The Task Tamer

It's okay to indulge. Really.

Teri 11/30/2015 Comments

Well, it is that time of year again! The Holidays. I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful. We had a houseful of family and plenty of food, conversation and company. I look forward to the rest of the season because I am done entertaining and I get to go to everyone else’s party! This is also the time of year when it is easy to overindulge, both with food and drink. There are so many articles about how to stay on track, how to avoid holiday weight gain, how to keep fitting in your clothes, etc., that I get overwhelmed with all the ideas! Eat before going to a party, don't eat before going to a party, eat only one bite of everything, only eat the vegetables, don't stand or sit near the food, workout like a maniac the week before a party, pick one food to indulge in, abstain from any unhealthy foods…my head is spinning. Then I read an article by Courtney Rubin in Shape magazine and it made me feel better about the season of food. She gives eight ideas on how to celebrate without feeling guilty and still stay on your plan. 

 

First she points out that the New England Journal of Medicine states that the average weight gain during the holidays is only one pound, not the 5-10 so commonly quoted. That puts things in a better light. One meal or one night of over indulgence will not cause you to go purchase a whole new wardrobe of larger sizes. 

(Notice I said one night, not one month.) Then she says something that I absolutely love: “My personal strategy is to ignore the advice that says to fill up on the lean meats and vegetables—why waste calories on the stuff I can have everyday?—and eat exactly what I please.” Yep, you read that right, why waste calories on every day foods? She also points out that wasting calories on the chips and dip and other store bought snack foods isn’t a great idea either. If you are going to indulge, go for the homemade treats and foods that you don't get very often. 

 

She then goes on to other strategies that include chew slowly so you can appreciate every bite and your brain can register when your body is full, turn your back on temptation and act like a thin person. This last one means you should focus on how you want to feel at the end of the night. Stuffed or happily indulged? In a food coma or ready to face tomorrow after a fun night? This one works for me with alcohol. I hate the feeling of being hungover and as much as I love wine, I love waking up without a headache even more. So I stick to one glass and savor each sip. One last strategy that I love: wear clothes with a waist band. This will help you remember how your clothes fit. Elastic waistbands might be super comfy, but if you do gain extra pounds, they will not remind you how hard you worked to get into skinny jeans. 

 

The upshot is, one or two nights of indulgence will not cause your plan to derail. Enjoy the party and get back to normal the next day. The holidays are not an excuse to throw away all the work you do all year to stay healthy. They are a time to celebrate family and friends and to revel in the magic of the season. All too soon it is January and we comment on how fast the holidays went. Don't overindulge to the point that the holidays will still be sticking around your waistline in January! 

 

Whenever we go out to a restaurant I hate to order pasta because it is usually something I can make at home (kind of like the strategy of not eating party food that I can get every day). This recipe is easy to make your own by using your favorite vegetables. Butternut squash, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, etc., would all work well. The sauce is super simple, just garlic and oil. If your garlic has a green root inside, make sure you cut it out or you will end up with an unpleasant bitter flavor.

 

Roasted Vegetable Garlic Pasta

 

Ingredients:

1 small honeynut squash, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)garlic pasta

Couple handfuls of Brussel sprouts, halved or quartered if large (abut 2 cups)

2 medium onions, peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 bag pasta (I prefer shorter pasta for this, but your choice)

1 cup raw walnuts

1/4 cup Wegmans Basting Oil or your favorite flavored oil

3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced very thin

Feta or asiago cheese for topping (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Place two roasting pans in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.
  2. Toss squash, sprouts and onions with the sunflower oil and salt. Remove hot pans from oven and pour vegetables on them. You will hear them start to sizzle. Be careful not to overcrowd the pans or the vegetables will steam instead of roast. Carefully place pans back in oven. Roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring once. Vegetables are done when they are starting to blacken, but not burn. Remove from oven.
  3. Meanwhile, start your water for the pasta. When it is boiling, salt generously and stir in pasta.
  4. While you are heating pasta water, toast the walnuts in a small pan over medium heat. Shake them often to avoid burning. When they start to brown and smell nutty, they are done. Remove from pan. Place pan back on burner and add basting oil. Once it is hot, add garlic chips and sauté, stirring often, until they start to brown. Watch closely because they can go from light brown to burnt quickly. Remove pan from heat and set aside. 
  5. Reserve one cup of pasta water and drain the rest. Place pasta back in pot and stir in garlic and oil. Add pasta cooking water if needed. Stir in roasted vegetables. Serve, topped with toasted walnuts and cheese, if using. 
  6. Enjoy!

 

garlic

 

Sauteed galic. The steam from the cooking pasta fogged up the camera!


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