Surviving the Holiday Season!

Christmas Tree

This post shall give you tips and tricks to surviving the holiday season!

 

To be completely honest, this is my first really big holiday season! In past years, I have either worked during Christmas or haven’t worked for companies that have Christmas parties so I could never understand why people had to “survive.” Now I work for a great company that receives a lot of gift baskets for the employees, we are getting a breakfast catered for us (super excited about that!) and then there are all the Christmas parties as well!

I have never seen so much food in my life!!!

 

And by food, I mean: chocolate (so much chocolate!), chips, cheese, antipasto platters….. the list just keeps going!

So how am I going to survive all this? I thought that I had some pretty good will power but in the first couple of days of the gift baskets, I knew that I was going to have to devise a pretty good game plan to avoid all the temptations that (literally) sit on my desk!

 

So what is my game plan you ask? Well it simple, but so far it has worked so I am going to share it with all you fine fellows:

 

Olivia’s Game Plan For The Holidays

 

1. Start your day with a good breakfast and a strong cup of coffee

If you come to work hungry then by 10am you are going to be grabbing for the first thing that you see and guaranteed, you are not going to feel too great if your first meal of the day is chocolate caramels. Having a good, solid breakfast is going to leave you satisfied and a good strong coffee…. well everyone needs one of them in the morning 🙂 But  if you are feeling alert, you are not going to be craving a sweet treat so soon.

 

2. Drink lots of water

When you are thirsty, your body sometimes tells you that you are hungry. If you work in a climate controlled office, this is especially true as the air is so much drier so you become dehydrated faster. Have a large water bottle next to your desk and sip from it regularly. It jazz it up, add some lemon or orange slices, and you will find it easier to pass on that giant cheese platter that is calling your name.

 

3. Have a “sweet” tea to curb those cravings

I love tea!! My favourite at the moment is Earl Grey with some milk in it. Whenever I am at a dinner party and desserts are coming out, I have a cup of tea first. The proteins and fat from the milk fill me up and the warmness of the tea is like a hug from the inside (I love hugs) so if I do have some dessert, I don’t feel like I need as much.

 

4. Treat dessert like you could have it at ANY time

Talking about dessert, you can have some, totally do! If you don’t then you will feel like you are missing out and maybe even eat more at the next party. The human psychology can be so twisted so times…..  Anyway, what I mean by this statement is remember that dessert is everywhere, it’s at work, it’s at this party, it is at home as well. If you wanted dessert, you could literally have it at anytime. So if you can have it whenever, you only want a small amount now. No big deal, if you want some more later, there is going to be plenty around. I find this one helps me a lot as I hate missing out.

 

5. Choose your treats wisely

In addition to statement 4, you also want to choose which treats you are going to have. Personally, I love pumpkin pie and ferrero rochers, so I am going to hold out for them. If I have another chocolate, it just doesn’t taste as good so why eat it when I can have the ultimate chocolate!!

 

6. Don’t starve yourself before a big meal

You know how it goes, don’t eat all day because you are going to eat so much tonight. No, no, no!! Don’t do it to yourself! Have a good breakfast and a light lunch and then treat that dinner like any other dinner that you would have. If you starve yourself all day, a few things are going to happen but it’s mainly going to be lots of bloating after your big meal and no one likes that feeling!

 

7. Walk it off

If you do overindulge, it is so easy to sit down and not move because you are so full. Especially if someone puts on a movie, then it’s impossible! Before you settle into your little food coma, challenge yourself to a little walk. Just 5 minutes to get some fresh air, that’s all you need. Getting outside is the hardest part, so once you have done a 5 minute walk, you can probably handle being out there for a little bit longer. Get some family members to join in and you will all feel a little bit better.

 

8. Be kind to yourself

This is probably the most important point of all! You are a human and you are wonderful and if you eat an extra slice of pumpkin pie (I know I am going to!) then it’s OK. The world won’t end, your jeans are still going to fit and when you have a positive attitude towards your food, it is easier to go back to eating how you would normally. Christmas is a time of celebration so celebrate! and enjoy those foods that only come around for this time of the year.

 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and if you have some questions or suggestions of how you “survive” the holiday season then leave a comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Have a great week, Olivia xx

Celebration Pizza

Pizza Recipe

I called this recipe “Celebration Pizza,” because it was made to say goodbye to one of our Swedish friends, who had been staying for 3 months. During the time of his stay, we have gone on many camping adventures, hikes and played a lot of Monopoly Deal!

