Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pumpkin Butter and a White Christmas

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas (or if you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a fabulous Saturday!). My Christmas started Wednesday and Thursday when I had both days off from work, which was lovely. I made pumpkin butter for some family and friend gifts.

Pumpkin Butter
(Recipe from Joanna)


2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup honey
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T cinnamon
1 T pumpkin spice
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t salt

Mix everything together in a large bowl! Simple.

Even though this recipe contained honey, which is not a part of my Low FODMAPs diet, I still had to taste it before giving it away as a gift. It was delicious.

I put some in these glass jars, wrote the expiration date on the bottom (about one week was my guess) and then wrapped them in tissue paper with a bow.

I also made these peppermint rocky road bars. You can find the simple recipe here. I must say, they tasted amazing.

On Friday I had to work, which wasn't such a big deal. Friday evening we went to Nick's mother's house to have a nice Italian dinner and of course to open gifts. I really enjoy giving gifts more than getting gifts. I love to watch the kids open their gifts because it makes me feel like a kid again myself. Do you feel that way sometimes? The girls in the picture below are Nick's adorable nieces.

I wanted to share how I've been doing with the Healthy Holiday Challenge. My goal was/is to be good at not going overboard on food and drinks at parties (from Christmas through new year's eve, and of course the rest of the year!). I'll be honest, it's the drinks that mainly do me in. I'm not a big drinker, but for some reason around the holidays I become sort of a lush. I challenged myself to limit my drink intake and to stop eating when I was full. This was in no way a weight-loss or even weight maintenance challenge, but instead it was a challenge to see if I could practice what I preach around the holidays. Just because I don't have a weight problem does not make it ok to binge on food and drinks, right?! So, on Christmas Eve, I failed big time.

I wasn't planning on drinking this mint white chocolate martini, but I did.

Then I was offered my favorite beer, and I just couldn't say no!

So I didn't practice what I preach. I had a glass of red wine, a couple beers, and a martini. I was in complete "vacation" and "holiday" mode. I didn't overeat, but I did drink a bit too much, probably. Oh well, I had a fabulous time!

And so did Nick, even though he refused to smile for this picture.

There were lots of yummy sweets.

And I received a lot of "foodie gifts".

Then yesterday (Christmas) we went to my parent's house and I did a very good job of focusing on friends and family, and not on food and drinks. The day started off on a happy note, it was a White Christmas!

Nick and I opened our presents from each other. Nick always gets me the best Hallmark cards that make me tear up. I pretend he wrote them :) Then he also does a great job of picking out simple yet amazing gifts! This made my day;

There will be many summer popsicle posts this year!

Starting the first week in January I will be weighing the employees (where I work) who took part in my Healthy Holiday Challenge. Their goal was to not gain any weight over the holidays, or even better, to lose weight if necessary! Several of the employees have already come to my office to get weighed-in half way through the holidays. I'm happy to say that two of them have already lost over seven pounds!

My next couple posts will include my New Year's resolutions (yes, I know, joy!) and my favorite foods and products of 2011.

Tonight Nick and I are having my parents, his mom and sister, plus some family friends over for game night. On Christmas we played Balderdash and I'm hoping everyone is willing to play again! Have you played it? It's one of my all time favorite games to play with a large group of fun people. My aunt and mother were especially entertaining. And guess what? There were sports playing in the background but this game kept everyone's attention!

Even the dog had a fun time.

Enjoy the last week of 2010!


  1. Looks like a great Christmas! :) At least you were good one out of the two days, right? Hehe!

    I'm kind of excited to see your New Years Resolutions since I've put no thought what so ever into mine haha.

  2. Looks and sounds like you had a very nice Christmas! I love all your foodie gifts! I'm sure we'll see them on the blog... :-)

    Have a great Sunday!

  3. Sooooo cool that you created a holiday challenge for your coworkers! Such great motivation!

    We LOVE Balderdash! :-) It's one of our favorite games - we play it almost every time we have friends over! :-) It's always hilariously funny - especially if we've had a drink or two... ;-) Speaking of which, I can't wait to be able to try the Great Lakes Brewing Co beers! ;-) We can't find them here in Georgia... and I've been looking and looking ever since you first said it was your fav beer! :-) Yet another thing to look forward to after our move! :-)

    Love the photos of you and Nick! Y'all are so gorgeous and adorable together!!!

