Here are some alternative options that will satisfy your desires and allow you to indulge without guilt!
Choosing some of these healthy alternatives to create your holiday meals will not only provide you with variety, but it will also give you unique flavours to create comforting meals that are sure to please your whole family!
Here are some comforting veg recipes to get you going for the holidays:
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Veggin’ Comfortably e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/
Are you hosting the Holidays at your home this year? Having everyone over in the comfort of your home will ensure that you know exactly what is on the menu! This way you can plan a diverse menu that is hearty, healthy and delicious! Tell people what to bring, prepare the meal together or make it all yourself! Whatever works for you, make it happen and enjoy the perfect balanced holiday meal!
1. Variety –You want to make sure you have a little bit of everything so you are not left craving anything after the meal or feel like something is missing from you plate. A whole plate full of mashed potatoes, a piece of bread and turkey is not very appetizing, colourful or creative!
2. Texture – It’s always nice to experience a different sensation in your mouth with each bite – strive for a dish that is Crunchy (steamed green veggies), Chewy (cooked grains), Soft (mashed sweet potatoes) and Crispy (baked apple crisp). Those are just some ideas!
3. Colour – Choose lots of vibrant fresh colours from squash, yams, parsnips, carrots, and beets – with that alone you can create an amazing roasted root vegetable dish or a creamy soup. Always include some dark leafy greens like kale, broccoli, or spinach. Have fun with splashes of yellow from peppers or whole grains like quinoa and millet. The more colourful your plate is, the more exciting it will be to eat!
4. Shape – Every food has its own unique shape. You can choose the natural shapes you like from different foods or you can get creative by cutting your sweet potatoes and carrots a particular way. Alternatively, choose brussel sprouts, cauliflower or green beans for some variety. This makes each bite unique.
5. Flavour – It is important to balance all six of the major flavours in each meal. This means making sure you choose recipes that include Salty from sea salt, sea vegetables and tamari; Sweet from fruits, root vegetables and maple syrup; Pungent from cinnamon, ginger, cayenne cumin and garlic; Sour from lemon, lime and oranges; Astringent from legumes, fruits and vegetables and Bitter from dark leafy greens, herbs and spices.
By incorporating the suggestions above into your holiday meal, you’re sure to achieve the perfect balance and leave your palette, as well as your guests’, satisfied!
Makes 4-6 servings
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups vegetable stock or filtered water
2 cups carrots chopped
1-2 cups butternut or kabocha squash or sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 medium apples, cored and diced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
(2 tbsp fresh ginger root)
*** For added nutrition and a balanced meal, serve with some brown rice and steamed green vegetables such as swiss chard, kale, or broccoli and top with pumpkin seeds or parsley for added texture and colour!
- In a large soup pot, sauté the onions in oil on medium heat until they become translucent.
- Add the stock, carrots, squash or sweet potatoes, apples and salt, pepper, nutmeg and ginger. Bring to a boil.
- Turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Take 2 ladles’ worth of vegetables and 1 ladle of stock and blend in a blender or food processor until smooth or you can puree the entire pot. Return to soup pot and stir together before serving.
How are you going to bring balance to your meals this holiday?
A bowl of minestrone soup – done “right” can provide your body full of nutrients, not to mention a hearty and healthy meal. What makes a minestrone soup new age…well a typical minestrone soup is based in a tomato/beef broth. A tomato broth may taste good to some, but for most people – tomatoes are too hard on their stomach due to their acid content. Using beef broth… well I am not even going to get into the reasons why to avoid this. You should know me by now – and if you don’t then you will catch on very quickly to the fact that I am not an advocate for beef. You can get just as much flavour, if not more using root vegetables as the base of your soup.
This particular recipe is made with butternut squash and sweet potatoes as the base. These two combined provide a sweet, delicate broth that is alkalizing and delicious. Butternut squash is warming and extremely medicinal to many organs of the body (spleen, pancreas) and stomach. It can improve energy and circulation. This winter squash is also a great source of natural sugars, carbohydrates and beta carotene. The natural sugars in squash are great for people with diabetes and people with other digestive problems. It provides vitamin A and C, potassium iron, riboflavin and magnesium and very low in sodium.
So as you can see, a bowl of this squashy soup is very nourishing and of course delicious. Just like traditional minestrone this soup is chalked full of veggies, bulked up with kidney beans and brown rice macaroni noodles. At this particular time of the year, there is nothing better than a hearty bowl of soup. Squashes are also in season now. Take advantage and make yourself a bowl of yummy minestrone soup!
