By Elizabeth Harrison and Cheryl Shaw, Health Coaches, Grace Cottage Community Health Team
Healthy, holiday, and delicious – can these words go together? Most definitely!
Enjoying a holiday meal doesn’t have to wreck your diet – if you start with wholesome ingredients and cook them in a health-conscious way. We are the Health Coaches at Grace Cottage Family Health in Townshend, and we love to take classic holiday recipes and give them a healthy spin. Here are a few of our holiday favorites. These side dishes and desserts can be served with your favorite entrée for a delicious, nutritious, and pretty meal.
Wild Rice with Kabocha Squash & Sage Butter
Ingredients: ½ cup wild rice, ½ cup brown rice, 2 cups water, ½ medium kabocha or other squash or 1 lb. yams, 1 T. coconut oil, 3 T. melted coconut oil, ½ T. chopped fresh sage, 1 T. minced shallots, ½ t. sea salt.
Instructions: Squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Lightly brush squash with 1 T. coconut oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 40-45 minutes, until soft. When cool enough to handle, cut into large 1-inch chunks (with skin or without). Keep warm. Rice: In medium pot over high heat, combine rice varieties with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook until rice is tender, approximately 25-30 minutes, depending on type of rice. Keep warm. Sage butter: In food processor, blend 3 T. melted coconut oil, sage, shallots and salt until smooth. To serve: Heat sage butter over medium-low heat for one minute. Add cooked rice and combine, then cook for one minute longer while stirring constantly. Remove from heat and carefully fold in squash. Serve warm. (www.juliemorris.net)
Red & Green Vegetable Sauté
Ingredients: 1 thinly sliced onion, ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, 2 T. olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 lb. green beans (or any green vegetable: broccoli, snow peas, etc.), 1 thinly sliced sweet red pepper, ¼ cup sliced almonds, salt and pepper to taste.
Instructions: Cut green beans in half crosswise. Cook in boiling water 4-5 minutes until tender-crisp; drain, rinse under cold water, drain well (for green leafy vegetables, rinse but don’t cook first). In large nonstick frying pan, cook almonds over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to small dish. Add oil to pan; heat over medium-high heat. Cook onions until softened (2-3 minutes). Stir in red peppers, green vegetable, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are tender-crisp and green vegetable is hot (4-5 minutes). Stir in almonds. Sprinkle with parmesan before serving. (www.hauteandhealthyliving.com)
It Ain’t Mashed Potatoes
Ingredients: 1 head cauliflower, 3 T. milk or substitute, 1 T. butter or olive oil, 2 T. plain yogurt or cottage cheese, 1/4 t. garlic salt, pepper to taste, snipped chives.
Instructions: Separate cauliflower into florets and chop core finely. Bring about 1 cup of water to a simmer in a pot, then add cauliflower. Cover and turn heat to medium. Cook 12-15 minutes or until very tender. Drain and discard water (the drier, the better). Add milk, butter, yogurt, salt and pepper. Mash with potato masher until it looks like mashed potatoes. Top with chives. (www.steamykitchen.com)
Whole Grain Stuffing
Ingredients: 2 cups assorted whole grains (brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, amaranth), 1 onion chopped, 2-4 garlic cloves chopped, 2 T. oil, ¼ cup dried mushroom blend, ¼ cup dried chestnuts, ¼ cup chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.), 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth, ½ cup water, dried or fresh herbs to taste (sage, rosemary, parsley, thyme, celery, etc.)
Instructions: Sauté onion, garlic and nuts in oil until lightly browned. Add other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to very low simmer for approximately 35-40 minutes until grains are tender. Can be served on the side or placed inside turkey or other poultry. (Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Health Coach Nancy Schaefer)
Chocolate Truffle Torte
Ingredients: 2 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes or yams, ½ cup oil, ½ cup (or less) of natural sweetener (maple syrup, honey, agave) or 20 drops stevia, 1 t. vanilla, 6 eggs separated (to use fewer eggs, add ¼ cup applesauce for each omitted egg), 10 oz. melted chocolate or ¾ cup cocoa powder.
Instructions: Blend sweet potatoes, oil, sweetener, and vanilla. Add 6 egg yolks and blend. Add melted chocolate. Whip egg whites until stiff but not dry. Add 1/3 of beaten egg whites to sweet potato batter to lighten consistency, then gently fold in rest of egg whites. Oil then line a cheesecake pan with parchment paper. Put batter in pan. Bake at 350° for approximately 45 minutes. Cake usually has a slight crack in the middle when done. Let cool in a refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. When cool, you can drizzle some melted chocolate on top or spread some unsweetened raspberry jam on top. (Lee Cohen)
Mexican Wedding Cookies
Ingredients: 1½ cups blanched finely ground almond flour, ⅛ t. salt, ⅛ t. baking soda, 2 T. palm shortening, 2 T. honey, 1 t. vanilla, ½ cup toasted chopped pecans, ½ cup powdered coconut sugar.
Instructions: In food processor combine almond flour, salt, and baking soda. Pulse in shortening, honey, and vanilla. Mix in pecans by hand. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop dough out in scant tablespoons. Form cookies into firmly pressed balls (very important!). Bake at 350° for 7-10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Dip cookies into powdered coconut sugar or traditional powdered sugar. (To make coconut powdered sugar, whiz coconut sugar in a blender or coffee grinder). Makes 16 bite-size cookies. (www.keyingredient.com)
Bios: Elizabeth Harrison is a board certified clinical nutritionist, certified through the International & American Associations of Clinical Nutritionists. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from Western College for Women (now Miami University of Ohio). Cheryl Shaw is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, Certified Wellness Coach, and Certified Exercise Physiologist. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Fitness from Springfield College. Grace Cottage Health Coaches provide resources and skills to help clients develop healthy habits. The services of Grace Cottage’s Community Health Team are free for all clients.