Dec 21, 2009

Are You Hosting Christmas Dinner This Week?

This year, and for the past few years, my sister has hosted our Christmas dinner. My turn to host comes in the Spring for Mother's Day. Thanksgiving day we ate out and had desserts at my Mom's after. I remember what a wonderful host my Mom was each and every holiday, it is good to be able to give back to her for all she has done.

If you are hosting this year, you might enjoy the following, which honestly faces the fact that hosting can be stressful, and gives you some solutions you may find helpful.

Buffet Recipes And Tips For The Imperfect Hostess
By: Daniel Millions
Hosting a dinner party for friends? Or have you been selected (or singled out, ahh!) to host Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner this year? How exciting. And what a pain in the rear. While having the people you love in your home and feeding them a ton of food is rewarding and can be a lot of fun, chances are you re a little stressed about it. Unless, of course, you are Martha Stewart.

When you re overwhelmed planning a dinner party, sometimes choosing a few good buffet recipes and setting up a simple buffet seems like the easiest thing. And though it s true that, in many ways, a buffet is simpler to do than a sit down dinner (where you have to prepare each guest his or her own plate), hosting a buffet style dinner is no walk in the park. After all (and especially if your family is as piggy as mine), you ll still have to cook a whole big pile of food, won't you?

Choosing Buffet Recipes: When choosing recipes for a buffet dinner, the first thing you ll want to think about is ease of preparation. When having a lot of people over for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner (or any other holiday celebration), there is always a lot of food involved. Can you easily prepare a particular dish for a large number of people? Do you have room in your oven or on your stove to cook all of your dishes at once?

Another thing to think about when choosing buffet recipes is how much time each dish will take to prepare. When you host a dinner party, there are about 100 things on your to do list the day of the party or holiday... and about 100 other things that you never even thought of. The best way to cut down on your work load a bit?

Pick recipes that you can make ahead of time. If 80% of the cooking is done in the morning before your dinner party, you can be sure that things will be a lot easier when the guests arrive. Some great dinner party recipes that you can make up ahead of time are:

  1. Cold vegetable salads and pasta salads

  2. Soups and stews (add any rice or pasta at the last minute)

  3. Veggies and dips

  4. Cold appetizers

  5. Reheatable sauces

  6. Breads, biscuits, etc.

  7. Sliced cheese and fruit trays

  8. More stuff I can t think of now
Last, you ll want to think about how easy a particular dish is to eat. 

Especially if you re going to have some guests on their feet or perched on chairs, you ll want foods that they can eat without too much cutting or hacking. Unless you want them to eat a whole steak in their hands like some kind of carnivorous squirrel (which would be entertaining but unhygienic), skip preparing a large piece of meat.

Buffet Table Setting Tips: Got your buffet recipes figured out? Now it s time to get the table ready. While it seems like setting up a buffet table should be as simple as tossing things together, there are a few things you can do to make you buffet table both look nicer and be easier to use. One is to vary the height of different dishes.

This makes the table look more appealing visually and makes it easier for guests to access a particular dish. Another important buffet table setting tip is to... avoid being boring! Most people have been to about 1000 buffets in their lifetime, and most of them are ordinary and all the same.

But with some creative decorating ideas and a little flair for the unusual, you can create a beautiful and unforgettable buffet table. Good luck!

Updated 3/22/16

Article formerly on Selling with Articles, a site that is closed, used with permission, author's site:

Dec 17, 2009

Diet Tips for Those with Fibromyalgia

I have a family member that deals with this painful condition and have spent some time on the subject at my website, and often suggest something called "Fibralgia" for this, if you would like a fact sheet, please contact me using the moderated comment form below, I will not approve requests for public reading.

In this post, I'd like to share with you part of an article about diet and Fibromyalgia. 

I hope you find this to be helpful.

Best Tips on Fibromyalgia Diet Guide

By: Dr. Ken

Fibromyalgia seems to be a common condition to people with EDS and other connective tissue disorders, but many people with fibromyalgia do not have EDS .There is no single accurate or erroneous answer when it comes to a Fibromyalgia diet plan, but there are many dissimilar steps that can be taken by anyone distress from the disorder in order to improve the feature of their life and to make the symptoms related with the confusion much more manageable.

