“Mom?” My son shouts from the end of the table and shows me his plate.
“Yes?” I answer.
“I, don’t like the cranberry sauce that much.”
“Okay, leave it.”
It is Christmas Day and seven adults have joined us for a festive vegetarian meal at our little house. We served Tofu Turkey, two kinds of mashed potatoes with cashew gravy, two kinds of cranberry sauce, and fresh green beans. Other guests brought a Waldorf Salad, peas and paneer, and an apple pie.
After cleaning up the table just a little, we move the guests to our living room to serve them some tea or other warm drink. This year the timing for a white Christmas was just great, but that meant that it was pretty cold outside. So a warm piece of apple pie with coffee or tea was a welcome treat.
A tap on my shoulder from my 11-year old daughter, “Can I have another piece of chocolate?”
She is known for eating a good amount of sweets, especially during the holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and a Dutch tradition called “Sinterklaas”, which involves Dutch treats my parents send from the Netherlands every single year.
“Uhm, you just had three pieces!”
“Yes, I watched you eat them!” A never ending battle with this girl.
A wonder, a blessing, and a little problem happened to us four years ago. Our daughter was born. Why a problem? Because she was born on Christmas Day! Yes, she is a wonder and a blessing…but why on Christmas Day? Now, we have to eat a birthday cake on top of all the Christmas cookies, apple pies and other sweets. Not to mention the double amount of presents.
January 1st is the day to think about our New Year’s resolutions. What do we want to accomplish this year? After a few weeks of eating and lack of exercise during this period of time, because of the extreme cold (as I’m writing this, the outside temperature feels like -19F) it seems logical to think about losing weight. Pretty soon I’m going to test my Christmas present as well: a new yoga mat!
But what about food? How can I keep my kids and myself healthy? Knock on wood; people around us are dropping out of work and staying home because of the flu. We had a few coughs and sniffles, but that was about it! So, how are we doing to keep it that way?
First of all, we drink a lot of warm liquids. Warm water, herbal teas, and we try to stay away from milk, even though my son and youngest daughter love it.
Next we have a weekly Dahl Night. Every Monday I make dahl soup with rice or naan bread. This is so great because of several reasons:
- I’ll put all the ingredients in my crock pot and the soup is ready in the evening.
- I can use all kinds of (seasonal) vegetables, like kale, chard, spinach, carrots, zucchini and blend the soup at the end, after I added the spices, so I know the kids get their vitamins and fiber.
- Best of all, and why this particular soup is so good in the winter months, is the fact that it has a good amount of Indian spices which makes this soup not only very tasty, but the spices are like natural medicine. Turmeric, for example, has a very powerful anti-inflammatory effect and is a very strong antioxidant. Cumin helps with losing weight, improves digestion and immunity. Ginger helps with digestion, reduce nausea, and helps fight flu and colds. (Just to name a few.) All in one soup!
I also make sure the kids eat fruit too, high in vitamin C.
And last but not least: Fresh Chicken Soup. It might sound odd, but this soup only works with thighs, drumsticks, or any other part of the chicken with bones. It is all about the bone broth. You cannot make this healthy soup only with chicken breast or filet. Bone broth is rich in minerals that support the immune system and contains healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine and proline. The collagen in bone broth heals your gut lining and reduces intestinal inflammation.
Here is a delicious recipe that makes 4 servings of Fresh Chicken Soup:
- 2 chicken thighs or 4 drumsticks
- 2 vegetable or chicken bouillon cubes
- 2 cups, or more vegetables like carrots, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach or whatever else you like
- Optional cooked rice or noodles (my kids like it)
- Carefully put the chicken and the bouillon cubes in 8 cups of water and bring it to a boil.
- In the meantime prepare the vegetables, peel and cube into bite size pieces.
- Add the vegetables to the soup right before it starts to boil. Let it boil for about 5 minutes, then turn it down to a simmer and let it simmer at least 2 hours, if not more.
- Poor over rice or noodles. This is optional. Also eating the chicken meat is optional, but yummy!
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2018!
Danielle Wallace (craftydutchgirl.com)