If you've been hanging around these parts for some time now, you've probably heard all about my Thanksgiving family tradition.
It's around this time of year that I have a lot of conversations that go a little like this:
Person: "Thanksgiving is coming up ... I bet it's your favorite holiday, I bet you already have your menu planned."
Me: "Ummm, not exactly."
Person: "Oh stop. I bet you love to cook for everyone on Thanksgiving."
Me: "Ummm, no. Not really. Actually, we are going out to eat for Thanksgiving. We've been doing it for the past few years and I love it. I love to have someone else do the cooking, and I looooove that I do not have to do the dishes."
Person: *totally perplexed*
I have this same conversation about 10 time between October up until Thanksgiving, and I can completely understand the confused reaction I sometimes get. Every year I go through the ... I miss cooking for Thanksgiving, I am going to cook again this year ... and then I run it by Michael and he swiftly changes my mind. The truth is, we really enjoy going out with our family on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving for me over the past few years has become a holiday where me and the fam get spoiled. Someone else does the cooking, someone else scoops an extra serving of stuffing onto my plate, someone else makes an apples pie from scratch, and someone else gets to run the dishwasher more than one time during the day. I get to relax, my family members get to relax, and we get to enjoy some really good food that someone else made. I love it.
Even though I am not cooking this year, that does not mean I will not share a few things that would be on my menu if I was cooking. This colorful dish would definitely be on the menu.
In the past when I have cooked, I like to keep things simple and traditional, but I also like to modernize classic dishes. My definition of modernize in the kitchen is all about using less processed ingredients, less butter, less ...... marshmellows.
This is a healthy, colorful dish that combines broccoli and cauliflower, two vegetables that you would normally find on a Thanksgiving table. Tahini and pomegranates are not ingredients that are normally found on a more traditional Thanksgiving table, but I think once they make their debut, they will be a welcomed addition.
Pomegranate seeds have that wonderful pop that adds an ever so slight bit of tart sweetness. They also add a festive, colorful tone to the dish. The tahini adds a creamy element without adding cream. This side dish won't leave you feeling overindulged.
This takes about 20 minutes to prep and cook, so it is the perfect, easy addition to a big meal. You can also pre-cook the broccoli and cauliflower in the cast iron pan, and wait to put it in the oven to warm up right before you are ready to serve.
Purple cauliflower used to be somewhat of an anomaly, but recently I've been seeing it everywhere. Grocery stores, farmers markets, sometimes it has taken the place of white cauliflower all together. I hope it is as easy for you to find as it was for me. While it has the same flavor as the white, it really make the colors in this dish explode off the plate.
I realize that I've been lacking in the breakfast department recently, and I promise I'll make up for it. You see, my lack of breakfast recipes recently is probably a reflection of my breakfast routine which, albeit (mostly) healthy, can get a little mundane.
You know that during the week, I don't get too creative with breakfast for myself. I usually just make a green smoothie and call it a morning.
There are some days that the smoothie holds me over until lunch, and there are some days I need a little something in-between. Those days, my stomach starts to growl at 10:45am on the dot. It usually happens when I am running around doing a million things, so I succumb to buying some sort of sugary pastry because it is the easiest and most accessible thing.
Don't get me wrong, I love a good pastry once in a while, but if I am going to indulge I want to be leisurely hanging out with the New York Times in one hand and a perfectly made latte in the other. Not rushing around with the pastry shoved in my purse sneaking bites every once in a while just to hold me over until lunch.
I really needed to chill out on the mid-morning purse pastry eating habit of mine so I decided to come up with something - on the healthier side - that I can make and keep around for a mid-morning snack. But not just something healthy, I wanted something I would really enjoy eating.
Granola was out. I am not a huge granola fan, I mean, I will eat it if it is the only thing around but I don't really enjoy it. I do love oatmeal, nuts, and berries, but if I needed something to grab on the go, the oatmeal would have to be baked in the oven instead of on the stove.
Baked oatmeal bars were the winner. An on the go type breakfast food, or a mid-morning snack. Heck, you can even eat these for dessert with some ice cream if you like.
I know that my busy, on the go friends appreciate breakfast recipes like this.
These bars are loaded with healthy goodies. They are gluten-free (as long as you use gluten-free oats) and they can be made vegan omitting the egg. Chia seeds, cinnamon, oats, blueberries and pomegranates are all super ingredients loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. A little bonus added into the morning routine.