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Thanksgiving

Harvest Squash and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries

Harvest Squash and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries

I craft a lot, a lot of recipes. And I’m always dreaming up more in my mind. Yet, every year, Thanksgiving comes around, and rarely do I have a clue of what I’m going to make.

Usually, the winning idea arrives last minute (fashionably late). Often, it’s after a few Google searches, and several emails from my sister inquiring about what I’ll be bringing to the family feast. Usually she gives up. And often I show up with a surprise. Which means, it needs to be good. Great. Worthy of all turkey-eaters to save some vegetarian room on their plate.

Harvest Squash and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries

This year, I was given some time in advance to think. Well, actually, required to set aside some time to choose a Thanksgiving dish to share recipe.

I hosted a Friendsgiving this past weekend, which was perfect for practicing my holiday cooking skills before the real deal rolls around.

This heaping bowl of thyme-infused rice and squash goodness got gobbled up in no time. If I had to give it an alternate name, I’d call it Healthful Holiday Party-in-a-Bowl. It’s a true celebration of fall’s best festive flavors.

Harvest Squash and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries

Here, nutty rice pairs with creamy squash and a sweet-meets-tart punch of flavor from the cranberries. Buttery, pan-roasted pecans add a crunch, while thyme drives that classic Thanksgiving feel that we all know and love. I sautéed the onion in butter to richen things up, and finished it off with parsley to add a complimentary freshness. The result, as previously mentioned, is a T-day party-in-a-bowl. Are you ready to celebrate?

Harvest Squash and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries

If you’re not sure what you’re bringing to the Thanksgiving table yet, I’m throwing this into the recommendation hat. It serves as a great vegetarian main dish that leaves you satisfied with all of its festive goodness.

If you do have a recipe already picked out, this needn’t be reserved solely for the holidays. Healthy and wholesome, I’ll certainly be bringing this to the table again this season. Cheers.

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Brussels Sprout Sliders

Brussels Sprout Sliders

If Thanksgiving meal scheming is still taking place in your head, I’m recommending these sliders fill a spot on your menu.

If not, save them for your next holiday gathering. Just don’t forget them.

Brussels Sprout Sliders

Know once you do bring this dish into creation, forget isn’t even possible. NY Times inspired, this recipe makes brussels sprouts one memorable app. If you think like I do, the name alone could’ve told you that.

Brussels Sprout Sliders

As soon as I saw the word “sliders” paired with “brussels sprouts”, this went on the must-make list. Genius!

The New York Times Well blog never fails to round up a solid number of inspiring recipes for its annual “Vegetarian Thanksgiving”. It’s a feature I look forward to every year, and one from which I almost always put to use.

This year, it has me thinking, what other endless combinations of veggie-driven sliders can I create? Thanks for the excellent idea, New York Times. This blog post goes out to you, as does one of the “thank you’s” I’ll be voicing in my head on Thanksgiving.

Brussels Sprout Sliders

These surpassed my expectations, and held together rather easily with the help of a few toothpicks. I did modify the recipe to double the marinade intended for both the sprouts and the tempeh.

Maybe I gave the sprouts too heavy of a dip, but I quickly ran out of the liquid magic that infuses them with flavor in the oven. Perhaps you could give them a lighter coating. Although, I suggest you just double the marinade as suggested below, and allow them to enjoy a nice soak. I found this method to create a rather delicious solution.

Brussels Sprout Sliders Slightly salty, slightly smoky, slightly tangy from that grainy, textured mustard, this is a recipe that layers on all of the best flavors destined to make brussels sprouts a star.

If you didn’t think brussels sprouts could be addicting, then give this a try. Report back because I want to hear the results. Although, I’m pretty sure I already know the answer.   Continue Reading…

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Ain’t no party like a sweet potato party. Or a crostini party. Or a tahini party. Or a Friendsgiving party. Or a Thanksgiving soiree with all your family members you see but once or twice per year and still don’t really know what to talk about besides sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and stuffing.

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

I can’t say I’m a fan of the word ain’t. (In fact, I had to look up its spelling just for this blog post.) But, I’m a huge fan of parties, even those semi-strange family ones, and I’m  equally a fan of all the ingredients listed above.

