Tag Archives: foodie friday

Foodie Friday: Christmas Time

For me Christmas time is about spending time with family.  Everyone coming together in one, glorious, noisy mess.  Laughing, shrieking, shouting, joking, playing card games and board games till all hours of the morning.  All of this happening around the dinner table, which should be filled with food… but that’s what I fear the most, cooking something that everyone will love.  Well, I asked Heidi to help!  A big thank you to Heidi, my Christmas Elf in the kitchen!

Ah, Christmas time…Christmas is all about love, family and togetherness, and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.  We do this by exchanging gifts, spending quality time together and of course, by feasting on glorious food!

A sunny South African Christmas menu can include many different dishes and you can probably remember massive tables laden with ham, tongue, a million different salads and sides, chicken and perhaps even a turkey… That’s what my childhood Christmases were like in any case.  You might even have enjoyed a Christmas braai or 2…  Let’s face it, a traditional South African Christmas is a jolly, sunny affair, most probably spent outside by the pool or at the beach.

Now, when we look at all these traditional things… is a low carb Christmas style possible? Will it be boring? Should you even bother?

In short – yes and no!

Christmas is a celebration, it’s about being together with friends and family and sharing happy memories, good food and creating loving memories and there’s no reason to miss out on a delectable feast!

Having said that, as you know, I’m not a fan of trying to recreate ‘old’ favourites into new low carb treats – there are some that can easily be done and others that are best left alone.

I also prefer to keep things simple and focus on a few really outstanding dishes, rather than making hundreds…

Let’s start with the basics, shall we?

Christmas Snacks

Whether you’re hosting a Christmas get-together or attending one, you’ll need some snacks.

Choose something really delicious and impressive and make it special.  I would go for something like these pumpkin pie blinis – mini little bite-sized nibbles that’ll really make it feel like Christmas and a favourite at Changing Dream!

And do try a boozy eggnog too – it’s like a creamy custard drink, with brandy and it’s the best thing ever!

Or perhaps something a little more South African, bacon wrapped meatballs!

Christmas Mains

On to the main event – I’ve chosen roast chicken. Simply increase the amount of chickens for
every 6 people.  You could go the classic route of a roast turkey, but I feel that a roast chicken is perfect for a sunny SA Christmas – you can make it outside on the Weber or braai and rather add 1 more meat option.

How about a delicious pork belly roast?

Or keep things fresh and simple with a Festive Ham Salad as another main option!

Add a festive salad like this Fried Camembert Salad and you’re good to go!

Christmas Dessert

To end off a lovely meal, and because I’ve a bit of a sweet tooth – here are 3 winner dessert options.  Let’s start with a cheesecake, then coconut ice cream kisses and finish off with a triple chocolate tart!

Have a happy and blessed Christmas and remember what it’s all about – don’t spend unnecessary time stressing over food and slaving away in the kitchen – unless that’s your thing…

Keep it simple and remember that you don’t even need to tell everybody that your menu is low carb – simply let them enjoy the feast, because let’s face it, this is SO NOT a restrictive ‘diet’..!

P.S. As far as other drinks go – dry wine or bubbly is always the best option instead of sugary cocktails or other drinks mixed with sugary cool drinks.  Make sure you have plenty of sparkling water and add a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint for a refreshing drink.

Heidi Visser




Foodie Fridays: The monstrous 21km!

Honestly, I’m still stuck at 10km runs!  Mostly, I’m doing 5km runs in the week and 1 longer run over the weekends (check out my post about exercise and infertility here).  I’ve been thinking about going longer, but obviously my first question is what to eat before and what to eat after.  Heidi just did a half marathon and she’s sharing her tips for the day and even giving us some healthy snack ideas, pre- and post-run!  Enjoy!

