A delicious recipe for the holidays

Chances are, the holidays are not the relaxing time out you always hope they will be. You are running around getting the festive decorations in place, buying gifts for school teachers and coworkers, or figuring out how you are going to tackle cleaning your house before the guests come over for that cocktail party you decided to have at the last minute!

This is the time when you need to take a deep breathe and drink a sip of champagne. Yep. You know that bottle you have had tucked away chilling in the refrigerator for that special occasion? Well, there is no time like the present and make it a present to yourself. You deserve it! How about a nice piece of cheese and some quince paste on crackers to go with that bubbly?

So often, we are running around trying to get things done, we forget to take time out for ourselves. The holidays can be a great opportunity to create a recipe to slow down and enjoy the celebration.

Here are a few simple ideas I love that help me slow down and enjoy a bit more balance during this fast-paced holiday time:

Before you run out of the house in a hurry in the morning, stop and squeeze yourself some fresh orange juice. Citrus is in season and there is nothing more I love than a nice, sweet glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice to start my day. Blood oranges from Morocco, Italy and California should be pouring into your local specialty market soon, so don't miss this seasonal treat while it lasts. I love the petite bright orange and sweet clementines. Mix one pink grapefruit with about 4-5 clementines and you have a nice sweet and tart mix of morning goodness.

Call up that friend you have been meaning to get together with for months. Pick a neighborhood cafe and catch up on all the good gossip over a cup of warm chai or jasmine mint tea. Once you realize you can easily take an hour out of your day, you might plan to make it a regular monthly ritual.

You have been talking about taking yoga for over a year now. Why not try out a class? I bet a few deep breathes, a nice long stretch and ten minutes in a savasana corpse pose is just what you need right about now! With so many options in even the most remote of towns these days, you are hard pressed to find an excuse. So, "just do it!"

Stop by your local bookstore and browse the shelves. Most stores have comfy chairs where you can linger over the newest best-seller, or flip through a newly discovered book from your favorite genre. Or, just thumb through your favorite magazines, especially the $10 foreign editions of fashion, food & photography that really aren't in the budget right now.

Steal away a few hours in the afternoon and see a matinee movie. Buttered popcorn and a favorite soft drink cola are bad indulgences that taste oh so good every once in a while as a secret indulgence. If you are extra naughty, a bag of cherry twizzlers might make it on the menu too. This time out is even better if dark clouds hover up above, threatening thunderstorms. A nice hideaway until it passes. Don't forget the umbrella! Leave the cell phone in the car.

Treat yourself to a delicious and nutritious feast at your favorite local lunchtime cafe. Eating out doesn't have to be expensive. Find somewhere cozy where you can linger with your journal and a caffe latte for dessert. Write down all of the things you have loved and lost this year and look forward to in the New Year. Taking time out to reflect and restore your state of mind will do wonders for your sense of calm and centeredness.

Spend time with your family at the dinner table. The days are precious and family and friends are what makes this time so special and meaningful. Whether you cook a meal, gather pot luck dishes, or call in the local grocer's offerings for the festive feasts you have planned, savor everything for as long as you can.

I wish you peace of mind and much joy this season.

Buon appetito!
copyright 2008 Alisa Barry


Elaine said...

Wonderful post, Alisa. I feel better already!

Chef Chuck said...

Thank You for the many ways we may comfort our souls! I really like the concept of friends and family around the table. Alisa, you have way with words,very powerful!! Enjoy, Chuck