How To Recover From Thanksgiving

4,500 calories. That’s how much food energy the average American consumes on Thanksgiving, according to the Calorie Control Council. That sort of energy blitz would be a major blow to your weight loss goals at any time of year. But Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a five-week period of holiday parties and other festive social events where we all want to look and feel our best—and there will be plenty opportunities to eat and drink to excess. It’s enough to make you want to throw your hands up and completely write off the whole month of December.

The hard truth? There’s no silver bullet to recovering from the gastronomic onslaught that is the last Thursday in November. But by adopting some of the small and manageable changes below, you can feel slimmer, rev your metabolism, tackle the rest of the holiday season mindfully and ring in the New Year feeling good about your health-and-fitness goals for 2019.


Add Dumbbells to Your Black Friday List

No time for the gym? Invest in a pair of dumbbells. Free weights and your own body weight are all you need to challenge every major muscle group in your body. The more muscle you can pack on, the faster you’ll be burning the extra food energy you gobbled up at Thanksgiving and will continue to consume over the holiday season.


Get to Stepping

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is a whirl of activities, get-togethers, and obligations. That can mean you’ve got less time to work out and recover from a feeding frenzy. So do yourself a favor. Instead of waiting to be active at the gym, sneak in steps all day long. Invest in a pedometer or a Fitbit and try to hit at least 10,000 steps a day. This way, if you miss a workout, you’ll know you’ve already fit in some movement, and it won’t throw your progress totally off track.


Swap Egg Nog for Green Tea

You can get back on track ASAP by drinking green tea every day. In a recent 12-week study, participants who drank 4 to 5 cups of green tea daily, then did a 25-minute workout, lost an average of two more pounds and more belly fat than the non-tea-drinking exercisers. Why? The brew contains catechins, a type of antioxidant that triggers the release of fat from fat cells and helps speed the liver’s capacity for turning fat into energy.


Fill Up on Fiber and Protein

If you want to lose weight, it’s important to keep your blood-sugar levels stable, so you don’t overeat. That’s key when trying to recover after Thanksgiving and throughout December.  To help you stay fuller longer, make sure that every time you eat, you’re consuming a combination of fiber (one of the most satiating nutrients out there) and protein.


Work Out First Thing

The best strategy for not looking and feeling like 10lbs of sausage in a 5lb bag after Thanksgiving is to work out soon after waking up. Hit the gym, take a long stroll or workout at home and do some treadmill sprints on an empty stomach to burn fat. Your body is already in a calorie deficit, and it will ignite your body’s fat-burning ability. Glycogen levels are depleted during sleep so your body will utilize body fat as an energy source.


Stop Eating at Sunset

Make winter’s short days an advantage: Use the last of the sunlight as a cue to stop eating. This may help you lose more weight, even if you eat more food throughout the day, according to a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism. Researchers put groups of mice on a high-fat, high-calorie diet for 100 days. Half of them were allowed to nibble throughout the night and day on a healthy, controlled diet, while the others only had access to food for eight hours but could eat whatever they wanted. The result of the 16-hour food ban? The fasting mice stayed lean, while the mice who noshed ’round the clock became obese—even though both groups consumed the same amount of calories!


Take Hot Bedtime Showers

A UCLA study of some of the world’s last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes noted that drops in temperature were an important sleep cue for our paleolithic forebears. We no longer sleep under the stars that much, but you but you can recreate a sunset-like temperature dip by taking a hot bath or shower. That pause to refresh can help you fall asleep faster and make shuteye — prime pound-shedding time.


Let Some Winter in

A striking new study published in the journal Diabetes suggests that turning down the heat in winter may help us attack belly fat while we sleep. Colder temperatures subtly enhance the effectiveness of our stores of brown fat — fat that keeps you warm by burning through the fat stored in your belly. Participants spent a few weeks sleeping in bedrooms with varying temperatures: a neutral 75 degrees, a cool 66 degrees, and a balmy 81 degrees. After four weeks of sleeping at 66 degrees, the subjects had almost doubled their volumes of brown fat. (And yes, that means they lost belly fat.)


Eat an Apple Every Day

This crisp, refreshing fruit is among the most super of superfoods: Apples boast the powerful antioxidant quercetin and vitamins C and B-6, which keep your cholesterol levels low and slash your risk for heart disease. But thanks to their high fiber count, an apple a day can do more than keep the doctor away — it can help you trim down during the holidays too.


Make Healthy Cocktails

The holiday season doesn’t only bring laughter, cheer, and goodwill to all — it also brings unwanted weight gain from all those festive foods. It’s inevitable that you’ll lose gym time or splurge on “just one more” piece (we’ve all been I’ve been there this week) of the pie, but don’t let that stop you from making healthy choices. Instead of traditional cocktails like eggnog, or sugar-laden spiced cider, opt for a Hot Toddy, which is made with ginger, tea, and whiskey!


Get Intense

Interval training is the best way to shock your body back into shape, increase your metabolism, improve your cholesterol profile, and improve insulin sensitivity, especially during the holidays when you’re being pulled in every direction. At the gym, sign up for a HIIT class, or turn your favorite aerobic exercise (running, biking, even walking) into an interval workout by adding periods of intense speed (start with 30 to 60 seconds) followed by periods of rest (normal speed) for the same amount of time. Do this six to 10 times to complete a fat-slashing workout. As you get better, slowly increase the amount of time of increased intensity.


Fit in Quick Reps

A busy holiday schedule of parties, shopping and gift wrapping isn’t a reason to skip your workouts and lose some of that turkey weight. In fact, slacking off could slow your slim-down progress. Thankfully, fitting in fitness doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Trade exhaustive hourlong sessions for one daily resistance exercise (like a bicep curl, squat, lunge or shoulder press). Spending five minutes doing one daily resistance exercise is all it takes to build and maintain muscle, reduce fat, and protect bones.


Learn to Love Legumes

You’re not socially obligated to scarf cheese dip (But.. Dip). Whip up some hummus instead. Legumes such as lentils ( If you can have lentils) and chickpeas, a rich source of vegetarian protein, have been shown to reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, promote fat metabolism and boost satiety. They’re also a source of resistant starch, a slow-digesting fiber that triggers the release of acetate, a molecule in the gut that tells the brain when to stop eating.


De-bloat with Fruit Salad

Do your pants seem to be snugger than they were just a day or two before? That rich, salty holiday meal and sugary wine could be causing water retention and constipation. Working bloat-fighting foods into your diet can ease your discomfort and help you slough off a holiday bulge. Kiwi, honeydew melon and papaya all contain compounds that kick sluggish bowels into gear and fight water retention. Use them in a fruit salad or keep them around the house to snack on throughout the season.


Take a Long Winter’s Nap

Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep a night ( I get It stress might be keeping you up) If you are looking for a natural way of destressing Click Here to learn all about meditation and how it can help with stress). Slacking on shut-eye depletes your energy levels and wreaks havoc on your hormones, causing you to eat more. Over time, this can contribute to significant weight gain, especially in the wake of a 4,500-calorie holiday meal. In fact, according to a recent study, losing as little as 30 minutes of sleep can up your risk of obesity by 17 percent!


Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea is made from the leaves of the “red bush” plant, grown exclusively in the small Cederberg region of South Africa, near Cape Town. What makes rooibos tea particularly good for your belly is a unique and powerful flavonoid called Aspalathin. According to South African researchers, polyphenols and flavonoids found in the plant inhibit adipogenesis–the formation of new fat cells–by as much as 22 percent. The chemicals also help aid fat metabolism. Plus, Rooibos is naturally sweet so you won’t need to add sugar.


