Four Tips to Stay on Track over the Holiday + Recipes

Thanksgiving is a holiday that tends to lead to overeating and that feeling of needing to unzip our pants to feel comfortable. One day can derail our progress. Now I’m not telling you to stay away from the pie but I am saying to stop eating when you feel full.

Here are some great tips to help avoid the “I ate so much I am going to explode” feeling:

  1. Don’t go hungry!

  2. Stay hydrated and I don’t mean with wine.

  3. Eat your vegetables and protein first then eat the carbs.

  4. Eat SLOWLY!

DON’T GO HUNGRY! I’ve done it before…knowing I am going to eat a lot so I don’t eat before I go. This can mess with our blood sugar levels and give us that hangry feeling to where we crave carbs and eat everything in site. Eat your breakfast or do what you normally would do. Make sure to get your protein (eggs, oatmeal with added scoop of protein, whatever it may be)! This will avoid a crash and make you not want to eat everything in site.

STAY HYDRATED - DRINK LOTS OF WATER! It is recommended to drink 8-8oz glasses of water a day. Dehydration can give us a boatload of symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and affect your mood and focus. Did you know that it can also cause cravings? Try drinking a glass of water before you reach for that snack or dessert.

EAT VEGETABLES AND PROTEIN FIRST! By eating your vegetables and protein first will ensure that you are getting your vitamins and nutrients before diving into the sugars or the simple carbs (breads) that convert to sugar in our bodies. I know it’s not as fun but eat those veggies first then follow up with the turkey before going to mashed potatoes, stuffing or bread.

EAT SLOWLY AND STOP WHEN 80% FULL. I don’t know about you but I don’t eat mashed potatoes or stuffing except for at Thanksgiving time so when I get them I want to scarf them down. Eat slowly and chew your food. Make yourself work for it and you’ll notice that you get fuller faster. Just make sure to stop before you are full. Take a breather before going for the second serving. It can take awhile before the signal is sent to our brain to tell us to stop eating.

Now that we got that out of the way let’s move into the good stuff…the recipes!

KEY:

  • gluten-free (GF)

  • dairy-free – milk/lactose (DF)

  • sugar free (SF)

  • made with whole-foods (WF)

  • vegetarian options (V)

Sweet Potato Casserole
(GF, DF, WF, V)  

Betty_Rocker_s_Healthy_Holiday_Menu_-_Betty_Rocker.png

Yield: 8-9 servings

You will need: large pot, measuring spoons, measuring cups, small mixing bowl, 8×8 baking dish or 2 quart dish

KEY: T=Tablespoon; tsp=teaspoon

Sweet Potato Mash

  • 2 lb sweet potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes), peeled and diced

  • ⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk

  • 3 T coconut oil, melted

  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 eggs (1 T flax seeds + 3 T water will make 1 flax egg if you want to make this egg free)

Pecan Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, roughly chopped

  • 2 T butter, or coconut oil, melted

  • 3 T maple syrup

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • pinch salt

Instructions: 

  1. Place sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover with at least 2 inches of water.

  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until completely tender (potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork).

  3. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

  4. Add almond milk, coconut oil, syrup, salt, vanilla, and egg.

  5. Mash until no lumps remain. Add 2-3 T additional milk if it seems a little too thick.

  6. Pour mixture into an 8×8″ or 2-quart baking dish and smooth the surface.

Topping:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Combine pecans, coconut oil, syrup, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.

  3. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mash.

  4. Cover the dish with foil and bake 20 minutes.

  5. Remove foil and bake another 20-25 minutes

Green Bean Casserole 
(GF, DF, WF, SF, V)  

Betty_Rocker_s_Healthy_Holiday_Menu_-_Betty_Rocker.png

Yield: 8 servings

You will need: large pot, skillet or saute pan,  measuring spoons, measuring cups, mixing bowl, baking sheet, parchment paper, serving dish

KEY: T=Tablespoon; tsp=teaspoon

Green Beans and Sauce

  • 1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed

  • 2 T olive oil

  • 12 oz mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 T arrowroot flour, or non-GMO cornstarch)

  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk

  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

  • salt, black pepper to taste

Topping

  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced

  • ¼ cup almond flour

  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.

