Fishing for compliments

For the second year in a row, I shared kitchen duties with my mom for our family’s Christmas Eve dinner. My mom handled all the fish dishes (I’ve written about our Italian fish tradition previously here) and I was in charge of the rest, which included a variety of nutrient-dense, fancifully flavored, plant-based recipes. This year’s menu, like last year’s, combined old-world tradition with some new fusion fare:

  • Shrimp Cocktail (à la Costco)
  • Chard & White Bean Soup (I substituted sweet potatoes for new potatoes)
  • Wilted Greens Salad (I used plain, ol’ mesclun instead of mustard greens, but added Dijon to the dressing as a nod; I also threw in some chopped walnuts to add texture and offset the sweetness of the dressing)
  • Shrimp Scampi; Calamari en Brodo; Broiled Cod; and Linguine with King Crab legs (all recipes in Mom’s head)
  • Braised Kale and Carrot Stew (loosely inspired by this recipe)
  • Citrus Pound Cake w/Warm Citrus Salad (from the Dec ’14 issue of The Oprah Magazine)
  • Winter Warmer Cocktail (I don’t drink alcohol, but got everyone else nice and drunk on this)

I fare best when I eat vegetarian, but I don’t feel the need to make a show of it; I just like providing solidly healthful foods for people I love, especially when I know some of the day will include indulgences and sweets. Plus, it ensures that I’ll be getting my own fill of fruits and veggies…a true win-win.

What kind of foods do you eat and traditions do you follow for the holidays? Do you like to cook or share the cooking responsibilities with anyone in your family during special occasions? Feel free to post your comments below. I look forward to reading them!

So juicy.

I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about juicing before, so today’s your lucky day, reader!

A few years ago, the bf bought me this monster chomper and, while I don’t use it as often as I’d like (hello, sinkful of dirty dishes and compost bucketful of discards), when I do, it makes me feel like I’ve done something good for myself.

Everyone I know right now is sick with the flu or some other gross, disgusting, mucus-y illness.  I refuse to fall prey to these germs as well and I believe juicing helps me through these seasons because there’s no way I could eat a bushel of oranges (or however oranges are sold) in one sitting in order to get all of the vitamins and nutrients needed to fight a cold, but I can definitely drink the juice of a bushel*.

The other day I juiced up a bunch of kale, an apple, and a lemon**.  Today, my juice is pictured here: quite simply, a couple of carrots, a couple of oranges, and a pink grapefruit.  Could you imagine eating all of that stuff in the “before” photo…together…in a row?  Enter, the lovely, whirled-up concoction on the right.

Fun facts:

  • Kale – provides comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system; high in Vitamins K, A, and C
  • Apples – help regulate blood sugar (I use this to cut the bitterness in my green juices)
  • Lemon – good source of Vitamin C, which is vital to the function of a strong immune system
  • Carrots – protect cells from damage; high in Vitamin A (beta-carotene)
  • Oranges – super high in Vitamin C
  • Pink grapefruit – high in Vitamin C

*Disclaimer: I have no idea what a bushel of oranges looks like, so this might be a lot of big talk, but you get my point.
**Normally, I would also add ginger and parsley to this mix, but I was out of both that day.