Drink Whole Milk

Studies conducted at The Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee suggest that consuming calcium — which whole milk has plenty of — may help your body metabolize fat more efficiently. Other studies have shown that increased calcium intake from dairy products (though not from supplemental calcium carbonate) caused study participants to poop out more fat as opposed to it sticking around on the body. (During Thanksgiving day alone, the average American eats a staggering 229 grams of fat, according to the Calorie Control Council!)


Muscle Up

Even when you’re at rest, your body is constantly burning calories. In fact, 75% of the calories that you burn each day are being used up just keeping you alive. “Resting metabolic rate” is much higher in people with more muscle, because every pound of muscle uses about 6 calories a day just to sustain itself. If you can pack on just five pounds of muscle and maintain it, you’ll burn the caloric equivalent of three pounds of fat over the course of a year. That’s especially useful when you’re overindulging over the festive period.


Make Hearty Weight-loss Soup

You know how the USDA wants you to get between five and nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day? Think of soup as your extra credit, the perfect chaser to a rich holiday meal. A well-crafted soup can give you three or four servings of vegetables and fruits, and presto, the fiber will have you feeling satisfied and less bloated.


Drink More Water

Most of us know that we need to drink water during workouts to stay hydrated, but many of us overlook the importance of sipping water throughout the day. Thirst can often be mistaken for hunger, so regularly drinking water can keep excess calories off of your holiday plate— and, more importantly, out of your mouth. Also, the extra sodium we eat during holiday meals will cause more water retention and belly bloat. You can flush it out with more water!


Order a Blender

First thing in the AM, silence your iPhone alarm, hit the shower and then make your way over to the blender. Buzzing up a fat-burning homemade smoothie for breakfast is a great way to stay full make up for some of that overindulgence on Thanksgiving.


Eat Out, Don’t Pig Out

People tend to eat at restaurants more during the holidays. That’s a recipe for packing on extra pounds. But it doesn’t have to be. When dining out, order two appetizers instead of an appetizer and an entrée. This is instant portion control, and usually, appetizers are lighter overall.


Forgo Diet Soda

Yeah, yeah, it has zero calories, but diet soda can derail your goals of staying in shape this season. Research published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism shows that artificially sweetened beverages may screw up the body’s normal metabolic response to sugar, actually increasing appetite! Increasingly, diet drinks are being linked with weight gain, metabolic syndrome and a host of other ills.


Watch the Wine

Wine contains 120 calories per 5 oz pour. It’s easy to overlook that, especially when you’re making merry and the vino is flowing. But after a few hefty pours, you’ve consumed over 400 calories — and that doesn’t include dinner! Cut back to one 5 oz pour a day, or scale back your drinking overall by 25%, and you’ll see a few pounds come off and to blast even more fat.


Snack on Almonds

Cookies, brownies, candy canes. All kinds of empty-calorie treats are within easy reach during the holiday season, and they can add to the damage done on Turkey Day. Swap them out for almonds. Their combination of satiating protein and fiber will stave off snacking for hours! The nut is rich in the amino acid L-arginine, which can actually help you burn more fat and carbs during workouts, according to a study printed in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism.


Eat Three Square Meals

Bodybuilding lore holds that you must eat every few hours to keep muscles fueled and metabolism high. But don’t discount the weight-loss potential of three squares a day. A study in the journal Hepatology put two groups of men on weight-gain diets. One group had three small meals, with snacks in between, while the second group ate the same number of calories in three square meals. Although both groups gained weight, researchers found that belly fat — the dangerous kind that boosts heart-disease risk — only increased in the high-meal-frequency group.


Eat Bananas

The humble banana—botanically, actually a berry!—is perhaps the least-heralded supermarket staple, a superfood more associated with kids, monkeys and slapstick comedy than with steel-cut abs. But it can help you lose weight, reduce bloat and increase your energy.


 Ho-ho-hoing

The holiday season is all about good times with friends and family, and probably a few laughs. That’s a good thing for getting back in shape. Genuine laughter may cause a 10 to 20 percent increase in basal energy expenditure and resting heart rate, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity. That means a 10-15 minute giggle fest could burn up 40 to 170 calories.


Snack on Dark Chocolate

There’s plenty of chocolate around during the holidays, but you should concentrate on snacking on a little bit of the good and dark stuff. In a study by Swiss and German researchers, lucky participants ate about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate daily for two weeks. Ultimately, these chocolate nibblers had lower stress-hormone levels and a more regulated metabolism than a control group. Scientists speculate that chemicals in cocoa, such as flavonoids, play a role in regulating metabolism by alleviating stress that can cause your fat-burning engines to go on the fritz. Should you think this is a license to go wild, take heed: I’m talking about small amounts of high-quality dark chocolate. Researchers say 1.5 ounces is enough. Not sure which brand to choose?

Click Here if you would like to learn some of the best dark chocolate bars around


Obey the 80% Rule

Holiday buffets make it easy to supplement the damage you did on Thanksgiving. Your move? Eat until you’re 80% full, then stop. In Japan, this method is called Hara Hachi Bun Me, which roughly translates to “eat until you are eight parts (out of ten) full.” Remember, you can always eat again later.


Make Detox Water

H2O can rev your metabolism, help you lose serious weight and maintain a flat belly. Now take it to the next level. Combine plain water with proven fat-burning superfoods to create detox water, and you’ll have an elixir that energizes you, fights bloating and helps you achieve your weight loss goals.


After The Turkey

Salmon may be the very best protein for your metabolism. That’s because most cases of an underactive thyroid are due to inflammation of the gland, and salmon boasts significant anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to its rich omega-3 fatty acid content. In fact, one study of weight loss and seafood consumption showed salmon to be the most effective at reducing inflammation — better than cod, fish oil, or a no-fish diet! The fatty acids may also trigger cells in the liver to burn more fat, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.


Increase Fiber

A Thanksgiving meal can really outstay its welcome. Send it on its way — ahem — by increasing your fiber intake in the holiday’s aftermath. Aim to consume more fiber from less processed sources, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. A good goal is 25 to 38 grams daily. It’s easy to ensure you’re getting enough.


Boost Your Metabolism with Coffee

In addition to green tea, coffee is one of the best drinks for weight loss because it boosts your metabolism. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee was 16 percent higher than that of those who drank decaf! A cup of black coffee is a good choice for a pre-workout beverage, too: Researchers found that cyclists who took a caffeine supplement were able to ride about a mile farther than those who took a placebo. Make yours a venti (or a Trentsaand skip the sweeteners.


Take Vitamin D

If there’s one supplement most Americans should be taking, it’s vitamin D. It’s essential for preserving metabolism-revving muscle tissue, but researchers estimate that only 20 percent of Americans get enough in their diet. You can nail 90 percent of your recommended daily value (400 IU) in a 3.5-ounce serving of salmon, but taking a daily supplement makes a lot of sense. Other good dietary sources of D: tuna, fortified milk and cereal, and eggs.


