December 2012


Most of us are inspired to make some improvements to our lives at this time of year. Dropping a few pounds usually tops that list — at least it does for me.  Eating a more healthy diet in the process is up there too.

So, when I received our January issue of Bon Appetit a week or two ago, I was excited to see an article called “the food lover’s cleanse“.  The menu for this two week cleanse were put together by Sara Dickerman and nutrionalist, Marissa Lippert.

These two are a couple of amazing people in my book.  Sara is a former restaurant cook and and an award-winning food writer.  She writes for Bon Appetit, Saveuer, The New York Times, and has a beautiful website and blog.   And, she’s based in Seattle, which is very near and dear to my heart.

Marissa is a registered dietitian, based in New York City.  She is a writer as well and she has her own blog, in addition to  blogging for Huffington Post.  She also founded the NOURISH Nutrition Counseling.

(Bottom line, these are two very talented women who I haven’t done justice to in my “introduction”, but should certainly be on your list to follow if you are at all into food.)

My experience with cleanses in the past has been positive, but always left me feeling a bit deprived.  Since they are relatively short lived, I figured I could tough it out.  And I usually come out of them feeling healthier, lighter, and, yes, cleaner.  But, although an efficient way to detox your body, the dishes from a lemon juice cleanse, an olive oil cleanse, or anything similar seldom made it into my “real world” menus.

That is why I was so excited to see the article, and the 2 week menu for this cleanse.  It looks amazing!  Online, they have images of the meals, cleanse recipes and a shopping list.  It was created with the intention of showing that a cleanse could be great tasting food that deserves a permanent place in your cooking repertoire.  Bravo!  Real nutrition that you can incorporate into your everyday life.

Take a look at just some of the meals below.  Yum… here’s to a tasty two weeks!

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Photographs by Kimberly Hasselbrink via BonAppetit.com

A Christmas without gifts is a good thing… for us.

I started working in stores when I was in High School, working summers and Christmas vacations. My husband’s start in retail was similar. We even met while working in a store. We must have fifty years of working in the retail industry between us.

But this year was very different. This is the first year since we met that neither of us as worked in retail during the holidays.

If you haven’t worked in retail, you may not understand the implications of that. When you work for a retailer during the holidays, it means that you aren’t likely to have the day after Thanksgiving off. It may even mean that you have to be at work extra early the day after. Or in recent years, it may even mean that you have to go to work before your dinner is even digested.

It means that you work on Christmas Eve. You probably choose to eat dinner out because you’re too exhausted to cook. We actually have a tradition of getting Chinese take-out on Christmas Eve because of our long history of getting home late.

I could go on… We’ve had good careers in retail, but it is a lovely change to be able to completely avoid the malls at this time of year.

No Christmas lists. No last minute rush. I was even blissfully ignorant of the last day to order online is this year.  Or knowing a store’s return policy.

We’re not deprived. We’ve just decided to give our gifts at other times this year. And to savor the season with music, movies, candle light services, good food and friends.

Ahhh. This could be the start of a new Christmas tradition!

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It would not be Christmas for me, if I didn’t revisit Erma Bombeck’s much read Christmas post.

Where did Christmas go?

There is nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.

Not to feel the cold on your bare feet as you rush to the Christmas tree in the living room. Not to have your eyes sparkle at the wonderment of discovery. Not to rip the ribbons off the shiny boxes with such abandon.

What happened?

When did the cold, bare feet give way to reason and a pair of sensible bedroom slippers? When did the sparkle and the wonderment give way to depression of a long day? When did a box with a shiny ribbon mean an item on the “charge?”  

A child of Christmas doesn’t have to be a toddler or a teen.  A child of Christmas is anyone who believes that Kings have birthdays.

The Christmases you loved so well are gone. What happened?

Maybe they diminished the year you decided to have your Christmas cards printed to send to 1,500 of your “closest friends and dearest obligations.” You got too busy to sign your own name.

