(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
A cornucopia that's overflowing with produce is a symbol of Thanksgiving and often the perfect centerpiece for the holiday table.
Why not take a cue from that abundance and the blessings that are part of the seasonal fall harvest and innovatively sneak even more nutritious vegetables than ever into your holiday feast? This will fill up your family and friends innovatively, deliciously and memorably so that, without even trying, sweets and other treats will make up less of the meal. Though nutritious, these too are delights, like the pumpkin puff appetizer and carrot pie dessert that follow.
Tasty food like this also proves cooking can be easy, nutritious, economical, entertaining - and fast. They take just 10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare.
The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for tasty home cooking and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it! Another benefit: You - and your kidlet helpers - effortlessly become better cooks, since there are no right or wrong amounts
. These are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations, so whatever you choose to use can't help but draw wows and many a "thank you" this Thanksgiving.Pumpkin Pastries to Pump Up the Palate
Appetizers sometimes get dubbed the junk food portion of the meal since they may be greasy "fun" foods. Pleasure is possible without all that. Pumpkin is one of the most nutritious and delicious ingredients. Take canned pumpkin and puree it, season with cinnamon, a natural sugar-free sweetener like stevia, and a dash of curry powder, and place in thawed puff pastry sheets cut to fit in the compartments of a mini muffin tin that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake according to puff pastry package instructions and serve warm.Soup from Vegetables that Perform Double Duty
Eating soup first has been shown to drastically cut appetites that might otherwise overeat. Roast a load of extra seasoned root vegetables with your turkey. When done cooking, puree the extra vegetables in a strong blender or food processor along with a small amount of almond milk (which tastes like cream without almost all of the fat and calories), taste to adjust seasoning if needed, reheat briefly in a soup pot and serve hot.A Corny Idea
Cornbread is an indulgent treat, but often it's made just with cornmeal. Increase the fiber, nutrients and flavor by including a bit of fresh corn in the batter, and to make it even more gourmet and filled with antioxidants, add small amounts of diced garlic, diced onions and mashed, cooked sweet potatoes instead of a small portion of the liquid called for in most recipes.Creative Carrots
Though not as well known, carrot pie is almost as old of a fall recipe as pumpkin pie. Just like carrot cake is a delicious treat, so is carrot pie. Shred carrots and substitute them for a third of the pumpkin in your next pie.QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Spices are some of the world's most powerful and concentrated sources of antioxidants. If you or your spouse work in an office, consider keeping a mini assortment in a desk drawer in either tightly closed double plastic sandwich bags or closed clean tiny makeup foundation sample jars that can be bought at beauty supply stores. Then the spices can be sprinkled anytime on takeout sandwiches, salads, fruits or other meals eaten on breaks. Some of those that usually make researchers' lists include cayenne, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, rosemary, thyme and turmeric.
Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.