  2. In a large bowl place the onions, almond flour and salt and toss to coat.

  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  4. Evenly spread the onions on the baking sheet and bake until golden brown (approximately 10 min) – stir them a couple times during cooking, and then remove from the oven and set aside.

  5. Bring a pot of water to boil and add salt. Once boiling, add green beans and cook for 5 minutes.

  6. Drain and immediately transfer the beans to a large bowl of ice water.

  7. Heat the olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat, add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes.

  8. Stir in garlic and nutmeg,  and sprinkle the arrowroot flour over the mixture and stir until golden.

  9. Mix in the broth and almond milk and cook over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, for about 6 to 8 minutes.

  10. Remove from the heat and stir in the green beans and 1/4 of the onions.

  11. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

  12. Top with the remaining onions and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

  13. Remove and serve.

Probably my fav…

Quinoa Sage Stuffing 
(GF, DF, SF, WF, V) 

Betty_Rocker_s_Healthy_Holiday_Menu_-_Betty_Rocker.png

Yield: 8 servings

You will need: skillet or saute pan, measuring spoons, measuring cups, baking dish

KEY: T=Tablespoon; tsp=teaspoon

  • 1 ½ cups (ideally sprouted) quinoa, rinsed well

  • 2 ½ cups organic vegetable broth

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 heaping cup of celery, diced

  • 1 medium white onion, diced

  • Small handful of fresh sage, chopped (about 2 T)

  • ½ tsp garlic powder

  • 2 T virgin olive oil

  • sea salt to taste

  • fresh ground coarse pepper to taste

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. In a medium sized pot bring 1 cup of vegetable broth to a boil. Add in the quinoa and bay leaf, salt, pepper and stir.

  3. Set to low heat and simmer with a lid on for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat (do not lift lid) and allow the quinoa to steam for another 10 minutes.

  4. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over low heat and add in the chopped celery and onion. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly, until they begin to become translucent.

  5. Increase heat to medium and add in the vegetable broth, sage, garlic powder and simmer for a few minutes.

  6. Combine the quinoa with the veggie mixture and add in the last 1/2 cup of vegetable broth. Taste - add any additional salt and pepper if desired.

  7. Place the stuffing mix into a greased oven safe dish and bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

  8. Transfer the dish to the broiler and broil under low flame until the top becomes golden brown.

Gravy 
(GF, DF, SF, WF, V)  

Betty_Rocker_s_Healthy_Holiday_Menu_-_Betty_Rocker.png

Yield: 8 servings

You will need: pan, measuring spoons, measuring cups, fork, small mixing bowl

KEY: T=Tablespoon; tsp=teaspoon

  • 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth

  • 3 T tapioca flour

  • 3 T turkey drippings (if you have them from your turkey, or you can leave these out)

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: 

  1. Place the chicken broth and drippings (if using) in a pan and bring to a boil.

  2. Place the tapioca starch in a small mixing bowl and add 1/4 cup of the hot broth. Whisk well with a fork.

  3. Add the starch and broth mixture to the pan.

  4. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and pepper.

  5. Cook over medium heat while whisking to remove any lumps. The gravy should thicken pretty quickly. If it is too thick, add some more broth.

  6. Season with more salt and pepper if desired before serving.

Can’t forget the main piece…


Herb Roasted Turkey
(GF, DF, SF, WF) 

Betty_Rocker_s_Healthy_Holiday_Menu_-_Betty_Rocker.png

Yield: 8-10 servings

You will need: roasting pan, blender or food processor, measuring spoons, baking sheet, kitchen twine, meat thermometer, serving platter

KEY: T=Tablespoon; tsp=teaspoon

  • 1 10-12 lb turkey, thawed if frozen

  • 8 T unsalted butter (you can also use coconut oil which tastes awesome)

  • Grated zest of 1 lemon

  • 2 handfuls of fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 handfuls of fresh thyme leaves

  • 2 handfuls of fresh sage leaves

  • 3 tsp coarse salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 2 tsp freshly ground pepper, plus more for seasoning

  • 2 lemons, cut into halves

Instructions: 

  1. If you are using a frozen turkey, remove the turkey from the freezer a few days before your holiday meal and let it thaw out in the refrigerator.

