Thursday, December 24, 2009

Five Fun Things About the Holidays 2009 (and Happy Holidays to All!)

(Christmas image by Francesco Marino from

I was talking with my sister Valerie about Christmas, and she reminded me that the very best part of the holidays is between Christmas and New Year's Eve, when most people are off work and you can hang out and just enjoy being with those you love. That's mostly what I'll be doing for the next week or so, but before I take off I want to share some holiday thoughts. These are my picks for Five Fun Things About the Holidays, but I'd love to hear in the comments about the five things you like about the holidays.

Fun Things About the Holidays: #1 Counting Your Blessings
Of course we have an entire holiday in the U.S. where the emphasis is supposed to be on giving thanks, but it's the end of the year that really makes people take stock of their lives. In 2009 I felt especially blessed by things like house renovations, a new car, and being able to quit the day job and work full time on Kalyn's Kitchen. I'm feeling extra thankful this holiday season, but if you're prosperous enough to have a computer and spend time enjoying the internet then you've had a pretty good year, so count your blessings and give thanks!

Fun Things About the Holidays: #2 Remembering People
I could spend hours talking about how blogging has changed my life, but if I had to pick the number one best thing about writing this blog, it would be the interesting people I've met. Some of those people are bloggers I've met and spent time with, and others are people who read the blog and leave comments or send me (the nicest!) e-mails, but all of you enrich my life in ways I couldn't have imagined a few years ago. I also love getting in touch with long-time real-life friends during the holidays, and this year it's been fun re-connecting with some through Facebook or the blog.

Fun Things About The Holidays: #3 Helping Others
I love to buy presents for people I care about, and having an excuse to do it is what I like most about Christmas. But for the last few years I've been participating in a different kind of gift-giving during the holiday season. Again this year I'm proud to be part of a food blogger effort called A Menu for Hope that raises money to be donated to the World Food Program. I'm donating a prize that would appeal to any food blogger, and there are many other wonderful prizes that will be given away. After you choose a prize that appeals to you, you can bid on items between now and the end of the year by making donations through Firstgiving. All money raised goes directly to help the World Food Program, and so far there has been over $50,000 raised! If you can help with this worthwhile effort, the good feelings you get from it will make your holidays a little brighter. That's a promise.

Fun Things About the Holidays: #4 Looking Back
I'm someone who loves those end of year lists, and for the past couple of years I've enjoyed looking back through the recipes posted that year and picking the Best Recipes of 2007 and the Best Recipes of 2008. Before the year ends I'm going to pick my favorites for 2009, and I'll be sharing that list. (If anyone wants to nominate a favorite recipe from this year, let me know in the comments. And if you check out those lists from 2007 and 2008, I hope you notice how my photos have improved!)

Fun Things About the Holidays: #5 Eating!
Yes, I know many people consider this to be a "diet" blog, but I've never made a secret of the fact that one of the things I love about the South Beach Diet is that you can cheat a little, and then go back to Phase One to get back on track. During the holidays I try not to go completely crazy, but there's no doubt I'll be eating a few things that I'd pass up at other times of the year. Then in January I'll be doing Phase One, along with a lot of other people, who are getting started on the South Beach Diet. Just like every year, all the recipes posted in January will be Phase One recipes. There'll also be something new coming to Kalyn's Kitchen to help people with Phase One all year long, so check back in January to hear about that.

Best Wishes to Everyone Who Stops By!
Now, it's time for me to do some last minute Christmas things that I need to cross off my list. I wish all my readers a wonderful holiday season, and a great year to come in 2010!

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More to Chew On:


  1. Happy Holidays, Kalyn! I hope you have a great time with your family!

    If I had to pick a favorite from 2009, I would say your roasted vidalia onions. I can't get enough of those! I'm also glad that I didn't know about my gluten issues when you posted the whole wheat bread with oats, bran, and flax. I enjoyed several loaves of it, and I've recommended it to several people looking for a good whole wheat bread machine recipe.

