We are in the middle of fresh cranberry season. Those tart little wonders are like nature’s version of sour patch kids.
And what better way to incorporate them into Thanksgiving than in a salad? Alas, sauteed cranberry salad was born. So far we have bacon and goat cheese apples, roasted beets and pumpkin, and cornish hens. Add this to your menu and you will have yourself a delicious, low carb, and healthy Thanksgiving!
It doesn’t seem possible that Thanksgiving is a few weeks away. With the 80-90 degree temperatures outside, it feels more like September than November. But ready or not, Thanksgiving 2016 is upon us. WeightWise has put together some of our favorite recipes for you to use this holiday season.
It is upon us. Thanksgiving has come and gone. Christmas music is in full swing. Santa Claus and snowmen decorations are bountiful. And people knock each other over for the last Tickle Me Elmo (that’s still a cool toy, right?).
You have spent the last 5 months with me preparing for this season with the Healthy Holiday Series. This is where it comes to fruition. Wrapping it up in a nice red bow, if you will. During the rush of the next few weeks, it is important to remember the healthy habits you have been establishing….
Remember, planning ahead is key. This will help with the fatigue that comes with making a great deal of decisions. It will help get you through the holiday parties without a hitch and keep your meals on track. Plus, your family might be interested in making new, healthy traditions— discuss this with them! Keep these tidbits in mind as you are decking your halls.
From the WeightWise family,
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
You have prepared. Through the Healthy Holiday Series you have been building good habits, planned for days that suck the energy out of you, prepared to change certain traditions, and outlined your holiday menus. What else could you possibly do?! Well, most of the aspects of the holidays we have covered are geared toward things happening in your own home. But what happens when you are at your work holiday party or even a friends annual winter bash? Holiday parties can be very challenging.
Here are some basic tips to get you not only through holiday parties, but be triumphant over the holiday parties.
1. Don’t skip early meals! A very common mistake is to starve yourself before a night out. But doing this only accomplishes one thing- overeating at the party. When you deprive yourself of nourishment all day, it is easier to overindulge at the party. Tip: Stick to your regular routine. Eat breakfast and lunch like you do on a normal day so it is easier to you to make good choices and stop before you are stuffed too full.
2. Eat supper or a light snack if it is a cocktail party. Cocktail parties are mostly drinks and light appetizers. In this situation a bariatric patient can feel the effects of alcohol quicker on an empty stomach. Eating a quick protein based snack or light meal (i.e. beef jerky, cheese, meatballs) before the party will help slow the effects of an alcoholic drink and ensure your hunger is controlled. Tip: Ask the host/hostess before the party what type of appetizers will be served. This will help you plan if you need to eat more of a meal or just a small snack right before the party.
3. Pace yourself. Alcohol will affect you quicker and to a greater degree after a bariatric surgery. It is best, if you are imbibing, to choose a drink that you can sip on slowly through the evening. This makes it easier to limit your intake to one drink. Tip: Choose a glass of wine or a vodka water with MiO flavoring. Also, stick with non-carbonated drinks!
4. Stay hydrated. You knew I had to throw this one in! Keeping your mind on fluids will help prevent grazing throughout the entire party. Tip: Choose a time to eat at the party and give yourself about 30 minutes to eat the meal or hors d’oeuvres. Focus on hydrating fluids the rest of the time.
Holiday parties are a great way to spend cold, winter evenings. With a little forethought and planning, you can sail right through the party stress-free. Happy Holidays! Lauren
For those who host a holiday dinner, you probably have been planning your Thanksgiving Menu for a while now. If you have not been planning yet, don’t worry– I’m organized enough for the both of us! 😉 Hopefully you are reading this at least one week before Thanksgiving Day to give you plenty of time for shopping. This Thanksgiving menu is full of protein, sweet and savory flavors, and beautiful color.
- Roasted Cornish Hen
- Sauteed Cranberry Salad
Roasted Beets and Pumpkin
Bacon and Goat Cheese Stuffed Apples
Your main dish for this Thanksgiving menu is Roasted Cornish Hens. The portion of a cornish hen is perfect— you can make one for each person at your dinner party. You might have some leftovers this way, but not much.
We also have sides for Roasted Beets and Pumpkin and Sauteed Cranberry Salad. Bring up the rear of your dinner with these sweet and savory Bacon and Goat Cheese Stuffed Apples.
Click on each of the links for individual recipes.
For more recipe and menu ideas for Thanksgiving, check out our menus from 2014 Thanksgiving and 2013 Thanksgiving.
From the WeightWise family- Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!