Increase Fat Burn 73%

While drinking in moderation every so often won’t do too much harm to your waistline, making it a habit can slow down your metabolic rate. Why? When your body has a cocktail to break down, it takes precedence over any food that you’ve already eaten that’s waiting to be digested. This slows down the entire metabolic process. In fact, some researchers claim boozing can decrease the body’s fat-burning ability by up to 73 percent! On the occasions that you decided to indulge, stick to low-calorie drinks. Alternate your alcohol with water to slow your pace, and cut yourself off after two drinks. Avoid ordering high-cal bar food like fries and burgers.


Make Fat-burning Pasta

Yes, you can eat pasta and lose weight! If you’ve ever been to Italy, you may have marveled at how Italians maintain their slim figures when they consume carb-laden dishes on a daily basis. Here’s the deal: They use simple, wholesome and fresh ingredients, and they keep things small.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

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Your Body On Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is here again, and if you’re one of the people who use the holiday as an excuse to stuff your face silly, I’m not judging. But we are curious about what happens to your body on Thanksgiving.

Giving into cravings —and then subsequently dozing off on the couch with your top button unfastened —is what the holidays are all about. But after the big meal enters your stomach, the situation inside is anything but serene. In fact, your entire body goes into overdrive the second you smell the holiday spread.

Today I am going to explain exactly how your system deals with the Thanksgiving dinner overload. And to get your stomach super tight after the holidays.

When You Walk Into the Kitchen

Woman cooking in kitchenThe second you walk into the kitchen and get a whiff of the turkey and other holiday fares, gastric fluids and other enzymes needed for digestion begin to secrete inside the stomach, priming the digestive system for the meal ahead.


After the First Appetizer

Pigs in a blanket appetizerOnce you start chewing the first bite of food, the stomach immediately begins to expand because it knows more food is on the way that will need to be digested. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract also perks up a bit because it knows more food is on the way. This prompts more digestive enzymes to release from the stomach, pancreas and the intestine. “Insulin, the hormone that helps glucose move from the blood into the cells, is also released when you begin to nosh and sugar from the food enters the bloodstream. This subsequently triggers a release of the hormone, leptin, which helps the brain register that we’re eating, and allows for more insulin secretion.


Five Minutes Into the Meal

Thanksgiving turkeyOnce you start digging into carbs and sugar-laden dishes like mashed potatoes and stuffing, your body releases serotonin, the feel-good hormone. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for all month: Carb-o-bliss.


Ten Minutes Into the Meal

Mashed potatoesThe serotonin then activates the reward system in the brain which tells you, ‘This tastes awesome, I’d like some more’ when you eat something delicious. This explains why it’s so hard to say no to Turkey Day two.


Twenty Minutes Into the Meal

Passing pie at ThanksgivingWhen you start feeling full, sensory nerves in the stomach and appetite controlling hormones like ghrelin activate the satiety centers of the brain, telling you you’ve eaten enough. However, those signals are easy to ignore if others around you are still munching away or the spread looks particularly appealing… Plus if you eat super fast your brain may not get the signal that you’re full until you’ve already served yourself seconds.


Five Minutes After Your Last Bite of Dessert

Apple crispAfter your last bite of pie, the stomach secretes enzymes and acids that help break down your meal into smaller pieces so it can eventually fit into the small intestine. Starchy and water-based foods are then broken down further into liquid, but fatty foods like Grandma’s buttery mashed potatoes, stick around in the stomach because they aren’t able to break down as quickly, causing that uncomfortable, bloated feeling.


Fifteen Minutes After Dessert

Man holding stomachBy now all your food has made its way from the stomach down into the small intestine. Once it’s arrived, it signals the release of enzymes from the pancreas and gallbladder that helps to digest carbs and proteins and break the food down into amino acids and simple sugars to be absorbed into the bloodstream.


Thirty Minutes After Dessert

Sleepy thanksgivingFeeling tired yet? Yup, that’s what I thought. While many people get sleepy after eating their Thanksgiving dinner, the turkey is not to blame. There just isn’t enough tryptophan in a standard serving of the meat to have that kind of effect. The fatigue is most likely a result of your stuffed stomach. Blood rushes out of the extremities into to the abdomen to assist with the digestion process which causes feelings of fatigue.


Two Hours After Dessert

Thanksgiving clean plateYour liver is beginning to break up your dinner into nutrients that your body can absorb and use to stay healthy. At this point, your body will also begin to use the food you’ve eaten for energy. Anything you don’t burn off later tonight will be stored as fat.


Two Days After Thanksgiving

Bathroom toilet paperFinally, you’ve excreted your Turkey Day meal. Anything that’s been sitting in your stomach giving you a bloated midsection should finally be out of your system! Only 363 days till next Thanksgiving! In the meantime.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

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Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

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How To Store Thanksgiving Leftovers

I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s post about how long Thanksgiving Leftovers last. If you missed It you can Click Here 

If you’re like most people, the thought of Thanksgiving conjures up images of food, family, friends, more food—and lots of turkey. And because Thanksgiving is not the holiday to skimp on how much food you prepare (you never know if your family members are bringing a plus one) people tend to roll into Black Friday with more leftovers than they know what to do with. And while it might be tempting to let the leftover turkey and sides sit in the fridge and eat them until they’re gone, it turns out that might not be the best idea. In today’s post, I give a detailed about the ins and outs of how to store your Thanksgiving leftovers properly—from how long you should leave food out before storing it to which containers will best extend your leftovers’ lifespans.


How Long Can Leftover Turkey Be Left Out?

When it comes to turkey and other meat or food containing eggs or dairy, you’ll want to be extra careful about not only how you prepare the foods, but also how long you let them sit out before putting them away. Proteins are the first to go bad and can cause food poisoning.

If you didn’t know that any protein (like turkey or other meat) can stay outside of the refrigerator for no more than 4 hours. The temperature danger zone is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. After that foodborne bacteria can form which can cause food poisoning.

If you do realize that the turkey and ham have been left out for more than 4 hours, your best bet to avoid potential food poisoning is to toss the food (no matter how much you were looking forward to enjoying the leftovers).

 Tip:

If you know your Thanksgiving guests won’t get through that entire 20-pound turkey during dinner, consider setting some aside right off the bat to minimize the potential for contamination.

Also, that other foods like vegetable sides or dishes prepared with milk are different, as is another food like saying a tossed salad. Raw veggies and foods like bread or crackers also pose less of a risk if left to sit out on the container while your guests mingle or enjoy drinks.


The Best Way To Store Your Leftovers For Maximum Freshness (And Safety)

Once you decide to pack up and store the leftovers from your Thanksgiving feast, there are some other things you can do to ensure that the food stays safe and fresh while in the fridge.

If you have a large serving of food you’d like to store, like say, mashed potatoes and gravy or maybe a casserole that’s been kept warm in the oven, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service suggests to be sure that you cool the food down quickly to prevent bacteria from growing. If you do have large servings of some type of food, like turkey, or another dish it’s best to divide it up into smaller portions so it can cool faster in the refrigerator. (Plus, this will help you heat up exactly what you need when the time comes to eat it!)

And how you store your holiday leftovers is almost as important as how soon you put them away. To maximize freshness for your food, be sure to wrap all of the food tightly in BPA-free plastic or glass containers. The goal is to make sure all of your leftovers are wrapped well so no air (and therefore bacteria) can enter into the food. This will also make sure your leftovers taste good and don’t dry out in the fridge.


