Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

January 7, 2014

Vegan Almond Butter Cookies

almond butter cookies

I’m not much of a cookie eater these days, and while I don’t have a sweet tooth in the normal, eat-every-baked-good-set-before-me kind of way, I DO like both my green juices and my cocktails pretty darn sweet (the HH ladies can attest to that!). However, when the holidays come a knockin’, I love to buy 3 shiny, new Christmas cookie magazines and just lose myself in all the recipes and pictures. Mind you, I will only ever make exactly 1 cookie recipe out of the 100 I look at, but this process works like a mental pacifier for me. I can’t explain why I love it so much, but if you take a look at Martha Stewart’s annual Christmas cookie issue, I really don’t need to give you a reason. Her photos are so beautiful, it could be a freakin’ coffee table book!

Each season, I like to find a new go-to cookie that I can make over and over again for all kinds of occasions and gifts. This year, as I prepared for a cookie exchange party, I decided to look for a healthier cookie a bit out of the ordinary. Boy, did I find one—it’s vegan and it’s scrumptious! This little gem is wheat free and dairy free (although not sugar free*), so it’s a perfect treat for those people in your life with dairy, wheat, or gluten sensitivities.

*Note about sugar: This recipe calls for brown sugar, so I used organic brown sugar, the healthiest I could find at the store where I was. However, you might be able to substitute either stevia or coconut sugar for the brown sugar and come out with a crazy-good cookie as well. Good luck!

Vegan Almond Butter Cookies

Makes 36 cookies

  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds or flaxseed meal
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 c. smooth almond butter
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, if needed.

2. In a small bowl, mix the flaxseeds with the water and let stand for at least 5 minutes.

3. In a large blender bowl, with the mixer on low, blend together the almond butter, brown sugar, baking soda, vanilla, salt, and soaked flaxseeds until thoroughly combined.

4. Using your hands, gather about a tablespoon of dough and shape the dough into a round ball about ¾-inch across. Place the balls on your cookie sheet about 1½ inches apart. Bake until relatively flat (not a rounded puff), about 11 or 12 minutes. These cookies are delicate, both before and after cooking and tend to crumble easily. I found it helpful to leave the cookies on the sheet for a minute or two after taking the sheet out of the oven before using my spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack.

5. Repeat Step 4 with the rest of the dough.

6. Store your cookies in an airtight container.

(Adapted from Good Housekeeping Christmas Cookies!)

I’ve shared these cookies with many friends and family members, and I have yet to find someone who doesn’t love them. Happy baking and sampling!

XO, Brooke

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December 24, 2013

Dear Santa:

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, people were scurrying around a full house. Yes, loved ones had come from places afar, and stories abound to update us all.

The year had been filled with successes and gain. Some mentioned frustrations, defeats, or going insane. Folks spoke of their wants, their goals and their plans. But then I looked around, and to the study I ran. I write you this note, although it’s delayed, please set aside some room on your sleigh.

What if this year, we threw away the lists? I wonder instead, could we make a request? Visit those lonely, sick, or depressed, and fill up their stockings with comfort and rest. Go to the people who may not have much, and surprise them with treats, with blankets and lunch! Go to the animal who may be alone, and give him some love–maybe a place to call home?

I know you’re in a hurry, so I’ll make this brief. Can you make the spirit of Christmas last beyond this week? Make kindness grow, make evil weak. It can happen with a nudge, a gesture, a tweak. Your spirit will grow in hearts big and small. More will believe, in no time at all!

This is my ask, my only request. It’s a tall order, but you are the best. Little gestures of goodwill, kindness, or cheer, is a gift that will keep giving throughout the year.

I’ve left you some green juice and almonds to take. Be careful with all the cookies, for goodness sake! Merry Christmas to you, Santa, and if there’s time to spare–can you make the Dallas Cowboys better next year?

Love, Lacey Pruett

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December 23, 2013

Happy and Safe Howlidays!

 Christmas brown lab asleep

Hi, there! This is Brooke, your pet-loving gal here. The holidays are here, and you are probably up to your eyebrows in things left to do, cookies to bake, and cards to send—I know I am! Here are some tips on keeping your cherished pets safe and happy during this festive season.

Christmas Trees

This is an example of a bad kitteh!

This is an example of a bad kitteh!