Tahini. Sweet potatoes. Honey. Toasted walnuts and baguette. Now that’s a party in a single, not-entirely-too-awkward bite to eat.

I.e., you’re going to want to put this guy on your Thanksgiving party plate list.

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Aside from crostini packages that offer a ton of flavor in one fork-and-spoon-free bite, I’m a huge fan of healthy appetizers. Let’s face it, parties aren’t always the most health-friendly activities, Thanksgiving included. In fact, recent research for my day job informed me that the average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day, or the equivalent of the calories you’d use to jog 10 hours straight. Yowza. That’s a party in which I’m not too interested.

Luckily, this recipe packs in the nutrition, sneaking in a little protein while it’s at it. That bean-powered protein and creamy sweet potato fiber will keep you satisfied till the main meal arrives, and keep you feeling good, too.

If that sounds great to you, I invite you to kick off your next party FFFreshAir style, and let this crostini start your taste bud tango. I promise, it’s got way better dance moves than I do.

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Healthy Pumpkin Recipe Roundup

‘Tis the season for pumpkin-everything. I much prefer mine in its whole form as opposed to its pseudo form, and so I give an annual “no thank you” to the kind that’s making appearances in places it shouldn’t be. No thank you “pumpkin” cream cheese. No thank you high fat “pumpkin” lattes. Yes please, pumpkin curry, pumpkin soup, pumpkin dessert, and everything else you’ll find down below.

Pumpkin does have its place, and I can certainly jump on the October pumpkin bandwagon, as long as it’s showing up on the right spoon. Are you with me?

If so, great. Let’s be friends. Let’s also dive into this pumpkin recipe roundup together containing some of my all-time favorite pumpkin creations. Here, you’ll find a little something for everyone (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan), all meals, and occasions. You’ll also find a few pumpkin-y desserts, which are for sure worth the annual indulgence. That vegan pumpkin custard might be one of my favorite recipes of my repertoire, and it takes just 20 minutes and one pan to make! So come on already, pass over the pumpkin, please.

Pumpkin Coconut Overnight Oats

Pumpkin Coconut Overnight Oats

Breakfast made easy-peasy, creamy and delicious.

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

 Pumpkin Pie Muffins

Breakfast, lunch, snack-time, dessert…you name it. These half-whole-wheat, part-pumpkin-filled muffins, will make you feel good about the pastry in your hands.

Sage Pumpkin Hummus

Sage Pumpkin Hummus

 I love flavor variations of hummus. This one speaks of a harvest fall. Throw some toasted pita by its side and you have a wonderful appetizer for any gathering of the season.

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Butternut Squash Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Pecans

Butternut Squash Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Pecans

Snow is falling, flannel PJ’s are on, and my parents house is my office for the day. Suddenly, I feel the holiday bug has hit me. I am ready for the feasting, and gifting, and extra special loving to begin.

In preparation for tomorrow, I whipped up my family a healthy, wholesome lunch this afternoon. Perhaps consider doing something similar for your own dinner, pre or post Thanksgiving day.

Light meals are extra welcomed this time of year.

Butternut Squash Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Pecans

Salads are rarely rocket science. For this one, I tore up a bunch of washed romaine, while I let a butternut squash roast. For the squash, preheat your oven to 375F. Slice it in half, lengthwise and remove the seeds, and then cut into 3/4-inch half moons. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum oil, and lightly coat with olive oil, salt and pepper, and add a bunch of fresh thyme. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until soft and creamy, but still together enough to slice.

For the vinaigrette, mix 2 parts oil to one part apple cider vinegar, and throw in a few Tbsp. of Dijon mustard. Season with pepper. If you use enough Dijon, likely you won’t need any salt. The Dijon should make it creamy, but not be overpowering in flavor. Taste as you whisk.

Toast up a handful or two of chopped pecans, depending on how many heads of lettuce you’re using. Simply add to a dry skillet over medium-high heat and stir with a spoon until edges of the pecans are browned.

Toss lettuce with the vinaigrette. Chop the cooked squash into bite-sized pieces, and add to the salad bowl. Throw in toasted pecans and a handful of pomegranate seeds. Share, eat, enjoy.

Happy Thanksgiving, FoodFitnessFreshAir friends!