Don’t Let Your Leftovers Sit In The Fridge For Too Long

Once you do have your food stored away in the fridge for later, you’ll want to be sure to note the date and consume within a safe window of time. This time frame can vary, but the USDA says you’ll only want to keep leftovers in your fridge for 3-4 days. So if you have more turkey and dressing than you think you can eat within 4 days, you’ll want to go ahead and freeze at least half of the leftovers. Once frozen, the leftovers can be eaten within 3-4 months.

 Tip:

This also applies to new meals you repurpose your leftovers into. Just because you use your leftover turkey four days after Thanksgiving to make turkey pot pie doesn’t mean that you now have four more days to consume that pie. A soon as you can after Thanksgiving store and then freeze immediately if you don’t plan on eating within a couple of days (3-4 days)

The holidays are a time for fun, relaxation, and quality time spent with loved ones. Don’t let the fun get interrupted by unexpected illness due to food poisoning. Now is the time to pay attention to the food safety guidelines so when the holidays come (and go) there’s no guessing on if something is ok to eat, and you won’t be caught having to throw out copious amounts of food unnecessarily.


Final Thoughts

If you have any questions about today’s post, any past posts or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone who may know is looking for one on one coaching you can find all of my links mentioned in the Final Thoughts sections.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

How Long Are Leftovers Good For

After days (or weeks) of preparation and planning, hours spent cooking in the kitchen, and just minutes devoted to devouring a festive meal, Thanksgiving can leave us in more than just a food coma.

But even after revisiting the dining room table for seconds (and maybe even thirds) It’s Thanksgiving enjoy yourself, there’s usually always enough leftovers to feed the family for lunch the next day—and possibly for quite a few days after that, depending on how many people you’re hosting. We all know leftovers are one of the fan-favorites of Turkey Day, and according to The Harris Poll, 79 percent of Americans agree that “having a fridge full of leftovers is the best thing about hosting Thanksgiving.”

While keeping leftovers seems like a no-brainer, if not done properly, this easy and frugal fix may make you sick (and no one wants to be sick around the holidays!). That’s why it’s important to understand food safety techniques when it comes to wrapping up your turkey and sides. Read on to discover the steps you should take when it comes to packing up and storing your Thanksgiving leftovers.


Check the Time Before You Tub

Not all post-meal leftovers will be OK to store, so it’s important to note which ones are OK to put in food storage containers—and which ones you’re better off tossing. Leaving your cooked leftovers at room temperature for more than two hours can result in contamination by the bacterium Clostridium perfringens, which is the second most common bacterial cause of food poisoning.

Eating meals contaminated by this food-borne pathogen may leave you prone to abdominal cramps and vomiting (the two most common symptoms) just hours after you dig in again. In fact, most Clostridium perfringens (s a spore-forming gram-positive bacterium that is found in many environmental sources as well as in the intestines of humans and animals. C. perfringens is commonly found on raw meat and poultry). Outbreaks occur during the holiday months of November and December when we frequently feast with the fam, according to the CDC. Do everyone a favor and keep an eye on the time, and be sure to store your favorite foods away before any bacterium has the chance to form.


How (and How Long) to Store Leftovers

The CDC recommends that perishable dishes be stored in small portions and in shallow containers, then refrigerated (to ensure every nook and cranny is chilled) at 40°F or colder within two hours of preparation. As for how long you should be keeping those mashed potatoes and gravy, leftovers should be eaten within three to four days. After day four, throw them out!


Come Up With Creative Ways to Repurpose

I get it: There are only so many ways to make a turkey sandwich before it gets boring. However, when you think outside two pieces of bread, you can get creative with how you repurpose and reinvent your Thanksgiving leftovers over the next few days. Make a soup with the turkey, use the veggies in a brunch tart for a crowd-pleasing meal, try your hand at a homemade breakfast hash, or make bite-sized appetizers that could feed your family on Black Friday (perfect for a low-stress meal after shopping all day). Whatever you decide to do, there are ways to enjoy your turkey and stuffing beyond how they were originally served. Get creative, and we bet you can use up more of your leftovers than you think!

My favorite way to use leftover turkey is I take the leftover gravy and turkey and I add some canned potatoes. I don’t know what you’ll call that but trust me it’s delicious.


Freeze Any Extras

If you know you made way more food than you’ll be able to eat in a couple of days, you can avoid food waste by freezing the remaining Thanksgiving grub for future dinners. Once you’re craving the holiday dishes again, reheat them to at least 165°F before enjoying. Now that you know how long you can safely keep your Turkey Day leftovers in the fridge, you’ll be able to enjoy the holiday foods for multiple meals—without the risk of getting sick.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can reach out to me in a variety of ways mentioned above in the Final Thoughts section.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

The Perfect Stuffing

I just want to say that In yesterday’s post I mentioned how I will dedicate a blog post for all of my best/worst and horrible lists. In that post, I will continue to add updated links. I hope that makes sense?

Thanksgiving rolls around and you plan an impressive menu for your loved ones. Cooking the turkey requires scientific precision and a spreadsheet, and your cornucopia of sides is so bountiful that it could make the pilgrims cry. Your mashed potatoes are, quite simply, homemade heaven. So why, when it comes to stuffing, do so many of us bow out and reach for the Stove Top? It’s the most common chink in our armor.

For some of us, it’s a matter of cooking fatigue. If there’s a perfectly tasty—not to mention familiar—option, why put yourself out? At the end of the day does everything need to be made from scratch? While we’re all about hacks that make your time in the kitchen more treat than a chore, you may find that a DIY stuffing is an easy switch and one that elevates the whole meal.

Besides a fresh flavor and the pride of knowing your whole spread was made by you and yours with love, making your own means total control over the final product, and an opportunity to add your own expressive twist to an otherwise basic recipe.

We’ve rounded up the best tips for how to make stuffing, including tips for getting just the right texture, some fun flavor ideas, and hacks for keeping your stuffing stress-free.


Stick to Fresh Herbs

Got a pen ready? Here are your stuffing essentials grocery list: fresh sage, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, fresh parsley… Noticing a theme here? Getting your herbs fresh from the produce aisle or farmer’s market, rather than using dried herbs from the cabinet, will give you maximal flavor and fragrance. Be sure to cook your vegetables first, adding your herbs later in the game to avoid overcooking and losing that savory, aromatic profile.


But Not Fresh Bread

The one thing that shouldn’t be fresh in your stuffing is actually the main ingredient: your bread. Using a fresh loaf will inevitably become soggy in the cooking process, so it’s key to use stale bread that can stand up to the broth and the water released by your veggies as they simmer. You can ask your local bakery for yesterday’s bread to jumpstart the process, but should you find yourself in a pinch for time on the day of, you can always dry out your bread cubes in the oven to remove any extra moisture before you begin.


Add Fennel Sausage

Enhancing a standard stuffing recipe with pork or turkey sausage is a popular way to make a heartier, more meal-like dish. Choosing a fennel sausage has the additional benefit of adding a sweet, bitter flavor that can feel a bit more unique. Measuring by weight, use a 2:1 ratio of bread to sausage, sauteeing the meat separately until brown and mixing it in with your other ingredients just before baking.


Use a Sheet Pan

I’m sure you’re used to seeing stuffing served in a casserole dish fresh out of the oven, but I’m here to tell you that you have options! For a crispier texture, spread your ingredients out on a sheet pan, exposing more surface area directly to the oven’s heat. This is also a great time saver if your guests have arrived on time and hungry!


