Making it Through the Holidays!

Many of you may be wondering, how do I make it through the holidays and not cheat in my new lifestyle of a whole foods plant based diet. Well, I wondered that same thing as I realized that I would be at 3 different Thanksgiving dinners! I took a trip the week before Thanksgiving with my mother to see some dear friends about 7 hours away from where we lived. I started a few days earlier preparing some food to take so that I would have something to eat in any situation. First, I got my dehydrator out and bought some apples on sale. I sliced them with my Pampered Chef Apple Peeler Corer Slicer. I sliced the apples and dipped them in some water with Fruit Fresh (absorbic acid- Vitamin C) then put them in the dehydrator. It took about 24 hours to dehydrate them. I sprinkled cinnamon on some of them. I was amazed that it didn’t change the taste hardly at all. It was an experiment. My advice with dehydrated apples is, don’t waste your cinnamon that way for taste. Dehydrated apples are a very yummy treat. They can help a sweet tooth when others around you are eating things like….pumpkin pie. (more on pumpkin pie later in this post) I also made some granola for the trip. I took oats, raw almonds, raw English walnuts, a few raisin, some unsweetened coconut flakes, and some raw pumpkin seeds. I mixed them all together in a roaster pan. I took agave nectar, molasses, honey, and maple syrup and heated together on the stovetop. I added a little water to thin it down a bit. When it was all mixed together well, I poured this mixture over the dry ingredients, stirred it in and roasted in the oven at 250 degrees for a couple of hours. I stirred it every so often. So, let’s see….now we have apples and granola. I made 4 mason jars full of green smoothie to take with me. We were going to be gone 5 nights and 4 full days. This is about as long as you should go with an already made smoothie. (We checked ahead to make sure the motel had a refrigerator in the room and it did) I did not want to take the VitaMix blender with me, so I did it ahead. However, if I had been gone longer I would have taken the blender and bought fresh greens and fruit after I arrived at my destination. I would also have brought the cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper, flax seed, lime, nutritional yeast, bee pollen with me to add to the smoothies if I had to make them “on the road”. I took a variety of fruit with us on the trip also. I took a red pear, a Bartlett pear, a few apples, a couple of oranges and ruby red grapefruit. I took 1 avacado with me so that I could make it as a treat to have at the Thanksgiving meal. I also took a sweet potato with me to put in the oven at the house we were having dinner at. Our family has a tradition of making cranberry relish. It is a very simple recipe, but it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. You take 1 orange, peel and all and cut in wedges, 1 cup sugar and 1 bag of fresh cranberries and mix together in a food processor. It is best if you make it the day before. Well, my Mom was making the relish after we arrived at the home of our friends. I asked her if she would mix the orange and cranberries together first, then take out about 1/2 cup for me then she could add the sugar. So I took that 1/2 cup and added some Agave Nectar to the mixture and it tasted exactly the same! After we arrived in the little town where our friends lived I also bought some salad fixin’s. (I brought some already prepared salad dressing with me also) So while everyone else was eating meat, stuffing, etc. I ate a salad, a baked sweet potato and some cranberry relish, along with some chopped up avacado and tomato. I was so busy fellowshipping with everyone I didn’t even really pay attention to what food was going in my mouth vs. their mouths. Well, that was one Thanksgiving down.
Note: Since we were in the South, Arkansas to be exact, when we ate out at restaurants I could always find pinto beans and veggies on the menu. That was so helpful. I live in the Midwest and it is more difficult to find those kinds of things on the menus here)

The next one was on actual Thanksgiving at my Mom’s house. My husband and I and oldest daughter and her family were at this meal. I took another sweet potato to bake. I had made the party mashed potatoes and the sweet potato casserole for this event. I did not eat any of that, but enjoyed cooking it for others. My brother had bought an avocado for me and a tomato. I had made a Crustless Tofu pumpkin pie the night before so I could have pumpkin pie on Thursday and Friday. We had 18 people in my husband’s family at our house for a Thanksgiving meal on Friday. I took a piece of that pumpkin pie with me on Thursday to my Mom’s to eat for dessert. I also had made the cranberry relish and cranberry sauce on Wednesday night for our meal at our house on Friday. I brought about 1/2 cup of the relish to my Mom’s to eat. I made both the cranberry relish and the cranberry sauce with Agave Nectar instead of sugar. No one even knew! : ) So at my Mom’s house I ate a baked sweet potato, cranberry relish, avacado and tomato, AND Vegan Stuffing I found at Whole Foods. It was made with all whole grain. It was sort of like Pepperidge Farms, except you use water with olive oil boiled into it instead of turkey broth. It was amazingly yummy! Then I had my pumpkin pie while everyone else had theirs. No, I didn’t get to have whipped cream, but that was a small sacrifice. Two dinners down and one to go.

The next day, Friday, we roasted a Turkey and I smelled it cooking all morning. You probably won’t believe this but it is true…just smelling it was enough for me! I cooked the mashed potatoes and the sweet potato casserole on Wednesday night for both meals, Thursday and Friday. So I had already done that. Our daughter made green beans in her beanpot that I could eat. A family favorite recipe. I will share at the end of this post. I steamed frozen corn and took out some before adding the butter. I had the stuffing, sweet potato, green beans, corn and cranberry relish. I was full and still had pumpkin pie to look forward to. It was a great day and so were the other 2! So, this is how you maneuver through a holiday and come out guilt free on the other side! Whew! Now it’s time to gear up for Christmas!

Green Beans

In a bean pot put 4-7 cans of green beans, drained. Mince 5-6 cloves of fresh garlic. Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the beans. Stir garlic and oil into beans gently. Put lid on bean pot and cook at 350 degrees for 3 hours. So good and so good for you!

Happy Holiday Eating!

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