Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pre Turkey-Day Prep (the healthy way)

Well it’s Thanksgiving eve and you know what that means-cleaning, cooking, shopping, cooking, and did I mention cooking?

While the eve of Thanksgiving may be one of the biggest bar nights of the year and a highly anticipated night for many, I find myself slaving away in the kitchen-and I’m actually proud of it.

Since Thanksgiving is all about eating (and yes, family and giving thanks too), what better to do than spend the night cooking in the kitchen?

And no, I’m not talking about the usual mashed potatoes drenched in 5 sticks of butter or grandma’s famous pumpkin pie. While those dishes are delectable indeed, I decided to make our Thanksgiving feast a tad healthier this year, just a little bit “cleaner.”

Don’t get me wrong: my family will devour the broccoli cheddar casserole within minutes and the homemade cheese cake won’t stand a chance of surviving very long, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be healthier options as well-to go along with the traditional artery clogging favorites.

That’s why I experimented this year with some new recipes, which are both healthy and thoroughly enjoyable, and which I hope my family agrees.

*First of all, I suggested a fruit platter this year, with fresh mangos, pears and cantaloupe to munch on pre-feast. Instead of the usual salty, fatty chips and dips, guest can fill up on healthy fruit, both satisfying and high in good-for-you antioxidants.

*Without saying, I now needed a leaner side-dish, so I chose a sweet potato pie, but not your usual fat packed one. Rather, I made a gluten free, dairy free sweet potato pie with eggs, sweet potatoes, soy milk and half the amount of sugar the original recipe usually calls for. Hopefully people will enjoy it as much as I will!

*Lastly, what’s a dinner without dessert? In addition to the typical cheese cakes, oversized chocolate chip cookies and pies (literally in every type you can think of) I decided to change it up this year with homemade chocolate coconut macaroons. I modified the traditional recipe, using only agave syrup (a great substitute for sugar when baking), shredded coconut, egg whites and Ghirardelli 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate chips(which contains no milk and is much healthier for you than using milk chocolate).

So while Thanksgiving is truly about giving thanks and being with family, what better way to celebrate than adding an extra healthy touch…even if it is just a little modification?

I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday!

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