Hey Santa, no sugar for you!

English: Santa Claus with a little girl Espera...

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What if Santa was diabetic?  What would you leave for him on Christmas Eve?  This is a suggested topic that I saw in an article a couple of weeks ago that talked about blogging during the Christmas season.  I found the topic to be potentially whimsical.  But, I also realize that diabetes is a serious situation that is affecting more and more Americans each year because of unhealthy lifestyles.

Diabetes has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.  I don’t have it but it has been prevalent in my family history.  It was one of the contributing factors that lead to my dad dying almost four years ago.  Now it is moving down the generational line.  Each of my siblings and I are genetically predisposed, and unfortunately, so are our children.  Some days I think about it and promise myself that I will take care of my body so that I don’t get it, and in the end, hope that I just don’t get it.

So at this time of year when so many treats are shared between friends, neighbors, and co-workers; when holiday parties bring out the tastiest – and least healthy – dishes, what are we to do?  Enjoy it all and hope we don’t end up with a belly to rival the jolly head elf?  Here is a question for you to ponder: As you partake in the holiday festivities that lead up to Christmas, and when I say partake I mean eat plenty of unhealthy food that tastes so good you don’t care about the calorie count or sugar content, what will you end up leaving for old Saint Nick to eat when he comes delivering to your house?

There have been times at my house that the treat plate left on the coffee table consisted of the left-over treats received from neighbors that my kids didn’t like.  I knew that they would get eaten, so we made sure to set them out.  There have even been times that my kids wanted to leave out carrots, apples and oranges.  They were mostly for the reindeer, but Santa was welcome to help himself too.  Especially since the sweet treats were usually stale or overcooked cookies.

What about some sort of drink?  Would you leave milk out where it could go sour?  Anytime I think about that, I am reminded of two scenes in the movie “The Santa Clause” with Tim Allen.  The first night he goes around delivering presents he is seen by a little girl while at her house.  She asks why he didn’t drink the milk she left with the cookie.  Since he didn’t want to be there in the first place, he quickly responded that he was lactose intolerant.

The second scene takes place one year later at the same house with the same girl.  By this time Tim Allen’s character has embraced the whole Santa thing and gladly goes to drink the milk.  He almost gags because he thought the milk had gone sour.  He says as much to the girl and she responds that it is soy milk because of his intolerance to lactose.  I don’t recommend that.  Maybe a nice juice, or even just plain water.

I would hate to think what the blood sugar levels would really be if the scenario were true.  Can you imagine the number of cookies, pieces of fudge, and other treats that Santa would be eating if he ate at every house he stopped at?  I don’t know how he would get out of my neighborhood without vomiting from excessive sweetness.  But maybe that is the trick.  I don’t know.  I don’t want to even think about it and the visual images it creates.  Oops, too late.

I think that this year I might have to convince the kids that leaving treats for Santa isn’t a very healthy thing to do.  Maybe we will leave a taco left over from dinner.  Maybe we will make him a ham sandwich.  If I were Santa, I would want a nice filet mignon, cooked medium-rare, with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and candied yams.  (Hint, hint.)  Really, isn’t that what he should be eating?  It provides some carbs and protein that will give him energy to go from house to house delivering presents.  And he won’t have an energy crash like he will after eating so many sugary treats.

I think I am on to something here.  If healthier eating makes Santa lose weight, he can stuff his clothes with pillows like all of the other “Santas” you see at the shopping mall.  And if he doesn’t lose the weight, well, at least we can sleep soundly knowing that he is getting a good meal to help him along.  ‘Cause after all, we don’t want to lose Santa to diabetes, and I am sure he doesn’t want to hassle with taking insulin.  Why complicate things?

Just another view from a Palmtree.

…gonna eat a lot of peaches…

It’s September at my house (probably at yours too) and that means that my peach trees have ripened.  In fact, last Saturday I had the kids pick what was left on one of the trees.  I figured they would be good peach pickers because the previous Saturday was a day that they got to pick two peach trees in our neighbor’s orchard for us to have.  Well, with picking comes the fun task of bottling.  It also means that the song “Peaches” by the Presidents of the United States of America (the band, not the former White House dwellers) starts playing in my head. 

My partner in crime (if you want to call bottling peaches a crime) is my wife.  She is a good sport.  She doesn’t like the task. It is a lot of work.  You get hot and messy.  Sometimes you get a little sticky.  I don’t blame her.  I don’t necessarily enjoy the process either… but I like the end product.  But there is much more to storing our homegrown produce than being able to eat.  The smells are great.  The look is pretty.  (Don’t know what I am talking about?  You should see the color of the peaches that were bottled last night.  It is like multiple sunsets caught in a quart mason jar.)

On Labor Day we bottled our first batches.  We got three batches done which amounts to 21 jars.  This past Saturday we went at it with the intent to get all the rest done.  We didn’t bottle any peaches that day.  Instead, we bottled 14 jars of beets and 12 jars of sweet pickles (I originally spelled it out as sweat pickles which would have been really funny to read but really gross to eat.  Does this make you think about the Schweddy Balls skit on SNL at all?  I digress.)  So as you can see, September is about more than just picking, bottling and eating peaches.  Other produce is included in the process.

We got back to the peaches yesterday.  We bottled another three batches.  By the way, we have already eaten three jars worth from the first canning session and have devoured many more straight from the trees.  So the count got up to 42 jars bottled, 3 jars eaten.   We have also probably had to throw away another 2-3 jars worth because they over-ripened before we could bottle them (how dare they).  Today is another day and as the sun came up there were still 37 empty quart jars.  We just might have enough peaches to fill them.  Any you know what?  If there are still some remaining after that, we have some pint jars to fill.  Of course the pint jars wouldn’t be for us…they could make great neighbor gifts come Christmas time when everyone is sick of pumpkin pie and looking for a fresh fruit cobbler to leave for Santa Claus.  (Hint, hint kids…he will probably be sick of cookies and milk by the time he gets to our house so let’s make a good peach cobbler with a side of vanilla ice cream for the jolly, giant elf.)

If we still have peaches remaining, we will probably slice and freeze them for a nice peach smoothie.  We might even puree some so that we can make some really awesome fruit leather.  And we might get to clean pick another tree or two in the orchard and get to do it all over again.  I can hardly wait.  Of course, I will probably be on my own by then…everyone else will be all peached out.  But no worries, I have co-workers.  I am sure they would like to join me in having a little bit of “nature’s candy in my hand or can or a pie.”

Just another view from a palmtree.