It’s Celebration Season!

It’s Celebration Season!

‘Tis the season for celebrations! We have several to highlight today, some well-known, some obscure, but learn some fun facts as well as good tips to store in your back pocket for later!

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, began this week and lasts for 8 days. Whether you are celebrating Hanukkah or not, check out these healthy Hanukkah recipes! Our personal favorite is “Winter Squash and Chicken Tzimmes” (pronounce sim-is) combines butternut squash, chicken thighs, and oranges. Yum!

Healthy Hanukkah Recipes!

Ready to get weird with it?? This week we celebrated several lesser-known holidays as well!

National Lager Day

Have you cooked with beer? Did you know when you cook with beer it loses some of it’s alcohol content? The long it’s cooked, the less content it has. Stir it in an Irish Coffee and you lose 15% of the content. Make a beef stew where it is simmered or baked for 2.5 hours you lose 95% of the alcohol. Get creative with your cooking to keep it exciting!

Check out this fairly simple recipe for Beer Can Chicken!

Gingerbread House Day

An Armenian monk first brought gingerbread to Europe around 992 AD and it was often used to mold into images of the saints! It wasn’t until the story of Hansel and Gretel that the idea of gingerbread houses became more commonplace. Although not built into a house, we’ve got a great recipe to share for a Festive Gingerbread loaf.

You can replace ¼ tsp of ground ginger with FRESH ginger in recipes. Remember you can FREEZE whole ginger root too! Need some grated? Just pull out of the freezer and it’s super easy to grate. Toss back in the freezer when you’re done.

National Cocoa Day

Cocoa is harvested twice a year, as cocoa beans, then fermented and dried. The beans are then roasted and hulled to create cocoa nibs which can further be ground into cocoa liquor and then separated into cocoa butter and cocoa cake. Cocoa cake is the end product we see as baking cocoa or in other dry mixes. Know where your food comes from!

Metabolic Effect suggests to feel satiated and reduce cravings try adding 1-2 heaping TB raw organic cocoa powder to 8-12 oz of freshly boiled water, stir and enjoy! Add variety with a dash of cinnamon or cayenne pepper!

National Cupcake Day

Cupcakes don’t have to be disastrous! Choose to enjoy a cupcake at that party with no regrets, and plan for it with other balanced days in your week or look for a recipe with healthier alternatives. Here’s one that is sweetened with dates, banana, and the juice of an orange!

Did you know you can cook down dates with water to make a sugar alternative? Make a double batch of these moist, pudding like cupcakes, for a full cupcake pan of 12.

and our personal favorite…

National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day!

Although not fully chocolate covered, try this frozen yogurt bark!! This recipe is very forgiving. Try varying ratios to make smaller batches. The test recipe was 3 cups of plain greek yogurt (go for some kind of fat content for creaminess), ¼ c honey or syrup, and 1-2 tsp vanilla extract mixed. Spread on a parchment lined cookie sheet and top with 1.5 c sliced/chopped berries and ¼ cup chocolate chips! Freeze for 2-3 hours and then break into pieces. Get creative with shredded coconut, nuts, and more for variety

Let’s Talk Turkey! (Recipes Inside!)

Ground turkey is a very popular lean protein option that is super easy to prep and cook, so this week we are going over all sorts of ways you can use this ingredient to help craft healthy meals that are *most importantly* SIMPLE!

FREEZE!

Did you know you can cook up ground turkey (or ground beef, etc) ahead of time, drain, and freeze? When you need ground meat for tacos, chili, pasta type dishes, etc you can pull out your frozen ground meat and toss into your meal to speed up that mid-week dinner. If you know a dish you regularly make, it can even be cooked up with seasonings and/or onion before freezing. Make sure to label and date it to stay organized. Be realistic: cooking fresh meals every day? Aint nobody got time for that…

One-Pot or Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili

In a large saucepan, cook
• 1 lb turkey
• 1 C. chopped onions
• 1 C. chopped green peppers
• 2 tsp minced garlic.
(This mixture could be pre-cooked and frozen for quicker chili next time!)

Stir in the following, bring to a boil and simmer before serving:
• 1 can crushed or diced tomatoes
• 1 can kidney beans rinsed/drained
• 1-12 oz can of V-8 or tomato juice
• 6oz can tomato paste
• 4 oz can green chiles
• Seasonings: 1 tbsp. dried parsley, 1 tbsp. ground cumin, 3 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp dried oregano, and pepper to taste
(Make this recipe even quicker by measuring and combining your seasonings ahead of time!)

Turkey and Eggplant Pasta

Have you tried a chickpea or lentil pasta yet? They have become regulars on store shelves, and they’re a great alternative to traditional pasta because they have around 25g of protein and 13-16g of fiber per serving! A couple popular brands are Banza and Tolerant.

Ingredients:
• 4 1/2 cups cubed peeled eggplant (about 1 pound)
• 1 pound Italian Turkey (or Chicken) Sausage
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
• 6 cups CHICKPEA or LENTIL penne pasta (about 10 ounces uncooked)
• 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cook eggplant, sausage, and garlic in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until sausage is browned and eggplant is tender. Add tomato paste, oregano and tomatoes; cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Place cooked pasta in a large bowl. Serve over 1 serving of pasta, top with cheese, and parsley; toss well.

Turkey Taco Salad

Many pre-packaged taco seasonings contain unnecessary ingredients like added sugars, starch, or worse! Fortunately, it’s super easy to make your own. Check out this previous blog post for a homemade “packet” replacement and full recipe for Taco Salad. Make a large batch of seasoning to store in a container and grab a scoop the next time!

Turkey Breakfast Wrap

Use some of your leftover ground turkey taco meat for breakfast the next day! Scramble eggs with green peppers, tomatoes and/or salsa, and ¼-1/2 cup of leftover taco meat. Top with a sprinkle of cheese and eat, or take on the go by wrapping in a sprouted grain wrap!

BRRR! Winter has arrived! Warm up with
Healthy Turkey Meatloaf

In a large mixing bowl combine:

• 1.5 lb ground turkey
• 1 chopped onion
• 4 egg whites
• 1 C salsa
• ¾ C rolled oats
• 1 pkg veg soup mix
• ¼ tsp black pepper

Press into a 9” X 5” bread pan. Spread ¼ C ketchup on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until center is no longer pink.
Serves: 6