Stuff Your Turkey At The End

You’re just in time to learn the crucial difference between “stuffing” and “dressing” here in Turkey Terminology 101. While the two may look and taste quite similar and the terms are often used interchangeably, stuffing is cooked inside the turkey, while dressing is made in a separate casserole dish. Unless you’re an expert chef, it is much safer to make dressing on the side, to avoid contaminating it with undercooked poultry, or overcooking your turkey while trying to get your stuffing to cook inside. Like the final look of a stuffed turkey? Go ahead and stuff it at the last minute, once everything is cooked to code. After all, no one is thankful for Salmonella.


Go Beyond Celery

If it’s a subtle, classic stuffing you crave but have found the flavor a bit lacking, the simplest solution is to go beyond celery by adding celery leaves and celery root with this recipe from Martha Stewart. Chop one celery root into half-inch cubes and dice four celery stalks for every loaf of bread you use. Throw in a half cup of chopped celery leaves for enhanced flavor and texture. Leeks make a nice companion and can be included with garlic and freshly chopped sage for a bolder taste.


Go Gluten-free with Cornbread

While most recipes call for rustic french bread, these will certainly exclude any gluten-free guests. For a satisfying swap that everyone can enjoy, opt instead for a cornbread as your base. Though you can always begin with a store-bought cornbread, these can sometimes make the recipe overpoweringly sweet, not to mention less healthy. For more control, try making it yourself with the help of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Mix or another organic blend from your local health food store or aisle. Be sure to bake it a few days ahead of time so that it has time to dry out, and crumble it into your favorite recipe for a touch of southern flair!


Make it Vegetarian

Depending on how you cook, a Thanksgiving meal can either be a minefield or a masterpiece for a vegetarian. Sure, the turkey is off-limits, but if prepared thoughtfully, the side dishes can be all the meal they’ll need. Make sure the dressing is on the list of things they can eat by swapping out the standard turkey or chicken broth for a vegetarian chicken broth or vegetable broth with natural (MSG-free) vegan bouillon cubes.


Go Spicy with Chorizo

Say adios to bland stuffing by adding chorizo in this bold recipe! In a nonstick pan, saute your onions, celery, chorizo, and some poultry seasoning. Top it off with some jalapeno to turn up the heat, and swap out the standard herb selection (sage, rosemary, and thyme) with cilantro. Add it to your bread with chicken or turkey broth and you’ve got a spicy new twist on an old favorite. Trader Joe’s also offers a tasty vegan chorizo that could fool most meat-eaters.


Swap Bread with Wild Rice

Most recipes rely on bread to do the heavy lifting, but if you’re looking for an alternative, rice can do the trick! Some people like to do a combination of the two, while others stick to an all-rice version that, admittedly, can feel less like a stuffing and more like a casserole. Choose a long grain, wild rice—preferably a colorful mix like the one found in this delicious recipe from Epicurious—and consider keeping the flavors more traditional so that it still tastes, recognizably, like stuffing.


Add Eggs to Make it Drier

If you’re after a drier stuffing consistency, try adding one to three eggs into your recipe. Though stuffing can be perfectly delicious without them, eggs help your stuffing to keep its shape, so the more eggs you include, the sturdier your stuffing will be. Simply whisk them into your broth and pour the mixture over your bread before baking.


Try Oyster Dressing

Oyster dressing is a New England classic that dates back to the 1600’s. As its name suggests, it really must be served as a side—not cooked inside the turkey—for food safety reasons. For a more southern take, this can be made with cornbread and paired with cured, thick-cut bacon for a rich, smoky flavor. New Englanders and Southerners agree that the key to this recipe is adding reserved oyster liquor for enhanced flavor.


Coordinate with Cranberry

Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving treasure, so why not make you’re stuffing an homage to everyone’s favorite side dish? Subtle coordination will go a long way.


Pancetta

For a protein-rich alternative to your standard sausage stuffing, try adding two cups of finely diced pancetta to your basic mix of onion, celery, and herbs. Inspired by Giada De Laurentiis, This is a great ingredient to pair with a flavorful and herby Italian bread, like focaccia or ciabatta. Be sure to add a few cloves of garlic and to lean in a bit more heavily on the rosemary to really bring out the flavors.


Caramelize Your Onions

For any recipe that needs subtle enhancement, caramelizing your onions is a simple way to turn up the contrast on your salty-yet-sweet dial. Instead of cooking your onions with your herbs or other veggies, this means singling them out for some special treatment before you begin. Using one teaspoon of olive oil or butter per onion, lightly stir your sliced onions in a nonstick pan on low heat for 15-20 minutes until they release their sugars and lightly brown.


Combine Prosciutto with Pear

For another option that plays up the savory-sweet contrast, try EatingWell’s recipe that pears, ahem, pairs prosciutto and pear. Considering how strong these salty and saccharine flavors can be, they also maintain a lightness that feels elegant and balanced. For additional texture (and protein!) try adding a cup of walnuts to your recipe.


Remove the Crust

For a stuffing that soaks up the broth and herb flavor into every last corner and crevasse, try removing the crust and tearing your bread instead of cubing it. Besides avoiding any overly dry, crusty bites, your finished product will also have a more rustic look so your guests will recognize immediately that this is no boring old boxed stuffing.


Get Your Ratios Right

Not sure how much stuffing to make, and want to make sure everyone gets their fill? The rule of thumb is to make one cup of stuffing per pound of turkey, then add an extra serving or two on top of that, assuming you’d like leftovers. With those portions everyone should be, as they say, stuffed.


Use Buttermilk Biscuits

Biscuits and gravy will likely already be a fixture on your table, so why not try Clinton Kelly’s recipe that includes some of that buttery goodness in your stuffing? For a decidedly southern take on the dish, simply cut twelve buttermilk biscuits into cubes and gently mix them together with your other ingredients in the place of regular bread, taking care not to let them crumble and dissolve from overmixing!


Use Cake or Cupcake Tins

Everyone knows that gorgeous plating and presentation are half the battle when it comes to Thanksgiving. You want your family and friends to see just how much love and effort you put into this meal—after all, you’ve just spent hours in the kitchen! Try portioning out and baking your stuffing in cupcake tins to make individual “biscuits”, or using a bundt cake tin to give your dressing an elegant shape before serving your guests a slice!


Try Mushrooms

For a hearty, protein-like texture that skips the meat, try using mushrooms in your dressing! Epicurious also adds leeks and parmesan cheese to create a savory, umami profile that still feels reasonably healthy without all that pork sausage to slow you down. Though white button mushrooms will do the trick, a melange of wild mushrooms will create a more colorful, rustic look and varied texture.


Brave the Giblets

This one is not for the faint of heart. While many stuffing recipes call for turkey drippings, this one calls for every last part of the turkey, including the neck, heart, liver, and gizzard. Simply chop these parts into small cubes and simmer on low heat along with your onions and celery until the meat browns. Add the liver last along with your broth, and allow it to simmer for another 25 minutes or so. Pour the mixture over your bread, and pat yourself on the back for a zero-waste Thanksgiving.


‘Sweat’ Your Veggies

One common mistake people make out of habit is browning their vegetables before adding them to their bread. The whole dish will continue to cook once it’s in the baking pan, so it’s better to “sweat” your vegetables instead, cooking them lightly enough that they release their moisture and aromas but do not reach the point of browning.