New Age Minestrone
1 Spanish onion, cut into large dice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoon, sea salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4-6 cups filtered water or stock
1 bay leaf
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into medium dice (or roast half squash in oven on 350F for 45 minutes) – then peel flesh away from skin and place in pot
1 sweet potato cut into large dice
3 ribs celery cut into large dice
1 large zucchini or two small zucchini, cut into small chunks
1 bunch of chard, cut into bit size pieces
1 cup soaked and cooked kidney beans (optional)
½ cup cooked macaroni brown rice noodles (optional)
- In a small pot, sweat onion in oil with garlic and salt until soft.
- Add oregano and sweat a few more minutes
- Add water and bay leaf
- Add vegetables in order given (squash, sweet potatoes, celery, zucchini)
- Turn up heat until water bubbles, then lower and simmer covered for 40-45 minutes.
- Stir vegetables until squash falls apart.
- Add in chopped chard and pre cooked kidney beans and macaroni noodles.
- Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir a few more times and serve.
*** For a smoother texture, simmer squash separately until soft (in 1-2 cups of water), and puree in food processor. Add squash to the soup for the last 10 minutes of cooking.
There could not have been a better way to celebrate my 27th birthday, then to have my closest friends over for a potluck dinner. Everyone brought over something delicious to contribute to a collection of different dishes which made up our fantastic and unforgettable dinner!
There are so many to choose from! Different tastes, textures, colours and even shapes. But on a whole, all of them are composed of an amazing source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, b vitamins, trace proteins, minerals and even heart healthy fats that make you feel energized and nourished.What needs to be recognized and understood by many, is that grains can be an essential part of everyone’s daily diet unless candida or carbohydrate metabolism is a problem. But when grains are left intact and prepared properly in their whole form – one requires much less of a portion to be satisfied. These grains are very different from eating a bowl of white pasta, white bread or white rice where you may need a few servings to fill that “hunger” void.
The natural fiber content whole grains also don’t spike your blood sugar levels nearly as much and thus also contribute to feeling satiated for a longer period of time.So the trick is to start simply. Select the grains that are most familiar and then go from there. Most people are accustomed to cooking rice, couscous and maybe even barley. With rice you want to find an organic brown rice. This can be either short grain, long grain or basmati (for simplicity sake). Couscous also exists in wheat counterparts, Spelt and Kamut (these are ancient forms of wheat that are left in their whole form and easier to digest). Also speaking of spelt and kamut, both of which can be cooked in their whole grain form as well…spelt is also known as Farro which comes from Italy. It is a wonderful addition or substitution for a grain in any classic rice dish recipe!
As for barley, there are a few different types – but to start out I would go with a “pearled” form as it is easier to cook. Once you get hooked on grains and they become more familiar, get the whole barley which requires soaking and longer cooking and also has more fiber and nutrients intact.
Then comes the next level of grains which includes many gluten free options for those with digestive disturbances such as celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, crohns and something known as “leaky gut”. These grains (almost seed-like) includes Quinoa, Amaranth, Teff, Millet and Wild Rice to name a few. Recipes for these divine gems can range from loafs, to pilafs, croquettes, soups, salads, cookies and pancakes. Many a cookbook exists on how to venture into the world of grains, including how to soak them, cook them, prepare them using a wide variety of ingredients. “The Splendid Grain” by Rebecca Wood is one in particular that makes cooking and learning about grains really easy and rather fascinating.
My overall advice, is to make sure you have some healthy whole grains on hand, stored properly (in a glass jar) in your cupboards, so that the next time you want a warming and nourishing bowl, side dish or breakfast of delicious goodness they are there and ready to go!
Warm Farro Foutash Salad
1 cup pearled farro (if the whole form then soak overnight)
1 cup vegetable stock
½ butternut squash, cubed
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup portabello mushrooms, chopped
1 cup rainbow chard, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sea salt
Dash of herb de provence
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup toasted walnuts
1/3 cup cranberries or currents
Crumbled goat cheese (optional)
Rinse and place farro into a pot with vegetable stock and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours.
Set aside farro.
Place cubed butternut squash on a baking tray with 1 tablespoons of olive oil and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil with garlic over medium heat and add mushroom and sauté until softened.
Add spinach, sea salt, dry herbs and balsamic vinegar. Let sit to let the flavours combine for a few minutes.
Place cooked faro into a large bowl, add olive oil, and butternuts squash and onion, mushroom, spinach mixtures and stir everything in.Add pinenuts and crumbled goat cheese