Guest Post from Angela: Staying on track during the holidays

Today I have a special guest post for you from my friend Angela. She’s a mom of three and shares my love for all things delicious. She has an amazing weight loss story and has managed to keep it up even with her love for baking and cooking loads of yummy things. She’s here to share her secrets with you for staying on track this season even with the abundance of holiday goodies.

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Good morning, fellow readers! My name is Angela, and Laura has asked me to share some tips with you on how to not get carried away with all of the holiday delicacies and goodies that await us these next few months. But first, in order to qualify what I have to say as something of value, I think I should give you a little history lesson about yours truly. It’s fairly short, I promise.

First: I LOVE food. That’s an important thing you need to know about me.

Second: Last year I managed to lose 61.5lbs in 9 months, exclusively by heating a clean, healthy diet. The general rule was no carbs, no sugar, except what I got from natural foods.

Third: while losing said poundage, I ate delicious food. No flavorless cardboard food for me. Think: Coconut curry with shrimp over riced cilantro cauliflower. If I’m eating; you better believe its delicious.

Fourth: I LOVE food. Did I say that already? Oops.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get down to business. Shall we?

There are all sorts of ways to avoid extreme gluttony that only comes with the holiday season. Here is one of my personal favorites. In a word: Cauliflower. Cauliflower is your new best friend. As a kid I only ate it if it was swimming in a pool of cheese. My eyes have since been opened. This pale, uncool looking, cousin of broccoli is multifaceted. It can replace rice, PIZZA DOUGH, mashed potatoes, bread sticks and even Alfredo sauce. And let me tell you, it’s not gross. At all. As in even my kids will eat it. Impressive, I know. Instead of making potato cheese soup, try out  loaded cauliflower cheese soup. The options are endless. But by all means, go for the potatoes on turkey day! No room for guilt when you’ve been eating healthy beforehand, right?

Let’s move on to holiday treats. My weakness.  I’ll be honest, when the holidays roll around I can’t be controlled in the kitchen. I bust out so many holiday goodies that I make Betty Crocker look like a cotton headed ninny muggins (name that movie!). From salted caramels, to pumpkin bread, to sugar cookies with candy cane frosting to marshmallows. All made from scratch. Not baking during the holidays is not an option for me. I do it because I enjoy it so very much, but mostly because I want my kids to enjoy the smells and sweet treats the way I was privileged to as a kid when my mom did the same. So, how do you maneuver your way through the sea of gingerbread men and sugar cookies without doubling your waistline? The trick is fairly simple: GET IT OUT OF YOUR HOUSE. Sounds odd, but stay with me. This method does double duty. Give it to the kids teachers, co-workers, the awesome baristas who make your latte every single morning, your friends. I could go on and on. Of course you need to keep a small portion of your goodies at home to enjoy, because nobody should forgo ALL goodies during the holidays. That’s just wrong on so many levels. In giving away your treats, not only are you removing the temptation to eat 15 sugar cookies for breakfast, you’re also GIVING (which is the reason for the season, right?) to others, and bringing them edible joy. You’ll be surprised how this seemingly small but thoughtful gesture will warm the heart of the recipient. I have never offered a plate or frilly bag of treats to someone,  and not had their face light up with excitement. And I’ve never been turned down either.

So there you have it; my simple, go-to tips on staying in control through the holidays!

I couldn’t mention all these tasty treats without leaving you with a recipe!

Homemade Dark Chocolate Marshmallows with Candy Cane Sugar 

Homemade dark chocolate marshmallows with candy cane sugar

I use Alton Brown’s recipe. Please do not be intimidated! Marshmallows are ridiculously easy to make. I have made them 8-10 times, and have never come even close to messing them up. This does require the use of a candy thermometer and a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. I added about 1/4 cup of sifted dark cocoa powder to the mixing bowl right before turning it on and adding the hot liquid. I prefer to cut down on the cornstarch or even omit it and just use sugar. After cutting, I rolled them in a mixture of sugar and crushed candy cane.

Here’s the link again in case you missed it 🙂 :Homemade Dark Chocolate Marshmallows with Candy Cane Sugar

Enjoy!!!

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