Half a marathon – that’s 21.1 km or 13.1 miles.  That’s quite far…  When you haven’t done one, you cannot quite comprehend the distance.  When you’ve done one, you can’t actually believe that you’ve just run that distance… When you’ve done maybe 2 or 3, you think you’re a seasoned half-marathoner…

So, there I was, recently, all ready for my half marathon, feeling just a tad nervous, but thinking ‘Hey, I’ve done this before, no biggie, plus I’ve been training really hard, etc, etc’…

Welllllllll, it turns out that if you’re not putting in the mileage (and I don’t mean running 3x a week for 8-10 km a pop) you’re in for a bit of a surprise.  I was doing really well up until 8 km {the distance of my normal training runs} and then I got tired.  And the hills became more difficult.  And it was hot.  And I was running by myself.

Ding-ding-ding, game over!

I won’t bore you with all my thoughts during the next 13 km, but let me just tell you, it wasn’t all very positive.  It’s amazing how your mind and attitude influences your game {whether it’s running, cycling, gym, whatever…} and I’m afraid it’s very difficult to bring yourself back after that first defeating thought.

Heidi’s 8 Top Tips for bringing your A-Game

  1. Be Prepared
    It doesn’t matter how psyched-up you are, if you haven’t done the training, you’re most probably going to fail. {Fail to plan; plan to fail}
  2. Start the Day on a Positive
    Don’t rush – allow yourself enough time for a coffee, breakfast and the drive there. Don’t have PMS-induced arguments…
  3. Eat (My speciality)
    You cannot do an endurance sport on an empty stomach. Don’t overeat though and be cautious of eating the wrong thing…

    • Choose something that is nutrient-dense and won’t leave you feeling too full and heavy.
    • Choose something that will keep you going for a while, seeing as you’ll probably be out there for a good 2 hours, burning off heaps of calories.
    • A good time to eat is an hour or so before your event
    • Grab a ‘top-up’ energy snack 15-30 minutes before. I absolutely cannot state the importance of this enough! Even though your body is now running on ‘diesel’ {fat instead of carbs}, you still need to nourish before an event. And especially for us women, you don’t want to find yourself out there, hungry and then turning to all the wrong sugary snacks along the way.
  4. Think Happy Thoughts
    Be positive and uplift yourself, but be careful of going into a daydream-state {stay away from La-La-Land…} Do NOT let that first negative thought even rear its ugly head!!!
  5. Have a Buddy
    It’s a good idea to run with someone with the same {or slightly faster} pace as you. You encourage and motivate each other.  It creates accountability, neither one wants to give up and fail the other one.  Also, training with a buddy is very helpful and important, even if you’re just part of a running club, motivating and pushing each other – that is worth so much.  Pace each other and yourself – run consistently.
  6. Take in the Scenery.  Just enjoy your surroundings.  Witness and enjoy the peace that running in nature brings.
  7. Be Aware
    Be aware of your stride – focus on running correctly (strengthen core, like previously discussed on this blog) and run optimally. Take note of other runners, perhaps something about them will motivate and/or inspire you.  And obviously watch your step too – you wouldn’t want to trip and fall
  8. Push Yourself
    This is the most important – even with all the training in the world, you still need to push yourself mentally and physically. If you’ve done all the other steps properly, believe me, it’s much easier to push yourself, and vice versa…  It is also important to know when to push harder and when to keep back a bit – it’s all in the pace

Snack Ideas

  • A banana {yes, it’s a fruit high in sugar and best avoided on a regular basis, but before a long run, it provides a great energy jolt and keeps you full}
  • Homemade granola bar or bowl of granola – loaded with calorie-dense seeds and nuts, this will provide a good, solid base and also keep you full. Add in coconut oil to make it even more filling, remember, organic coconut oil is a great source of Medium-Chain Triglycerides {MCT} which is basically fat that is very easily digestible and doesn’t need to be broken down to be used for energy. It’s instant energy.  Try my energy-boosting granola, it can even be made into bars, just add more coconut oil and press into a plastic container. Set in the fridge, then cut into bars.
  • Nutrition after your run is just as important, as running long distances can really take it out of you. Make sure to include lots of protein and green leafy veg, as well as slow-release low carb vegetable options such as sweet potato.  Try this incredible recipe!

So, what are you waiting for… Get moving!

Heidi Visser