Every year the holidays become more and more special and meaningful to me. This year I do not have to work on Thanksgiving and I am very excited to spend the day in the kitchen with my mom and sisters! My mom is such a wonderful cook and I love learning from her.
When I was home this weekend, my mom asked my sister and me to help her plan the Thanksgiving Dinner menu. I was asked if the creamed onions had to be made healthy. I was shocked by this question. Why you ask? Creamed onions are a staple to my family’s holiday meal. To me, the creamed onions remind me of my mom mom, who has since passed. She was a wonderful cook and she worked so hard in the kitchen to make the holidays perfect for my family (+20 people). She is a huge reason why my family is so strong and why we love the holidays. So why am I telling you all of this?
Well for one, I am not too sure that “healthy” creamed onions would taste very good. Also, I am about to share a couple healthy holiday desserts and before I do so, I want to make one thing clear. It is important to enjoy the holidays and make the traditional foods that are meaningful for you and your family. Yes, there is always an opportunity to make dishes healthier. For example use 2% milk (or even whole milk) instead of heavy cream. Bake or roast vegetables. Cut the amount of sugar by half in pies and desserts. Make sure to wisely choose the dish or dishes that you want to make healthier. When in doubt, add an extra dish to the menu that is healthy. I bet it will be a hit! But really, do not mess with your family’s traditional foods… or the creamed onions!
Here are two apple desserts to try this Thanksgiving! If you have questions about your upcoming Thanksgiving menu, comment below and I will respond with my recommendations!
Building and sustaining a nutrient packed pantry is key to living a healthy lifestyle. First, a pantry should have food that can be made in to at least a couple of meals. That way if there is no time to go grocery shopping for a couple days, ordering take out can be avoided, which can sometimes lead to overindulging and unplanned expensive. Also, a pantry should have healthy and satisfying snacks, because when the munchies strike (and they sometimes will), options should be available!
Now I have learned that my 1-bedroom, urban apartment is not going to have the same available space as my mom’s pantry does, but I make it work, and I know you can too! The items below can ALWAYS be found in my kitchen.
And always remember that planning yields success!
People frequently ask what my favorite foods are or what I buy at the grocery store. Therefore, I wanted to share some of the items that make it to my weekly grocery list! I have also given some information on why the items never fail to make it into my shopping cart.
It’s November and do you know what that means… It’s time for a winter squash recipe! Winter squashes are delicious, versatile and easy to make. Whether it’s acorn, spaghetti, butternut, pumpkin, kabocha or buttercup squash, a good recipe will highlight the tasty flavors of each one. Squash is a staple in my kitchen during the fall and winter months because when stored in a cool, dry place, these nutrient-dense vegetables can last for months.
Winter squashes are packed with anti-oxidants and vitamins, including Beta-Carotene, fiber, iron, riboflavin (B2), omega 3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory), vitamin C, potassium and manganese. Tip: make sure to add some healthy fat (i.e. olive oil) into your recipe, therefore the fat-soluble nutrients (vitamin A, D, E, K) can be made available for your body to absorb.
Winter squash is easy to make, that is, once the proper cutting and preparing techniques are learned. For those who have never cut and prepared squash, here are a few pointers. If additional assistance is needed, go to YouTube and search “How to Cut Squash.”
Okay, ready to cut the squash? First, make sure the chef's knife is sharpened. Nothing is worse than a dull knife. Once the knife is sharpened, cut off the stem or top of the squash. This creates a flat surface to work with, which is very important when cutting squash properly, or really any vegetable. Then simply cut the squash in half. Tip: when cutting butternut squash, cut in to quarters then peel. This is much easier than trying to peel whole or even in halves because it can be pretty slippery. Don’t forget to scoop out and discard the pulp. That’s all you really need to know about how to prep and cut a squash. Now, the fun part, a new recipe!
Vegetables can be intimidating to cook, especially when you’re not sure how to prepare them. So this week I am challenging you to cook with a new vegetable! Here is one of my favorite recipes.
Quinoa, Black Bean Stuffed Acorn Squash
Total Time: 50 minutes (30 minutes cook time, 20 minutes prep time)
2 Acorn Squash
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, diced (~1 cup)
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 serving (1 half of squash)
9 grams protein
10 grams fiber
I am a registered dietitian, licensed nutritionist, foodie, fitness enthusiast, traveler and runner, living in the city of brotherly love. I have a passion for cooking and sharing delicious, healthful food. I enjoy working with clients to help them achieve their health and nutrition goals.