Healthy Habits: Thanksgiving Day Inspiration

Healthy Habits: Thanksgiving Day Inspiration

Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!! Since I'm just getting back from a two week road trip down the east coast (which I'll share with you soon), I haven't even attempted to go shopping or plan for what I'll be making tomorrow, so I wanted to share with you my inspiration source for all things healthy, simple and festive!

I have a friend here on Cape Cod who is an amazing dietician, nutritionist, and food enthusiast, doing mind blowing things to inspire, educate and mentor people along their way to health! Her name is Nicole Cormier, of Delicious Living Nutrition. You should DEF check out her site and start following her on instagram for her inspiring dishes she intuitively whips up!

Because I follow her, she turned me on to her friend from Oregon who is running a serious food operation on her fantastic blog called, Minimalist Baker...

Health: Traditional Holiday Foods + Recipe

christmas elves
christmas elves


A few years ago, I was trying to 'veganize the holidays' and thought it would be a fun task to try to conjure up family recipes and put together a little recipe/cook book to refer to and pass down for generations to come...I came up with only a few recipes during my quest to try and veganize tradition (oh the irony...) but I'm re-inspired again this holiday season!

I started thinking about what is the actual traditional Thanksgiving dinner, since it's become so fancy over the recent years...and what do people really serve on Christmas? Do they eat a dinner on Christmas Eve or is it on the actual Day? Or do they do what we did and usually just have a fun breakfast after we opened our presents? What is the American Tradition of the Holidays? What have those, who celebrate Christmas, been doing all these years?

A quick little Wikipedia search shed some light, and I thought I might share it with you, if you're like me and you love food and celebration of family and love!:)

Thanksgiving. The first Feast happened in 1961 between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag at Plymouth County, right down the street from us Cape Codders! Naturally, they feasted on their locally sourced food. To my surprise the menu included many things that I wouldn't have thought to be associated with the Thanksgiving table.

They ate: turkey, waterfowl (geese, duck), venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin and squash....really?!

It goes on to tell how it's changed, and based on different cultures, you might see cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing, green beans/casserole, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn, dumplings or noodles, deviled eggs, sauerkraut (in Baltimore), cornbread (in the south or new england), peas and carrots, bread rolls, rutabegas or turnips and a salad. Pie is often mincemeat, apple, pumpkin, sweet potato, or pecan (my fave!). Interesting, huh?

A few other interesting tidbits being that the Southerners, or African Americans may serve baked mac and cheese and collard greens at their table, while Italian-Americans may serve lasagna, Who knew!? (not me obvs)

As for Christmas, the dishes tend to be similar to Thanksgiving in America. Wikipedia provides an extensive list of all the different countries' traditional menus. In America, it is common to see:

The main dish being a Christmas Ham, (This came from the Germanic peoples as a tribute to harvest and fertility, and later was popularized by the Catholic Church as a test of truthful conversion from Judaism...hmph!), turkey, duck/goose/pheasant, oyster stew, fish (from the feast of the seven fishes originating from the Italian culture, celebrating on Christmas Eve), dungeness Crab in California, and prime Rib.

Side dishes include: the traditional meso-american (spanish) tamale, stuffing (southern influence), plum (christmas) pudding originating from England, cranberry sauce, mashed potato, lefse ( a traditional norwegian flatbread eaten in Wisconsin and Minnesota), and mixed nuts.

Beverages include: champagne, apple cider, eggnog, hot chocolate, hot buttered rum (eww and random...dates back to the colonial days...) and a Tom and Jerry Christmas Cocktail (from Britain, it is a variant of eggnog adding rum and brandy and served hot, drunk in Wisconsin and Minnesota).

On to desserts...: custard, candy canes, chocolate fudge, christmas cookies, fruitcakes (originating in ancient Rome), gingerbread, persimmon pudding (a traditional American dessert, similar to English Christmas pudding), russian tea cakes (a pastry commonly eaten in England consisting of wedding cake, butterballs, or italian wedding cookies), and an array of pies ~ apple, mincemeat, sweet potato, pumpkin, and pecan!