I decided to make pizza for our last dinner as we all have different food preferences and pizza was easiest as everyone could make their own, with their desired toppings. We had a lot of fun making them. I have never worked in a pizza shop so I “rolled” out a very misshapen base.

Pizza Recipe
My attempt of a pizza base
Pizza Recipe
It still tasted delicious!

On the other hand, Alex has quite a lot of experience with pizza, so made beautiful, round bases for everyone. He just used his hands and it was amazing to see him work the round ball of dough into a delicious base for us to use. He also made himself a “stuffed crust” pizza as well.

Pizza Recipe
Alex at work.
Pizza Recipe
Stuffed Crust Pizza.

 

PIZZA BASE


Makes 4 medium pizza bases___Prep Time: 1 hour___Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup of water or milk
30 g of fresh yeast or 1 sachet of dry yeast
1 tbs of oil
2 tsp of salt
4 cups of flour

 

Method

  1. In a large bowl, mix the water (room temp), oil, salt and yeast.
  2. Add the flour and mix until a dough is formed.
  3. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer back to the bowl, cover with a tea towel and allow the dough to sit for 30 minutes.
  5. Once the dough has risen, break it into 4 small balls and let it rest again for 15 minutes.
  6. Form your pizzas and bake in a hot oven (400ºF/200ºC) for 15 minutes.

 

Handy Tips

  • Once you have formed your pizza base, transfer it to the baking tray before you put on the toppings. This will make it a lot easier for you to put it in the oven (and yes, we can say that from experience!)
  • Chop up a variety of toppings, so that everyone in your house can make their own pizza.
  • We just used canned tomato paste for the base of our pizza, but you can use pesto, BBQ sauce, ketchup or even just olive oil.
  • If you do not want to make 4 pizzas, wrap the left over dough in plastic wrap and keep it in the freezer until you want to use it.
  • This recipe cannot be halved.

 

 

Grilled Cheese

Cheap and easy meal

Sometimes, when life is busy, you just need a grilled cheese sandwich to keep you going! If there is nothing in your fridge, there is always bread, cheese and butter for grilled cheese. And if you have anything extra, like tomato or some dried herbs, then you can always dress up your grilled cheese to be a lil bit fancy!

 

This post was inspired by Stephanie Le at iamafoodblog.com. Her grilled cheese recipe is simple, plus she has all sorts of different variations that look delicious and I cannot wait to try them! Stephanie also has many other amazing recipes that you can check out. So far, I have only dared to try the grilled cheese but her Sour Cream Breakfast Biscuits look incredible for lazy morning Sunday brunch!

 

GRILLED CHEESE


Serves 1___Prep Time: 5 minutes___Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

Grated Cheese
2 Slices of Bread
Butter

Method

  1. Butter both pieces of your bread, then lay one piece, butter side down, in a frypan.
  2. Heat the frypan to a low medium temperate and while you are waiting, add the grated cheese. Make sure that is on all the corners!
  3. Add some herbs, salt and pepper or whatever you desire then place the other bread slice on top, butter side facing up.
  4. Grill the sandwich for about 5 minutes or until it is dark golden, and then carefully flip it onto the other side.
  5. Grill the second side for another 5 minutes and tah dah! Cheesy deliciousness for dinner!

Photo Credit: lovethispic.com

 

 

Green Thai Curry

Cheap and easy meal

I love green thai curry!

I think it is because of my time spent up in Darwin, which has the perfect blend of Australian and Asian cultures. Every Saturday, I would go to the local markets and there would be all sorts of goodies for sale. I generally got a vegetarian spring roll which was as thick as my arm! Or a green papaya salad. Dessert would be sticky rice with mango or banana, or a coconut and lime juice.

Yum! Yum! Yum!  Just thinking about it makes me hungry!

Asian food
The sweets from Parap Markets, Darwin. Photo Credit – Arafura.

Anyway, back to the curry…

 

I am going to admit, I royally screwed up this recipe! I thought I would make a vegetarian version with brussel sprouts and water chestnuts but the water chestnuts were from a can and had a weird “tinny” flavour to them. I may have used too much curry paste as well because I don’t read the labels.. So the moral of this story is: It’s great to experiment in the kitchen, but sometimes it will turn out wrong! (But that’s ok, because that is how we become better cooks!)

 

On the plus side, Alex really liked it but I couldn’t get past the tinny taste so I just had rice with olive oil for dinner instead 🙁

So, to make it up to you, I am going to use a fail safe recipe from Thai Kitchen because I have used this one before and haven’t messed it up.

