Fresh Fridays

December 12, 2014
Vol. VI No. 24
In This Issue
Celebrate the winter holidays with good food,  
good friends, and good health.

Anticipation and holidays are practically synonymous, whether you're three or eighty-three. While the word "holiday" isn't among the words in the dictionary's list of synonyms for anticipation, the words listed do evoke the pleasure of holidays. Expectant. Hope. Eagerness. Looking forward.  

For many people, food, drinks, special meals and decorating for family feasts are a big part of holiday pleasure. The lead-up to the holidays can be just as much fun as the actual holiday. As you're brimming over with great anticipation, here are five tips to keep your holidays delicious and healthy.  

Be realistic. Though this is no time to be on a diet, the holiday season isn't carte blanche to gain a lot of weight. While you may be prepared to shed a few pounds after New Year's, be good to yourself. Who wants to start the New Year off with lots of weight to lose? Enjoy what you are eating; take time for some fun exercise (bike, ski, walk, skate - whatever you love). If you overeat at one holiday meal, eat a little less the next few days and exercise a little more.

Alternate alcohol and water. Not only does too much wine or beer or spirits have too many calories, too much of a good thing can lead to lots of mindless, late night overeating.  

Approach the buffet with purpose. You don't need to try everything on the buffet. Pick your favorites, and fully savor every bite.

Do more than eat at holiday gatherings. Make the most of time with your family and friends. Play word games, charades, cards, make a treasure hunt, or dance with your friends and family. You might be so busy you'll forget that second dessert, or perhaps you'll burn enough calories on the dance floor that you'll be able to eat that second dessert, guilt-free!

Go Med! A Mediterranean meal is wonderfully delicious and healthy for your next holiday gathering. If you're stumped on what to serve, download our Mediterranean Menus, May All Your Holidays be Mediterranean. The 24 pages are filled with tips and menu ideas (appetizers, soups, salads, grains and pasta, main dishes, vegetables, desserts), as well as Gifts from the Kitchen.  

If you still want more recipes, check out the great ideas below, or peruse the books in our holiday bookstore!
Holiday Antipasti
The holidays are a time to enjoy visiting with friends and family, so don't bog yourself down with complicated recipes and time-consuming kitchen prep. A trip to the local olive bar is the perfect way to create an entire appetizer table without having to lift a finger. A varied selection of olives and antipasti (traditional Italian appetizers) in simple white or glass bowls is elegant and eye catching. Slice a baguette and top with goat cheese and olive tapenade for a wonderful crostini. Layer fresh mozzarella with roasted tomatoes and fresh basil. Pair olives and antipasti with nuts, charcuterie and fruit. For an extra special occasion, pop open a bottle of champagne - you'll find it pairs well with the olives.

Content, and photo courtesy of Food Match.

Click on a photo or recipe title below to link to the full recipe.
While the holidays are certainly delicious, they can also be indulgent and promote poor eating choices. Nutritious and delicious can go hand in hand, however, for healthy eating. Consider incorporating walnuts into a healthier menu. This recipe is a simple, tasty way to feel indulgent while enjoying a delicious, nutritious crunch.

Recipe, content and photo courtesy of the California Walnut Board.
Appetizers are tempting and tantalizing, and often not-so-healthy. This recipe brings together some of the best ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet - sundried tomatoes, beans, extra-virgin olive oil, spices and lemon juice - for a deliciously filling, healthy dip. Serve with toasted whole grain pita bread.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Gaea.
During the busy holiday season, here's a super simple soup to rustle up. All you need is some leftover veggies, a bit of barley and the nutty flavors of flaxseed oil to create a delicious soup, perfect for keeping you warm as the cold nights draw in.

Recipe, content and photo courtesy the International Collection.

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)        





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



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The Gift of Health
Give the gift of good health to friends and family. Our popular book, The Oldways 4-Week Mediterranean Diet Menu Plan, underscores how eating well can be both easy and delicious.

Check out our
Webstore for all our other gift choices.

A Mediterranean Diet Fridge Magnet would make a great stocking stuffer!

by Maria Speck
Food writer Maria Speck's passion for propelling Old World staples such as farro, barley, polenta, and wheat berries to the forefront of new American cooking is beautifully presented in Ancient Grains for Modern Meals. In this inspired and highly personal book, Maria Speck draws on food traditions from across the Mediterranean and northern Europe to reveal how versatile, satisfying, flavorful, and sophisticated whole grains can be. 

by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
In Jerusalem, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi explore the vibrant cuisine of their home city - with its diverse Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities. Both men were born in Jerusalem in the same year -Tamimi on the Arab east side and Ottolenghi in the Jewish west. This stunning cookbook offers 120 recipes from their unique cross-cultural perspective, from inventive vegetable dishes to sweet, rich desserts.

by Julia Child
In this cookbook, illustrated with full color throughout, Julia Child gives us her magnum opus - the distillation of a lifetime of cooking. And she has an important message for Americans today. . .

--to the health-conscious: make a habit of good home cooking so that you know you are working with the best and freshest ingredients and you can be in control of what goes into every dish.

--to the new generation of cooks who have not grown up in the old traditions: learn the basics and understand what you are doing so cooking can be easier, faster, and more enjoyable.

--to the more experienced cook: have fun improvising and creating your own versions of traditional dishes.

--and to all of us: above all, enjoy the pleasures of the table.

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