How To Have a Healthy Happy Christmas!

I don’t make a big deal about most holidays, but I love Christmas. It really is the most wonderful time of year.  I still get excited when I see the tree at Rockefeller Center or the beautiful holiday window displays on Fifth Avenue.

I love reading holiday cards from friends and family with updates on their lives and spending sparkling nights celebrating with them. And at home I enjoy watching the classics, like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “Miracle on 34th Street,” and listening to  Nat King Cole’s“The Christmas Song” and Donny Hathaway’s“This Christmas” — on repeat, with no explanations needed. This puts me into a beautiful, joyous state of bliss.  For me this time is magical and fun!

I also cherish the chance to celebrate the family traditions my mother taught me are important.  I remember my parents working hard to create the most memorable Christmas for me and my siblings.  Though my parents and brothers are no longer here, I still practice our traditions and fondly remember them. I have also come up with a few traditions of my own.

Here are two of my favorites:

Christmas Breakfast

On Christmas morning, once the gifts had been opened, my mom would make breakfast and she always made pancakes. To this day, every Christmas morning, I make mom’s pancakes.  This is the only day of the year that I eat this type of breakfast.  Making it makes me feel close to her.

Here’s a recipe that I use. These taste so much like my mom’s pancakes that sometimes it is hard for me to eat them.  It’s almost like I keep expecting her to walk into the kitchen. (The batter is best if you make it the night before.)

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 and 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs (preferably cage free or organic)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus ½ tsp. per batch to grease pan
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • About ½ cup whole milk

Preparation
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Whisk eggs, 3 tbsp. butter and buttermilk in another bowl.  Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.  (Small lumps are fine.) Cover batter and let rest overnight in the refrigerator.  Heat a large greased griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add milk to batter until it reaches desired consistency, the more milk, the thinner and more delicate the pancakes.  Working in batches of three pancakes, spoon batter onto griddle.  Cook until surface of pancake is covered with bubbles, 2 to 3 minutes.  Flip and cook the other side until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.  Drizzle warmed maple syrup over pancakes, serve.

After the pancakes come…the Christmas Sweat Fests!

I know, surprise, surprise! It’s just another of my favorite Christmas traditions, getting my sweat on amidst all of the holiday celebrations. For my go-to Christmas routine, I put together a workout that uses nothing but a jump rope and bodyweight exercise. It’s very basic, but can be switched up easily to create a new workout each day of the holiday to focus on different body parts within the amount of time you have. I usually do this first thing in the morning since it’s so easy to do anywhere.

1 minute Cardio, exercise A, 1 minute Cardio, exercise A + B, 1 Minute Cardio, exercise A+ B + C, and on.

A. 20 Squats

B. 20 Forward Lunges (10 each side)

C. 20 Side lunges (10 each side)

D. 20 Push-ups

E. 20 Crunches

F. 30 Second Plank

G. 30 Second Side Plank (15 sec each side)

H. 20 Mountain climbers

I. 20 Burpees

So pancakes and sweat fests…those are two of my Christmas traditions.  What are a few of yours? Share them as a comment or c’mon over to Facebook and let me know. Merry Christmas!