Homecooking and Healthy Holiday Side Dishes

How many of you were at the stores at 5 am for Black Friday shopping? I definitely wasn’t! One of my favorite parts of this long holiday weekend is sleeping, and there aren’t many deals out there that would have me waiting outside all night long! Free airline tickets maybe. . . I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. Our weekend started off with LOTS of traffic as I left home two hours later than planned because of a few work crises. The usual four and a half or five hour trip took over seven hours. It was brutal, but apparently those who left later in the day had it much worse. I can’t imagine. My mom greeted us with one of my favorite dishes.
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Simply delicious, it is just chopped bell peppers sautéed in garlic and olive oil. Once they are softened, shrimp is added and cooked until pink. At the last second, she adds green olives and a little bit of olive juice. Served over pasta or with bread for dipping, it is a perfect weeknight meal. On Thanksgiving morning, I made a super healthy smoothie of regular skim milk, 2 cups steamed red chard, 1 cooked sweet potato, cayenne pepper, a banana, and cinnamon. Yum. The addition of cayenne to my smoothies has really added a whole new flavor to them and has helped me get over my smoothie boredom once and for all. After spending some time visiting my nana, we all reconvened at my uncle’s house for dinner. I started in on the appetizers right away. My sister brought olive tapenade from Wegman’s with a crunchy crostini. I like making my own olive tapenade, but this store bought version is excellent. There was also spinach dip in pumpernickel bread, one of my favorites.
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My cousin brought their new family member, Cody, and I spent a lot of time chasing him around the house. He’s still a baby and tuckered out easily!
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 Dinner was amazing as usual. For wine, we served Nashoba Valley Winery Vidal Blanc and Gundlach Bundschu Pinot Noir. Both paired very well with the meal and kept white and red drinkers happy. We had turkey, various types of stuffing including one with sausage, sweet potatoes, corn, rolls, and garlic mashed potatoes. What I ended up eating most of were the two raw side dishes. I don’t know if it was the unseasonably warm weather, but the two dishes I want to focus on are a celery slaw and a cranberry orange relish. The slaw was simple and crunchy, made of celery, cabbage, red bell pepper, vinegar, some sugar, salt, and pepper. It was festive and looked like confetti. image

A recipe that I found online that sounded very similar is from Rachael Ray’s website: http://www.rachaelray.com/recipe.php?recipe_id=1771. Ours was made of celery, green cabbage, and red peppers, but I am pretty sure that any crunchy veggies can be substituted. Its seriously addictive and filled me up without being heavy or making me feel sluggish. The second dish that I filled my plate with was cranberry orange relish. image

Another easy dish that packs a lot of vitamin deliciousness. It is made of a bag of cleaned cranberries pureed with juice, pulp, and zest of two oranges. Add sugar or honey to taste, and just whirl it around in the food processer until everything is chopped and combined. After my healthy-ish dinner there was dessert of course.

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It was not the traditional pie fare (Hey, where was the pie?!), but there were lots of yummy options including cheesecake bites, Italian cookies, and a strange but good strawberry jello pretzel salad. I did not eat the jello part, but the layer of cream cheese and pretzels was really delish! After dinner we spent time visiting with everyone and then headed home for more relaxing and to sleep! I know my schedule is going to get busy again as soon as we get back to Boston on Saturday, so I am just enjoying the down time that I have now with my family. I hope you all are doing the same! P.S. If you have the time this weekend, check out my cousin’s website: http://happyglyphs.com. He is a great cartoonist, illustrator, and fine artist.

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Tags: Food, holiday, recipe, Thanksgiving, wine

  1. VeggieGirl’s avatar

    No shopping for me today either – too many crazy people out, haha. Aww, love Cody! Glad you had a nice celebration!

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  2. Kelly’s avatar

    Cody is so cute. I totally agree with you, I would never lose sleep to shop- I mean really, how good are the deals? (free airline tickets though, I probably would) I’m glad you are enjoying some down time!

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  3. Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca)’s avatar

    That dog is adorable!!!! And that baking looks so pretty – I love the perfect little squares :-)

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  4. Simply Life’s avatar

    Oh that shrimp dish your mom makes looks absolutely delicious!!!

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  5. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite’s avatar

    Looks like a great spread and pretty healthy too! Cody=cutie!

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  6. John Steventon’s avatar

    Thanks for the mention… much appreciated! And great seeing you, as always. :0) As for the pie, Mom did make a pumpkin pie, which I can now attest was delicious with a perfect crust. However, in all the Holiday food craziness, and perhaps due to the delightful wines you brought, we all managed to forget to take the pie out of the fridge! More for me, now. :0) PS Toby was cute, but let’s get back to the food. :0)

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