Tis the season for holiday cooking! And for the standard American this means lots of processed white flour, sugar, and fat which equals weight gain. OK, so what's the big deal? You can just work it off in January right? If that was all there was to worry about I would say "tank up!" That's what I used to do! Unfortunately with that holiday splurging comes weakened immune systems which brings on colds and flues (as in the dreaded "swine flu"), re-visiting past addictions that are easily triggered, and my most dreaded one....lowered energy levels and just feeling lousy! No way, no thank you!!
Fortunately, when you are eating a nutrient dense diet, you lose the desire for those unhealthy high fat foods. However, because family traditions are important and you don't want to be a total party pooper, go ahead and fix your family favorites but just make sure they are Health for Life style.
In this months Health for Life cooking class I will show you how to do just that. I'm going to start off with my favorite stuffing recipe that I've made for my family for several years. Last Christmas my very picky hard-to-please Italian uncle who always has something to say about the way I eat, complimented me on it. I was excited! I think that was a first from him. Anyway, this stuffing recipe comes from one of my favorite restaurant cookbooks, Real Food Daily. It is made with home made corn bread which is what really makes it great. Added to the cornbread is a mixture of onion, carrots, and celery in a tasty broth seasoned with a Holiday Seasoning mix that you can make yourself. Then it's baked to perfection......at least that's always my hope. Cooking stuffing is a lot like cooking a turkey in that you are always a little concerned whether it will be too moist or too dry.
The potatoes for the Mashed Potatoes are mashed with a gravy made with cashews and a chicken style broth seasoning that makes them a crowd pleaser. They always disappear at my house!
With these two high starch dishes I have to include a high nutrient side dish of steamed broccoli topped with my favorite red lentil cheez sauce. (gotta get in those beans and greens!) I included this dish in my Christmas dinner last year and even the kids ate it.
I'm very excited about my new addition to the holiday meal; Cranapple Relish. This is a very healthy alternative to traditional cranberry sauce that is very high in sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup. This salad/relish is a perfect combination of apples, cranberries, dates, and walnuts that taste like a dessert. I've had it every morning for breakfast since I came up with it a week ago. It's simply delicious! And simple to make!
And then what's Thanksgiving (or Christmas) without Pumpkin Pie. (Sorry, not pictured) There is no milk, eggs, or tofu in this Pumpkin Pie. And there are no processed sugars! And the crust is not the traditional flour and oil crust. It's made with oats and is flaky and delicious. Top it with Cashew or Walnut Cream and you have the perfect dessert to top off your Thanksgiving Feast!
And there you have it! Health for Life cooking for your holiday feast! I look forward to seeing you in class!