  1. Make sure to anchor your trees from adventurous kitties that climb and dogs with crazily wagging tails—you don’t want all your hard work “decking” the tree to come crashing down in the middle of your eggnog!
  2. If you have a live tree, keep your animals from drinking the tree water, which may be full of pesticides as well as bacteria from the stagnant water. Ingestion of these nasty things can cause diarrhea, nausea, and upset stomach.
  3. Regardless of whether your tree is real or artificial, be sure to clean up the dropped needles often. Curious pets will eat those needles faster than you can say “No, don’t—!“ They are toxic and will cause vomiting, even if fake (trust me on this L).
  4. Do not leave pets unattended with the Christmas tree, if possible. A fully decorated tree comes stocked with all kinds of dangerous “toys”:
  • Hot light strands can burn or electrocute dogs or cats, which have a tendency to chew on things. Keep light strands secured and covered or away from the lower levels of the tree.
  • Be sure to put glass or metal ornaments higher up on the tree, and watch for broken ornaments with sharp hooks or attachments—little paws can easily step on these items.
  • Tinsel may be beautiful, but it’s a big no-no, especially for cat households. Cats will ALWAYS find stringy, dangly items, and tinsel (along with other strings or wires) can be ingested and can get tangled in the stomach or intestines, leading to scary emergency surgery or even death if not caught in time. No thank you!!

Holiday Plants

Many plants that make our houses cherry and bright this time of year are bad news for our furry family members. For a more extensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants, check out this link from the ASPCA: http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/poison-control/Plants. If you suspect your pet has gotten into anything suspicious, whether plant, food, or otherwise, be sure to call your veterinarian or emergency vet clinic IMMEDIATELY. You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year: (888) 426-4435.

Common Holiday Plants Your Pets Should Avoid

  1. Lilies: deadly to cats, can cause kidney failure
  2. Mistletoe (especially the berries): highly toxic, causes upset stomach and potentially fatal heart problems
  3. Holly: causes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy
  4. Poinsettias: not as toxic as often thought, these should still be avoided as they can upset pets’ digestive system
  5. Amaryllis: causes diarrhea and vomiting
  6. Certain species of ivy, namely English ivy: can be extremely harmful if ingested

Forbidden Food and Drinks

Christmas cat and dog eating

We all know that your animal friends are very skilled at watching you pitifully as you shove another yummy treat in your mouth. Their doleful eyes entreat you to share a bit of delicious food with them. Don’t do it!! You can show your pets that you love them in so many healthier ways.

  • Be sure and feed your pets before dinner or party guests arrive—that way, Spot will have a full tummy and be less likely to beg for scraps from your guests. Also, give your animals some special treats made just for them when they have been good (or just because), and politely ask your guests to avoid passing along tasty morsels to your pets.
  • This shouldn’t even need to be mentioned, but be sure to keep the dogs and cats (and any other small creatures) in your house out of the booze and smokes. Even accidental ingestion of alcohol or nicotine by a curious pet can be deadly, so if your party is getting very merry—be careful!!

Some foods that can be harmful to your furry friends are:

  • Turkey skin and gravy: can cause pancreatitis
  • Onions and onion powder: can destroy red blood cells, causing anemia
  • Chocolate: can damage the nervous system and urinary tract as well as the heart muscle; can be deadly
  • Grapes and raisins: grapes, especially, can cause kidney failure (who knew?)
  • Bones, especially poultry bones: can tear or block the intestinal tract; these injuries can be fatal
  • Not a food but food items: strings that are used in turkeys or roast, as well as the little  “pop-up” thermometers; discarded aluminum foil; food and fixings garbage—make sure to keep these items picked up and thrown away, with garbage sealed tightly

Joy to the Animals

Sweetness!

Sweetness!

We can absolutely include our furry or feathered family members in the holiday festivities—we just have to be smart pet parents. Stuff your pets’ stockings with worry-free toys, like rubber dog toys, indestructible Kongs filled with special treats, durable rope “bones”, size-appropriate balls, catnip mice, interactive krinkle mats, and colorful lanyards with bells and mirrors for your favorite bird.

Ok, you guys. Get to jingling those bells, and stay warm!

Blessings, Brooke

December 16, 2013

Healthy Holiday Snacking

popcorn

Morning, Friends! It’s Brooke here. ‘Tis the season for decadent holiday delights. This time of year is packed full of parties, gift exchanges, and general festive cheer that usually involve treats of the most delicious kind. But let’s be honest—it’s not just the sugar haze that warms our hearts when we give and receive these treats. We show our love and care for people in our lives by the cooking we do and the food we serve them. But we can also serve tasty morsels that bring a healthy heart, trim body, and joyful energy to those we care about.

