Fresh Fridays 
December 28, 2012
Vol. IV, No. 26      

Simple Celebrations
Now that a new year is upon us, many of us are reflecting on the year past and formulating resolutions for the year ahead. But how can we resolve to eat better and still plan to celebrate in style on New Year's Eve? Mediterranean eating is the solution. Enjoy bold, comforting flavors from a diversity of ingredients that make healthy eating enjoyable and delicious during special celebrations and throughout the entire year.

Here are a few tips for hosting a simple, elegant, and healthy New Year's celebration:
  • Select simple recipes. Simple does not need to mean bland! You can pack a lot of flavor into a dish with only a few ingredients. Find recipes that you can prepare quickly and easily in advance so that when guests begin arriving you can have fun without worrying about the food. 
  • Choose quality over quantity. Offering a few well-crafted, flavorful dishes is more important than providing lots of options. If you have a guest with an allergy or other dietary restriction, build your menu to accommodate the most restricted guest. Your guests without restrictions will enjoy the nut or dairy-free dish just as much as your friend with the nut allergy or lactose sensitivity.
  • Serve family style. Trying to plate each guest's dinner can be stressful and time consuming. Transfer food from cooking pots and pans to serving bowls and plates and set it on the table. Invite guests to serve themselves and pass the dishes around the table.
  • Finish the meal with a fruit-based dessert. Fruit desserts are simple to make and require only a fraction of the time of baked desserts. Fruit desserts are frequently healthier than baked treats, but still offer a satisfying way to end a meal.
Invite a few friends over for New Year's Eve and start 2013 with a delicious and healthy dinner party using these recipes.

Click on the titles or photos below to link to the recipes. 

Web links

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Order our newest publication, The Oldways 4-Week Mediterranean Diet
Menu Plan

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December buckwheat
Get up to Speed with Buckwheat, the WGC's
Grain of the Month.   
Feta and Strawberry Side Salad
Serve this fresh and tangy side salad as a complement to a meal, or increase the portion size and enjoy it on its own for lunch. Try different combinations of berries and nuts, such as raspberries and almonds or blackberries and hazelnuts. Lightly toast the nuts before adding them to the salad for an extra flavor boost.   
Photo: Président Cheese                 
Try this paella recipe as written, and then try making it with different flavors. Recipes for paella include wide ranging options such as lobster, calamari, mussels, clams, shrimp, chicken, and even beans. Find a couple of combinations that your family enjoys and keep this hearty dish in your regular dinner rotation.  
Photo courtesy of Al Wadi Al Akhdar       
Fruit makes a fantastic finish to any meal. Fruit desserts are often simple and quick to prepare, rich in flavor, and healthier than baked treats. The combination of rich dark chocolate and sweet fig in this recipe creates a satisfying bite that feels decadent and is worthy of any celebration.
Photo: Barilla / Academia Barilla      
Fresh Fridays is a bi-weekly celebration of Mediterranean eating and living. We hope our Friday recipes will remind you just how easy and delicious eating the Mediterranean way can be.   
To find even more delicious Mediterranean recipes please visit:    

 Mediterranean Foods Alliance (MFA)        



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Let the old ways be your guide to  good health and well-being.      



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Oldways Bookstore
by Susan Herrmann Loomis
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Dates (the fruit of the date palm tree) were first harvested around 6,000 B.C.E., making the date the oldest cultivated fruit in the world. Learn more about dates at