Growing up in Texas, we took on the Holidays full-tilt and took no prisoners. We threw one party after another, and attended more parties than we had room for in the seat of our britches. And the food? Oh my gosh, the food – heavenly. Every single morsel. Gingerbread houses were an annual treat, and believe me, they were eaten with gusto!
Every drink was consumed with equal abandon by the adults in the family. In those days…
You remember “those days” doncha? No one really talked about alcohol consumption, drinking and driving, and how it affected lives. Mothers weren’t M.A.D.D. yet, but they were getting very sad. Dr. C. Everett Koop hadn’t made it on the scene yet to raise awareness of the need to imbibe with responsibility. Two martini lunches ruled the work day, and cocktail parties, with fondue at the ready, were de rigueur.
Everywhere you turned there was temptation - around every Christmas tree and illuminated bend in the road. The Holidays spelled magic, laughter, fun, and never-ending joy. Everyone had a smile on their face, and we were encouraged by conspiratorial whispers to “be good little children” so the elves who lived in our walls wouldn’t report to Santie Claus.
Grown-ups never seemed downtrodden during that magical time, and I never remember hearing arguments, nor hearing about the costs of Christmas. I certainly never heard the dreaded four-letter “D” word during that time!
My sissys and brothers and I grew up in Houston, right on the border of Spacetown, USA, or NASA as you might call it. Yes, we Houstonians dug those swingin’ sixties and seventies, when a little was fine, but more was better! Much better. And unfortunately, being a child of the sixties, I’ve carried that attitude into the present. Maybe you have too? Maybe that’s partly why we both have a pound or two to lose and miles to go before we sleep?
But dangit, man! It’s the HOLIDAYS!
The holidays are a time of celebration – a month of prime opportunity to get together with family and friends and eat, drink, and be merry. So how on earth do we remain seasonally sane? How do we hold fast to our low carb principles and still have a good time?
We touched on this a little bit during the football season, learning how to party with the home team, score a touchdown, stay low carb faithful, and still have a real good time with great food and responsible drinking! Well, let’s recap a couple of tips and then get down the discussion of how to make low carb substitutes for holiday munchies.
First thing to know? Especially if you’re Texan is…queso is a wonderful, wonderful, thing.
Rules for Seasonally Sane Entertaining
- Have a Game Plan – Think ahead and make low carb legal foods. Have the low carb festive cocktail ingredients ready to go at a moment’s notice! And don’t be ashamed to take your low carb cocktail ingredients with you to the party! Heck, show up with a lovely, low carb appetizer contribution too! I can’t think of a single hostess who wouldn’t think you are the most thoughtful person on the face of the planet! (That is unless it’s a high dress, after 5 party that is very chi-chi.)
- Schedule the Party – Treat the party as a meal. Plan your days’ worth of carbs around it and count them – including the boozy drinks. Remember, straight, unflavored spirits rarely have carbs in the spirit portion. Carbs are usually contained within the mixers. But nowadays, some spirits are infused with sugary flavor variations, especially flavored vodkas and rums, so be careful. Know what you’re eating and drinking.
- Set Limits and Stick To Them – Set carb and alcohol limits, then stick to them. Nuff said.
The Bonus Rule!
And here’s a bonus rule. Scarlett O’Hara knew it. Now you shall know it too.
Bonus Tip –
Eat before you go to the party – Yes, my friend. Eat a high fat, moderate protein, very low carb snack before heading to the party. The fat will not only help feed your cells, but it can also slow down the absorption of alcohol. There are some studies that show that saturated fat has a liver protective effect when consumed with alcohol (especially in a low carb diet). Plus, it’s hard to binge and gorge when you’re already full. This also leaves you more time to visit with friends and family.
Crack Bread (Bloomin’ Onion Bread by any other name) is a great low carb, pre-party food. It’s high in fat and very low in carbs, since it’s made with Revolutionary Rolls as the base, and tastes amazing. You can make it ahead and bake it right before serving. With a pre-party snack like Bloomin’ Onion Bread, you won’t overeat at the party.
