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Holiday Traditions: Laura K. Shares Memories from Childhood and a Broccoli Cheddar Frittata Recipe

A lighter version of a favorite family recipe

Laura KolodjeskiLaura Kolodjeski

I love the holiday season! It’s a wonderful opportunity to focus on the precious time we get to spend with our loved ones that often creates lasting memories. I’m taking a break from our traditional interview-style posts today to share some holiday traditions from my childhood, including a diabetes-friendlier version of my favorite family holiday dish, broccoli casserole.

I grew up in Southern California with my mother, father and sister, where our holiday traditions kicked off with the annual decorating of our Christmas tree. My sister and I each “owned” a side of the tree and that was generally quite apparent with hers adorned by a popcorn & cranberry strand and mine by the more traditional garland.

Laura K (left) sits by the fire with her sister and mother on Christmas Eve
Laura K. (left) sits by the fire with her sister and mother on Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, we maintained a tradition established by my father’s side of the family – we would go to the Jewish deli near our home and pick up a traditional Jewish feast to eat in front of our living room fireplace. The weather was always too warm for a fire so my parents would open the front door in a real effort to keep with tradition.

After dinner my sister and I each got to open one gift from our parents before we went to bed. We carried this tradition on into my mid-teens and eventually the gifts my sister and I opened on Christmas Eve were from each other.

Laura Kolodjeski and her sister on Christmas day
Laura K. (left) and her sister on Christmas morning

On Christmas morning my sister and I would stay in our rooms until our parents called for us. My father was always on-hand to take a picture of the expression on our faces when getting our first look at the presents under the tree. We would each open one gift at a time, which my mother later admitted was challenging because she had to ensure my sister and I had the same number of presents. After opening tree gifts, we would empty our stockings, eat breakfast and then head to our extended family’s house for a Christmas dinner.

Through the years I remember various members of my family dieting, so we would have healthier variations of some of the more traditional dishes each year. No matter what, I always looked forward to the broccoli casserole the most; so, I decided to go in search of a diabetes-friendlier version and came across this broccoli cheddar frittata from Diabetes Daily. While more breakfast focused, it truly is the “lighter” version of my family recipe with a few less ingredients.

Broccoli Cheddar Frittata

Serves: 8


4 eggs
4 egg whites
2 Tbs. water
2 tsp. olive oil
1 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced into half moons
2 cups chopped, cooked broccoli
¼ tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese


1. Preheat the broiler in your oven.
2. Combine the eggs, egg whites and water in a bowl and mix well.
3. In your cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
4. Add the onion and cook for around 3 minutes.
5. When the onion has softened, add the broccoli and cook for another 2 minutes, or until warm.
6. Season with salt and pepper and add the egg mixture, making sure to cover the vegetables evenly.
7. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let cook until the egg mixture has set around the edges, but is still liquid in the middle.
8. Sprinkle with the cheese.
9. Place the skillet under the broiler and broil for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the center is set and golden.
10. Cut into 8 wedges and serve.


Serving size: 1/8 of dish

Calories: 107
Carbohydrate: 4g
Dietary Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 2g
Fat: 7g
Saturated Fat: 3g
Trans Fat: 0g
Sodium: 196mg
Protein: 8g

Broccoli Cheddar Frittata

As I’ve noted before, this recipe may not necessarily be appropriate for all people living with diabetes. It’s important to speak with your certified diabetes educator and/or nutrition educator to help design a holiday meal plan that’s right for you.

I have really enjoyed sharing a glimpse into a handful of my family traditions. I’d love to hear any holiday traditions of your own as well as your feedback on the broccoli cheddar frittata if you decide to try it. Here’s wishing you and yours a very joyous season!

Happy holidays,

Laura K.

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  1. raulsouthgate
    December 23rd, 2012, 3:58 PM

    Touchy article. It brings back from to my mind my own childhood Christmas holidays. As my grandpa was priest in a small village me and my brother were “forced” to sang carols at each house and believe me, even if the village was small, for 7-10 yo kids was huge. during carols my parents arranged the Christmas tree and goodies and all stuff. By the time we got back home Santa was gone. And so was my grandpa who was also “forced” to drink a small shot at each and every house. He barely kept walking straight. All that happen in a small village somewhere in Europe (Transilvania). Was 30 years ago.
    Back to the background and the reason for this article i must say that recipe is worth to give a try which certainly ill ask my wife. If you are interested in some other diabetic recipes you can find here http://www.CureForDiabetes.co.uk

    Merry Christmas to all of you!
    Raul S.

    1. Laura
      January 2nd, 2013, 4:41 PM

      Thanks so much for sharing your story Raul! And thanks for passing along this recipe source. Hope you had a Merry Christmas. My best, Laura K

  2. Laura
    December 12th, 2012, 10:21 AM

    Thanks so much for commenting Scott and Kelly! I had a lot of fun digging up the pictures from my childhood- so glad you enjoyed them. Wishing you both a joyous holiday season, Laura K

  3. Kelly K
    December 11th, 2012, 8:32 PM

    Those pics are great and so is that recipe!
    Thanks for both!

  4. Scott
    December 10th, 2012, 11:22 PM

    Love the old pics! And boy, that recipe sounds pretty good! Thanks Laura!