Christmas In Michigan, Part One: I Ate Too Much Food

I’m back in California after a wonderful week celebrating Christmas in Michigan. Usually I’m good about eating well while traveling, but this time I ate too much. I also exercised like a maniac (more on that in my next post), so I’m not wallowing in guilt or regret. I enjoyed good food with friends and family, and I’m already back on track with my healthy habits.

Can I start with a brag? My cheese board skills are ON POINT:

cheese-board-christmas

This was our appetizer before Christmas dinner. My sister brought some shrimp cocktail, so I made up a pretty plate (and chose cucumber slices over crackers to eat with my cheese).

appetizer-plate-christmas

Christmas dinner was a gorgeous standing rib roast. I made a herb butter and smeared it all over before it went in the oven. My dad made a tortilla espanola (a potato and onion omelet that’s cut into wedges, not the flat corn or flour wrap that’s used in tacos and burritos). I steamed green beans and topped them with a little butter and some freshly toasted sliced almonds. An incredible feast.

prime-rib-tortilla-green-beans

We celebrated my sister Laura’s birthday the next day. I decided to use a gift I received in my Christmas stocking. It was a little bottle from the Old World Olive Company…

old-world-olive-company-bottle

…of Dark Chocolate Balsamic! Have you ever heard of such a thing?

bottle-of-dark-chocolate-balsamic

I was very intrigued. My mom prepped a big bunch of asparagus, and I sliced up some zucchini and yellow squash. I drizzled both trays of veggies with a little olive oil, and added some of the Dark Chocolate Balsamic.

We roasted the vegetables at 400 degree for about 45 minutes, and they were delicious (although the asparagus were a little overdone).

dark-chocolate-balsamic-roasted-vegetables-platter

The Dark Chocolate Balsamic was very thick and rich, with just a hint of some chocolatey notes. Turns out Old World Olive Company (a Michigan-based company) makes a whole line of flavored balsamics, like blueberry, cinnamon pear, and blackberry ginger. I’d love to try more!

The veggies were the side dish to the meal’s main attraction: a huge paella with clams, scallops, shrimp, chicken, and sausage. My mom knocked it out of the park!

paella-in-pan

My plate:

paella-and-dark-chocolate-balsamic-vegetables

(I got seconds of the veggies, but not of the paella.)

So far nothing I’ve shared has been outrageous, health-wise, but I didn’t photograph a lot of the stuff I grazed on in between meals. There were nuts and cookies and more cookies and even more cookies. We traditionally decorate cut-out sugar cookies in our family, and this year was no exception. My cookies turned out beautifully!

decorated-cutout-christmas-cookies

I’m particularly fond of my gingerbread man – he’s dressed to go to work!

There’s about half a dozen Christmas cookies we’ve made every year in our house, and this year we made most of them. Well… by ‘we,’ I mean my mom, because she made all of them – I only helped with rolling out the cut-outs and decorating them after.

But, like I said before, there’s no point in dwelling on all the extra calories. What’s done is done, and now I can just focus on making healthy choices and continuing to exercise. The good thing about coming back to California is that all the rest of the cookies stayed behind! (And hopefully my parents will give them away or freeze them.)

Lastly, my dad loves nuts, so as part of his Christmas present, I got him something I’ve never tried, and I suspected he’d never tried before, either: raw apricot seeds.

raw-apricot-seeds

They look like small almonds, and they taste like them, too, except a little more sweet and slightly more bitter. I’m not sure if these are just really young apricot pits, or if they’re found deep inside a pit, but I’m always down for trying something new (as this video proves). I tried looking it up, but all I found were a bunch of sites linking the consumption these little guys with warding off cancer – so that’s a reason to eat them, if that’s in fact based on science, as opposed to new agey, hippie theories or folklore.

RELATED CONTENT: I Never Knew What Young Almonds Looked Like… And I Was Surprised!

I just posted a bunch of additional food photos from my week in Michigan on my Twitter feed, so check those out, too!

Next up on the blog: How I combated all this eating with lots and lots of exercising… including a four-day challenge and a new-to-me workout DVD! And also coming soon, my recipe for a satisfying chili that will keep you warm the rest of the winter!

Keep it up, David!

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