Getting through the Holidays with Fitness and Food by Annabeth Alt
It's that time of year again!! Christmas Time!! My favorite! I love everything about the holiday season!
The traditions that you make as a family are so special. I have such fond memories growing up with my huge family and all of our crazy traditions and memories. And being in the kitchen with my mom making all of the sacred family recipes.
I love being in the kitchen and cooking up meals.
This year the holiday season has been so much fun with Adeline-our two year old little girl. She’s so excited this year and understands what is going on. Watching the magic through her eyes has been so heart warming.
One thing we have realized that we want to kind of keep in check is over doing it with the whole presents thing. Which can be tough! I love giving presents so much. As a little toddler she has so many toys! Right mommas?? We get her a couple of things she wants and is really into (everything is Paw Patrol this year) and a couple of things she needs. We also donate toys and books to help teach her and I really love that whole process. But for us I really want to hone in on the family traditions with her. And the baking. I love baking up with Adeline all the recipes I’ve been taught to make from the time I was her age. Giving them out to family and friends. And hoarding some of them for myself and devouring them.
My husband and I have made it a part of our tradition to have a holiday party every year. SO, I have learned (mostly from my mistakes) a couple of things from year to year as I prepare for our holiday party and Christmas feast. I’m here to help and hopefully ease some of the holiday chaos. And share any tips or pointers I have discovered….and maybe a recipe or two .
It’s all about the PREPPING. Prep work is going to make your life SO much easier. Start by making a list of everything you will be making. On your list include the temperature that each dish will need to be cooked at, as well as how long it will need to be cooked for. This way you can create a cooking schedule and timeline.
FIRST THINGS FIRST! On the morning of your Holiday Party or Holiday Feast, I get up early and get my workout in. Yes I know- that sounds crazy and annoying, but it feels so good getting those endorphins and I love the fact that I did it and got it done for the day…. And I feel better about eating a couple extra treats.
Here is a workout to get you going on your party day:
3-5 minutes (Dance around to your favorite song)
Move into your first circuit.
40 Push ups (2 sets of 20)
30 sec. plank
20 Chair dips
10 curtsy squats with knee lift (each side)
50 Burpees (can do 2 sets of 25)
40 reverse lunges with ab twist (each leg)
30 cross body mountain climbers
20 high knees
10 inch worms
30 Bicycle crunches
30 Side plank Oblique lifts (each side)
30 donkey kicks (3 different sets. One with knee bent, one set with leg extended straight out, one set with leg extended straight and diagonal. Lifting up and over to the other side-like a rainbow) You can also add ankle weights for these to get a little extra.
20 superman flies
COOL DOWN AND STRETCH
I then make a light breakfast for my little loves. Something that will fill us up for a little bit, but that’s not heavy. My husband likes avocados for breakfast a lot.
Here is my recipe for Cheesy Scrambled Egg Stuffed Avocados.
- Kosher salt
- Butter (or coconut oil)
- 3-4 eggs (use your judgment)
- 1 0z shredded mozzarella cheese- or sharp cheddar (we switch it up here and there)
- Chopped heirloom tomatoes
- Parsley, chives, or basil
Prepare the avocado first by halving, pitting and removing the skin (removal of skin is optional)
Whisk eggs with salt and pepper. Melt the butter over low-medium heat. As it begins to bubble add the eggs and stir periodically as the eggs cook through, adding your cheese and tomatoes. Spoon into your prepared avocados and sprinkle with your fresh herbs. ENJOY!
I also found that keeping some fresh fruit and veggies cut up and readily available in the fridge to snack on for the rest of the day is super helpful. I am able to offer Adeline nutritious snacks when she gets hungry on this busy day in the matter of a couple of minutes.
After Breakfast- GET YOURSELF READY. This is key! Especially if you would like to be able to enjoy a glass of wine before everyone starts to arrive. I have spent so many holidays or dinner parties scrambling at the last minute to get myself ready. Not anymore. FINALLY, I have learned to avoid that with this secret weapon. Getting ready after breakfast is a MAJOR part of the whole days equation. You don’t have to put your outfit on yet. (The very last thing I like to do is change into my outfit) Do your hair and make up and then throw some comfy clothes on and an apron and you are good to go!
Get your little one in the kitchen having fun with you. I set up a little station area for my little Adeline to pour, sprinkle and stir. Such precious memories we make in the kitchen. And trust me mommas- this also helps entertain our little ones for a good little bit.
Décor is one thing that I can always go overboard on. I LOVE decorating. I have found that my most favorite decorations that I have done are the ones where I keep it festive, but also simple. This year for my holiday party pieces I will be using extra branches from the farm where we went to cut our Christmas tree down. With the branches I will drape them/lay them in between my serving and food trays along with putting some in vases and hanging tiny ornaments on the little branches. This is also another thing to let your little one join in with you on. Adeline loves helping hang ornaments and folding napkins and putting the silverware out. She gets proud of her work J
One thing that we always do at our Holiday party with the kids is set up a cookie decorating area on our big table. It can be messy but the plastic table clothes make the clean up pretty easy J We normally do the traditional sugar cookies, but this year I will be making a bunch of brownies and then using the cookie cutters and cutting out the fun holiday shapes.
Here is my homemade brownies recipe along with my buttercream frosting for piping and decorating:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup all-purpose flour(I use einkorn)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter melted, then cooled
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
In a large bowl combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly. In a small bowl beat the eggs and vanilla together. Add into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and mix. Add in the melted butter and mix again. Line with parchment paper and grease. Spread the batter into your prepared 8 inch square pan and bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes. Let cool. Remove brownies from pan by grabbing the parchment paper and placing them on a flat surface to use your cookie cutters and cut your shapes out.
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsps vanilla
- ¼ cup milk
Beat the butter in your standing mixer or using a handheld mixer until fluffy. Add the powered sugar gradually, one cup at a time.
Add the vanilla and milk.
You can make your frosting any colors you would like by adding a few drops of food coloring. And put into piping bags (there are great disposable ones you can order off of amazon)
As you begin your cooking, clean up as you go along. Try and have your sink and dishwasher empty before all guest get there so when your party is over all you have to do is load them into it and run it. This will make your clean up duty go smooth and it wont take you all night long to accomplish. I promise. My husband and I usually do this once Adeline has drifted off to sleep, and then we will enjoy a couple more glasses of wine as we do the dishes and clean up together. We get lost in laughing and conversation to actually really realize what we are having to do.
Once your last thing is out of the oven- go slip into your outfit, touch up your make up and pour yourself a glass of wine. You deserve it.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the stress of the day. Don’t worry about the small things or the bigger things that end up not happening how you wanted them to. Those are the kind of things you will laugh at and share in years to come. There are so many sweet memories to be made during these holidays.
I wish you all a very Merry and blessed Christmas and Happy Holidays from my home to yours!!