What better way to host a great holiday party during the Christmas season than to make sure that your guests are being fed healthy, weight conscious food. With all the candies and chocolates that swarm us during our work week, the parties that come in tow with tons of finger foods and appetizers, the champagne, etc etc it wouldn’t be a bad idea to server your guests something different. From gluten free to vegan to just plain healthy and delicious we have a number of fun but healthy Christmas recipes for you.

Salad

  1. Red and White Christmas Salad: What better way to start the list than with a dinner “starter”. This red and white festive salad is great as a starter or side dish. Prepping your guest for the amazing meal to come.

Holiday Deserts and Cookies

  1. Twelve Days of Gluten Free Christmas Cookies: This blog gives you 12 recipes for gluten free cookies for the Holiday Season. You won’t have to guess at any cookies anymore. From fudge to peanut butter this blog has it all. You might want to do the usual substitutes here, apple sauce for butter, syrup for sugar, chocolate substitutes, etc. But they are a great starting point for amazing holiday cookie recipes.
  2. 30 Gluten Free Cookie Recipes for Christmas: Here is a great list of either recipes or sources with other lists of recipes. You are sure to find one you really like.

Entrees

  1. 10 Vegan Holiday Recipes: I Love this blog. She is full of great vegan ideas for all the holidays and any other time during the year. For the sake of keeping with our holiday tradition I have picked a blog where she shares 10 vegan and gluten free holiday recipes. They are beautiful dishes, and sounds amazing. In fact, I have chosen one of the ten recipes as my “featured” recipe for this post!
  2. Featured Recipe- Gluten Free, Vegan Holiday Entrée of Choice: (NOTE: This is a recipe taken from glutenfreedoggess.blogspot.com, it is not our recipe. We are just sharing it with you)

There is the option of having sausage in here, but you easily keep it vegan. Just omit the sausage and serve with a side of hummus.

Ingredients:

1 large cabbage
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, diced

1 red onion, peeled, diced

1 large tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, diced

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

4 sausages- these can be sweet Italian, chicken apple, turkey, buffalo, cut into chunks

Extra virgin olive oil, as needed

1 cup natural apple juice or cider

1 tblspns pure maple syrup

1 tblspns balsamic or apple cider vinegar

Sprinkle of sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel

A handful of raisins or dried cranberries

1 to 1 1/2 c cooked quinoa
For the sauce:

1 24-oz jar or can of strained tomatoes- I use Bionature Organic Strained Tomatoes
1/2 c apple juice or cider
2 tblspns maple syrup
2 tblspns balsamic vinegar
1 tsp onion powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
Sea salt, to taste

Instructions:

First: Cook your cabbage. You’ll need a fresh, large head of green cabbage. Trim the bottom root and cut an X into the center core. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the head of cabbage for about five minutes until soft; remove and drain well.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Make the filling. Throw the vegetables, apple, and sausage into a roasting pan and drizzle with a little olive oil. Add the apple juice, maple syrup, vinegar, salt and spices and toss well to coat. Roast in the oven till soft- about 40 to 50 minutes. Stir a few times during roasting to distribute the sauce and seasoning. Meanwhile make your sauce.

Make the sauce. Combine the sauce ingredients in a sauce pan and stir. Cook over medium heat until simmering. Cover and lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Taste test before using in the recipe. If you like a bit of spice, add a dash of hot pepper- but please taste test first.

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Lightly oil four serving dishes or one medium-large baking dish.

When the cabbage has cooled enough for you to handle, cut another 1/2 inch or so off the bottom core if you need to and gently peel off the leaves one at a time; set the leaves aside on a plate or board. Trim any large leaves that may have a thick spine. Smaller leaves can be combined- use two to make one roll if you need to.
Combine the roasted vegetables and sausage with the cooked quinoa- start with a cup and see how much you need. If you want to stretch the filling, use more quinoa. Add a handful of raisins and stir in.

To stuff:

Lay a cabbage leaf on your work surface and add a spoonful of filling in the center. Fold in the side of the leaf and roll it up; tuck it into the prepared baking dish seam side down. Repeat for the remaining leaves and filling.

Pour the sauce over the stuffed cabbage and bake in the center of a preheated oven for about 30 minutes, till heated through and bubbling.

You can make this stuffed cabbage ahead of time, if you wish; cover and chill. Add an extra 10 minutes or so to the baking time.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

 


On our blog we spend a lot of time talking about the things you can do to better your life. It occurred to us that it is quite possible for you to be doing all kinds of great things that are recommended but sort of killing those positive effects that would normally be seen by doing some not so great things. Even more possible is that you don’t even realize what you are doing is a no no. So, we thought we would focus on physical fitness for a few blog posts and talk about the dos and don’ts of physical health: weight loss and exercise do nots!

While we like to promote positive thinking which goes along with focusing on what-you-can-do and just expecting that the what-you-can’t-do sort of falls in place. The logic here is that it’s hard to be doing the right thing and the wrong thing at the same time, so if you are doing the right thing you must not be doing the wrong things. This is so true in so many circumstances. HOWEVER, the issue is that often in the case of things like diet and exercise people think they ARE doing the right thing- and they aren’t.

This particular post will focus on things you don’t necessarily want to do with regard to exercising.

  1. Doing Too Much Too Fast: just because the guy next to you at the gym is running faster than you on the treadmill, and lifting more than you with all the weights doesn’t mean you need to try and keep up. Push yourself based on your own body and current physical fitness.
  2. Don’t Skip Your Rest Day: It’s great that you are all jazzed and ready to work out 7 days a week if that’s what it takes. However, your body, like everything else, needs to rest. You will get more out of your 5 work outs if you take 2 days of rest than you would out of 7 days of being tired and fatigued.
  3. Avoid Pre-work out Drink: Although it is great to get out there and get some exercise it isn’t great to fill your system with chemicals that change the way your body naturally handles exercise. These are tricky because some of them do make you feel great while you work out but the long term effects aren’t completely understood and not to be “tempted”.
  4. Don’t Stretch Before Warm: Never stretch your muscles before they are warmed up. Contrary to many old school exercise routines stretching can actually damage your muscles if done before they are warm.
  5. Don’t Just Work Out To Work Out: Working out is great, but can end feeling very ineffective without the proper mindset to go with it. You need to know before you start to work out what your goals are. This way you can become informed on the best work out to promote success in those areas.
  6. Don’t Push Quantity at the Cost of Quality: Often people thing that more you do the better. Well, to some degree this is true. However, if you are doing 100 squats but going half way down you are being less effective than if you were do much less but going all the way down. If you are running 10 miles but really slow you are being less effective than if you did 5 miles but much faster.