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 enjoying on the reg. It’s like a switch flips in my brain, and all the holiday treats are 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 all out 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.
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 regular vegetable-loving self.
Of course, I don’t completely avoid holiday celebration after the switch has flipped. These Salted Chocolate Dipped Clementines are my favorite healthier 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 fresher fare.