A box of chocolates is sweet, indeed, but how ’bout getting a bit more creative (and healthful) with the holiday cheer this season. Check out these delicious, good-for-you mail order gifts that will delight your family and friends.
If you’re loathe to try your hand at yet another “great” fruitcake recipe this holiday season, you’re in luck. We’ve created four festive quickbread recipes that are perfect for the holidays. Wrap them up with a ribbon for the road, or keep them out on the counter for all-day snacking. The best part? You won’t be slaving away in the kitchen all day. When it comes to prep time, these quickbread recipes stay true to their name. Just pulse the ingredients in your food processor or stir them straight up in a bowl — no creaming butter necessary. Then, just let your oven do all the heavy lifting and enjoy these gluten-free quick breads that make the most of the season’s feel-good flavors.
“Local farmers literally come to our door, and they show us what they’re growing and teach us about all these cool new things,” said Ford Fry, the James Beard Foundation Award-nominated chef and restaurateur who heads acclaimed, locally focused Atlanta destinations, including The Optimist, King + Duke , No. 246 and JCT.Kitchen & Bar. Fry is fond of frilly mustard greens and the little flowery shoots that sprout early on from collard-green plants. “We love to use those,” he said.
If you haven’t made a kale salad at home yet, here’s the perfect recipe to get you started. With roasted squash and the tahini dressing, it’s hearty enough to stand on its own as a light lunch, or a surprising addition to the dinner table. Plus, it’s super healthy, too.
Delicata squash contains the same health-promoting benefits of all winter squash varieties, and it’s high in beta carotene, antioxidants and vitamin C. Combine it with kale — another nutritional powerhouse with ample amounts of iron, calcium and chlorophyll — and you have a delicious fall salad you can feel great about eating. If you want to dress it up for a special occasion or a holiday meal, add some pomegranate seeds, a shower of shaved Parmesan, or a handful of toasted nuts.
Oh, what to do when, at 11:30 p.m., in both a famished and weary state, you return to your hotel and discover that ordering a black bean burger via room service will take 45 minutes? One glance at the won’t-save-you-either minibar reveals nothing more redeemable than a $10 container of Pringles. A vending machine, of course, would instantly sate those late-night cravings. But do you really want your impromptu dinner to be comprised of a decidedly bad-for-you bag of chocolate chip cookies?
The magician of winter produce, spaghetti squash knows a few culinary tricks. Upon first examination, the oblong shell contains only seeds and hard flesh. But put it into an oven and, ta-da, the tough interior transforms into mounds of soft, stringy ribbons, which can be used for salads, noodle stand-ins and casseroles, and as a soft resting place for fish, poultry or meat. But there is another trick in spaghetti squash’s repertoire, one that is particularly perfect for the holidays: latkes.
If I asked you to tell me the reasons why you eat what you eat, I already know some of the reasons you’d give: “tastes good,” “grew up with it,” “it’s healthy” and so on. Betcha anything that “convenience” is at the top of your justification list. I know it’s tops on mine. For example, I eat my oatmeal with a spoonful of almond butter, a handful of berries and coffee with a splash of almond milk many a morning because: it’s convenient (the water boils while I’m making Maizy’s lunch), it’s delish (I like me some whole grains in the morning), it’s familiar (have made it a million times and could do it with my eyes closed) and it doesn’t sit heavily in my stomach but gives me energy for my morning workout. Honestly, if it wasn’t super-easy and available, I wouldn’t even consider the deliciousness, familiarity or energy it provides.
Convenience trumps taste when running out the door. It overrules nutrition (yes, even for us nutrition peeps!) sometimes when faced with a cranky and starving kid. Let’s face it: Our lives — in the year 2014 — don’t revolve around solely around our health, and cramming in all the work we need to do in our busy day requires cutting some corners. Convenience is paramount in our super-demanding and crazy multitasking world. Don’t fight it (you’ll lose). Embrace it.
In this week’s news: You now have another reason to scarf down your yogurt; breakfast’s importance is called into question; and heavy drinking may be especially risky for women.
Meatloaf need not be boring. These innovative recipes take an old classic to new heights. The best part: You’ll get all the comfort without all the calories.