Well, I wasn’t gonna do it, but here I go anyway… hauling off and giving you guys a Thanksgiving recipe. I am American, after all. And it is Thanksgiving week, after all. Gotta stay true to my roots!
My philosophy on holiday eating has changed a bit over the years, I have to admit. I used to get on board with the general theory that the “holidays” were the perfect excuse for an eating free-for-all from Thanksgiving until January 1… and deal with the consequences on January 2. I would eat things I didn’t even like that much, in the name of “I only get to eat it once a year.” Crazy, I know. And even crazier is the fact that I would wonder why every year I felt so lethargic, low energy, and hating exercise by the end of December. So my more recent approach to the holidays is choosing what is really important to me to eat and enjoy, then: Eat it, Love it, and Feel no guilt. Works for me! And the rest of the time, stick basically to how I eat the rest of the year- lots of veggies, fruits, whole grains, & legumes. Oh, and just in case you’re curious, here’s what makes my list of Eat it, Love it, Feel no guilt:
- Pumpkin pie
- Homemade hot chocolate (the French way with melted dark chocolate)
- “Tea Ring”- my mother’s beautiful Christmas cinnamon bread twisted into a gorgeous ring, frosted & studded with pecan halves, eaten on Christmas morning
- Fresh cranberry orange relish (my Grandmother’s recipe)
- Homemade chocolate truffles
Yup, there it is. My favourite holiday foods of all time. Nostalgic? You bet. That’s part of why I love them. Food is so much more than just fuel for our bodies, especially at holiday time. It is nourishment for our souls as well.
So how are we supposed to balance all this soul nourishment and nostalgia eating with actually eating for health during the next 6 weeks?? Oy! There is the trick, my friends… but I know that keeping up with the good health & food habits we’ve built all year long is a good start. There are certainly plenty of healthy foods that represent the holidays that we can serve to guests and bring to gatherings.
Like this pumpkin hummus, for instance! It’s based on chickpeas, which are just about as perfect a food as you can get- high in protein and fiber, low in fat, and high in folate, manganese, & iron. Canned pumpkin gives it a golden colour as well as a good dose of vitamin A, and it’s spiced up with cumin, coriander, & a hint of cinnamon. I used pumpkin seed oil to give it a deeper flavour, but extra-virgin olive oil works just fine too.
You can whip this up in 10 minutes and it’s perfect for bringing to any social gathering, or just noshing for your own lunch. Who knows, it may just be the one holiday food you can’t live without… but then, you don’t have to limit yourself to once a year on this one!