Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What we've got: Part Deux

And what haven't we got this time of year? We've got storms, cold weather, holidays fast approaching. It's enough to induce vomiting.

Here's hoping these next few tips can help you avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder in the coming months.

Problem #3: Storms. All manner of them.

New Hampshire is a delightful mix of self-reliance and Yankee-ingenuity. We can do it ourselves, thankyouverymuch. Until the power goes out. For two weeks straight. Now, let's just say most everything in your home is run on electricity (including your range and oven). Such is the case where I live. By week two, you've already eaten what you can from the dying refrigerator and are staring down the non-perishables because let's face it, eating at a restaurant isn't an option 14 days in a row. Here is one recipe that our family eats even with the lights on, and all of it is shelf stable.

White Bean Pantry Salad

One 14 oz can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
One 8 oz can Tuna or Salmon, drained
1/2 or 1/4 red onion, diced
1 tsp tarragon

1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbs White Wine vinegar -or- Lemon juice
4 Tbs Olive Oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
Pinch of sugar

So, all of the salad components can survive out of a fridge and this requires no heating or other prep outside of dropping stuff in a bowl and mixing it. Combine the first 4 ingredients and stir gently. Then, combine the following ingredients in a separate bowl- this is your dressing. Combine everything and enjoy. I recommend finishing all of this- if your fridge is down, there's no saving the leftovers.

Problem #4: Baby. It's cold outside. Like, wicked cold.

Single digit temperatures are not far away. With this setback we are faced with interesting personal obstacles. We crave fat and carbohydrates- an ancestral drive that hearkens back to our cave-dwelling days when an extra layer of fat made the winter easier to survive. Can we have our comfort food and not gain the Winter 15 at the same time? Maybe. Here are a few tricks for holiday foods that help keep some calories at bay ...

Mashed Potatoes: Use chicken stock instead of milk or cream (butter really is a must, though). Then, add lots of seasoning- garlic, chives, etc.

Cranberry Sauce: I can find no fault with this, assuming the stuff doesn't come from a can and doesn't contain stiffing amounts of sugar. Lots of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E ... you can learn more here: Nutritiondata.com.

Green Bean Casserole: Skip the soup. A basic white sauce with fresh ingredients and low fat milk will get you where you want to go. Add mushrooms, herbs, and love. Crispy onions can be welcomed with open arms, so long as the Campbells company isn't part of your recipe.

The rest is really moderation. www.Eatingwell.com has a fantastic crop of comfort foods done right. You don't miss the fattening parts. They have a great test kitchen, if I can say so. I refer to them often when I'm craving a comforting dish, but I want a healthier way of going about it.

As for that Seasonal Affective Disorder- it's a real thing. Us New Englanders are chronic sufferers. Here's what Web MD has to say about it. I like to think that bringing some sunshine into your diet would help to keep a lot of these symptoms at bay. This year, I'm seeking out buying a case of oranges from Florida. The local middle school used to sell them, but they have since ceased. So, I went out into the interwebs and found a few places that might work. Here's hoping they help you, too:

Amazon.com - you can get anything here.
Hale Groves - lots of nice gifty things here.
Countryside Citrus - cute site, lots of variety.

I Googled "oranges by the case" and these are the best options I came up with, though many more exist. If you know of any better ones, please let us know in the comments section.

I've gone on long enough for my second installment. Expect more soon.

I hope this cold weather finds you wide-eyed and childlike. May the season give you nothing but love and excitement. xo

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