A Simple Checklist

When you or your family need a boost between meals, think about this simple checklist as you assemble your snack. It’s not rocket science, so have fun with it!

  • Lean protein (whey or vegan protein powder, hummus, (healthy) bean dip, hard-boiled egg, low-fat Greek or plain yogurt, or edamame)—protein will help fill you up and satisfy your hunger
  • Healthy fat (nuts, seeds, avocado, or nut butter)—healthy fats also satisfy your hunger and keep your brain sharp and skin supple
  • Complex or non-starchy carb (whole grains, green veggies, or fruit)—these carbohydrates will boost your mood and give you clean-burning energy

Nutritious Nibbles

Cashew-Apple-Greenie-on-TheShiksa_com-healthy-green-smoothie-recipe-640x480

Green smoothie or juice + nuts or seeds: Prepare 12-16 oz. of your favorite green drink and then grab 10-15 unsalted almonds, 10-15 walnuts halves, or 24 pistachios. You will feel amazing after this snack—so clean!

Apple and cheese plate: Thinly slice ½ organic apple, ½ organic pear, and 1 oz. hard cheese like Cheddar or Swiss. You can even add some slivered almonds or chopped dried cranberries to dress up this dish.

Grown-up popcorn: Prepare 3 c. air-popped popcorn, and then while popcorn is still hot, sprinkle with your favorite spices:

  • Grated parmesan and cayenne pepper
  • Garlic powder and smoked paprika
  • Dill weed and sea salt
  • Cinnamon and stevia

Sesame carrots and hummus or bean dip: Roll some raw baby carrots in toasted sesame seeds and add a pinch of sea salt. For a pretty contrast, you can even roll the carrots in dill weed or lemon pepper (my fave!). Serve with your favorite hummus or bean dip. If you need a bit more substance to this snack, add some whole-grain or gluten free crackers.

Berries and spiced yogurt: Prepare 1 c. of your favorite winter berries or mix blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries for a gorgeous power snack. Take 1 c. low-fat Greek or plain yogurt and mix in 1 tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. nutmeg, ¼ tsp. ground cloves, and if desired, stevia (to taste). You can dip your berries into the yogurt dip or throw everything together in one bowl if you want to get really wild 😉

Five Spice Pistachios

Five-Spice Pistachios

For a really elegant and easy snack, try this killer pistachio recipe. It takes 5 minutes to prepare and about 45 minutes for the pistachios to dry after coming out of the oven. Can cooking be any simpler? My mouth is already watering!

Five-Spice Pistachios

  • 6 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 6 Tbsp. Chinese five-spice powder
  • 4 tsp. sea salt
  • 6 c. unsalted pistachios

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 250°F.

Whisk orange juice, five-spice powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add pistachios; toss to coat. Divide between 2 large rimmed baking sheets; spread in an even layer.

Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until dry, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe shared from Eating Well: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/five_spice_pistachios.html

Ok, my friends. I hope you enjoy these ideas for ringing in the merry while keeping your belly nice and trim. If you have a favorite healthy snack recipe, please share: Brooke@healthyhousewives.com. I’m always looking for fabulous ideas to share!!

Blessings and joy,

Brooke

December 13, 2013

12 DAYS OF FITMAS

Are you fit for Christmas?

Are you fit for Christmas?

 

I usually write blogs on health and fitness so naturally I had to come up with a Christmas song that has to do with fitness. This one is an original by yours truly. Yep, made it up! I thought this fitmas song would put you in a healthy holiday spirit.

 

On the first day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, a challenge to be healthy!

 

On the second day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!

 

On the third day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!

 

On the fourth day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!

 

On the fifth day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!

 

On the 6th day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, six pack of abs, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!

 

On the 7th day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, seven days of protein shakes, six pack of abs, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!

 

On the 8th day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, eight hours of sleeping, seven days of protein shakes, six pack of abs, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!

 

On the 9th day of Christmas, my trainer gave to me, nine workout songs, eight hours of sleeping, seven days of protein shakes, six pack of abs, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!

 

On the 10th day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, ten trainers training, nine workout songs, eight hours of sleeping, seven days of protein shakes, six pack of abs, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!

 

On the 11th day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, eleven nutrition tips, ten trainers training, nine workout songs, eight hours of sleeping, seven days of protein shakes, six pack of abs, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!

 

On the 12th day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, twelve months of training, eleven nutrition tips, ten trainers training, nine workout songs, eight hours of sleeping, seven days of protein shakes, six pack of abs, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!