  2. Merry Christmas Kalyn! Thank you for just being wonderful you. xoxoxo

  3. Merry Christmas

    and all the season's best to you and your family...

  4. Merry Christmas, Kalyn! I would endorse all five, and add the one more, which is all the possibilities of the new year ahead!

  5. Katie, Happy Holidays to you too. Thanks for the reminder about the roasted Vidalia onions. Those were good, weren't they!

    Elise, Merry Christmas and ditto to you! xoxo

    Year on the Grill, happy holidays to you. What's cooking today?

    TW, love that addition to the list. Hope you're having a great day. Look forward to dinner in New York this summer!

  6. Happy holidays, Kalyn! Finding your blog was one of the best things in 2009. I am in awe of the terrific recipes, the trove of great ideas, your appreciation for good writing and photography, and your dedication to keeping the blog up-to-date. Truly inspirational. Best wishes for a great 2010!

  7. Lisa, thank you! Happy holidays and good wishes for the new year to you too.

  8. I've been getting so many spam comments lately (even on Christmas, shame on them!) that I'm turning on the captcha for a few days. You will need to type in the letters to leave a comment.

    I hate doing it too, and I promise, it's only for a few days until the spam robots get discouraged!

  9. Happy holidays to you too, Kalyn! Hope you have a great vacation and an equally wonderful new year ahead.

  10. Merry Christmas. I hope you are enjoying the holiday with your family.

  11. Nice list. I hope you are having a great day. Buon Natale.

  12. What a wonderful way to think of the holidays. I'm going to forward this list to many of my friends. Thank you for another wonderful season in Kalyn's Kitchen; it's such a warm and welcoming place. Happy 2010!

  13. Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!


  14. Kalyn, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family and enjoy the lovely time between Christmas and New Year's.

    I would love to nominate your Napa Cabbage and Red Cabbage Salad with Fresh Herbs and Peanuts for the best recipes of 2009. Quite simply - yum!

  15. I'm sure you had a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends, Kalyn. All my best to you for 2010!

  16. I love your blog, Kalyn. I just did some observations about Christmas on my blog, too. Mostly spending time with family and friends, even though most of the stuff was not south beach, but like you said....I can start over again! Thanks for the wonderful recipes.

  17. I nominate the Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin as my favorite recipe of the year!

    Great post Kalyn :) And thanks for the "tag cloud" I got in the mail today, with the special goodie!

    Georgie Fear RD

  18. Thanks everyone for the nice Christmas thoughts. I'm having a nice holiday break. Today I looked through my archives to pick out the best recipes of 2009. I thought I was being careful to only choose my very favorites, but after I looked at my bookmarks, I had saved 39 recipes! Will work on whittling down the list!

    Hope you are all having a great holiday too!

  19. Happy Holidays, Kalyn, and my best wishes for a wonderful 2010!

  20. Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  21. Happy Holidays to you!
    Absolutely the fun five too!

  22. Kalyn,
    I couldn't possible nominate a favorite recipe...too many great ones to choose from! Thanks Kalyn for all that you do, and Happy New Years to you!

  23. I loved reading this and am with you especially on thinking back on all the great friends met this way. You are always so inspirational -- I'll look forward to your January offerings, as I've threatened my husband with getting fit and will be joining him in the effort for moral support. Happy Holidays to you!

  24. Happy healthy lovely New Year to you and yours. Much love and appreciation- xox

  25. I agree that the time between christmas and new year is wonderful and relaxing once all the frantic christmas preparations are over - love your list and hope you are enjoying the 12 days of christmas

  26. All of them true and important..I hope we all take them along in this new year!
    Hopeuou had a lovely season and the the new year brings much joy!

  27. Happy holidays, Kalyn! I love this post.

  28. Happiest of holidays to you, Kalyn! I love your blog because it includes so much about you along with the wonderful food. I loved seeing your house renovations and your gardening adventures. I've met so many wonderful people, too, and that was an unexpected blessing but one that has made the biggest impact in my life and heart.

    I am looking forward to your January posts. Hugs!!

  29. This blog is so informative !
    Happy new year !


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