Originally featured on Chatelaine
Don’t get overwhelmed with too many recipes when it comes to your holiday cooking this year. You may be deciding whether to stick with tradition, or just go with what is easiest and quickest to prepare. Why not go with some simple, healthy options, even if it means breaking a tradition or two? It will not only save you calories and excess fat, but you will have a colourful and balanced dinner on your plate and actually feel great afterward. Here are some ideas on how to sort through each component of your meal and how to choose wisely:
Instead of a cheesy dip, devilled eggs, or cheese puffs, serve a warming bowl of split pea soup. Soup makes a great holiday appetizer since it fills you up without giving you too many calories. It is also served warm, which means it will give you time to sip it before you eat too many bacon wrapped bread sticks!
White mashed potatoes with butter, cream, or milk are a holiday staple, but try making some squash instead this year. There are many varieties available, such as acorn, butternut, buttercup, or even spaghetti squash. All you have to do is cut the squash in half, drizzle it with olive or coconut oil, add a pinch of cinnamon, and bake it for an hour. Squash is delicious alongside any dish, and is naturally sweet with fewer calories and fat than traditional mashed potatoes.
Standard dishes like creamed spinach and overcooked veggies coated with cheese sauce have more calories than necessary for one meal. Instead, choose to lightly steam some green beans, Swiss chard, or broccoli. Be sure not to over-steam though, since you want your veggies to be crisp and green! Drizzle them with olive oil and lemon juice and top it all off with chopped almonds or cranberries for a unique flavour.
Instead of ham or roast beef, consider leaner and cleaner options like organic free-range turkey breast baked with rosemary and fresh lemon juice. Or go vegetarian and venture into making a lentil loaf or quinoa pilaf.
A good alternative to fruitcake, rich puddings, and parfaits is to opt for a homemade gingerbread loaf or cookies made with spelt flour, maple syrup, and applesauce. You will not only save calories but also actually add fibre and nutrients to your dessert tray!
It doesn’t matter whether you have something to stuff or not, because this veggie stuffing recipe tastes great all on its own or on your plate beside some quinoa, squash, or steamed greens.
This delicious recipe will be featured in my Holiday Harvest Class on Thursday! (3 Spots Left – come and join the fun)
Apple Walnut Stuffing
6 cups firmly-packed diced whole kamut bread
1/2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onion
1 1/2 cups peeled, diced tart apple (granny smith)
3 bunches scallions, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon each: dried thyme, savory
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt, more or less to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups apple juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the diced bread on a baking sheet.
- Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until dry and lightly browned.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the red onion and sauté over medium heat until golden. Add the apple and sauté for another 5 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the bread cubes with the onion and apple mixture. Add all the remaining ingredients except the apple juice and toss together. Sprinkle in the apple juice slowly while stirring to moisten the ingredients evenly.
- Transfer the mixture to an oiled shallow 1 1/2-quart baking pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until browned and still slightly moist. Stir once during the baking time. Transfer to a covered serving container.
Marni’s Delicious Knowledge
Who doesn’t love stuffing? Serve this recipe at your holiday meal this year and your guests
will savour every delicious bite. Not sure what to do with leftovers? Toss them in a wrap with fresh
vegetables the next day for a filling, festive lunch or snack.
I have to admit, the variety of amazing healthy, organic and vegan food in new york it out of this world. Whether you want to dine in style or dine casually, are there a number of options (especially for vegetarians, vegans and raw foodies!).
So I was in New York for a fabulously beautiful 4th of July weekend. The weather was perfect and I got to visit and stay with a great friend from the culinary school I went to last year – The Natural Gourmet. I literally took advantage of the weekend and lived it up with some really good food.
It all started with an amazing lunch at One Lucky Duck- an incredible little vegan cafe that has the best salads, smoothies, juices and tasty desserts. It is the takeout and more casually version of the restaurant Pure Food and Wine which I will get to later in this post. I had the most amazing salad, filled with greens, hemp seeds, avocado and their amazing rosemary almond crackers and sweet miso dressing. I also ordered their amazing lemonade (ginger+lemon+agave and sea salt)
Then we took a walk down to the east village for some much anticipating vegan “ice cream”. This little place called STOGO has it all! A variety of different flavours and toppings- all vegan – Yup that means no dairy, sugar or other hidden junk like artificial binders, food colouring and hydrogenated fats!
