“Cleaning Up” the holidays

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My father’s side of the family is Danish.  I loved growing up with grandparents who taught us the holiday traditions from Denmark.  The Danish celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve so every year on the 24th we would put on our Christmas dresses, pile in the car and head over to Far-Mor (grandma) and Fa-Fa’s (grandpa) house. One year on Christmas Eve, we were all sitting in the living room at Far-Mor and Fa-Fa’s house visiting and opening presents. My brother asked “does anyone else smell burning?” Suddenly my father was high-jumping over the living room couch and diving toward the fully engulfed kitchen table. There was a lot of shouting, flour throwing, and water soaking until the kitchen table was extinguished. That was a holiday meal we would never forget!  
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are some of my favourite holidays.  Of course spending time celebrating with family is the main source of my love for the holidays, but all of the delicious meals are a close second.  We all know that there is something about “breaking bread” together that is warm and comforting.  My family is big on traditions.  My Mother and Grandmothers would always make the same amazing treats for the holidays.  My paternal grandmother made delicious danish cookies and rice pudding, my maternal grandmother makes the most amazing dessert triffle and my mother makes the BEST gravy and yorkshire pudding!  I look forward to these meals all year and there is now something nostaligic and comforting about these foods to me.  The problem with these meals in the past has been my lack of self control.  We’ve all been there- sitting at a holiday table full of delicious food and eating WELL beyond the point of being full! Then, for the rest of the day you are saddled with that heavy, “unbutton your pants”, “it’s hard to swallow” feeling.  Isn’t it also funny how leftover triffle or rice pudding is a completely acceptable choice for breakfast the morning after a holiday? I am approaching this thanksgiving in a way that I never have before! This past week I have been testing “cleaned up” versions of some Thanksgiving favourites! This year I am going to have a healthy, guilt free thanksgiving meal! If you are unsure of “going all the way” with “cleaning up” your favourite holiday recipes, why not try to swap out at least 1 or 2?

Happy Thanksgiving!
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