 

Happy Holidays and enjoy the 12 days of fitmas!

Marzia

 

 

 

December 2, 2013

Enjoy the Holiday Rush

kiss me now

Now, this is my kind of holiday spirit 😉

Hi, Everyone! All stressed out and nowhere to run? I hear ya! This time of year invites not only merriment and reflection but lots of obligations absent the other 11 months of the year. Decorating the house, shopping without breaking the bank, crafting and baking (if you’re so inclined), vowing that THIS year you won’t wait until the last minute to do everything . . . all the while, the calendar is shrinking relentlessly down to zero hour. Then there’s the anxiety over sending Christmas cards—you could choose not to send them this year, but then you risk the icky feeling of being quietly dropped from your friends’ card lists. So, your list of to-do’s is long but necessary. Here are a few tips to help you cope:

is this you

Don’t let this be you . . .

1. Plan Ahead: This one’s a big challenge for me, but it saves a lot of headaches and heart palpitations down the road. Decorate your house early in the season so you can 1) enjoy being surrounded by holiday cheer and 2) focus on other tasks as the season ramps up. If you’re shopping for loved ones’ lists, do like the stores do and barely let the gratitude of Thanksgiving sink in before jumping into The Holidays. Take advantage of sales early in the month, and if you want to avoid having to fight your way through crowded lines even for a latte, do some gift getting during the weekdays. Not possible for everyone, I know, but have you seen those women who seem to have everything done, presents wrapped (nicely), and treats baked for their children’s friends’ families before the first full weekend in December? That’s how they do it! Oh, and they may have made a little deal with the Dark One—I’m just speculating.

2. Savor the Season: This is my favorite part about the holiday season—enjoying it, even as I mow through my lengthy list. When we pull all the decorations and tree down from the attic, I love to put on our favorite Christmas CDs (Bing Crosby’s White Christmas and Harry Connick, Jr.’s When My Heart Finds Christmas—I love you!). Preferably I also have a delicious iced Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks as my companion. You know that song from Mary Poppins—“A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down”? I’m a big believer in that phrase when I’m doing anything onerous or involved (for example, cleaning out my closet . . . again). Just give yourself a little sparkle to help enjoy the task at hand—it’s always worked wonders for me. Also, despite the lack of checkmarks on your to-do list, take time out to drive around and look at the lights on your neighbors’ houses, or sit down and watch your favorite holiday movies as a family. Do the things that bring cheer and joy to you and your loved ones—make those cute, little bread loafs that you always dream of doing over the holidays. Go root through your winter clothes and find your favorite comfy sweater to nestle up in, even if you have to crank up the AC, like we have to do in Texas J

3. Be Good to Yourself:  This one obviously involves bits of the previous paragraph, but sometimes we are the ones that get forgotten in the mad rush of December. Taking care of yourself is more than just pampering. You are the lynchpin to your family’s progress through their lives and this season. If you run yourself ragged, then everyone’s in trouble! Be reasonable in your expectations of yourself. Learn to say “No” politely to some requests for your time and assistance—trust me, this will change your life. Just because someone wants you to something doesn’t mean you are beholden to. And it doesn’t mean you are a bad person or don’t like the requestor. It just means that you have a limited amount of time, and you need to spend it in the way that fills you up and keeps you marginally socially acceptable (and not a hermit). Say “Yes” when you can cheerfully help out, and be gracious but direct when replying “No.” You will feel so much better when you can do this. Also, despite occasional obstacles, keep up with your healthy eating and exercise. Exercise especially is a powerful stress buster that improves your mood, relaxes your crazy mind, brings more restful sleep, and keeps your body healthy and happy. It will serve you very well this season, as will mindful eating. If you keep yourself fueled throughout each day with high-quality food (lean protein, whole grains, veggies, fruit, and LOTS of water), you will not only feel amazing but also be able to cope more easily with holiday party temptations. If you’ve been on track with your nutrition, then you (and not the double chocolate cheesecake at your work party) will be in control. Go on, have a little piece! Mama needs some chocolately cheer too!

Enjoy the season, ok? It’s going to go fast!

XOXO, Brooke

chocolate cheesecake

December 29, 2012

Sharing the Love

It’s Brooke here. Our Healthy Housewives mission is to inspire people to live healthier lives not only for their families but also for the world around them. A big part of healthy living is striving for wellness in all aspects of our lives. Not only do we want beautiful, strong bodies, positive personal relationships, and meaningful work, but also spirits that are open and hearts that are generous. In the coming months, the ladies of the Healthy Housewives (along with some friends) are going to be sharing the love with some groups around town who totally rock at making life better for both people and animals. To kick off our mission of kindness, we decided to visit the residents of Juliette Fowler Homes and do a little pampering.