Recipe creating can be intimidating. Especially if you have never had this particular food. That’s how I felt making roasted cornish hens. I have never had a cornish hen so my frame of reference for spices was nil. However, I must say, this recipe for roasted cornish hens was phenomenal! It will be a great addition to your Thanksgiving menu. Especially for you postop people whose portion is smaller— a cornish hen is much smaller than a turkey with the same kind of flair.
Roasted cornish hens cook much faster and require little attention once in the oven. Follow these easy steps…
Gather your fresh veggies. You will need green onions, lemon, fresh sage leaves, and garlic. I’m not sure why I have a an onion in this pic….I blame it on the lack of sleep and allergy med brain.
Chop the green onions, slice the lemon into wedges, and minced the garlic.
Unwrap each cornish hen, then rinse in water and pat dry. Leave the skin on the hen.
Stuff each hen with a few green onions, garlic, and lemon wedge.
Gently place sage leaves under the skin on the breast and thighs of the hen. You will use about 4 sage leaves per bird.
Truss each hen with kitchen twine. I had never done this before, but after a few experimental ties I found a “figure 8” was easier and kept the legs closest to the bird. The goal of trussing is to keep the legs close to the body of the bird and essentially closing off the opening of the cavity. By doing this the meat retains more moisture and juiciness. *If you have a better way of trussing, please leave suggestions in the comments!*
Place each cornish hen on a roasting pan. I had to get fairly inventive with my “roasting pan”. It seems that mine was accidentally put in the give away box when we moved. A new roasting pan is now on my Christmas list.
Melt butter and add minced garlic, lemon juice, oil, and dried basil. Spoon about half of this butter mixture over the cornish hens. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper as desired. Place in a hot oven breast side down and cook for 35 minutes. After initial cooking time, remove from the oven and turn breast side up. Spoon the remaining butter mixture over the hens. Return to the oven for 45 minutes or until internal temp reads 165 degrees.
Enjoy this twist on a traditional turkey for your Thanksgiving this year. Roasted cornish hens pair well with roasted beets and pumpkin and bacon goat cheese stuffed apples.
Say that three times fast. Actually, it probably isn’t that hard, so don’t waste your time. While this recipe isn’t a mouth full to say, they are a mouth full. Bacon and goat cheese stuffed apples give so much flavor- you name it, it’s got it– it a tart, sweet, savory trifecta. Add it as a dessert option for your Thanksgiving Menu!
First step to making these dandies is the apples. Cut each apple in half and use a melon baller to core the apples. This tool makes coring the apples so much easier!**Tip: The type of apples you use can make a difference with taste and texture. You definitely want to use a dense baking apple. The sweeter apples to use are Pink Lady or Honey Crisp apples. If you like tart tastes better a Granny Smith apple is best. Continue to use the melon baller to remove the center of the apple to create a space to add filling. Reserve the apple chunks for later use.
Lay the hollowed out apples on a baking dish face up. Combine cinnamon and splenda in a small dish, then sprinkle over the top of each apple.
Dice the apple chunks you set aside earlier into small pieces.
Add to medium size bowl.
Chop shelled pecans and add to bowl with apples.
Then add the remaining cinnamon and splenda mixture.
As well as the goat cheese. Goat cheese has a very strong flavor which can easily dominate this dish. If you do not like goat cheese, decrease the amount of goat cheese recommended by half.
Mix these ingredients together well.
Fill hollow apples with mixture.
Cook bacon in microwave and chop into small pieces (or use precooked bacon). Top the stuffed apples with the bacon pieces.
Bacon and Goat Cheese Stuffed Apple
Bake stuffed apples for 20-30 minutes or until apples are soft and cheese is bubbly.
Serve warm from the oven for best results.
*Tip: for those who like to prep food ahead of time– add lemon juice to apple chunks and hollowed apple to prevent browning.
I think that your guest will be pleasantly surprise by this creative and nontraditional Thanksgiving dessert. ~Lauren
The fall season is such a fun time to cook. When it is cool outside, I don’t mind heating up my kitchen with my oven. Plus, we have all of these delicious autumn veggies in season. Two of my favorites? Beets and Pumpkin. Roasted beets and pumpkin creates an earthy sweet duo that you are certain to make again. Hopefully as a part of your Thanksgiving Menu.
Roasted Beets and Pumpkin
An earthy and sweet combination that is perfect for a fall meal.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Peel and cut pumpkin and beets into 1-inch cubes. Be mindful that beets and pumpkin to not touch as the beets will discolor the pumpkin.
Drizzle over pumpkin and beets, toss to coat.
