Healthy Holiday Alternatives!

holiday-food

The holiday season is filled with friends, family, and food. With holiday festivities in full swing, eating a ton of delicious food is certainly to be expected. From appetizers to the desserts, some may be concerned about over eating, and the very unwelcomed holiday weight-gain. However, there are healthy alternatives for holiday food! These recipes will give you some ideas about healthier meals. You can enjoy the holiday season and the delicious food in a healthy way!

APPETIZERS 

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Roasted Grape Brie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound red grapes
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound brie
  • 1 tablespoon good quality honey
  • Pinch flaked sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Wash and dry the grapes. Toss grapes with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Place grapes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Then, place in oven and roast for 15-20 minutes until the grapes burst and lose their juices. (Make sure juices do not burn)

3. Place the brie wheel on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the oven        for 5-10 minutes until soft to the touch. Carefully place the brie onto a serving plater.

4. Top the brie with the roasted grapes and their juices. Drizzle the grapes with honey            and a pinch of flaked sea salt. Serve with water crackers or toasted french bread                slices.

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SIDE DISHES

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Goat Cheese and Spinach Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 ounce goat cheese
  • 1 cup baby spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup milk
  • salt & pepper
  • 2-3 sprigs of dried (or fresh) thyme

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with sweet potatoes in it and cook for about 15 minutes until fork tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. While potatoes cook, saute shallots with olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat until softened and just starting the brown (about 5-7 minutes).
  3. Combine cooked potatoes, sauteed shallots, spinach, goat cheese, milk and thyme if using in a medium bowl.
  4. Mash together with a potato masher or fork until well combined.
  5. Add salt & pepper to taste and mash again.
  6. Serve warm.

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DESSERTS:

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Cookie Dough Truffles

Ingredients:

(for the cookie dough)

  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup grass-fed gelatin
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ tsp. real salt
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2. Tbs. organic maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

(for the chocolate coating)

  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 2 Tbs. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Instructions:

(For the cookie dough):

1. Combine all ingredients (except the chocolate chips)in a mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. Then stir in the chocolate chips.

2. Scoop out small dough balls onto a cookie sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

3. Take slightly chilled dough balls out and mold them into balls. Place back in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.

For the chocolate coating:

1. Place all ingredients in a small sauce pan over low heat. Stir continuously until the chocolate is completely melted and everything is well combined. Turn heat off but leave the pan on the warm stove top.

Assembling your truffles:

1. Pull out your chilled dough balls. Drop one in the chocolate sauce and with two forks gently toss it around until it’s fully covered. Tenderly scoop the ball up using the two forks and allow the excess chocolate drip off before transferring back to the cookie sheet.

2. Once all dough balls are covered, chill covered truffles in the fridge for another 15 – 30 minutes, or until the chocolate is well set.

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Thanksgiving Made Easy

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Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away and although every year the meal is expected, the planning of your dinner can sometimes be stressful and unpredicted. To calm your nerves here are a few simple steps to help your Thanksgiving meal go as smoothly as possible.

Step 1: Plan ahead!

Now is the perfect time to plan your Thanksgiving. Create a to-do list and prioritize from there. If you are expecting a large crowd of friends and family ask about food allergies or any other food preferences. I suggest creating a cooking list of meals that can be made ahead of time, those that can be frozen, and some that should be cooked the day of. Don’t forget about delegating! It’s okay to ask for help and it will give you more kitchen space and time.

Step 2: Timing is Everything!

After you have your to-do list, you now have a good idea of what and when you need to cook certain dishes. I recommend shopping for non-perishables about a week ahead, and perishables should be bought a day or two before the big day. While on the topic of timing, cooking the turkey is the most time-sensitive dish of the day. Begin to thaw your turkey a few days before and have several hours dedicated to prepping it.

Step 3: Table Settings

Whether you are serving the meal buffet style or have specific table settings, make sure there are enough utensils, glasses, and plates for the guests. If you are feeling creative I suggest checking out some fun ideas on Good Housekeeping http://bit.ly/1xRyoy8.

Step 4: Be Thankful!

You have created a beautiful Thanksgiving meal. Now is time to relax and enjoy the food, family, and friends!

 

Get in the Fast Lane!

It’s fast, easy, and convenient! The Fast Lane is the latest feature Burpy has to offer to make your shopping experience stress-free. In a few simple steps, this feature will find all items on your grocery list within a few minutes.

First, type the items you are searching for then click on “Shop for these items” at the bottom of the list.

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The first item on your list will appear. You now have the opportunity to search through the various options Burpy offers for that specific product. To make the process even easier, you may sort through the products in terms of relevance or price.

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Once you select the brand or product of your choosing, you may move on to any other products on your list by clicking “Next item” at the top of the page.