Juliette Fowler Homes

To give you some background, Juliette Fowler Homes is a retirement community situated in beautiful old East Dallas. The community was founded by Juliette Peak Fowler 120 years ago to care for elderly widows and orphaned children, and over the years, many lives have been enriched by the care received at this special place. Today, Juliette Fowler Homes serves its senior residents through a range of facilities for independent and assisted living, apartment living, in-house rehabilitation, skilled nursing care, and memory care. To learn more, visit http://www.fowlerhomes.org/.

Marti Miller and a Resident

Marti Miller and a Resident

Visiting and Pampering

As you can imagine, getting 6 women together in one place in the middle of the Christmas holidays was interesting. So, we split up our volunteering, and we had fun both days! The first day, Kathy, Shelly, and I were warmly welcomed by Marti Miller, Director of Life Enrichment, and while we waited to see some residents, we had the pleasure of meeting another group of volunteers (seniors in high school!) whose class project for the semester was to volunteer every week at Juliette Fowler. You can imagine the friendships these young women were making with the residents and staff members as they all served together. I was very impressed! If you ever feel overwhelmed by all the terrible trouble and sadness reported by the news, you don’t have to look very far in your own neighborhood to find people who are quietly, diligently shining their light to the world. And that’s a really comforting thought.

My sweet friend, Marti, and I in front of a Blessing Tree

My Sweet Friend Marti and I in Front of a Blessing Tree

During our visit, Kathy gave one of the residents a beautiful manicure (and if you’ve seen Kathy’s nails, you know what I’m talking about!). Shelly and I gave several ladies hand massages while chatting with them, and they loved it! We really enjoyed visiting with the residents while pampering them, and when lunchtime came around and the room emptied, we all found ourselves wishing we could have done more.

Kathy working her manicure magic!

Kathy working her manicure magic!

Shelly giving a wonderful hand massage to a resident

Shelly giving a wonderful hand massage to a resident

Kathy, Susan (Activities Coordinator), and Shelly

Kathy, Susan (Activities Coordinator), and Shelly

For the next volunteer day, Marzia, Danielle, and Sandy joined in the holiday fun. Danielle brought her daughters, Adriana and Bianca, to help out, and they really helped make the day special. Marzia brought her friend Jeanie with her, and Sandy’s smiling face brightened up the day (as usual). After a small adventure involving Danielle and her girls, a locked door, frantic phone calls by me, and about 5 trips up and down the elevator, we finally found some sweet residents to join our group.

Marzia, Jeanie, Danielle and her daughters singing carols

Marzia, Jeanie, Danielle and her daughters singing carols together with a resident

Danielle and her girls visiting with a resident

Danielle and her girls with a resident, ready to do nails!

We all enjoyed visiting and singing carols together, and I even got a free manicure from Bianca! All the girls spread holiday cheer as they visited residents in their rooms. This time was really special because many of the people they stopped to say hello to were away from their families during the holidays. We also stopped by to see some dear friends, Bob and Rey Barton, who also live at Juliette Fowler and who welcomed the whole gang with open arms.

Share Your Story

We had a great time spreading some love during this special time of year, and we can’t wait to do it again next year! If you have had a chance to share the love with others recently, we want to hear about it! Drop me a line and tell me how you are making the world brighter and better: brooke@healthyhousewives.com.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

December 16, 2012

HEALTHY HOLIDAY RECIPES

Healthy holiday meal

Healthy holiday meal

Happy Holiday Housewives!

Here are some of your favorite holiday recipes made over that I promised you. Trust me, it has the same great taste without all the fat and sugars that your guest won’t even know!

Healthy Recipes:

Sweet potato casserole

Sweet potato casserole

                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Casserole

A great traditional dish made over healthier with the same great taste!

Ingredients:

4 large or 6 medium sweet potatoes, cooked and peeled
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
1/4 cup soy creamer or soymilk
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:
1/4 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cups chopped pecans
2 tablespoons maple syrup

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray (or wipe with canola oil). Mash the sweet potatoes with the margarine until smooth. Add the soy creamer, orange juice, vanilla, sugar, maple syrup, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour into prepared casserole dish.