Logically, it seemed like there had to be a common denominator to all of my health problems. The following is a brief primer on Fibromyalgia diet tips which may be able to help poise your body and to offer your body relief with just a few small nutritional modifications.

Many people with fibromyalgia have overlapping conditions that require special diets. If you have been diagnosed with any of the following, take note of the dietary restrictions and suggestions .Before you make any drastic changes to your Fibromyalgia diet arrangement, you should first discuss with your doctor to make sure that you are assembly the right choices and that your Fibromyalgia diet plan will be a fit and safe one. The nerves and muscles in the bowel are extra sensitive and even eating a large meal can initiate symptoms and cause pain.

So at the first stage sugar intake should be monitored at all times by people who are pain from Fibromyalgia. A Fibromyalgia diet plan with considerably reduced sugar levels will help many Fibromyalgia losses feel better in the long run. Your Fibromyalgia diet plan supposed to avoid even the less obvious sources of sugar, such as during high fructose corn syrup which is established in many soda and juice drinks.

Caffeine intake should also be restricted as much as probable because it can worsen sleep issues significantly. Individuals with lactose intolerance need to limit their intake of milk and dairy products or take lactase enzymes that are available without a prescription. If you are going to swallow caffeine in any form, try to do it in the morning so that you have the complete day to metabolize the caffeine before going to bed. Caffeine can greatly exaggerate sleeping difficulties and consequently should be avoided as much as is potential.

You must always concern with the allergic food if you are allergic to any types of food.You should totally eliminate these foods from your Fibromyalgia diet. For example, if you are lactose narrow minded, which is a common problem for sufferers of Fibromyalgia, you are going to remove all milk related products from your diet. People with fibromyalgia should pay attention to general nutritional needs, because they often have absorption problems caused by digestive tract illnesses, such as bacterial overgrowth, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Other than that, You should make sure that you are balancing all of your food groups properly, not sticking to too many crabs or too much protein. You should also aim to eat meals which are smaller, so that you may eat on a more frequent schedule to help you feel better over all.

Doctors recommend that you try to minimize the amounts of preservatives or chemicals that you consume in your diet because your body will require more antioxidants to clear them from your system, and many patients are chemically sensitive. So adding preservatives should be avoided as much as probable, as tough as it may seem. Foods that have preservatives can look like toxins in the body, so you should choose fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats for the major parts of your diet. If you are not lactose intolerant, you should also get abundance of dairy in your Fibromyalgia diet.

In addition to a healthy diet, several vitamins and nutritional supplements have been determined to be beneficial for a variety of chemical imbalances to help you improve the quality of your life. Artificial sweeteners should also be totally avoided, because they can have a very toxic effect on your body. If you can abolish them altogether from your Fibromyalgia diet, do so.

Article written by the author of the site and formerly found on, used with permission.

Updated 3/22/16

Dec 15, 2009

Recipe: Quick Clam and Crab Meat Chowder

Do you ever have those days when it's time to go food shopping, but you have to pull together a recipe at the last minute from whatever you happen to have around the house? These are creative moments, and it was just such a moment when this recipe came to be, it's easy, quick, and tastes delicious, feeds 3-4, depending upon the portions...I make it for myself, hubby and an adult son, so you can imagine it goes quickly with two big guys taking their share.

You'll need:

  • 2-3 cans prepared Clam Chowder (we use low fat, low salt or w/ sea salt) 
  • 1-2 cans Corn 
  • 1 lb. Imitation Crab Meat 
  • Sea Salt to taste (sea salt better for those w/ blood pressure problems..and all of us!) 
  • Pepper to taste.

Combine all and heat, that's it! Serve with a side salad, and a hearty whole-grain bread...eliminate the bread if you're watching calories.

Tip: Certain cuts of the Imitation Crab Meat can get very stringy if stirred, I tend to put the Crab Meat in last, stir in gently after the soup, etc. is heated up, then just heat the crab meat through.

