By Cassie Johnston
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Every year, around this time, a change happens in me. I know it’s coming, but I never know the exact date. It’s the day when I wake up and declare “that’s enough” with the cookies and the eggnog and the sugar plums and all the other holiday magic I’ve been shoveling into my piehole on the reg. It’s like a switch flips in my brain, and all the indulging is no longer fun or exciting, and suddenly, I crave nothing but salads and smoothies. It’s my body’s way of self-regulating.
That switch flipped a little early this year. Because of my job doing this whole recipe development thing, I’ve been working on holiday treats for months now. I’ve enjoyed more than my fair share of fudge and cakes and sugar cookies—oh so many sugar cookies. One day last week, I woke up, and instead of wanting to mainline eggnog like I had every morning for the previous three weeks, I wanted a green smoothie for breakfast. And I knew the switch had flipped.
I try to never get down on myself when I’m in the middle of my holiday-fueled indulgence. I’m a big believer in everything in moderation, and that includes moderation. So that means sometimes you just gotta eat your weight in cookies. December is one month out of the year. It’s 8% of your life. Is it a big deal if we go a little off the deep end for 8% of the time while celebrating with friends and family eating foods we love? Surely not. In fact, I’d say it’s healthy to let go sometimes.
I’ve accepted that from about November 15-December 15th, I eat a diet Buddy the Elf would be proud of. It is what it is. And then come 7-10 days before Christmas, the switch flips, and I’m suddenly back to my normal, vegetable-loving self.
Of course, I don’t completely avoid holiday celebration after the switch has flipped. But I like to try to find healthier ways to indulge once I’m back on the healthy eating bandwagon, and these Salted Chocolate Dipped Clementines are my favorite healthy indulgence right now.
Citrus season is this glorious, wonderful part of winter. When everything feels cold and dead and dark, fresh, flavorful, in-season citrus shows up at the grocery store, and it feels like this bright light shining down. Between the three of us, we eat an embarrassing amount of clementines each day in my family (like, I’m talking pounds worth). So. Good.
And you know the only thing that could make in-season clementines taste even better? Chocolate. Salted chocolate. These little clementine bites are the perfect tiny touch of indulgence. They are juicy, fruity, and have the wonderful sweet/salty thing going on. When my husband ate one of these, he said, “Hey, they taste like a chocolate orange but juicy!” To which I laughed and said, “Um, they are chocolate oranges. Like…the original chocolate oranges.”
And they are oh so easy to make—like, the-holiday-pitch-in-is-in-an-hour-and-I-have-nothing-to-bring kinda easy. And I promise you, at this point in the holiday season, everyone will be very grateful for some healthier fare.
Speaking of the holidays, this is going to be my last post for the rest of the year! I’m going to take the next few weeks off to enjoy Christmas and New Year’s with the fam, and I’ll see you guys again in 2017!
I hope you have just the most sparkly, shiny, happy, yummy-food filled holidays! Happy holidays! And go make these clementines.
Salted Chocolate Dipped Clementines are a healthier way to indulge when citrus is in season – they have just the right balance of sweet, salt, and fruit!
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Wishing you a very happy holiday! Look forward to reading more in the new year :)
What a great idea! I’ll be making some during the holidays.
Merry Christmas to you. Enjoy the holidays with your family.
I think that switch flipped for me today. Between holiday goodies, nursing hunger, and having a newborn who will not sleep at night, I’ve been eating insane amounts of chocolate, even by my standards.
Merry Christmas and enjoy your break!
This looks amazing! I’ve been feeling sorry for myself during these last couple of weeks of pregnancy. It seems like I’ve been pregnant forever and everyone that had due dates after me have their babies. So eating all the chocolate seemed to be the only answer.
Hi Cassie, long time reader and I LOVE your site.
I just read your message about the 1 post a week and my initial feeling is Major Bummer.
I don’t say this to upset you, but I feel like you are really open and honest with your followers and I just wanted to be the same because I imagine understanding how your readers feel is important to your business.
I feel with that reduction of posts the posts we will get will be a lot of your 8 ways to make salads, or 8 ways to make a smoothie etc…While I understand from your year in review those are MAJOR traffic for you, I feel like they’re not what makes you unique and what makes me come to your site over one that offers that same content (of course not as prettily haha).
Admittedly I have you bookmarked and come everyday to see if there’s something new so I might different from the traffic you drive fro Pintrest, etc.. but I feel like people like me will just stop checking….
Anyway, at the end of the day it’s YOUR business, but as one of your readers I just wanted share my thoughts for what they’re worth.
Hi Jessica! Thanks so much for your feedback. I totally understand the desire to see more groundbreaking content more frequently, but I have to be honest, the back to basics approach has always been my life philosophy, and now that I’m applying it to my blog content, it feels so incredibly right for me personally and professionally.
I do want to correct you on one thing: this decision isn’t AT ALL about pageviews. If I wanted to just increase pageviews, I’d just post crazy decadent dessert recipes all day long (there are many a blogger who have made that switch and are swimming in cash now—which is awesome from them!). Are pageviews important? Yes. Is being helpful and useful more important? ABSOLUTELY.
This change is from my desire to be supremely helpful. And while I understand that helpful content isn’t always the most interesting, unique, or sexy, it is really the direction that feels the most authentic to who I am as a person.
Sure, a post that details eight ways to make a smoothie might be lackluster to some, but I have an inbox full of people saying they were afraid to try smoothies before they stumbled onto my post. People are telling me I literally changed their lives, and that’s some seriously powerful stuff. I feel like this is the way I can affect change, and that’s mighty exciting.
I do understand how startling it can be when a website you follow (thank you, by the way!) changes direction, and if you have to stop checking in because I’m not making you happy anymore, I get that. I’ll miss you, but I get that, and I hope you can fill the void with another awesome blogger out there! But, at the end of the day, I have to be true to myself and what I feel like my calling is, and I hope you can understand that.
By the way, I do think if you just give me a few months to get this new schedule down, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the positive changes. Just to give you a little sneak peak at what a one-post-per-week world looks like, here’s is what’s upcoming in the next month:
* An awesome dinner salad recipe complete with a full video that walks you through how to make it and serve it.
* An incredibly verbose post talking all about how I’m actively losing weight again, and the steps I’m taking to do it.
* A really in-depth post about cooking with cast iron including how to season and clean cast iron skillets, plus a big video walking you through all my favorite tips and tricks for cooking with cast iron.
* My absolutely FAVORITE soup recipe, plus 3 variations I make on it all the time (complete with a video of all three variations)
And the free time from doing only one new post per week is allowing me to edit and rework previous content into really helpful posts/pages like:
* A full tutorial from seed to harvest on how to do container/small scale/apartment gardening
* And entire run down of my very best tips and tricks for eating healthy on a budget (any budget)
* An in-depth primer on both water bath canning and pressure canning
Again, thank you so much for your feedback, and I really hope that in a month or two, I will prove you wrong. But if I don’t, I totally understand needing to take me out of your bookmarks. We only have so many free minutes a day, and I want you to spend that time reading content you love, and if that isn’t from me, go find someone who brings you joy! :)
Thank you for the candid, receptive and honest response! I’ll be following along with the changes an I hope they’re supremely positive for you! :)
I added these to our Christmas cookie platter and they were a fresh and welcome treat in the midst of all those rich and decadent cookies! Thanks for the idea.
I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed them!
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