 

GREEN THAI CURRY


Serves 4___Prep Time: 10 minutes___Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 x 400mL coconut milk
1/3 cup of stock
2 to 3 tbs of fish sauce
1 to 4 tbs of green curry paste
2 tbs of sugar (optional)
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves (optional)
1 and 1/2 cups of cut up vegetables (I normally use peppers, snow peas and carrots)
500g of your protein of choice (tofu, chicken, beef)
Rice for serving

Method

  1. In a deep frypan or medium saucepan, mix the coconut milk, fish sauce, green curry paste, stock, basil (optional) and brown sugar (optional). Bring to a boil on a medium heat, then turn down to low to let it simmer.
  2. Once the curry mix is simmering, add the chicken to gently poach it.
  3. In another frypan, stir fry the vegetables until they are partly cooked (I like my vegetables crunchy). Add them to the curry mix.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, the curry is ready to serve on a bed of rice with some fresh basil and bean sprouts on top.

 

Photo Credit: About Food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zucchini Slice

Cheap and Easy Recipe

This zucchini slice is perfect for a light dinner. It can be served by itself,  or with a side like toast or a salad. I love to eat it the next day for breakfast with some water buttered toast.

If you are wondering what I served with my slice with, in the picture above? then the answer is sauerkraut. I find that the acidity of the sauerkraut is really good for cutting through the cheesiness of the zucchini slice, as well as being a quick way to add some fibre, vitamin C and folate into my diet.

 

ZUCCHINI SLICE


Serves 4___Prep Time: 10 minutes___Cooking Time: 30 minutes

 

Ingredients

6 eggs
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of milk
2 large zucchini (grated)
2 cups of grated cheese
2 rashers of bacon (roughly chopped)
1/2 cup of corn

 

Method

  1. Preheat an oven to 350ºC (180ºC)
  2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs and milk, then incorporate the flour into the mix.
  3. Fold in the rest of the ingredients (zucchini, cheese, bacon, corn) and transfer the mix into a 9″ baking dish.
  4. Put in the oven and allow to cook for 30 minutes or until the centre is firm and the top is golden.
  5. Cut into large slices and serve with your desired side.

 

 

Meal Plan Three

A picture that I took while on my walk to work!

This week has been a tough week for me! I am excited because I am starting a blog for my friends, as well as really getting into hot yoga AND… I work full time on top of that! Life is really busy and I have a tendency to keep pushing myself harder and harder until I literally fall into bed and cannot get up again for a day, sometimes two.

This week was a bit of a friendly nudge that I can still do everything that I want, but I need to slow it down a bit. A reminder that if I don’t go to yoga for one night, then I will not lose all my flexibility in a day and that if a baking order doesn’t get done, then there is always tomorrow. Do you sometimes have those weeks as well?

When I am having a week where I am “too busy” for anything, my nutrition really slips. This is why I started making meal plans so that I didn’t resort to toast for dinner each night.  And this is also why I started this blog, so that I could maybe help out some other busy people like myself, so that they can at least get the fuel that they need to “go! go! go!”

There is a grilled cheese sandwich in this meal plan, just because I really was that busy that I planned for them (and they were delicious!) So I hope you enjoy these meals and remember, when everything is getting a bit too much; take a deep breathe and remember that tomorrow is a new day.

Also, IT’S ONLY 4 SLEEPS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!

I’m super excited as I am going out of town to spend Christmas with Alex’s family, so it will be nice. Although also very cold as we are going to Edmonton….

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas! Olivia xx

 

Meal 1Meal 2Meal 3
Pizza Recipe Cheap and Easy Meal Cheap and Easy Recipe
Celebration Pizza Chicken StewZucchini Slice
Meal 4Meal 5
Cheap and easy meal Cheap and easy meal
Green Thai CurryGrilled Cheese

 

SHOPPING LIST

Cold Section
Bacon (3)
Cheese (3) (5)
Eggs (3)
Milk (3)

 

Freezer Section

Corn (3) **

 

Canned and Dry Goods
Canned Corn (3) **
Chicken Stock (4)
Coconut Milk (4)
Dry Yeast (1)
Fish Sauce (4)
Green Curry Paste (4)

 

Meat
Chicken Breasts (2)
Protein of choice for Green Thai Curry (4)

 

Fresh Produce
Potatoes x 2 (2)
Produce for Green Thai Curry (4)
Zucchini x 3 (2)(3)

 

Pantry Staples
All Purpose Flour (1)
Bread (5)
Butter
Olive Oil
Rice
Salt

 

Shopping List for Meal Plan Three