9 Proven Tips to Avoid Holiday Stress

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It’s the 11th hour and you’re scrambling to finalize your gifts and preparations for the holidays. Ah the holidays – a time of family, food, gifts, parties and fun. And if you’re a human being, all of those things probably also have some pretty stressful aspects to them too. These can come in obvious forms as well as very subtle forms. Holiday gatherings and parties can be occasions where people who normally don’t spend a lot of time together or really understand eachother get together and spend hours and hours on end together. Then there’s the shopping and the crowds, the cold weather, the party-planning and the list-making, and a lack of time to get it all done to the level of perfection we desire, all while messing with our normal daily routine. Sound familiar?

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Holiday Quinoa Bake

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Does your family get into the rut of making the same exact dishes every year for the holidays? This year I decided to think up a new recipe that could shake things up, and that could satisfy my food intolerances. To get the brainstorm going, I thought of the typical holiday comfort foods that I would be missing out on due to my gluten and dairy-free diet and discovered that the common thread in the foods I’d be missing is that they were all comfort foods baked in the oven. Then I thought about my ideal grain to base my bake around, and of course, quinoa came to mind! After some experimentation, and taking into consideration my love for mixing savory, spicy and sweet flavors, I came up with this festive and healthy Holiday Quinoa Bake!

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Herb Crusted Leg of Lamb with Mint Gremolata and Roast Potatoes (GF, DF)

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This past weekend, I had big plans. I planned to spend my entire Sunday making this complicated involved lamb dish, then serving and enjoying it in a relaxed sit-down dinner Sunday night. Plans changed. We went to bed late Saturday night, then went to what was supposed to be a quick brunch on Sunday, but the restaurant accidentally included dairy in my eggs so I had to wait for them to remake it, then someone left his keys at the restaurant so we had to drive back across town to get them. Luckily, this dish ended up not being as super-involved as I thought it would be, and splitting it into steps over multiple days worked beautifully, maybe even better than my original plan. Funny how that happens, isn’t it :)?

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