I am the mother to Cosmo, a 4-year old shihtzu. My dog requires a bath every 10 to 14 DAYS. Otherwise, the white parts of his paws start to resemble an old pair of UGG boots dipped in mud and then sun-dried, and he secretes the scent of a homeless person. If I were to stretch the time between his baths and let him walk around au naturel, we would all get evicted from our building in no time.

The best part comes AFTER the bath. When in the tub, Cosmo relinquishes his power and hands over authority to the person pouring water all over his body. He stands motionless, startled, with his eyes W-I-D-E open and mouth shut tight. He endures all that rubbing and scrubbing without uttering a single cuss word despite the fact that we give him enough reasons to call us every name in the book.

Then comes the towel… The challenge is to get as much moisture out of his coat as possible before Cosmo torpedoes out of the bathroom. When he’s out, he’s gone! With crazy eyes, he gallops across the house back and forth, non-stop, for about 3 days straight, pacing and barking at himself, his tongue hanging out and drops of water splashing all over the walls, floors, and ceiling. Suddenly, he stops for a moment to catch his breath, after which he takes off all over again and slaloms between the legs of the dining table and its chairs. If you find yourself in his path, you best run for your life. Nothing stops Cosmo when he’s in DRYER MODE.

Inevitably, the spectacle ends and Cosmo finds his way to me. Putting on his cutest face, wagging his tail, waving his eyelashes at me, he asks,  “What’s for dinner, mama?”

“Dog food for you, you little mischievous bundle of love you” “Roasted Asparagus Wrapped In Pancetta for me and daddy.”

In my effort to break the cycle of cushioning my midsection during the holiday season, I’m breaking the bank in search of ideas for flavorful yet light meals. Starvation and deprivation are two words that longer belong in my dictionary. They should never be an option for you either. Eat whatever you want, just be smart about it, and love yourself no matter what!

ROASTED ASPARAGUS WRAPPED IN PANCETTA served with a side of Mâche with Avocado Salad with Strawberry Dressing makes a beautiful and delightful dinner for two, and most importantly leaves room for dessert.

To start, preheat the oven to 400°. Snap the ends of the asparagus spears off and drizzle them gently with olive oil before seasoning with black pepper. You don’t need salt because of what’s coming up next: wrap a paper-thin slice of pancetta (or pastrami) around each spear and lay it flat on a baking sheet. Place the pan in the oven for about 12-15 minutes until the asparagus is cooked, but still has a little bite to it.

In the meantime, prepare your salad as you would with the Mustard Dressing. Except this time, instead of Dijon mustard, add a handful of chopped fresh strawberries and whip the dressing in a blender or Magic Bullet, if you have one. Then dress your greens and avocado gently, drop a few chunks of strawberry around for extra blush, and serve everything with a toasted slice of baguette.

The salty and crunchy bites of the Asparagus contrast, thus emphasizing the delicate leaves and flavor of the cow grass dipped in strawberry juice, making this an exquisite and sophisticated meal .

Who even needs a dessert after that?