Mix the topping ingredients together until well-combined. Spread or sprinkle over the casserole and bake for 45 minutes or until hot throughout.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minute(s)

 Serves: 10

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed acorn squash

Stuffed acorn squash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• 2 acorn squash

• 1 cup uncooked quinoa

• 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

• 1 teaspoon mild curry powder

• Ground cinnamon

• 1/2 cup raisins

• 2 cups finely chopped spinach

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut acorn squash in half, place cut side down on a cookie sheet, and bake 30–35 minutes, until fork-tender. Meanwhile, combine quinoa, vegetable broth, curry powder, a few dashes of cinnamon (about 1/4 teaspoon), and raisins in a pot. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce to low, and cook for 15 minutes, or until liquid evaporates. If quinoa is not fluffy after 15 minutes, add more vegetable broth and cook longer. (Sometimes the raisins will absorb the liquid also, so more is needed to cook the quinoa. I find this is particularly true with electric stoves.) After quinoa is done, stir in spinach, add another dash or two of cinnamon, plus salt if desired, then cover and set aside, away from heat. Once acorn squash is done, flip it over and scoop out seedy matter. Then use a sharp knife to cut the point off each base so the acorn bowls sit upright and don’t fall over. Spoon quinoa mixture into squash and serve warm.

Serves 4

Holiday Loaf: (For vegetarians/vegans)

This is great for those who do not eat turkey.

Vegan "meat loaf"

Vegan “meat loaf”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• 1 fifteen ounce can black beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed

• 1 onion, finely diced

• 2 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded

• 2 celery stalks, washed and shredded

• 1 cup finely chopped brown mushrooms

• 1 cup cooked quinoa

• 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

• 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari (GF)

• 2 tablespoons ketchup

Preheat oven to 350ºF and set your 8-inch nonstick loaf pan nearby. Mash beans in a large bowl with a fork or potato masher and mix all ingredients until evenly combined. Transfer to prepared pan and pat down firmly and tightly using a spatula. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until firm and brown on the outside. Allow the loaf to cool and firm up before serving, about 15 to 20 minutes.It’s important that you chop everything fine and pack it down tight if you want your loaf to hold together.Place a serving plate over the loaf pan and turn it upside down, to flip the loaf out onto the plate.

Gluten-free Gravy:

• 1/2 cup nutritional yeast

• 1/2 cup brown rice flour (GF)

• 2 cups plant-based milk

• 2 small onions, diced

• 16 ounces white mushrooms, thinly sliced

• 2-4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari (GF)

• 2 teaspoons rubbed sage (not powdered)

• 2 teaspoons dried thyme

• salt, to taste

• pepper, to taste

Whisk nutritional yeast and flour together with plant-based milk and set aside. Line a large frying pan with a thin layer of water and cook onion and mushroom over high heat until the mushrooms start to soften and turn brown and most of the water has evaporated. Add plant-based milk mixture, soy sauce, and herbs, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 2 cups 

Pumpkin Pudding:

Love the taste of pumpkin but don’t want all the calories that come with it? This is a great recipe to end your holiday meal.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

• 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
• 2 cups pumpkin (not pie filling)
• 1 banana
• 2/3 cups pitted dates
• 1 tablespoon alcohol free vanilla
• 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
• 6 tablespoons chia seeds

 

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in blender except for chia seeds and blend until smooth.

Add seeds and blend again, adding more milk if necessary to achieve a vortex.

Pour into 4 bowls and cover with Saran, chill several hours or overnight.

Dust with cinnamon before serving.

Serves 4

Santaberries:

Santa Berries

Santa Berries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 12 strawberries
  • 1 package non-fat cream cheese
  • ½ cup of agave  to sweeten OR use 12 stevia in the raw packets
  • 24 miniature chocolate chips

Directions:

Beat cream cheese and the sweetener of your choice until smooth. Cut strawberries in half. Place the sweeten cream cheese in a zip lock baggie. Cut the corner of the baggie so you can squeeze the cream cheese out of the corner. Place the thicker side of the strawberries on a platter, squeeze cream cheese on strawberry. Place the tip of the strawberry like a hat. Add a dot of cream cheese on top. Then add 2 dots of cream cheese for buttons. Add 2 mini chocolate chips for eyes. Do this for the rest of the strawberries.

