Check out the easy and light granola recipe at the end of this blog!

We recently hosted a class with wonderful teacher Angela Buttimer about taking care of OURSELVES during the holiday season. If you weren’t able to come – here is my heartfelt handout. I’m thinking about posting it by my desk as the days cool off and the holiday season heats up!

1) Start NOW

Yes, it’s only October – but
it’s also ALREADY October!
The holidays are right
around the corner, and this
is your “window of
opportunity” to think about
how YOU want to spend
your holidays. This is the
time to talk to family and
friends about travel plans
and parties. Reaching
consensus about
celebrations is much, much,
much easier now – then
when the pressure is on.

2) Have a PLAN

Today, (or this week), is the
time to dust off the
cookbooks, fire up the
computer and pick out your
menus for the hectic (s’cuse
me, the holiday) season.
Make copies of your recipes
and compile a notebook –
organized by meals and

Use a list like the one
Shop for staples once a
week and for fresh produce
twice weekly.

all ingredients and utensils
before beginning to prepare
a dish.

larger quantities, and freeze
portions for later use.

3) YOUR Cooking Strategy

Strategy means a timeline to
me. When the family
descends upon you, if your
cooking is timed out – you
don’t have to worry. The
best meals are those where
everything is hot and done
at the same time. This
doesn’t happen by accident –
it takes some serious
strategy. You must plan
how many things can be in
the oven at the same time,
how long they need to cook
or which dish needs to be on
the top shelf to brown.
Remember other

A slow cooker will allow you
to cook with minimum
preparation time and effort.
Your dish will cook safely in
it throughout the day.

An electric griddle will
provide another cooking
surface for a big meal –
even a toaster oven can
handle things like baked
sweet potatoes.


The sun WILL come up tomorrow if you make one
less dish than last year.
Don’t bake 10 different kinds
of cookies unless you enjoy
it. You may also try asking
for help. Getting your family
and friends involved in the
holiday preparations can
alleviate the stress of doing
it all on your own. Ask a
guest to bring a part of the
meal. You CAN ask them to
make a specific recipe – just
send a copy. If you don’t feel
comfortable doing that, just
ask for a specific course.

5) GO with the Flow

So, you thought Great Aunt
Brenda was bringing the
salad. Instead she decided
that no one would eat salad
and brought her world
famous lemon-carrot-
cookies. Bend your knees
and drink lots of water. Put
out the cookies. Eat a big
salad tomorrow.


When everyone arrives,
hand ‘em a spoon to stir, ask
the to time the nuts in the
oven, put ice in glasses,
pour water, or carry food to
the table. Guests are usually
more comfortable hanging
out in the kitchen – let them!


Eat a healthy snack before
you start preparing for your
party OR head out for the
evening. The foods being
passed around won’t feel so
tempting and you can enjoy
the socializing without
obsessing about what you
can or can’t eat.

8) Drink UP!

Water, that is. Resist the
urge to drink too much by
matching a drink or glass of
wine, one-to-one with water.
Rushing around during the
holidays, you probably are
dehydrated anyway, so the
water will fill you up, make
you feel better AND keep
you from drinking too much.

9) EAT your veggies

If you eat better, you feel
better. The holidays are
notorious for baked goods
and heavy meals. Eat Better
by loading up at least half of
your plate with vegetables
and fruits. Plan your meals
for others this way too! This
will not only help you and
your guests keep off weight
this season, but it will give
you more energy to cope
when the unexpected arrives
this year.

10) PITCH Perfection
The need for perfection –
whether it is hosting the

Culinary Self Care for the Holidays!
Healthy Chef Partyologist Nancy Waldeck

perfect party, having the
prettiest table decorations
on the block, or the most
delicious family dinner is
especially alluring this time
of year. Of course you want
to do your best, but it’s also
important to be gentle with
yourself and not aim for
perfection. Remember that
perfection is a matter of
perspective. Think about
Julia Child when she
dropped a chicken on the
floor and picked it up, ON
TELEVISION. We tend to be
most critical of ourselves
and our actions so use this
season as a reminder to
practice grace with yourself
as well as others. Your food
will be wonderful, Breathe. 

And here’s an easy recipe to serve for breakfast, a snack or even for dessert with a little frozen vanilla yogurt!

Lighter and Luscious
Apple Granola

3 Cups Oats
1⁄4 Cup Uncooked
Millet (Optional)
1⁄4 Cup Sesame Seeds
1⁄4 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1⁄4 Cup Chopped Almonds

1 1⁄2 Tsp Cinnamon
1⁄4 Tsp EACH Mace and
1⁄2 Cup Dried Apples
1⁄4 Cup Maple Syrup
1⁄4 Cup Orange Juice
Zest of 1 Orange

Step One

Preheat the oven to 300F. In
a large bowl, combine all dry
ingredients except dried fruit.
Drizzle in the maple syrup

and stir well. Add orange
juice and zest, stirring so all
ingredients are coated.

Step Two

Spread the mix out onto a
baking sheet and bake for
about 30 minutes, stirring
checking about every 10
minutes so nothing burns.

Step Three

Remove from oven, add the
dried fruit and cool
completely. Store in an
airtight container. 

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