever gets you through a 10 hour day with your extended family!).

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