Anybody else just feel READY for the sparkles and joy and celebration the holidays bring this year? IDK what it is… maybe my kids’ ages, or maybe the fact that the world seems collectively more excited for the holiday season to start (hello, Christmas trees going up everywhere in early Nov.) which to me just adds more cheer and anticipation.
In any case, we’re embracing this cozier season over here: the chilly walks, bundled-up outings, fireplace and candles lit every night, soups simmering weekly in the instantpot and alllll the baby snuggles, story times and crafts inside.
Whether you’re team holiday spirit orrrr less than excited about the next 2 months, no matter what your holidays look like this year, can I invite you to join me in making sure they’re still intentional, thoughtful and special?
One thing I’ve learned time and time again through the holiday season is this— we get to choose how we approach this season. We can choose to see it as stressful, or as an opportunity. And for me, I’d much rather pick opportunity… to be more present, to practice gratitude, to let go of the judgment (towards others AND myself).
It’s so important every year to remember we have power in choosing how we show up.
I also believe in making your own rules, traditions and memories (this time of year… & always!). Maybe you’re not doing the big turkey meal this Thanksgiving with 27 side dishes. Maybe you want a simpler alternative! Here’s my own personal approach to holiday meals (spoiler: it’s no different than my normal approach)—
Keep it simple, keep it real, keep listening and being kind to your body. I promise you, it makes such a difference to how you show up, how you feel daily, your energy, your mood….everything. You are worth the good stuff.
I believe that for anything that you love (be it comfort food, dessert, cocktails, etc) there is a way to upgrade the ingredients to make it ALL REAL FOOD. Which will make you feel a million times better, tastes a million times better, and often it’s much more simplified time wise too. So that’s how I roll, every day, but especially in the holiday season.
If you need any healthier versions of your favorite holiday classics, also don’t forget, I have an entire healthy holiday recipe guide you can download here. From a full Thanksgiving spread to lighter cozier meals you can make from now through December, to upgraded apps, healthier cocktails, etc it has recipes to pick and choose from to complete your holiday table with ease and zero stress in the kitchen (always a win). Find it right here on sale for $13!
Ok, now for the FOOD!
3 simple & healthy holiday recipes
So, this week I have a little gift from me to you…. I want to share a simplified menu for those who are doing smaller Thanksgiving gatherings this year or want to switch up the normal holiday spread.
Here are THREE recipes I’d serve at my own holiday table! (I also linked to more apps/cocktails/sides at the bottom of the post, don’t miss them!)
The Roasted Apple, Fennel + Yam Salad
(Or The Fall Salad You Won’t Be Able to Quit or The Kale, Quinoa & Roasted Squash Salad if you want more of a green salad)
Makes approximately 4 servings
Notes: This is such a great side dish, especially in the fall and winter months! Optional to add raisins, white or garbanzo beans, lentils, curry powder, or cinnamon depending on your tastes. Perfect served on its own, scrambled with eggs and potatoes for a breakfast hash, over a green salad, or mixed into cooked quinoa or wild rice.
2 apples (any sweet variety), cut into ½ inch cubes
2 fennel bulbs, feathery fronds removed and bulb sliced
2 small to medium yams, cut into cubes
1 squash of your choice cubed (about 1 cup)
½ onion, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add apple, fennel, yam, squash, and onion pieces to the sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat, and roast for 30 minutes or until slightly browned on all sides.
2. MAIN DISH
Roasted Chicken + Veggies
Makes 4 servings
Notes: This is a true one-pan wonder and the most comforting, delicious meal to cozy up to in the fall or winter. Great for having people over, or making on Sunday to have leftovers for the week.
12 brussels sprouts, halved
8 Yukon gold potatoes cut into quarters, or 1 cup baby potatoes, halved
5 carrots, chopped into ½ inch pieces
2 large bone- in organic chicken breasts
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 springs thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons herbs de provence
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons pepper
Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
Add the chicken breasts to a large rimmed baking dish and scatter veggies around the sides. Drizzle everything with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs and spices and rub in well to coat everything. Bake for 50-60 minutes, checking halfway through to rotate veggies, until the meat is cooked and juices run clear. Broil for last 3 minutes to crisp and brown the chicken skin. Serve warm.
3. SIDE DISH
Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes with Garlic + Herbs
Makes approximately 6 servings
Notes: Mashed potatoes, made healthy? You’ll believe it when you taste these. Olive oil easily replaces the heavier cream, butter and flour in this decadent seeming and delicious rendition of a classic comfort dish. Great for the holidays too!
4 Russet or 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, whole
½ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, whole
½ cup fresh herbs of your choice: parsley, tarragon, basil, dill, or rosemary
In a large soup pot, bring enough water to a boil to cover the potatoes. Once boiling, add potatoes and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are easily poked with a fork. Add garlic to the pot in the last 5 minutes. Drain water, but reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid in the pot. Mash potatoes with a hand masher, or blend with an immersion or regular blender to whatever consistency you like. Add olive oil, extra cooking water, herbs, and a generous amount of sea salt and pepper. Add more olive oil if necessary to taste.
And, a couple more tasty holiday recipes here:
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photos by Talitha Bullock & Carina Skrobecki