Sunday, November 18, 2018

Curbing Your Sweet Tooth During the Holidays

I hate such a love/hate relationship during the holiday season. The last 90 days of the year is so marvelous and magical obviously because of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas - visiting family, showering my friends and family with gifts, and eating mass amounts of food. But, I start slowing down on getting my butt up and going to the gym (or being active in general), I’ve officially changed my regular old boring bedsheets to my warm comfy snowflake flannel sheets from target making me want to live in my bed, I start losing all motivation and again, eat mass amount of food – especially sweets.

I have a freaking sweet tooth like no other, like it’s not just one tooth – it’s my whole dang mouth. I’ve struggled with this since I was a little one, and this time of year has become my heaven – BRING ON ALL THE PUMPKIN PIE, SNICKERDOODLE COOKIES AND PEPPERMINT BARK. I tried giving up all the sweets one year, and lemme tell you… it didn’t go well.  I literally was almost crawling out of my skin and ended up in a circle of Christmas Tree Shaped Reece’s wrappers (because let’s agree that reecees in different shapes just taste better) bundled up in a blanket burrito, sitting on the couch, crying and watching another re-run of Friends. Not pretty.

Let’s get real, trying to give up one of the best things about the holiday just turns me, and a lot of others into a straight up scrooge. You don’t want to sit off to the side and eat your kale salad while everyone is enjoying the holiday potlucks, company parties and friend get together that includes all the delicious foods. But, you also don’t want to completely throw your body into a food and sugar overload the last ¼ of the year. Here are some tricks I’ve learned that help me get through the holidays without packing on the extra pounds

1)      Eat a big healthy breakfast every morning – My go to is avocado toast on Ezekiel bread, two scrambled or over east eggs, and 1 cup of mixed fruit. The mix of protein, carbs and fats keeps you full well until lunch.

2)      Keep healthy snacks at your desk or easily accessible during the day. I am snack queen at work. I used to sit right next to the empty cubical where my department kept all of our snacks (ie chips, cookies, banana bread, candy, etc) and lemme tell you – I would roll my little self the 5ft across the walkway to that desk several times a day. I started my own “snack drawer” with healthier options of almonds, kind bars, and I keep fruit and yogurt in our break room kitchen. At home, I do a clean-out of my pantry and get rid of all the goldfish, chips and bad snack foods so I’m not tempted to snack away when I’m at home.

3)      Stay hydrated – I cannot express the importance of this! Most of the time when you get the 3pm munchies, it’s probably because you are just thirsty. I keep a lot of different types of tea bags at my desk or around the house for something different than water. Typically some hot green or earl gray tea in the afternoon can keep my sweet cravings at bay

4)      Try to keep your thoughts busy – read a Buzzfeed article, write an email to your mom, go talk to a coworker, call your best friend, or play a quick game on your phone. Keeping your mind occupied and brain stimulated and focused on something other than food will help distract you and keep your hands out of the candy dish

5)      Check your portions – When heading to the buffet line at a party or corporate event, your eyes become bigger than your stomach. You are much more willing to eat more if it’s already on your plate. Take much smaller portions than you typically would, and take your time eating. This will help you feel fuller faster, and you more than likely will not feel the need to go back for seconds.

*tip – if you are CRAVING a sweet or junk food like nobody’s business, take a second and remember all the goals you have for yourself the rest of the year and don’t break the promise to yourself. If you slip up and give in, IT IS OKAY. If you feel the fire burning inside that you have to have it, then do it. This will help you from unhealthy eating habits and binging later on.

Either way, just keep your goals in mind and you will be more confident going into the new year. 

xoxo, Claire


Monday, November 5, 2018

Venison Chili Recipe

Growing up in South - i was surrounded by hunters. I had friends that hunted, teachers and neighbors.  Now, my boyfriend and his brother are avid hunters and keep our freezer well stocked with deer meat. Because deer are pretty big, you end up with a lot of meat and eat it in everything from burgers, steak, tacos and of course, chili! 

If you’ve ever cooked with venison, you know that it is especially lean. That means you don’t have to drain off the fat in your after you cook the meat, but it also means you have to add in a little extra of a fattier meat to create a little more flavor. 

After some trial and errors, I've created a Venison Chili recipe that is comforting and delicious - absolutely perfect for the cold months of hunting season or really anytime when you've got some extra ground stocked up!

I've found the most flavor is brought out by cooking your chili in a Slow Cooker Crock Pot so all your do is  combine everything in a crockpot, cover, and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.

Prep Time - 15 mins
Cook Time - 4-8 hours
Servings: 8

- 2 (15.5 oz) cans kidney beans 
- 2 (10oz) cans diced tomatos
- 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 8-10 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 pound ground venison
- 1 pound Jimmy Dean's Mild Country Pork Sausage
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 yellow onions chopped 
- 1 green pepper (seeded and chopped) 

1) Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add in venison meat and pork sausage. Use wooden spoon to break up crumbs and mix together meats. Stir until fully cooked and lightly browned. Add in onions, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. 
2) Stir in garlic and peppers slowly until aromatic.  
3) Add meat mixture into crock pot and stir in Kidney beans, tomatoes and tomato paste. 
4) Cover the lid and set for either 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW

Serve with preferred topping including shredded cheese, sour cream, and oyster crackers. 

I always make a side of cornbread to go with my chili. My go-to is Krusteaz Honey Cornbread. Boom - easy weeknight meal for those chilly fall evenings.

Happy Hunting, and enjoy! -
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