Arrange beets on one side of baking sheet, bake for 15 minutes. Add pumpkin to other side of baking sheet. Generously sprinkle pumpkin and beets with salt and black pepper.
Cook for an additional 30-40 minutes, until fork tender.
“You can be too prepared.” — No one ever.
Stress accumulates. Patience runs thin. Tension mounts. And you end up yelling at the mall Santa Claus. There is no time like the holidays, right?! Now there are great things about the holidays too….cozy fires, ice skating, quality time with family, and remembering all of your blessings. But so often those great holiday memories are laden with the personal stress we place on ourselves to make the days perfect.
The more decisions you make during that time can make the stress build. Once you are at that point, nothing can help except the sweet relief of January 1st. But what if you don’t get to that point? What if this year, you plan now to stay relaxed later. Do your planning in stages…
– October: buy holiday decor, book travel, buy presents
– November: plan holiday menus, buy presents
– December: decorate home, wrap presents, grocery shop for planned menu
– January: bask in the glory of making it through the holidays with little to no interruption in your routine
Many of us have strong traditions tied to our holiday meals, but we already talked about how to alter some of those holiday traditions last month. This month, I want to focus our Healthy Holiday Series on menu planning.
When menu planning for the holidays, I find it helps to start with asking yourself some basic questions.
1. How many people? Knowing how many people will be coming to you holiday meal helps you figure out portions and number of dishes to make.
2. Cooking skills? Are you a novice? Know the basics but don’t want to take on too much? I would advise against cooking above your skill level especially for a holiday meal. This is just asking for more stress and worry to pile on— look for recipes that you know will turn out well.
3. Traditional or creative food? This is best answered if you know your audience. If you have friends that like exploring new foods, then research some non-traditional dishes. Otherwise, it might be best to stick with traditional favorites.
4. Time devoted to cooking? If you would rather spend your time mingling and celebrating with friends and family, then choose recipes that do not require as much attention or time.
5. Special dietary needs? Does anyone in your group have a food allergy or sensitivity? Maybe they eat low carb (like you!). Whatever their needs, try to provide at least one or two dishes that each person can eat.
Now that you have answered those questions, menu planning can commence….
As you collect recipes that fit within the questions you answered above, plug them into your Holiday Menu Guide and make your grocery list as you go. Use the search bar or select the holiday tab on our category menu to browse our “holiday” meals. Pinterest or Kraft recipes are other sites I enjoy browsing for new menu ideas.
Happy menu planning! Lauren
What do you love the most about the holiday season? I think many would say it is traditions. But the traditions can be the most stressful part of the season….extra commitments, scheduling, traveling. Now, I want you to think about your own holiday traditions. How many of those revolve around a meal, specific food, or recipe? Quite a few or none at all?
In my experience with nutrition counseling, most holiday traditions are food based. That leads to a great deal of stress and anxiety about the approaching season.
What would happen if all of the personal food traditions were gone? Will the stress and anxiety just vanish? Well, probably not…at least not the first year. Over time, family members will let go (hopefully) and embrace the new non-traditions. I think it will help with a few things in the short term….
~ It will help you remember more moments and less meals. You will vividly recall the year that Uncle Joe went ice skating and took out the carolers. Or the time grandpa caught the grill on fire because you decided to BBQ instead of having turkey. The Christmas your mom made you answer family trivia questions correctly before you could open any presents (FYI- our family van was named The USA Van for the first 6 years of my childhood). The point is that when traditions are flexible, there is more room for unique moments that will stick with you for a long time.
~ No post holiday blues (i.e. cravings). I’ve been there…too many times than I would care to admit. The days after New Years that you are in a fog and so hungry that you could scream. What if you didn’t have to go through that this year? What if January was just like any other month….a time that you feel great, in control, and best of all- not craving ice cream.
~ No struggle to get back into a workout routine. You don’t have to keep a regular “gym” routine during the holidays. With flexible traditions, there is time/room to have a fun family game of touch football. Or volunteer to get the kids out of the house for a nice walk. Keeping some semblance of an exercise routine is good enough to keep the habit alive.
It is very difficult to change things on a dime. Some traditions could be decades long. And not all have to be changed. The best way to approach this subject is with open conversation starting NOW. Do not wait until Thanksgiving to broach the subject.
Step by step guide:
- Think of your holiday traditions and figure out which give you the most concern/anxiety.
- Come up with a new idea for this holiday season to replace the tradition.
- Talk with your family about your new ideas and why you feel it is important to break away from the old traditions. Emphasize the time spent with family and creating new memories as a part of your new ideas.
Here is to new memories! Lauren