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November 21, 2017
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December 12, 2017

A New Black Friday Tradition

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Unfortunately, in today's modern fast-paced life, we all live with the "I want it now" mentality. We are all trying to compete for the biggest, shiniest, coolest new thing for FOMO. (Fear of missing out). Yup, did you know FOMO is actually a word in the dictionary now?

FOMO: Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media. Early 21st century: abbreviation of fear of missing out.

Many of us get sucked in to all of the newest trends and fads--including Black Friday shopping. Who cares about getting a good deal on something you don't need? That's not a deal at all, in fact, it is total loss on your pocket book. This holiday, splurge on the things that really do matter like spending time with family and friends or making delicious meals at home. It's important to note that materialistic things depreciate, but experiences appreciate. Instead of FOMO--JOMO! Say what? Yup, JOMO is actually a word too now and it means "joy of missing out."  Apparently FOMO exhausted us so much that the new fear of missing out is the joy of missing out.

So you want to be a trend setter? JOMO on the things that don't appreciate and spend time doing the things that actually matter. We don’t remember the things we buy, but we remember the food we eat, and whom we eat it with. This is especially true of family meals. 

A New Black Friday Tradition

This Black Friday, create a new tradition of using leftovers from the holidays to make meals that are healthy, delicious and connect you with those you love.  Unfortunately, in the United States we have gotten away from cooking meals at home and now tend to eat more for flavor and convenience. The United States actually cooks less than any other nation and studies show that when rates of home cooking go down, obesity rates go up. But, there is so much more to cooking than to lose weight or be healthy. Food is an experience and it’s the story of food that is so powerful—where it comes from, what’s involved in the process, how it makes us feel, and how it connects us with the people we love. Make cooking meals at home your new trend and I promise it will never go out of style. 

Family meals make more time for conversation and are a great way to set an example for your kids and their future. Cooking more family meals at home can help you to eat more nutrient rich foods and build stronger relationships with those you care about. Cooking at home not only allows you to control your own health, but also the health of your family. Physically and mentally, home cooked family meals can make you healthier and happier.

Cooking at home also creates a comforting and pleasing aroma that can naturally get the family gathered around the table. Did you know that our sense of smell is our most powerful sense of all? The sense of smell is closely linked to memory and emotions, which can trigger feelings and bring us back to special times in our lives. Think of holiday smells like cinnamon, cloves, that Christmas tree smell, or freshly baked cookies. These smells instantly flood us with memories and can bring us to that special holiday time full of fun and family.

“The perfume industry is built around this connection, with perfumers developing fragrances that seek to convey a vast array of emotions and feelings; from desire to power, vitality to relaxation.” (www.fifthsense.org)

Wondering what to do with all of the leftover turkey and turkey bones from Thanksgiving?  Just as the saying goes "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade," the same is true of "when life gives you lots of turkey bones from Thanksgiving, make turkey noodle soup with homemade bone broth."

Making use of the leftover turkey carcass is a great way to save on waste while making something truly delicious.  It is the best version of leftovers made out of leftovers and is the meal that just keeps on giving.

Using leftover meat bones is a fantastic way to make your own bone broth.  The broth and stock you typically buy at the grocery store can be expensive and flavorless.  By making your own, you can be sure to have something extremely flavorful while saving money at the same time.  Did you know that there are lots of nutritional benefits in bone broth? 

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As the bones cook in water, minerals and other nutrients leach from the bones into the water.   This creates a broth that is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals which the body can easily absorb. Bone broth also contains glucosamine and chondroiton which are helpful at relieving joint pain and other symptoms associated with arthritis and inflammation.

Homemade bone broth is also rich in gelatin, an animal protein extracted from bones, collagen, skin, and connective tissue.   Gelatin can help fight against degenerative joint disease by strengthening connective tissue.  Gelatin is also needed for the growth of fingernails and hair.