    Btw, I totally would have done the same thing when presented with that gorgeous martini... Oh my goodness... *dreamy sigh* I must find a recipe for such gorgeousness immediately... :-)

  4. I'm impressed.

    Maybe this is worth sharing that i found in this few posts below.[url=]Car Cover[/url]

  5. Merry Christmas!

    Looks like you got some really nice gifts. So neat you got the Zoku. you will love it. Maybe we should make an RD written Zoku cookbook, LOL! My sister bought me mine and I just won one so I am giving it to her for the holidays. You will love the cuisinart food processor too. I just got the 14 cup and it is HUGE. I used it yesterday for PB. I had no idea it was that easy to make. Enjoy your gifts and your time with family.

  6. i'm the same about gifts. I like receiving them (of course) but the real rewards is giving them. Watching the face of the person opening the gift that we thoughtfully picked for them is amazing! :D

    You're so funny admitting that you didn't practice what you preach. But it is alright. To be honest, I don't think it's good to do any kind of food-related challenge during holiday seasons. Why? because it's supposed to be a moment of celebration with family, that should be where 100% of focus is spent on. I'm doing exactly this during my stay in china. Enjoy every moment I am with my family, whatever it is about, if it is food related, I'll enjoy it as well. :)

    Happy holidays Gina! :)

  7. Nick really does give great gifts! It sounds like you had a really great holiday!

  8. Looks like an amazing Christmas Gina! I love how you got all foodies gifts especially Le Creuset!

    Your pic with Nick by the tree is adorable!

  9. WHat a fun Christmas! You made out well too :) I'll have to try making pumpkin butter. It looks so easy!

  10. What a lovely Christmas!
    Love the le creuset pot! How nice!!

    I do love Balderdash. My family and I used to play it all the time growing up!

    Thanks for sharing the pumpkin butter recipe. I think I am going to have to make this soon!

  11. What a fun Christmas! I can't wait to hear what your plans are for the new years. It's always inspiring to read other's goals... Sometimes I even get into the mood to make my own.

  12. Christmas ale! LOVE that stuff! It's definitely ruined any semblance of healthy eating I normally have, but I guess that a couple beers on vacation won't kill anyone. Happy holidays!

  13. gah i keep meaning to email you back! thank you SO much for the link about fodmaps! it's been so good so far and i feel totally less bloated and whatever i'm lovvvving it :) i eat the dairy sparingly and brussels from time to time but i've stopped with the garlic powder and onions and use scallions instead!

    haha i love the standard italian christmas eve! they sure know how to go all out :) i'll take my italian in my cookies haha obviously. i know you don't like them so you should probably send all of the ones your family had my way ;)

    glad you had such a wonderful holiday!!!!

  14. Huh! I've never even heard of that game...we'll have to play it some time! We always play Yahtzee with Mark's family and it's a blast :) I always lose, but I have fun doing it!! It's hard to say no to yummy drinks this time of year! I passed by a blue-raspberry martini on Christmas Eve, but I did have some Sam Adam's winter brew and it was fabulous! I love their winter porter!

    I'm glad you had a good Christmas! You'll love that food processor!!

    And I am saving that pumpkin butter recipe. Mine involved way too much simmering, it was annoying!!

  15. Wish I would have joined your "Healthy Holiday Challenge". My sweet tooth had a little bit too much fun during the xmass celebrations. However, Im managing to get back on the healthy train :). Im glad to see you relaxed and indulged a bit during the season. The chocolate martini and the 2 beers is nothing! No worries :)

  16. Looks like an awesome Christmas! Love the pics of you and Nick:)

    I made pumpkin butter a couple years ago and it was just okay. I'm excited to try a new recipe!

  17. Hey honey!!! Sorry for being looks like had a wonderful holiday.

    Btw you look wonderful in all the pictures!

  18. My thoughts:
    That color on the Le Cruset is DIVINE. Especially for any red (lasagna) or orange (squash) colored casseroles...

    And I love this post mostly, because "celebrating" our lives, our forgiving bodies, or gracious hosts, our secure lovers and families...of eat, drinking, and be merry if only for one night, is to be appreciated. I value your moderation, and your splurges.
    Life is to be LIVED not to be proved. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  19. Sounds like you had a fun Christmas! I like the fact that you posted your splurges as well. I ate entirely too much, so you know what my New Year's resolution will and exercise :P

  20. Sounds like a fabulous holiday! That martini sounds especially delsih. And the pumpkin butter is so easy! I always thought it needed hours on the stove top....

  21. Pumpkin butter sounds like a great gift; homemade gifts are always the best. :) Love those cute jars, too...where did you buy those?

    Looks like you had a great time celebrating with family. We also have's a ton of fun!