Experiment with some of the delicious low carb treats out there. Make low carb crackers for dips. Try some of the low carb crostinis and focaccia breads, or my crack bread – aka Bloomin’ Onion Bread.
Or better still, explore the use of innovative veggies as a DDS (Dip Delivery Systems). There are so many recipes for excellent low carb dippers out there, you won’t even miss the Triscuits, Bagel Crisps, or Pita Chips. And the dips? Heck, don’t get me started on the delicious low carb dips out in Low Carb Land!
Let’s face it. Who doesn’t love dip? Can I see a show of hands please? Growing up in Texas, well, dang! A party without dip just wasn’t a party. We had dips like you would NOT believe, especially in Houston, home of Frito Lay and Nabisco. Our Uncle Marvin (family friend and next door neighbor) worked for Nabisco and would bring home unlimited chips, crackers, and DDS. My hips thank you Uncle M!
But why limit yourself to high carbage crackers and trans-fat-filled chips? Did you know there is hardly a single cracker on the market that does NOT contain GMO and pesticide filled soy, in some way, shape, or form? The real deal is easy to make.
Why not explore nature’s bounty and shape shift at the next holiday party? Try out a few of these Innovative Veggie Dippers as your go-to DDS. Your waist and hips will thank you – so will that little square bastage living in your bathroom that hollers out every time you step on it.
Innovative Veggie Dippers (DDS = Dip Delivery Systems)
Raw – These veggies are best served raw and are very low carb.
- Sweet Peppers
- Carrots (yes, raw carrots)
- Yellow Squash
- Grape and Cherry Tomatoes
Blanched – These veggies benefit from a quick minute or two in a boiling hot water bath, then a quick soak in ice water to stop the cooking. The veggies are still crisp and stiff enough to hold a dip but lose their hard, waxy, “green” taste when blanched.
- Baby Bok Choy
- Green Beans
Fully Cooked – These veggies must be fully cooked to make a good DDS.
- Roasted or Grilled Veggies
Be sure to join us for an early edition of Budget Low Carb. We’ll break with tradition for this Holiday Season and fore-go food. Yep, this month we’re all about the “spirit” of the season! Sure you can eat (low carb), but come join us for the other two parts. Let’s “drink and be merry” together as we explore delicious low carb vodka cocktails just in time for the Holidays!
So now you know how to make a go of the Holidays without a stitch of regret. Have fun and enjoy them! Season’s Greetings to all!
Susie Snax #6 – Olive Cream Cheese Stuffed Celery
Recipe By: Susie T. Gibbs
Serving Size: 1 Serving Yield: 1 serving
Preparation Time: 5 Minutes
Easy and quick snack. High in healthy fats and good soluble fiber.
- 1 ounce cream cheese – softened
- 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon olive juice
- 4 small pimento stuffed olives – sliced
- 1 celery rib
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Soften cream cheese in the microwave for 5-8 seconds and mix with Greek yogurt.
- Add olive juice and sliced olives to the cheese. Mix well to incorporate.
- Wash, string and cut celery rib into three sections.
- Fill celery logs with cheese and enjoy!
Rating: Four out of Four Forks
Per Serving: 146 Calories; 13g Fat (80.3% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 37mg Cholesterol; 376mg Sodium; 3g Net Carbs
Serving Ideas: Serve with a tall glass of water with a small wedge of lemon.
SUSIET’s NOTES :
Mom used to buy these tiny jars of olive cream cheese spread made by Kraft. I have no idea if they still make it. I only know making your own olive cream cheese spread is as easy as boiling water and is better for you since you know every ingredient in it.
Olive Cream Cheese Celery is a quick and easy Susie Snax! The salt in the olives will help give you a quick boost, and the fat in cheese and yogurt quickly satisfies hunger pangs. The chewy celery adds crunch that often goes missing in many people’s low carb diets!
This is a perfect Fat Fast Snack or NK (Nutritional Ketosis) snack with 80.3% of calories coming from fat and only 1% coming from carbs.
And hey, it’s pretty cheap too!
Per serving: $0.34