Serves 12

Veggie Christmas Tree

Veggie Christmas Tree

Veggie Christmas Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Red and yellow bell peppers
  • Baby carrots
  • Baby tomatoes
  • Cocktail onions
  • Toothpicks
  • A Styrofoam cone from a craft store

Instructions:

Wash all veggies. Make sure they are cut in bite size pieces. Place Styrofoam cone on a plate. Take a piece of broccoli and put a toothpick half way in it, then on the other half, stick on cone. Keep doing this until you have the desired look you want. When you are finished with green broccoli tree, add all other veggies to decorate like a Christmas tree. Top with yellow bell pepper star. Serve with all types of fun dips.

Serves 10 people

Christmas Cocktail-Poinsetta

 

Christmas Cocktail

Christmas Cocktail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Champagne

Cranberry juice

Fresh cranberries (the fruit)

Champagne flutes

Directions:

Pour champagne in flutes ¾ full. Top off with cranberry juice. Add a couple fresh cranberries for garnish. You can place on fancy platter with small Christmas ornaments and 1 fake poinsettia for a fun look.

Hope your holiday party is a success! Enjoy and CHEERS!

Marzia

December 15, 2012

Veggie Christmas Tree

Nice veggie tree online

Hi, there, HH Family and Friends! It’s Brooke here. Are you looking for a show-stopping appetizer for your holiday parties or for Christmas dinner? I have a great solution for you . . . a Veggie Christmas Tree! Now, for those of you who are craft-challenged like I am, just take a deep breath and relax. I worried about making this little masterpiece all week long, and when I finally got to it, this project was surprisingly easy and fun. This is also a great way to involve your kiddos in your kitchen festivities. Here is the link that I got my instructions from: http://www.squidoo.com/veggie-christmas-tree. I had too many veggies (is that possible?), so I adjusted the amount of broccoli, etc. from the recipe online.

What You Need

-For this project, you will need some craft items and plenty of fresh veggies.
-I used 8″x3″ green Styrofoam cone, for a just over 12″ tall finished tree, so the shopping list will work for this size tree.
-If you want a smaller or larger tree, just adjust your groceries accordingly.

Craft Items:
– Styrofoam cone – approx. 8”x3″
– small disposable veggie tray (you will be hot gluing the tree to the tray, so plastic, disposable works best BUT you could forego the glue and just set the tree on a nice dish, too)
– hot glue gun & glue sticks (optional)
– flat toothpicks
– round wooden skewers (optional)
– Linzer tart cookie cutter (for tiny star shape cutter)
– wire cutter or strong scissor (to cut skewers)

Grocery List:
– 2 large bunches Broccoli
– 1 large Broccoliflower
– 1 large Cauliflower
– 1+ Red Bell Pepper (depending if you would like to serve extra on the side)
– 1+ Yellow Bell Pepper (depending if you would like to serve extra on the side)
– 1 package cherry tomatoes
– 1 jar cocktail onions
– 1 bag of baby carrots

STEP 1 – Hot glue your Styrofoam cone to your plastic tray (optional). This makes a stable base and makes transportation very easy.STEP 2 – Cut your Broccoli, Cauliflower and broccoliflower into dipping sized pieces. Sizes should vary but shouldn’t be too large or too small.

STEP 3 – Attach your broccoli and broccoliflower to the cone with ROUND toothpicks, grouped in clusters, with larger pieces at the bottom and graduating up to the top. Don’t worry if there are small holes in your design, they will be filled in later with carrots and other decorations.

When you get to the top, and toothpicks are not long enough, cut skewers with a wire cutter or strong scissor to pick your veggies into place until you achieve a perfect tree shape.

STEP 4 – Cut 1 red pepper and 1 yellow pepper into dipping size strips. Tuck the ends of those strips into the tree, in a spiral, starting at the top and spiraling down to the bottom. Tuck a carrot in next to them to hold them in if needed. No toothpicks needed, here.

STEP 5 – Poke carrot sticks intermittently in holes between the broccoli and broccoliflower florets. No toothpicks needed.

STEP 6 – Use FLAT toothpicks to secure cherry tomatoes and cocktail onions to the tree. Poke small side all the way through onion or tomato. Press tomato or onion into tree.

STEP 7 – Cut out stars with small linzer tart cookie cutter from 1 yellow pepper. Save 1 large piece to hand cut 1 larger star for top, or make a paper stencil or use a larger cookie cutter if you’d like for large star.

Secure stars with toothpicks poked and secured right in broccoli pieces.

STEP 8 – Fill tray base with cauliflower.

STEP 9 – Refrigerate until serving. I spritzed it with water and covered with Press ‘N Seal, and it still looked completely fresh the next day!

