What do you get when you have vegans, meat-eaters, adults, children, food allergies, Ulcerative Colitis patients, and kosher eaters all dining together? No this isn’t the beginning of a joke – this was my 2009 Thanksgiving! Oh and did I mention there were 27 of us?
Sure we had to clear out some furniture, bring folding tables out from storage and my aunt had to bring extra chairs to make room for everyone, but my Thanksgiving was one of the most memorable holidays I’ve had in a long time, thanks to the company… and the food helped too.
My family decided to do Thanksgiving a little differently this year. Sure we served the typical turkey (actually we had 2 – 1 kosher and 1 organic), stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, but instead of loading up on appetizers like we do for every holiday and get-together, my family served lighter (and healthier) “hors d’oeuvres” like steamed green beans, raw peppers, cucumbers and carrots with hummus and crackers and nuts. The appetizer tables were beautiful colored rainbows, and everyone really appreciated the lighter and healthier options. We were actually hungry when it was time to eat dinner! Imagine that!
We had two beautiful salads as well during dinner. I could see a sea of green when I was looking around at everyone’s plates during the meal. For dessert we had two brightly colored fruit salads in addition to dark chocolate chip cookies, banana bread and a few other desserts that guests brought. There were lots of healthy options available the entire evening!
This quinoa salad is one of the most delicious ways to eat quinoa that I have ever experienced and it was a huge hit!
2 cups Quinoa, cooked
½ bunch parsley or cilantro
½ bunch of mint
3 stems of scallions
Handful of dried blueberries (get the kind that contains apple juice in them to keep them moist)
Handful of pomegranate seeds
Handful of roasted almond slivers
½ cup olive oil (or less)
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbs. honey
Salt and pepper
Combine dry ingredients
Mix olive oil, lemon juice and honey and pour over salad 1 hour prior to serving
My family has always been relatively “healthy” eaters, but it wasn’t until the last couple of years that my entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) has really started to change their eating habits The most significant changes have taken place after my mother and I both became certified health counselors last year. Numerous family members have experienced significant weight loss. Heart and cholesterol problems have subsided. It was really exciting to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with so many like-minded folks. I am really so thankful to be part of such a special family filled with so much love and support.
We finished the meal (and dessert) feeling satisfied, but not uncomfortably full. There were no complaints of needing to change into pants with elastic waste bands to make room for very full bellies and there were no food comas! We were up until midnight talking and spending time with one another.
Here is another recipe that we served on Thanksgiving. High in nutrients and low in calories, green beans are an easy vegetable to spice up for the holidays or any other day. They have wonderful anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in vitamins A, C and K. Give this recipe a try. It’s easy and really fast.
½ pound Green beans, rinse and stems snapped off
1 onion, sliced into long stringy pieces
½ cup Almond slivers
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Lightly steam green beans
Water sauté onion
Allow green beans and onions to cool and combine in bowl. Add almonds and lightly drizzle olive oil. Add spices to taste.
If my Thanksgiving is any indication to the holiday season that lies ahead, I am off to a great start! Lots of veggies, family, rest and quality conversations; what more can I ask for?