So there you have it, cultures, traditions and food to celebrate family, love and connectedness!

paleo pecan pie prep
paleo pecan pie prep

My contribution for our Christmas Eve dinner at my bf's family will be a 'new and improved healthy version' of pecan pie from the paleo mom blog. :

Ingredients (crust):

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Combine all ingredients and work together to form a dough with your hands.
  3. Place the dough into a 8″ deep dish or 9″ pie plate.  Channel your inner playdough-loving child, and pat and push the dough to fully line the pie plate (this is a type of pie crust called a push crust, because you “push” it into place rather than rolling it out).  Make a nice edge.
  4. Bake crust for 15 minutes, until starting to turn golden brown.  Remove from the oven.

Ingredients (pie filling):

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet for 5-8 minutes (you can do this while your pie crust is cooking), until fragrant (the pecan pieces take about 5 minutes, and the pecan halves take a little longer).
  2. Once the pecans and pie crust are out of the oven, reduce the heat to 350F.
  3. Heat honey and maple syrup in a small saucepot over medium-high heat until it comes to a rapid simmer.
  4. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and egg yolk together.  Temper the eggs (which means adding a little bit of the very hot honey and syrup to the eggs while you stir them quickly) then add the eggs to honey and remove from the heat.
  5. Stir in the vanilla, salt, and ghee (or other fat of choice), and chopped pecans.  Pour into pie crust.
  6. Arrange pecan halves to cover the top of the pie.  Place pie in the oven and back for 20-25 minutes, until set (you’ll know it’s set when you jiggle the pie a little and the middle doesn’t wobble like jello–how long this takes depends a bit on whether your crust or filling cooled a bit before getting it into the oven and just how hot your honey got when you brought it to a simmer, so it could take as long as 30 minutes).
  7. Let the pie cool completely before serving.  Enjoy!

I hope you all enjoy eating, drinking and being merry this holiday!

In good health, happiness and love, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Health: Thanksgiving Recap {includes recipes}

Pumpkin Muffins Last thursday we celebrated being thankful for all that we have. I'm so sorry I didn't get this post out to you the week of! Better late than never though, right?!;)

It's a great day to remind ourselves of where we've been and where we are right now, and to look around and appreciate all that we do and don't have in our lives. I personally count my blessings every morning when I wake up and every night before I go to bed. Gratefulness is THE number one way to channel your energy into positive vibrations.

When we focus on what we are grateful for, the energy that gets sent back out into the universe only comes back to us with more of that which makes us happy. Conversely, when we focus on what we don't have, we will keep perpetuating that negativity. It's a choice. You can literally choose happiness just by making a daily list of what you are thankful for.

That being said, I am extremely grateful for being able to spend the holidays this year with my wonderful boyfriend, to be where I am here on Cape Cod surrounded by my family and friends and lovely co-workers and clients. I'm grateful for my health and wellbeing, and my newfound sense of balance. The list goes on and on, but that's the big picture:).

Cooking brings me so much joy because it's a celebration of life and connection, and that's why I get SO excited about the holiday menus, so I wanted to share with you what I was up to in the kitchen this past week!!!

Here's what I made to contribute to the dinner we were invited to:

First, I had to make my Pumpkin Muffins to have on hand because who doesn't want to get as much pumpkin into their lives as possible this fall?! ;)

This recipe is inspired by Gwenyth Paltrow's Sweet Potato and Five Spice Muffin recipe from her cookbook, "It's All Good". Gluten Free and Vegan! Makes a dozen.


1 can of organic pumpkin puree


1/2C unsweetened almond milk

3/4C grade B maple syrup (plus 2TBS for brushing muffins)

1tsp pure vanilla extract

2C gluten-free flour

2tsp baking powder

2tsp baking soda

1 1/2TBS pumpkin pie spice blend

1/2tsp fine sea salt


Preheat oven to 400 and grease muffin tins or use paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree with olive oil, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice blend and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Evenly distribute the muffin batter among the cups/liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, brushing the tops with the extra maple syrup during the last 5 minutes of baking. Let them cool before serving.

