One of the best things about the holidays is food. People you don’t see all year gather to make the most amazing dishes, many of which are covered in butter, cheese, sour cream, half and half, canned milk, chocolate, and/or some sort of gooey syrup that takes you days to lick off your fingers…the list is endless.
Cookies, cream puffs, divinity, pecan pie with the perfect crust, whipped cream, turkey with apricot dressing, homemade fudge…sorry I blissed out there for a moment. Let me get a towel to wipe the drool off my face.
Okay, I’m back.
Food and the holidays go together like nothing else, but isn’t it amazing how food can mean so many things to different people?
This time last year, I started thinking I wanted to be around for many more holidays after I got on the scale. I weighed in at 230 pounds, which wasn’t so bad if I had been 6’ 3” and playing strong safety for the
(Hook ‘Em Horns!).
But I’m 5’ 3” and in my forties. We were trying to adopt a child to add to our
fantastic family and I kept looking in the faces of our children and thought,
“I’m 100 pounds heavier than I was when I graduated high school. This has to
stop.” University of
This may not sound very holiday cheery, but bare with me here, it gets fantastic.
I decided that family, not food, would become my focus for the holidays and I changed the way I ate and lived my life. It became the gift I gave myself.
By summer I’d lost 40 and have kept it off since. Along with changing my body, I changed my debut manuscript and after far too many revisions, I finally got it just right. In May, I sold, Weighting for Mr. Right, to Soul Mate Publications. The next day, we got the phone call that we’d get two children eligible for adoption.
Talk about a stressful time and perfect opportunity to do nothing, but eat to deal with all the happiness, but I didn’t. I’d changed my awareness and I’d focused on my health and wellness. Besides, I’d started looking pretty good in jeans (the ultimate test) and I wanted to keep it that way.
Amazing how something as simple as changing how you eat, alters many other things around you. My heroine starts the book at the first of the year, unintentionally making a huge change in her life and finds herself in the process.
I still enjoyed the foods I’ve always loved, but far smaller portions. Now, I actually taste what I eat instead of shoveling it in a mindless haze.
Did my reduction in calories make me like the holidays or any family gathering less enjoyable? Actually, I enjoyed it more because I didn’t sit around eating the entire time. I got the chance to visit more, talk to family I hadn’t seen in far too long, and I didn’t feel sick afterwards. I left with happier memories, more pictures, and less stress about if my jeans were going to fit the next day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to share my grandmother’s pecan pie with a perfect crust recipe with you, but know you don’t have to eat it all in one sitting.
Take a bite, ask the person next to you their favorite movie, the first song they remembered by heart, or the best trip they’d ever taken.
You never know that piece of pie might last you far longer than you think because you focused on the conversation, the family, instead.
And in that process, enjoyed it far more.
I wish you all a fantastic holiday season.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
By my great-grandmother Jeannette Pardo Stidham (as she wrote it)
Cream 1 TBSP butter with 1 cup brown sugar
Add 1 cup white corn syrup
Stir until well blended
Add 3 well beaten eggs, pinch salt, 1 TBSP vanillaAdd 1 cup broken pecan nut meats, broken
Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell
Bake in hot over at 450° for 10 minutes
Reduce heat to 300°, bake 35 minutes longer
May serve with whipped cream
Perfect Pie Shell
1 ½ cup sifted regular all purpose flour½ tsp salt
½ cup vegetable shortening
6 TBSP cold water
1 tsp white vinegar
Sift together flour and salt.
Add shortening and mix with fork or between your fingers until crumbly.Add egg, cold water and vinegar.
Stir well and form into three balls and chill.
Makes three large crusts. Maybe be frozen.