I ordered simple for my first trip there, as I really just wanted to taste the pureness of the ice cream – so I landed with coconut- chocolate and my friend has coconut vanilla bean! They were both amazing! If you live in NY or are going there soon, please drop by and have a treat!
We were a little unsure of what to have for dinner that night because we saw an off-Broadway show around dinner time Fuerza Bruta (crazy!). So we opted for late meal.Which generally I don’t like to do, but when on vacation in New York – you’ve got to give somewhere! We landed at this little place called Hummus Kitchen – where they make hummus from organic chickpeas. It really was the best Hummus in NYC!! Now because I don’t eat wheat – that means no white or whole wheat pita bread – I went to Whole Foods beforehand and grabbed a bag of spelt wraps. (Yes I bring my own food into restaurants!) That way I can enjoy the whole meal!!
So on Saturday July 4th – we headed to Brooklyn. Didn’t really spend too much time there back when I lived in New York – so it was nice to go back. It is like Manhatten but simpler, more spread out and there is some green there- meaning lots of trees! (Actually they are also very GREEN as well, lots of amazing little eco shops!)
So we went to this little veg place in Brooklyn called the V Spot – and I had the most delicious open faced corn tortilla with black beans, kale and avocado! It was soo good and so simple! I have got to make these more often at home!
For dinner, I had the extreme pleasure of being invited over to one of my chef teachers from the natural gourmet’s home. I have to say that we cooked up a meal (more like a feast) that was better than anything you would find at any vegetarian restaurant! Herb infused red quinoa, roasted yams, braised tempeh, sauteed rainbow chard and asparagus and a local greens salad with a homemade lemon vanilla vinaigrette and a peach berry crumble for dessert with coconut “ice cream“! Again, so simple and so delicious!
The next morning we were still so full – from the meal that all we could handle for breakfast was a giant green juice! Lunch, we ate in central park – just packed up a couple of spelt wraps filled with hummus, veggies and sprouts and we were good to go!
Now dinner was the absolute highlight of the trip. We dined at Pure Food and Wine where I not only did a one month internship following the chef training progam at NGI, but it is also the sexiest, most delicious raw vegan food you will ever eat. The plates are gorgeous, the portions are good and they are extremely creative! For an appetizer we had king oyster mushrooms topped with cashew cheese and black garlic with baby greens. The main cou
rses looked so good at first glance-that I only noticed after the meal, that I forgot to take pictures!
One always knows to save room at Pure Food as their desserts are truly like no other. They have the absolute best “ice cream” made from cashew milk. It is so creamy and rich, that I promise you wouldn’t notice a difference. The only difference you would notice is that your stomach isn’t gurgling and that there isn’t a sugary/milky coating left in your mouth!
I had my all time favourite – the chocolate chip mint sundae and my friend had an Indian spiced sampler plate!
As you can see, I ate very well in New York. It is hard not to with so many amazing restaurants. Even on my last day there, I spoiled myself all over again and went to Quintessence, back to Stogo, back to One Lucky Duck and then to the Union Square green market to take home some goodies!
So if you haven’t been to New York yet, I encourage you to go, get some culinary inspiration or at least just infuse your palate with some originality and unique tastes. For me it is a treat, it just makes me that much more eager to create some new innovative dishes!
So get out there and hit those streEATS of New York and treat yourself!!
Improve Peach Berry Crisp!
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup each blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries
2 tbsp lemon juice
1. mix topping ingredients in a bowl, set aside
2. slice up the peaches and nectarines and toss in a bowl with berries, lemon juice and cinnamon
3. place the fruit in a large baking dish, top with oat crumble – until evenly distributed
4. bake at 350 F for about an hour
Serve with vanilla coconut ice cream!