Almost there!

The best way to handle the stress of the final run up to the holidays?  Be prepared!  For me, that means thinking and cooking ahead.  When will you need some extra time?  Be it morning or night, I’ve got some tricks up my holiday sleeves that I would like to share with you.

Smoothie for Breakfast: make mine a double!
Nothing starts the day off right like a healthy, color- and vitamin-infused Kale Pineapple Smoothie. So tasty, your kids will drink them; so energy-filled, you’ll swear by them. At the start of the week, make two: you’ll have one on reserve for a great, last-minute pick-me-up.

Quickest dinner for the family? Crock-pot, not takeout!
Crock-pots are great for dishes that satisfy everyone while giving you extra time for errands or exercise. One of my favorites is this Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili. It saves you time (and money) by cooking while you are out getting it done and gives your family something warm, fast and healthy to enjoy at dinner.  My favorite part about a crock-pot is the smell of dinner cooking when I walk into the house — ahhh!

Too much holiday? Simple = soup!
When you’ve had too much — food, drink, party — give your body a well-deserved rest with this yummy Roasted Beet and Garlic Soup. Beets may take a while to roast, but their powerful healthy status makes it worth the wait. (For a tasty side dish, sauté the green tops — they have double the potassium, folic acid, and iron as the sweet roots.) Garlic and leeks, both health-boosting alliums, add delicious flavor and dimension to any soup. Make some on the weekend to stash in your fridge.

Dessert for a last minute party? Think snow!
Mac Macaroon Snowballs are adorable and have everything you want in a holiday dessert: bite-size, quick to make and did I mention healthy? No refined sugar and healthy nut-protein makes these a winner at every party. And you can keep the ingredients in your pantry for emergencies!

Extra Time? Snooze!
The holidays often have us burning our candles at both ends. Take advantage of those off nights and get to bed early. Have a free 15 minutes before the party? Take a quick cat nap. Getting enough sleep will keep those dark circles at bay.

Closing Advice: Don’t stress over food
This is a season of joy, gratitude and celebrating with family and friends. Not one where you are stressing about eating your mother’s special coffee cake on Christmas morning!   Enjoy the memories and every delicious bite.

Embrace the love that the season brings & enjoy the rest of 2012!

— Denise

Recipes, please!
Click here to download the recipes from this post:
Kale Pineapple Smoothie
Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili
Roasted Beet & Garlic Soup
Mac Macaroon Snowballs


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