Pair With a Chutney

If you’ve gone entirely savory for your stuffing recipe, try preparing a chutney on the side to add a touch of sweetness. Figs, prunes, dates, or apricots offer complimentary flavors that can add a new dimension to your dish, without requiring much-added sugar! Never made chutney before? Try this delicious fig chutney recipe from Food Network


Roast Butternut Squash

No Autumn meal is complete without a helping of butternut squash, and luckily, it makes an excellent addition to stuffing. Lending a moist, fluffy texture and a sweet, rich flavor, butternut squash has the added benefit of being filling without all of the carbs of an all-breed recipe. Don’t be shy with your chopped garlic, rosemary, and sage, and top it off with a cup of crushed nuts! Get started with this simple and healthy recipe from Lemon Tree Dwelling.


Use a Slow Cooker

Want to make stuffing, but avoid the logistical nightmare of adding even one more dish into your oven rotation? Try cooking it in a slow cooker. Besides the fact that it frees up crucial oven space, you can also prep and cook this way in advance, letting it sit on low heat virtually all day without the risk of burning it.


Swap Bread for Quinoa

Okay, so it’s not what your grandma made growing up, but quinoa is a superfood and it ticks a lot of boxes: it’s highly nutritious, vegan, gluten-free, hearty, and my goodness if it isn’t tasty… Try it in the place of bread, using the broth, veggies, herbs, and eggs to bind it with that familiar stuffing flavor. This squash and quinoa recipe from The New York Times is a great place to begin.


Go Mediterranean

If the standard menu of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and string beans has begun to feel a bit drab and predictable, it may be time to transport your Thanksgiving table to a sunnier destination. Try a Mediterranean-inspired take on stuffing, using chopped artichokes, lemon, and sun-dried tomatoes. These flavors nicely complement the rosemary and sage already present in your tried and true stuffing but shift the flavor profile to something a bit brighter and tangier.


Keep it Casual with a New York Theme

Nothing says New York like soft pretzels and bagels, and both have a perfect consistency for an extra-hearty stuffing recipe, like this one from The Chew‘s Carla Hall! If you happen to actually live in New York City, these things are also very easy to acquire on short notice, and are the perfect addition to the casual, city-dweller’s “friends-giving.” For a classic and unmistakably “New York” flavor, grab some everything bagels and enjoy that salty, onion-and-garlic-y goodness. Kids will also approve!


Experiment with Broths

Sure, the bread takes up the most space, and the fresh herbs are often heralded as the star of the show, but the true, unsung hero of a good stuffing is a rich, flavorful broth. Everyone’s taste here is different, but the key is to remember that you have choices! Bone broths, low sodium broths, chicken broths, turkey broths, veggie broths, homemade giblet broths! Go forth, and discover your own signature taste. Your new tradition starts now.


Final Thoughts

I  hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me through all the links in the sections I mentioned above and the links I have under this section.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

Microwaveable Thanksgiving Sides

If you’re new to my blog hello how are you and welcome back if you’ve been with me for a while. I’ve done a series called the best and worst of something or sometimes I use the word horrible. When I do those type of posts I always link them at the end of those type posts. I realize not everyone may read that far down. So what I am going to do Is I will be posting just the bad and worst of something so that way If you are curious about something you can use that posts as a reference and as I continue the series I will continue to add the new best and worst of posts to that specific post I will keep you all updated as I update It I hope all of this makes sense?


The typical American spends nearly quadruple more time sweating in the kitchen on Thanksgiving compared to a typical weekend day, according to the USDA. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas, I get it: the roasted centerpiece takes long enough. So save time ( I know that you know that I know that you do)—and oven space—by hitting the “easy button” with these showy side dishes that can be cooked completely in your microwave.

I will cover everything from soups and salads to bread and dips, these microwave recipes will make your holidays far less stressful.


Paleo Pumpkin English Muffins

Paleo pumpkin muffinsSteering clear of wheat or maybe you or someone you know Is gluten-free? Bake a batch of these quick pumpkin English muffins. Made with coconut flour and cashew flour instead of all-purpose wheat flour, these muffins are gluten-free and Paleo-friendly. And the pumpkin puree and pie spice make them tender and tasty, too. Running to the Kitchen’s base recipe is for one, so simply multiply by the number of people sharing your table and cook each in a separate ramekin.

Get the recipe from Running to the Kitchen.


Microwave Cheddar and Herb Biscuit in a Mug

Microwave cheddar muffin

If you have 60 seconds, then you have all the time you need to “bake” Bigger Bolder Baking’s savory muffins in your microwave. A pat of butter and a couple spoonfuls of cheddar cheese lend a crumbly, rich texture worthy of your holiday menu. Present them in an eclectic array of microwave-safe mugs to fit the party vibe.

Get the recipe from Bigger Bolder Baking.


Low-Carb Keto Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Mashed cauliflowerCourtesy of Wholesome Yum

Instead of serving your go-to mashed potatoes, why not swap the carby side for mashed cauliflower? Wholesome Yum recommends using the veggie’s florets, microwaving them until fully cooked, and squeezing out all of the water after microwaving. These three secrets to success will leave you with a creamy, keto-friendly spud swap that’s perfect for pairing with any entrée.

Get the recipe from Wholesome Yum


2-Ingredient Queso Dip

Queso dipCourtesy of Gimme Some Oven

Cheese, please! Gimme Some Oven’s queso is ideal for casual holiday parties. Cream cheese and salsa verde make snack magic once warmed together in the microwave. Serve this dunkable side dish with a platter of crudites and multicolored whole grain tortilla chips.

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven


Grape and Bacon Goat Cheese Pops

Grape bacon cheese popsCourtesy of That’s So Michelle

Savory, sweet, salty, and tart all at once, a platter of these bite-sized snacks will disappear quicker than the last glass of eggnog. The only cooking required is crisping up the bacon in the microwave for the crumbly coating that surrounds the goat cheese-wrapped grapes. We’re not forgetting about the entrée!

Get the recipe from That’s So Michelle.


Healthy Russian Olivier Salad

Russian saladCourtesy of Wholesome Yum

Wholesome Yum’s twist in the classic Russian Olivier salad is a mainstay at holiday gatherings. And after skimming the easy instructions, we can understand why. The cauliflower and carrots are the only micro-cooked components, which get tossed with pickles, eggs (pro tip: buy them hard-boiled), peas, and a mayo-based dressing. The result is an upgrade on the picnic favorite potato salad in a dinner party-worthy package.

Get the recipe from Wholesome Yum


Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Kale Salad

Strawberry kale saladCourtesy of One Ingredient Chef

Come holiday season, it’s fitting to serve a salad inspired by dessert! Sure, you could just sprinkle a handful of candied pecans over romaine but we know you’d rather plate this red and green recipe from One Ingredient Chef. The kale, strawberries, and mint are refreshing and raw—and serve as a nice complement to the cocoa-powder-infused balsamic dressing. Microwave the vinegar, maple syrup, and cocoa for a few seconds to help them incorporate easily.

Get the recipe from One Ingredient Chef.


Microwave Pizza Dip

Microwave pizza dipCourtesy of The Seasoned Mom

Since three kinds of cheese are better than one, this kid-friendly side dish dreamed up by The Seasoned Mom features cream cheese on the bottom as well as mozzarella and Parmesan on top. In between the two, layer marinara sauce, turkey pepperoni, and your go-to veggie toppings. Then, microwave it for two minutes and pair with a “crust” of toasted baguette slices or warm breadsticks.

