A Balanced Menu

A Balanced Menu

Even on a Fat Fueled Holiday

Thanksgiving is the day people go over the edge – the diet goes out the window. It’s all about the food! It makes me crazy. I figure I can find balance in this fat fueled holiday. Mom’s words ring in my ears: It can be healthful and taste good too. Thanksgiving can be easy, tasty and memorable. 

Do we have to have 4 pies?  That’s about one half pie per person in my house. And it makes no sense.  

Who is directing this show anyway? If I’m doing most of the work, I get to plan the menu. Right?  

I grew up with a health focused Mom who preached often about a balanced menu – balanced meal – balanced diet…. In Mom’s mind, the meal was incomplete if you didn’t have a protein, two vegetables, and maybe a little rice.  Maybe she pushed a bit too hard because some 40 years after I moved out, I still cook like Mom.

As I started to delegate the menu helps, I realized that I was quickly losing control of this festival. The husband asked his daughter to bring PIES. When I heard the list I was amazed.  This healthy girl is going crazy and it’s still two weeks away. Why do we need Pumpkin, Pecan, Chocolate and a surprise dessert as well? And the other guests prefer apple. So.. I had to think fast. 

If I want to find a balanced and healthy meal within this madness, I have to take charge of that which I like. If I want vegetables, it’s up to me to make them the way I’m going to like them. 

First up — yams. Sometimes Simple is the best.  This year it’s back to basics, baby.  Just peal em, halve em, drizzle a little butter and brown sugar and bake them about 35 – 40 minutes.  Figure at most 1 1/2 yam per person. Done. 

Green Beans, Garlic and Almonds — If I get really lazy, I’ll buy frozen french cut or a pre made deli item from my favorite store. But — nothing is better than fresh.  So — lightly steamed Haricot Green Beans cut long, then lightly sauteed in butter, fresh chopped garlic, toasted almond bits, and maybe a little lemon.  YUM!  And you can make this a couple days before, store in serving platter and just lightly heat.  Simple, easy, healthy, and balanced menu. 

Brussels — well, there are two ways to go. The easiest and balanced menu add is oven roasted with a drizzle of oil, salt, pepper, and a kick.  Roast for 12 minutes on 450.  
But the annual favorite is always a winner while the oven roasted are questionable.  So get out your wok, heat up some oil, and wok fry quartered Brussels, then add some chopped bacon, and finally some onion.  Saute until tender.  You’ll get to try whatever seasonings you like. Try coconut oil instead of olive oil. It adds a great flavor.  To keep this a balanced menu, use less bacon or less oil. Somethings you just can’t fight. Another add is to include a little orange zest. It gives it some pop and seems to cut through the bacon fat. 

Stuffing? What? You thought I forgot? Nope – but I don’t like bread stuffing except for the rich butter, so this year, it’s a rice stuffing based on what the Puget Consumers Coop deli favorite Maple Cranberry Wild Rice recipe found in store.  I haven’t made it yet. But here is the recipe: 
I’ll be using my favorite Mogami Asian rice blend of many whole grains instead of the wild rice.  Thanks to a good friend, I’m stocked up on butternut squash too. I think I have everything I need.  Try it. It’s really tasty. That apple cider vinegar makes a huge difference. 

Oh, that rice blend?  It’s an all natural blend of non-GMO made in USA Whole Grain blend of 8 grains actually.  The label says Mogami. And it’s loaded with good stuff.  It’s rich in fiber, essential oils, numerous nutrients — but mainly — it tastes great.  

Cranberries — the good thing about cooking your own fresh berries is control. Using orange juice, oranges, and maybe apple juice, you get to cut out a ton of sugar. I’ll dig up the recipe and post it later. 

Turkey is on the menu too.  No – I wouldn’t forget it.  It’s already planned out. Smoking the bird the day before, and reheating the day of seems to make a lot more sense.  Then if we need a backup plan, we can do a normal oven roast.  

Let’s hope we don’t lose power.  

Happy Thanksgiving. 

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