holiday health: pre-holiday party lunch

This post is part of the Healthbuzz December series, Holiday Health, by Foodbuzz.

Although you may be tempted to skip lunch the day of a holiday party, so that you can fully enjoy yourself, it’s the last thing you want to do. I like to have a “lighter” lunch but one that is very filling and full of vegetables, since they are often lacking at parties. This allows me to enjoy myself at the party, and indulge in a glass of egg nog or two, ;) all knowing that the first two meals of my day were great ones.

Extra Veggie Salad - 2 servings – inspired by the Kind Diet

  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, torn
  • 2 cups spinach ribbons
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup cucumber, sliced
  • green onion
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • chicken breast, beans or tofu
  • 2 Tbsp toasted walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp olives, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp flax oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • few drops of truffle oil

Clean, chop and assemble all veggies and toppings.

Whisk together lemon juice, flax and truffle oil, salt & pepper.

Drizzle dressing over salad and toss.

This salad provides about 5 servings of vegetables, good fats and vitamins, fiber from avocado and nuts, protein from chicken, beans or tofu, omega-3 fatty acids (the good fat!) from flax oil and luxurious flavor from the truffle oil. It’s perfectly balanced and equally as delicious.

lemon whippersnappers

When Lori and Adrienne had the idea to host an International Blogger Holiday Cookie Exchange I knew immediately I had to participate.

Partly because I simply love the idea of swapping recipes but mainly because I needed a baking deadline. Seriously, I think at one point in time I made a goal to bake at least once a month but it has been MONTHS since I’ve baked anything. In fact, the last time I baked, it was a miserable loaf of bread that didn’t rise and I tried to pass it off as “rustic.” That obviously never made it on the blog and the Taster didn’t buy into it either, but hey, I tried! (Still scared of yeast)

But the Holidays are upon us and I’m feeling all domestic and ready to bake. (I even baked two cookies in one day!) Sure to be a new record. :)

Mindy from Mindy’s Mouthful sent me a recipe that has been a family favorite for many years and one that her Grandmother frequently made. Originally it was made with nothing but lemon cake mix, cool whip, eggs and powdered sugar. But Mindy, knowing that I needed my practice baking, sent me the “from scratch” version as well, so I actually did have to get out the flour and sugar. They turned out great – I love cookies with citrus flavors – so bright and flavorful for the grey, cold and slushy life that I’m currently living in.

From-Scratch Lemon Whippersnappers makes about 3 dozen

Cake Mix:  (adapted from Chickens in the Road)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (I used 1 1/4 c)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk (I couldn’t find this so I used 1/4 milk)
  • zest from 3 medium lemons

Other ingredients:

  • 1 cup very cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the cake mix ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Combine the cream, vanilla and lemon extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with handmixer or a stand mixer with cold beaters until it starts to become whipped cream. Add the sugar and whip until stiff (similar to consistency of Cool Whip.)

Add the whipped cream and the egg to the cake mix. Stir by hand with a strong spoon to combine completely.

Drop batter by teaspoonfuls into powdered sugar and roll to coat. Place 1 1/2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cookies start to brown lightly on the edges. (It is very important to take them out at this point as they will continue to cook just a little as they cool on the sheet.) Let cool on the sheet for about two minutes. Remove to a wire cooling rack and cool completely. The cookies should be just a little crunchy along the edges, but chewy on the inside.

***If you want to make another flavor, just leave out the lemon zest and lemon extract, and add whatever flavors you want!

top gifts for the health obsessed

How is your Holiday shopping going? I’ve gotten a few (and by that I mean like, 3) gifts taken care of – so I’ve got a long ways to go. But it’s still early, right?

Last week I shared my list of the top foodie gifts of 2010 and today I’d like to share the top gifts for the health obsessed. You know the kind, always active, probably drinking green juice along with their quinoa salad and maybe they even have a food blog! :) Here are some of my favorites this year!

  1. Subscription to Nutrition Action Newsletter: This health newsletter always has great (and readable) research on the latest health topics – truly a publication you can trust!
  2. Lululemon Gear: I’m in love with this entire store. These clothes will motivate anyone to workout! (Taster, I’ll take anything on the site ;) )
  3. Whole Foods Market Gift Card: Or a gift card to a local coop. A gift that the health obsessed in your life will definitely use.
  4. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, by Mark Bittman. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to love this cookbook. It is full of the basics and includes more than 2,000 recipes!
  5. iTunes Giftcard: They are going to need the newest songs to workout! (Todays top song according to itunes is Firework by Katy Perry – FYI)
  6. Clean Eating Magazine: This magazine has consistently delicious and healthy recipes that the entire family will enjoy.

What would you add to the list?

Oh, and there are some kids in Honduras who could use a little bit of your Holiday spirit. Because isn’t helping others what the Holidays are all about anyway? Visit Holly’s blog for more details.