Maybe it was the year you discovered the traditional Christmas tree was a fire hazard and the needles had to be vacuumed every three hours and you traded its holiday aroma for a silver one that revolved, changed colors, played “Silent Night” and snowed on itself.

Or the year it got to be too much trouble to sit around the table and put popcorn and cranberries on a string. Possibly you lost your childhood the year you solved your gift problems neatly and coldly with a checkbook.

Think about it. It might have been the year you were too rushed to bake and resorted to slice-and-bake with no nonsense. Who needs a bowl to clean — or lick?

Most likely it was the year you were so efficient in paying back all your party obligations. A wonderful little caterer did it for you for $3 per person.

Children of Christmas are givers. That’s what the day is for. They give thanks, love, gratitude, joy and themselves to one another.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have children around a tree. It’s rather like lighting a candle you’ve been saving, caroling when your feet are cold, building a fire in a clean grate, grinding tinsel deep into the rug, licking frosting off a beater, giving something you made yourself.

It’s laughter, being with people you like, and at some time falling to your knees and saying, “Thank You for coming to my birthday party.”

How sad indeed to awake on Christmas and not be a child.

Time, self-pity, apathy, bitterness and exhaustion can take the Christmas out of the child, but you cannot take the child out of Christmas.

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Erma Bombeck died in 1996.  I would venture to say that she achieved what she hoped for as she stood before God.  What a wonderful talent she had.  A true gift for making people smile.  And for challenging us to embrace what really matters in life.

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Photo via Dalycia Phipps, Pinterest

We are hoping that Santa won’t be mad… sometimes a Corgi just needs a cookie.

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Enjoy this wonderful season with those you love… including those warm, furry friends that bring so many smiles.

Merry Christmas!

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Yesterday wrapped up my thirty days of gratitude project. A “grateful journal”, if you will.

This has been an interesting and reflective exercise. And although my exercise of gratitude is over, I hope to keep things to be grateful for in my focus every day.

I drove past a church yesterday that challenged me with the question:

What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you had given thanks for today?

This list of things to be thankful for only skims the surface. But I would be a pretty happy person if I woke up with only these things left. At a glance here they are — the thirty things I am grateful for this past month.

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1. Reconnecting with old friends
2. My cozy home
3. The sun on my face
4. My sister
5. Our Corgi, Dylan
6. Adventures of travel
7. A husband who cooks
8. Facebook
9. The Spa
10. Clean Water
11. Really smart people
12. My yoga practice
13. Technology
14. Loving parents
15. Sleep
16. Photos
17. Books
18. People who do self-less things
19. Electricity
20. Music
21. The journey
22. Neighbors
23. Good health
24. The capacity to learn
25. Love
26. My career
27. Living in interesting times
28. Friends
29. Food
30. The internet

If you haven’t yet really contemplated the things to be grateful for in your own life, I encourage you to give it a try. And, in doing so, I am hoping we can all concentrate more on the good things going on all around us!

Does it age me to say that I’m grateful for the internet? What an amazing change from slow dial up connections, to the ever-on broadband connections, to widely available wi-fi, and take-it-with-you 3G. It has dramatically changed our lives along the way. Information is enormously more accessible to all of us, and our connections with others, stronger. And without it, I would not be giving thanks via my blog!

The Internet: A Decade Later

Browse more data visualization.

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I’m thankful for food on so many levels…

Most importantly, I’m thankful that we have access to so much healthy food and that we never go to bed hungry.

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I’m thankful for farmers who work every day to provide us food. A job that I would fail miserably at, and often goes unappreciated.

I’m also grateful for the wonderful taste sensations that I experience on a regular basis. Our exposure to a wide variety food, and a broad range of cooking techniques make for very interesting meals. Thank you, Julia Child, Food Network, Bon Appetit Magazine, and a slew of terrific food bloggers* for teaching and inspiring us!

Bon appetit!

*Just a few of my favorite foodie bloggers: Love and Olive Oil, Table for Two, My French Kitchen, La Buena Vida, and La Tartine Gourmande

Related Post:

Day seven: my husband-chef

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