Dips to Go With the Tree

You can also offer a selection of healthy dips for your guests to enjoy as they dismantle the tree. Hummus makes a wonderful, protein-rich dip for raw veggies. And if you think hummus tastes only slightly more interesting than wallpaper paste, you need to follow me! Here are two of my favorites:

Baby Zach’s Spicy Smoked BBQ Hummus—I mark the start of my love affair with hummus the day I tasted this. All of Baby Zach’s hummus blends are creative, vegan (and gluten-free), and delicious. You will be SO glad you tried it. Here’s the link: http://babyzachs.com/products/

Eat Well Enjoy Life’s Spicy Yellow Lentil Hummus (with Sunflower Seeds and Apricots)—If you like your food tricked up and awesome tasting, you have to try this gem. Eat Well Enjoy Life has a number of great hummus blends, which are also vegan and gluten-free. They will change your opinion of healthy snacking, I promise! Here’s the link: http://eatwell-enjoylife.com/our-hummus/

The Finished Product

My version of veggie tree

Well, mine didn’t turn out quite as lovely as the one shown at the beginning, but no matter. I still had fun putting it together, and you will too. Good luck and healthy holidays to you!

Cheers,

Brooke

December 15, 2012

1st Annual Healthy Holiday Party!

104

Happy Holidays Housewives!

The holiday season is in full effect and that means time for holiday parties! The past few years, I have thrown holiday parties and have grown to love the hosting part. There is so much preparation that goes on behind the scenes from buying the food, decorations, and table settings that it could be overwhelming. Having a plan surely helps. It takes a few parties to get it down, but once you do, you will throw a great party and enjoy the process!

This year we had our 1st annual healthy holiday party at our beauty expert’s, Shelly Mac, home. So Shelly and I were the host this year. We were using her house and my party planning expertise. We had so much fun planning that the party was absolutely perfect!

Shelly Mac as a sexy santa host!

Shelly Mac as a sexy santa host!

An experience host knows that the most memorable dinners have more in common than just good food and great company. I love a fancy table setting with fresh flowers, candles, and nice tableware. This presentation makes a statement when your guests sit down to eat. Hearing your guests compliment the table makes all the hard work and effort worth it.

Our holiday table setting

Our holiday table setting

Shelly and I greeted our guest at the door and welcomed them with a glass a wine as we made our final preparations to the food. To make the party more special we decided each Healthy Housewife would be in charge of a part of the menu. I love when guest take part of a party! It makes it more fun for everyone. Our menu looked like this:

Brooke- (appetizers) Veggie Christmas tree with a few different dips

Marzia- (main meal) Vegan meatloaf with gravy and wine selection

Danielle-(side dish) Sweet potato casserole

Shelly-(side dish) Acorn squash

Kathy- (dessert) Pumpkin  chia pudding

Sandy-(dessert) Santa berries

Also, Shelly came up with a great cocktail to toast to. It’s called a pointsetta. It is champagne with some cranberry juice. We used POMS cranberry cherry juice. Our bubbly drink had the right taste of sweetness. I brought a few different types of wine as well for the dinner part. I brought an old favorite called the Chocolate Shop. (A friend introduced it to me last Christmas.) It a sweet red wine with a taste of chocolate. Also, I couldn’t help myself and I bought a wine because the label had “Housewife” in it. Why not! We also had a couple white wine selections as well. We got all these selections at our local Krogers.

Christmas Cocktails

After our guest had a cocktail in their hand we brought out some fun little party outfits for the kitchen. I had bought some elf and santa hat headbands with matching aprons. We are a fun group and we rocked our kitchen outfits!

Kathy Hamilton and Shelly Mac in thier Christmas kitchen wear

Kathy Hamilton and Shelly Mac in thier Christmas kitchen wear

We all had a great time preparing our healthy feast and enjoying each others company. We love to joke around and catch up with each other’s busy lives. The holiday party was flawless as we wrapped up the party with a gift exchange.

The gift table

The gift table

When the party was over, all the housewives pitched in to help each other clean up. We said our goodbye’s and it was time to turn in. I am really blessed to have met a great group of women who are positive role models for many women out there. We are a tight knit group who are eager to change the world for the better and share the same vision. I am grateful that these type of women exsist in today’s world!

The BEST group of women hands down!

The BEST group of women hands down!

The 2012 healthy holiday party was a HUGE success. Looking forward to our next adventure together. Love these ladies!

My next blog will have all our recipes and the images.

Marzia