Get the recipe from The Seasoned Mom.


Roasted Butternut Squash Carrot Soup

Squash carrot soupCourtesy of Blender Happy

Blender Happy proves that you can use your blender for more than just smoothies with this winter squash and carrot soup. Start with leftover roasted vegetables from last night’s dinner and blend with broth and garlic for a bisque-like bowl. For those who own a blender without a built-in cooking function, microwave each bowl before serving for one minute or until warm.

Get the recipe from Blender Happy.


Edamame Avocado Hummus

Edamame avocado hummusCourtesy of Well Plated

Get your greens with Well Plated’s guacamole-inspired hummus. First, microwave thawed edamame (which adds protein and thickens the texture), then blend with avocado, cilantro, and other healthy holiday ingredients. The result is packed with healthy, satisfying fats that will keep you from reaching for a second slice of pie.

Get the recipe from Well Plated.


One-Minute Brown Rice Risotto

Brown rice risottoCourtesy of Dinner Then Dessert

Normally, risotto requires many minutes of repetitive stirring and sweating over the stove—but this 60-second side requires just the opposite. Ready-to-serve brown rice, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese help it taste like you spent hours in the kitchen. You’re the only one who needs to know it was done quicker than a Christmas carol.

Get the recipe from Dinner Then Dessert.


Crunchy Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Cous cous saladCourtesy of Laughing Spatula

After microwaving the grains for Laughing Spatula’s veggie-centric couscous and chickpea salad, fold them together with the fiber-rich legume, plus broccoli, cucumber, tomato, and red bell pepper. Add a handful of feta for a salty kick and a splash of lemon vinaigrette for salad guests will reach to for seconds.

Get the recipe from Laughing Spatula.


Holiday Crab Dip

Crab dipCourtesy of Flour on My Face

 Okay, seafood, with Flour on My Face’s Old-Bay-seasoned crab dip. Cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo join forces in the decadent base while canned crab makes it a cinch to stir together in a flash. Warm your bones by serving this creamy side dish straight from the microwave and pair it with a basket of crackers or old bay-dusted buttery biscuits. Because cheat meals don’t count during the holidays, right?

Get the recipe from Flour on My Face.


Broccoli Salad

Broccoli saladCourtesy of Mama Loves Food

Since everything is better with bacon, add Mama Loves Food’s festively-hued salad to your holiday spread. Hot-from-the-microwave bacon lends savory, salty goodness into each and every bite. Sunflower seeds, carrots, dried cranberries, and a mayo-based dressing help this taste just like the broccoli salad of your childhood potluck memories.

Get the recipe from Mama Loves Food.


BBQ Bacon Ranch Football Cheese Ball

Football bacon cheese dipCourtesy of Julie’s Eats and Treats

This cheesy side is a surefire trophy-winner if you’re hosting a squad of sports fans to watch the on-field action during your holiday gathering. Inspired by the winning combination of bacon (the only microwaved ingredient) and ranch, this cheese ball recipe combines a barbecue-flavored cream cheese, a pecan-studded coating, and string cheese “laces” for extra points.

Get the recipe from Julie’s Eats and Treats.


Microwave Hot Cross Bun

Hot cross buns

Yes, hot cross buns exist beyond the song you learned on the piano in music class! Big Man’s World’s hot cross buns are remarkably versatile with Paleo, gluten-free, and vegan variations. They’re also appropriate parallel to dinner or even as a sweet dessert. Microwave the dried-fruit-flecked buns in mugs or bowls and finish with a cross of protein-packed frosting.

Get the recipe from Big Man’s World.


Final  Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can always contact me from the mentioned links in the above section. If you just have some general questions you can always comment on the said post or you can contact me whichever you feel comfortable.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

The Best Boxed Mashed Potatoes

Bringing your holiday menu to the table is already a daunting task: from the roasted centerpiece to the array of sides, the last thing you want to be doing is beating pounds of potatoes into a creamy mush. That’s where instant mashed potatoes come in.

The dehydrated convenience food may sound like an odd invention at first glance, but it can save you minutes—or even hours—of time in the kitchen. To help streamline your holiday dinner this year, I got my friends to test five popular instant mashed potato box mixes and found the best one. They prepped them according to the instructions, but feel free to dress the winner up with all of your go-to toppings!

With this list, you will be sure to impress at your Thanksgiving dinner or your Friendsgiving.

Side Note: You can swap regular butter for vegan butter and regular milk with your favorite non-dairy milk to my experience the mashed potatoes still come fluffy and delicious.


 

How They Were Graded

Here are the three metrics that were used to determine each mix’s final grade.

Nutrition

Calories, fat, and carbs weren’t serious determining factors, because most instant mashed potato mixes are similar across the board.

Texture

Is your bowl gritty or gummy? Are the mashed potatoes as creamy and decadent as your grandma’s? Although these are instant mixes, I kinda (sorta) expect them to taste like the real thing.

Taste

Unsurprisingly, taste is the top determining factor, because why else would you want to eat boxed mashed potatoes?

From Worst… To Best

Idaho Mashed Potatoes

idaho mashed potatoes

Nutrition: Per 2 Tbsp. (23 g): 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

Verdict:

Unlike the other picks on this list, the Idaho Mashed Potatoes mix was made up of powder rather than the expected potato flakes. This resulted in a dense and flavorless bowl that left little to be desired. What’s more, the pulverized taters boasted an artificial scent and an aftertaste that was off-putting. You need boatloads of thick gravy to mask the chemical-like flavor of this box.


Idahoan Flakes

idahoan mashed potatoes

Nutrition: Per 1/3 cup (22 g): 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (1 g fiber,1 g sugar), 2 g protein

 Verdict:

While this mashed potato mix was creamier than Idaho’s, it was also quite foamy in consistency—a characteristic I could do without. In fact, the mix was so thick, it could be served upside down like a Dairy Queen Blizzard. Although Idahoan self-proclaims it’s “The Gold Standard since 1960,” I say skip these spuds and opt for one of our top-rated mixes instead.


Hungry Jack

hungry jack mashed potatoes

Nutrition: Per 1/3 cup (22 g): 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

 Verdict:

Hungry Jack’s instant mashed potatoes had a gummy texture, which we didn’t go crazy for. However, taste-wise, it was butterier than other brands, which granted this pick extra points. It wasn’t my favorite, but I can see this mix pairing well as a base for cheese, bacon bits, chives, and other toppings, as the flavor was subtle and not overwhelming.


Idaho Spuds

idaho spuds classic mashed potatoes

Nutrition: Per ⅓ cup (80 g): calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

 Verdict:

My taste testers liked that this mix was made up of thick flakes rather than a powder mess. This gave the side a chunky, natural consistency and look that satisfied with every bite. One of my taste testers said that Idaho Spuds’ mix tasted like homemade mashed potatoes. It makes sense because the brand has been bringing their harvest into boxed form since the 1930s! Whether you’re prepping for a holiday dinner or just winging a weeknight meal, this option is a good choice.