To make your own bone broth, start by adding the bones (and neck if you have it) to a large pot.  Cover bones with water and add 1 carrot, 1 stalk of celery, and 1/2 of an onion to the pot.  Add in bay leaf, allspice, and a cinnamon stick for a unique and tasty flavor. Season with salt and pepper to taste as you go. 

Bring heat to medium and cover.  Cook for 2 hours or until turkey starts to fall off the bones and broth becomes fragrant and slightly thicker than water.

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Turn off heat and remove bones from pot and place on a large cutting board.  Let sit for 15 minutes to cool.  When bones are cool enough to touch, pull the remaining meat off the bones and add to a large bowl.  The meat of the turkey neck will be the most tender and delicious.  Discard all bones once you separate the meat.

Strain the remaining liquid leftover in the pot through a mesh strainer, catching all of the strained liquid in another large pot or bowl.  Pick through strained mixture and reserve all meat that has fallen off the bones during boiling and discard cooked vegetables, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick.

In a large pot, combine pulled turkey meat and strained broth.  Add in 2 cups of chopped carrots, 2 cups of chopped celery, 1 pound of sliced mushrooms, and 6 small sized onions, peeled and left whole. Cook on medium low hat until vegetables are tender, about 20- 30 minutes.  Bring broth to boil and add in egg noodles or favorite pasta. Cook until al dente and add in spinach or kale and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Enjoy! 

You may also substitute noodles for "zoodles" (zucchini noodles). Once the spinach and kale has cooked for an additional five minutes, add the zoodles and remove soup from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. 

Eat this soup with a fork and spoon! It's way more fun that way!

Eat this soup with a fork and spoon! It's way more fun that way!

Think about how rewarding it is to turn something someone may call garbage--into a beautiful one pot meal that is loaded with flavor and nutrition.  My leftover turkey carcass turned into 10 hearty servings of deliciousness. This holiday season, think of ways you can save on waste and make delicious creations out of your leftovers.  Leftover mashed potatoes? Make potato pancakes! Leftover ham or ham bones? Make a split pea and ham soup!

Getting Healthier Starts In The Kitchen

Are you interested in cooking more meals at home but don’t know where to start? Honestly, it doesn’t matter what you cook or if you have little to no cooking experience. Your first step is to upgrade the quality of everything you are buying by looking at the ingredient lists of any packaged, canned, jarred, or boxed food you purchase. Your goal is to be able to pronounce each ingredient and know what it is. Ask yourself, is this ingredient real food and do I know where it comes from? Also, the shorter the ingredient list, typically the healthier it will be.

More Ingredients= More Processing

Ideally, cooking with one-ingredient foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, healthy grains, and potatoes will be an easy way to make your meals healthier and more flavorful. You really can’t mess it up when you combine these macronutrients. Start with the basics like grilled chicken, baked potato, and steamed vegetables. As you start to cook more meals at home you will learn how to make the meals you love healthier and more flavorful. Instead of pre-pattied burgers from the meat counter, buy grass-fed ground beef or try using ground bison or lamb to make your own patties. Instead of sour cream, try non- fat plain Greek Yogurt. Instead of butter, use virgin coconut oil. Plus, you can make the cooking process more fun by getting the family involved or create ethic themed dinners like Mexican, Italian, or Asian.

Need more inspiration? Check out this ultimate cooking guide full of easy, quick, healthy, and delicious family meals!

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The first chapter includes information on what oils to use in cooking, how to make healthier food swaps, what foods to buy organic, and how to add more superfoods to your plate.

Overall, family meals contribute to better health and happier relationships. So no matter how busy you are, try to organize more family meals during the week. Once you start spending more time eating together, you’ll understand what you have been missing--quality time with the family.

Remember that eating should be an experience. Food is social and it is a delicious way to connect with loved ones. In my opinion, food is the greatest way to show love and is the best gift to share. Get your family around the table by making meals that are healthy, delicious, and smell fabulous!

Wishing you a healthy and delicious holiday season full of family, friends, and your favorite food!

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