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Your items will automatically be placed into your shopping cart and are waiting for checkout! The Fast Lane feature makes your shopping experience easy as 1,2,3. So sit back, relax, and let Burpy deliver your groceries straight from the store to your door!

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Why the Jack-O’-Lantern?

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Halloween has many unusual and somewhat creepy traditions. We dress up, ask for candy and scare each other, however, one of the most iconic traditional practices of this holiday is carving a pumpkin. Better known as a “Jack-o’-lantern”, pumpkin carving has become one of the most recognizable customs of the Halloween season.  

Every year my family and I would go on a hunt to find the most massive and plump pumpkin, I took this tradition very seriously as a child. I loved spooning out all of the seeds and watching my dad create the most elaborate, and sometimes frightening, faces on our “Jack-o’-lanterns”. When Halloween night came, we set our pumpkin next to the front door with a candle illuminating its ghoulish face. With the holiday around the corner, I recently became curious on how about this widely popular Halloween tradition originated.

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Pumpkin carving traces back to the legend of Stingy Jack. According to an old Irish folktale, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to a drink. Refusing to pay, Jack convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin to purchase their drinks. Rather than paying for drinks, Jack decided to keep the coin for himself. Jack eventually freed the Devil. As his punishment, the Devil gave Stingy Jack a burning coal ember place in a hollowed-out turnip. With this being his only light, he was forced to roam the Earth for all eternity.

Irish children began to make their own versions of a “Jack-O’-Lantern” by carving devilish faces into vegetables to frighten away Stingy Jack. European immigrants brought this custom to the United States, and the old folktale soon turned into the widely popular Halloween tradition.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe Made Simple

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It’s that time again! Everyone’s most beloved fall drink is back in season. To celebrate the return of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, this easy and delicious recipe from our friends at allrecipes.com will “spice” up your day. In only 10 minutes, you will be enjoying one of fall’s most popular drinks.

Ingredients include:

1 cup milk, divided

1 tablespoon white sugar (add more for sweeter taste)

1 tablespoon pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup brewed espresso

Directions:

1. Whisk 1/2 cup milk, sugar, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over low heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Whisk in remaining 1/2 cup milk and pour milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove pulp.

3. Return milk mixture to saucepan and simmer, whisking, 2 minutes.

4. Add espresso and whisk foamy, 1 minute.

Learn more about this sweet recipe at allrecipes.com

Blueberry Tart

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Here is another delicious recipe courtesy of Real Simple. Blueberry tart is a great dessert in the summertime and will only take about 15 minutes of hands on time for you to cook!

Ingredients

Flour for the work surface

1 8-ounce sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 large egg, beaten

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

¼ cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

2 cups blueberries

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375° F. On a lightly floured surface, unfold the sheet of pastry and roll it into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Using the tip of a knife, score a 1-inch border around the pastry without cutting all the way through. Brush the border with the egg and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Bake until golden and puffed, 18 to 22 minutes.
  3. Using the tip of a knife, rescore the border of the cooked pastry without cutting all the way through. Gently press down on the center of the pastry sheet to flatten it. Let cool to room temperature, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the cream, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly within the borders of the pastry.
  5. Arrange the blueberries in a single layer over the filling and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of confectioners’ sugar.

 

More about this amazing recipe can be found at Real Simple

Tex-Mex: Is it Mexican or Texan?

chicken and beef fajitas with onions and rice

Photo via wikipedia.org

Tex-Mex is one of the more well known regional cuisines in the United States, yet it has some critics.  It is sometimes blamed for the creation of fast food Mexican joints such as Taco Bell or Taco Bueno.  Defining Tex-Mex is  complicated.  Is Tex-Mex a cuisine all it’s own or is it a regional Mexican cuisine found in the southern United States?
Read More…

Cut Your Chopping Time Down to Size

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Photo via wikipedia.org

Chopping all the ingredients for a meal is often what takes up most of the total cooking time.  I enjoy the entire process of cooking, from the prep work to plating, but I’m always looking for little tricks to speed up the prep process.  Here are a few tricks I came across recently that have saved me a lot of time. Read More…

5 Most Divisive Foods in America

Everyone has a different sense of taste.  Some love raw veggies, others hate them.  Some like the taste of chicken, others don’t.  Here’s a list of five divisive foods that receive substantial opposition.

1. Cilantro

cilantroIn Texas cilantro is not an uncommon ingredient.  Many people love the pungent herb, but just as many despise it–so much so that there are websites dedicated to the hatred of cilantro (i.e. ihatecilantro.com).  Even Julia Child despised it, saying, “Cilantro and arugula I don’t like at all. They’re both green herbs, they have kind of a dead taste to me.”  Read More…