Taking Sides

{Thanksgiving side dishes with a twist}

Today is Thanksgiving and in the spirit of the day’s festivities, I’d like to share two of my favorite side dishes that are a must-have on my Thanksgiving table. These are not your everyday green beans and cranberry sauce!

Thanksgiving Green Beans:
4 lbs green beans (we’re feeding A LOT of people)
1 lb of bacon
1 onion, diced

  1. Rinse and cut your green beans into 2″ pieces and blanch (add beans to boiling water, let boil for 1 minute, transfer beans to an ice bath), then set aside.
  2. Slice bacon into small pieces and fry on medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon from pan and drain most of the fat, leaving about 3 TBSP.
  3. Reduce heat to low and caramelize onions in the same pan.
  4. Add green beans and bacon back into the pan and cook on high until hot.

Orange and Ginger Cranberry Sauce:
16 oz fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 TBSP finely grated fresh ginger

  1. Cook cranberries, sugar, and ginger in a saucepan on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to burst (about 7 minutes).
  2. Add orange juice and simmer until thickened.
  3. Serve hot or cold. (I prefer hot.)

Delicious and Nutritious

{Avocado Tartine}

I’m a big proponent of detox diets. If I feel like I’m in a rut, I’ll cut out red meat, white flour, and sucrose (fructose is fine). I’m not under any delusion that I’m going to lose weight quickly or develop some surge of energy and a healthy glow about me. On the the contrary, detoxing typically leaves me tired and cranky because I’m hungry…all the time. After two weeks of detoxing, I won’t have much to show for it, but I will have discovered at least one healthy treat that I enjoy enough to stick with even when I’m not on a restricted diet. Maybe after 30 detoxes or so, I’ll have developed a truly healthy diet. It’s not likely, but one never knows! For now, here are two of my favorite detox-friendly snacks:

  • Avocado Tartine: Slice an avocado then mash with a fork. Spread onto whole grain toast. Sprinkle with sea salt, red pepper flakes, and a squirt of fresh lemon or lime juice. Devour. (Beauty benefit – avocado is great for healthy skin and hair.)
  • Berry Smoothie: Add frozen mixed berries, one large banana, and orange juice in a blender with a little ice and blend away. Acai juice is also great to add to the mix if you have it. (Beauty benefit – this is packed full of antioxidants and vitamin C, both important for healthy, radiant skin.)

Classic Chocolate Chip

{My favorite: Chocolate Chip Cookies}

There’s something about the reliability of a great recipe – how maintaining exact measurements and temperatures and following the directions carefully will always yield the same results. It’s dependable. It’s comforting.

I’ve been experimenting with different recipes for years, but I’ve finally mastered the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I took this recipe and made a few tweaks, adding a tablespoon of honey to the wet ingredients and opting for milk chocolate chips in place of bittersweet. I’ve received multiple requests from friends and coworkers to bring in batches of these delicious little suckers for various events and each time they ask, I feel a silly sense of pride and accomplishment.