  2. When you're ready to roast the bird, remove the turkey from the refrigerator, remove the giblets from inside, rinse turkey with cool water, and pat dry with paper towels. Let it rest on a baking sheet for 2 hours until it comes to room temperature.

  3. Preheat oven to 450 F, with rack on lowest level.

  4. In a food processor, combine the butter, lemon zest, 1 handful of parsley, 1 handful of thyme and 1 handful of sage leaves and pulse for 1-2 minutes until everything is evenly incorporated.

  5. Add 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper and pulse for a few seconds more.

  6. Remove the mixture from the food processor and set aside.

  7. Once the turkey is at room temp, place it in a large roasting pan, breast side up on a metal rack.

  8. Using your hands, smear the seasoned butter mixture all over the turkey. Season with salt and pepper and use your hands to pat everything down onto the skin.

  9. Fill the inside of the bird with the remaining handfuls of herbs and the halved lemons.

  10. Tie the legs together with a bit of kitchen twine and place the bird into the oven

  11. Roast for 30 minutes at 450F.

  12. After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350, and continue to cook for about 2 more hours, basting turkey with drippings from the bottom and rotating the pan every 30-45 minutes.

  13. After 2.5 hours of cooking time, use a meat thermometer and check the thickest part of the turkey so make sure the internal temperature is 175 F. The turkey should be golden brown at this point.

  14. If the turkey is not done, continue to cook it until the thermometer registers at 175 F.

  15. If the turkey is done but isn't quite golden brown yet, turn the heat up to 450 for 15 minutes to crisp up the skin.

For desert to bring it all home…

Pumpkin Pie Tartlets 
(GF, DF, WF, V) 

Yield: 12 mini pies/servings

You will need: food processor, measuring cups and spoons, muffin tin, can opener, mixing bowl, whisk

Note: the cashews for the filling should be soaked for 3 hours, so pre-plan for that before making this recipe.

KEY: T=Tablespoon; tsp=teaspoon

Betty_Rocker_s_Healthy_Holiday_Menu_-_Betty_Rocker.png

Nut Crust

  • 1 cup pecans

  • 1 cup walnuts

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

  • 1-2 T maple syrup

Pie Filling

Coconut Whipped Cream

  • 1 can coconut milk, refrigerated for at least 4 hours (or freeze it for an hour or so!)

  • 1-2 T honey

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Instructions:    

  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. To make the crust, place the pecans, walnuts, baking soda, and salt in your food processor and pulse and chop to a fine, even consistency. Scrape down as needed.

  3. Measure your maple syrup, and turn the food processor back on as you drizzle the liquid into the nut mixture. Add just enough for it to stick together to form a dough. 1-2 T is usually sufficient.

  4. Remove from the mixer and divide evenly between the 12 muffin tins. Press into each muffin tin so it goes up the sides slightly.

  5. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove to cool slightly while you make the filling.

Pie Filling

  1. Blend the cashews in the food processor until semi-smooth.

  2. Add in pumpkin, maple syrup, tapioca starch, molasses, almond milk, and vanilla and blend well.

  3. Add in the spices and blend again. Scoop by the 1/4 cup into the muffin tin.

  4. Bake for 30 minutes, check with a cake tester, and bake for an extra 5-7 minutes if necessary.

  5. Let them cool slightly and then remove from the tins to cool on a cooling rack.

Coconut Whipped Cream

  1. Take the coconut milk out of the fridge and open the can.

  2. Scoop the thick cream off of the top and place it into a bowl. Be careful not to get the liquid at the bottom.

  3. Whisk the cream and then add in the honey and nutmeg. Stir well.

  4. Top the cooled pumpkin pie tartlets with the coconut cream.


Megan Cooper