Updated 3/22/16

Dec 13, 2009

The Sugar Season

In our home we have to watch how much sugar we consume, because my husband is a diabetic...we join him in avoiding sugar. It is hard at this time of year because there are so many tempting treats wherever you go to eat, at parties, in the store, and it is hard to resist.

I don't keep sugar around the house, except during the summer to feed the humming birds, we use honey in moderation, stevia (an herbal sweetener) and occasional artificial sweeteners. 

However, I am thinking of browsing through some Sugar articles to see whether they have some helpful tips on the subject of avoiding sugar, I'm sure there will be plenty about enjoying it. Actually, when I visited, there were many topics discussed on the page, it took doing a search for the word "sugar" to find the information that was helpful to me.

Updated 3/22/16

5 Ways to Reduce Fat in Meat Dishes

If you enjoy eating meat, but want to cut down on the cholesterol building fat while you are preparing or cooking your meat, here are some tips for you. Most of them are not original or new, but good reminders:
  1. Ground meat - If I don't buy a lean ground beef or use ground sausage, I use it only for browning to make chili or sauces, not in meat loaf. When I brown, I either drain the fat in a small colander into a container, or our trash can if it is full and has paper in it to absorb the fat. If I am not using the same frying pan that I browned the meat in to prepare the dish in, I "tip" the pan by taking it part way off the burner or putting something under one side, then move the meat to the high end of the pan. The fat pools to one side, when I'm ready, I remove the meat and put into the rest of the recipe in another pan.
  2. Chicken - remove the skin, and all those yellow "globs" of can do this AFTER cooking if you like, as it will help retain moisture in the meat. I tend to do it before, then marinate the meat or baste with a little olive oil (a healthier fat) before seasoning.
  3. Beef - Buy it lean, and cut off all that extra white fat that is sometimes on a roast. I don't mind if the meat is a little marbled, but usually cook meat like this slowly in the crock pot as much of the fat goes out of the meat during cooking. My favorite cut is a very lean London Broil.
  4. Fish - generally the oils in fish are healthy, contain omega 3's 
  5. Turkey and Gravy - This is a hard to digest meat, but we love it during the holidays, pull as much of that fat that you find on either side of the opening of the cavity where some put stuffing away as you can. I cook in a cooking bag, and then save the juice. Put the juice in a large container in the refrigerator. The fat will harden on top when cold, and can be removed, thrown away, leaving you with a lean juice to make your gravy. 
Updated 3/22/16

Dec 8, 2009

Remembering Old Christmas Posts

Today as I was decorating our house for Christmas, and thinking about what to share on my blogs, I realized that this blog has been on the web for a few years, and a few Christmas seasons. This means that many of my older posts have become lost, in a way, so I thought I'd go see if I could find them and share links to them here. 
 Avoid Eating Healthy During the Holidays  
The Basis for a Healthy Cookie Recipe

It's the Season for Baking Cookies and Shortbread

If you visit the "Recipes" tag below this post, you may find some other recipes suitable for your Christmas dinner table.

I hope you are enjoying this Christmas I took out the ornaments today, it seemed like just a short time had passed since I'd put them away last year. Wishing you all the best, and I am sure we'll have more Christmas posts before the big day arrives in only a bit over two weeks!

Updated 3/22/16

It's the Season for Baking Cookies and Shortbread

Each year around Christmas we have a neighbor who comes to the door with a dish of delicious cookies that she bakes, a wonderful variety. 

Personally, I am not much of a baker, maybe because I don't eat a lot of sugar or pastries, but do make up for it during the holidays. 

Our family's traditional cookie is Scotch Shortbread, a simple recipe, something my grandmother did each year, and then my mother, and now me. I have my butter, flour and sugar ready and waiting to to bake some delicious, rich, shortbread cookies. What is your favorite cookie for the holiday season? Please feel free to share. 

I did a page on "Wizzley" about our Shortbread Cookies called Grandma's Scotch Shortbread Recipe. Can't wait to see how this years batch will taste.

Updated 3/22/16