We brought corn bread, Paul's famous butternut squash dish (it's a secret recipe, but I'll have you know the walnuts and ghee are the best part!;) and banana ice cream.

I love this Corn Bread recipe from Alicia Silverstone's, "the kind diet" cookbook. Super easy and super yummy!!!


1C maple syrup

1 1/4C soy milk

1/4C sunflower oil

1 1/2C cornmeal

1/2C whole wheat pastry flour

1tsp baking soda

1/2tsp fine sea salt


Preheat oven to 400. Oil a 9x9inch baking dish. Combine the maple syrup, soy milk, and oil in a medium bowl and mix well. In another bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, and mix just until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 25-30min. or until toothpick comes out clean at the center.

The Banana Ice Cream we brought for dessert was a total hit! The recipe is straight from Gwenyth's cookbook as well, in a previous post of mine here.

So, there you have it, a few great recipes to try out during this holiday season! For more posts about Thanksgiving, click here and here.






Chestnut Cream Pie Anyone?

Thanksgiving is such a special time of the year! I love the holidays, with all the joy and celebration it brings, reminding us of what's truly important in our lives. For me, it's family, friends, my health, spiritual wisdom, and the inspiration that brings me ultimate fulfillment and happiness. This year I get to celebrate it with my friend and mentor, Karen.  She's a Macrobiotic Chef here in LA, who I've had the pleasure of working privately with, to learn how to cook delicious whole food meals, and live a healthy lifestyle! She's graciously invited me to her home to have a proper 'Macro' Thanksgiving dinner, which is very appropriate!

This Thanksgiving marks my fourth year without turkey, which resulted in me having to  actively participate in the grand cooking process of this day. If I'm not eating the turkey, I have to 'step up to the plate' and create something that I'll actually enjoy, right?

The first two years, I took a Vegan Thanksgiving Cooking Class with the Spork Food Sisters in LA to really up my game, and last year relied on Alicia Silverstone's book, 'The Kind Life' for a menu. See post from last year for my inspiration and menu plan:):

Tofu Thanksgiving This year I actually get to show up to an already edible Thanksgiving Table! How lucky am I?! But the pressure is kind of on as to what I'll be making, wouldn't ya say?!

I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks, that I often forget about called, 'The Self - Healing Cookbook' by Kristina Turner. I've decided to make one of her holiday pies. I couldn't decide between the Squash Pie or the Chestnut Cream Pie, but ultimately decided to go with the latter--more of a challenge and a little more unique!

Chestnut Cream Pie**


1C chestnuts

1C water

2C amasake

1/4C almonds, ground

1tsp vanilla

1tsp cinnamon

pinch allspice

2T agar agar flakes


Grind almonds fine in the blender. Add amasake, chestnuts, vanilla and spices, and puree until creamy. Heat agar agar with 1/4C water until throughly dissolved--about 5min. Stir in the chestnut cream. Pour into a pre--baked pie crust. Let cool and set for an hour in the fridge before serving.

Today, I'm off to buy packaged pre-steamed chestnuts from Trader Joe's and amasake from Whole Foods (ran out of my bulk order), a fermented sweet brown rice drink as the main macro sweetening ingredients for the dish. I'll have you know, I'm also attempting my very own gluten free pie crust too, which includes oats and brown rice flour!


My day of Thanks will include a special prayer for all that I'm grateful for in my life--all that I have and all that I do not have. I will pour all my love into my pie, to show my gratitude for Karen's friendship and mentoring, and will enjoy one of my most favorite things--eating healthy food--being grateful for all it's abundance and all the knowledge I have for understanding how to nourish my body properly! Then, last but not least, I will honor my tradition of watching one of my all time favorite childhood movies, "Home Alone". Sounds like a pretty perfect day to me!

I hope you do all the things that you love on this day! Be grateful to yourself for taking time to do what you need to do to care for you, so that you can then be your best self, and in turn, serve others, so they can be grateful for you too!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Much love,