Bob’s Red Mill Potato Flakes

bob's red mill creamy potato flakes

Nutrition: Per ⅓ cup (17 g): 60 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein

SHOP NOW ON AMAZON

 Verdict:

Unlike most of its competitors, Bob’s Red Mill labels its instant mashed potatoes as “potato flakes.” The transparent language speaks for itself: This mix is made up of only one ingredient: potatoes! That means you’ll find zero artificial preservatives or additives that other brands sneak into their side dish. Bob’s has a chunky texture that will hold up well to butter, minced garlic, and shredded cheddar, as well as a rich, potatoey flavor that kept my taste testers spoons dunking in for more. My taste testers said, “It smells like a farm” and it “tastes just like my grandma’s!” If you’re looking to impress your guests without putting in too much work, pair Bob’s Red Mill Potato Flakes with the turkey this year, and get ready for some happy guests.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? Leading up to Thanksgiving I have posts that will be more related to the holiday times. So don’t forget to follow so you won’t miss all the good holiday content I will be putting out. If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can email me which I ALWAYS provide in the “Thank You” section and if email isn’t your thing I always link all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you know is looking for one on one coaching you can find all of my links which I mentioned above.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

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Healthier (Halloween) Snacks

Sorry that I got this post out after Halloween. There were other posts that I wanted to get out before this one and never got around to posting it. It’s now November and I figured that with the Holidays just right around the corner (Christmas day is 50 days away) so that basically means tomorrow is Thanksgiving. With that being said I still wanted to get this post out because you may be on a health journey and you want to stay on track during the holiday months (November to January) or friends and family that will be visiting in the coming weeks may be on a health journey. With these snacks, they are meant for kids and adults alike. In the coming weeks, will be posting more holiday-related content so make sure you follow because you won’t want to miss what I have coming. 

Every year, I say the same thing: “Next year, I’ll remember to get candy a week in advance!” And every year, I wait until a couple days before the main event. The issue with that? By the time I head to the store, the candy aisle is cleared out. After this happened a few times (more than I care to admit), I finally figured out a solution (I stopped being lazy lol).

Rather than spend my time rushing from store to store trying to rummage through leftovers for the best Halloween candy, I decided to come up with a new “treat tradition” of my own. 

Instead of passing out sweets—or toothbrushes and toothpaste (seriously that has happened to me when I was a kid)—I decided to stuff my candy cauldron with some good-for-you snacks that aren’t made up of corn syrup and artificial colorings. Because let’s be real here, these kids are already getting more candy than they can fathom and don’t need anymore (obesity in America is at an all-time high). Plus, these low-sugar options will provide a much-needed reprieve for their sweet tooth. And don’t worry about not giving out candy. Any treat is better than being that house that just shuts off all your lights and pretends to not be home (I’ve also done that more times than I care to admit). And as for your last-minute costume ideas?

Alphabet Cookies

Bitsy’s Brainfood Spooky Snacks, Orange Chocolate Beet and Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin

 Bitsy’s Brainfood Spooky Snacks, Orange Chocolate Beet, and Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin

Per- 1 oz: 110 calories, 4-4.5 g fat (1.5-2 g saturated fat), 55-80 mg sodium, 17-18 g carbs (1 g fiber, 6-8 g sugar), 2 g protein

Mom-run brand Bitsy’s Brainfood has made everyone’s Halloween a little more veggie-filled. Their new product, a 16-pack of 0.8 oz bags of Smart Cookies, comes with two flavors of alphabet-shaped cookies that are USDA Organic, made in a nut-free facility, and are kosher. Kids will have their pick of Orange Chocolate Beet and Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin.


Mini Pretzels

Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Pretzels

Eat This!: Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Pretzels
Per- pack: 100 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 220 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein

Replenish those kids’ electrolytes with these salty pretzels! Keeping these snacks to the mini 100-calorie size helps to keep the carb count down.


Instant Oatmeal Packets

Nature’s Path Organic EnviroKidz Oatmeal Brown Sugar Maple

Eat This!: Nature’s Path Organic EnviroKidz Oatmeal Brown Sugar Maple
Per-packet (32 g): 130 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (3 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 4 g protein

The other parents will love you for this. Now they won’t have to worry about breakfast the next day! Each packet has a reasonable 6 grams of sugar (compared to the 12 you’d find in Quaker’s Dinosaur Eggs) and is made with wholesome ingredients like organic, gluten-free rolled oats, maple sugar, rolled amaranth, and quinoa.


Fruit Leather

Veggie-Go’s Organic Chewy Fruit & Veggie Snacks, Mountain Berry Spinach

 Veggie-Go’s Organic Chewy Fruit & Veggie Snacks, Mountain Berry Spinach

Per -strip: 15 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 0 g protein

Organic apples, spinach, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and sweet potatoes are the only things used to create Veggie-Go’s low-cal, low-sugar snack. It’s a great way to pass out a serving of fruit without worrying parents about the lack of packaging if you tried passing out grapes.


Hot Chocolate

Swiss Miss Simply Cocoa Dark Chocolate

Swiss Miss Simply Cocoa Dark Chocolate

Per -envelope (27 g): 110 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (2 g fiber g fiber, 12 g sugar), 2 g protein

Made from only five simple ingredients—sugar, cocoa, nonfat milk, salt, and natural flavor—this treat will be sure to warm up the little ones after a cool night running from door to door.

I did a Hot Chocolate post where I had some friends taste and review some popular hot chocolate brands if you are interested in reading that you can Click Here


Cheese Bites or Sticks

Mini Babybel Original

Mini Babybel Original

Per- wheel: 70 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 5 g protein

Going from door to door can get tiring. Help the kids re-up their stamina by handing out cheese sticks! These snacks are full of satiating protein that will keep the little ones’ bellies full (which hopefully means they won’t feel the need to delve into their candy stash immediately when they get home).


Individual Popcorn Bags

Boom Chicka Pop. Sea Salt

 Boom Chicka Pop. Sea Salt

Per -package (0.6 oz): 90 calories, 4.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (2 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

These simple snacks can be picked up in 24-packs. Made from just organic popcorn, organic sunflower oil, and sea salt, you’ll feel pleased to be giving such a low-calorie, whole grain snack!


Popcorn or Potato Chips

PopCorners Single Serve Carnival Kettle Bags

PopCorners Single Serve Carnival Kettle Bags

Per -1 oz bag: 120 calories, 4 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 110 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (0 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 2 g protein

Fan favorites like Pirates Booty or Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies, or grab a multi-pack of these Popcorners. Made with popped corn, drizzled with sunflower oil, and tossed in a bit of cane sugar and salt, this sweet and salty treat is sure to please the pickiest of eaters.


Snack Bars

Larabar Minis—Apple Pie, Cashew Cookie, and Cherry Pie

Larabar Minis—Apple Pie, Cashew Cookie, and Cherry Pie

Per- 1 bar (22 g): 90 calories, 5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (3 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 2 g protein

These bars are made entirely from ingredients you’d find in your kitchen: dates, almonds, apples, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon, cashews, and cherries. They’re minimally processed, gluten-free, and absolutely delicious.


Cookies

 

Homefree Chocolate Mint Gluten Free, Allergen-Friendly Cookies

Per mini bag (0.95 oz): 130 calories, 5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (2 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 2 g protein

These cookies are free of nine common food allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, and gluten), are vegan, a certified a good source of whole grain, and contain no artificial anything. Kids will love crunching on these mint chocolate cookies made from whole oat flour—and you’ll feel good about what you gave out this year.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? Like I mentioned above that these snacks are good for all types of holidays and not just Halloween. If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments, or concerns you may have. You can find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you are a person or you know a person that is looking for one on one coaching please again feel free in reaching out and i will be more than happy to help you with any questions you may have so you can get on the road to a healthier lifestyle. You can find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You!

 

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