Wednesday, November 27, 2013


The few days leading up to Thanksgiving are usually hectic, the morning of a blur. The cleaning, the planning, the table setting. The prepping, chopping, cutting, basting. In past years T-day has come and I find myself scrambling to get everything done and, true to my personality, done perfectly. Obviously I succeed [sarcasm, check!].

This year however our gathering is smaller, the list a bit shorter, and my attitude surrounding the entire day a little different. I love Thanksgiving. It ranks as one of my favorite holidays to be sure and this year is no different.

The change comes in my mindset.

Instead of freaking out about things being just right I'm learning to be kinder to myself. I'm realizing a magazine-perfect setting is beautiful but doesn't really change what happens around our table, it just stresses me out. I'm finding my girls would rather help me clean [a game in their beautiful minds] if I relax, turn on some music, throw in some terrible dance moves, and let go of getting every nook sparkling. I'm working on living in the present moment taking in the blessing that comes with the preparation - a time bursting with love and anticipation yet so easy to miss in the chaos, turkey guts, and veggie scraps. As I write this I take a few glances out the window watching fat snow flakes lazily make their way to the ground. I listen as my baby coos herself to sleep and my oldest works on her letters in between setting up a card game for us to play later.

I have my lists, things to get done. But I've also planned in moments to be and enjoy and what I'm finding is everything gets done and I treasure each step along the way.

Pre-Thanksgiving meals are a perfect place to start simplifying. Through paying attention to how my body responds to food, I've found I do much better on a high protein, low sugar [natural or otherwise] breakfast. Slowly I'm putting together simple breakfasts to fit my needs. Below is an example of one of my current favorites. The quinoa + bean combination provides a complete protein while the sweet potato and kale [seasonal favorites these days!] packs the meal with essential vitamins and minerals. Fennel and cumin aid in the digestion of beans and using the whole seeds ensures these properties have stayed in tact. Nutritional yeast is high in protein and is one of the few non-meat food sources of B vitamins we have available.

May you find the time and presence to give thanks in whatever chaos you find. May you surround yourself with those you love and tell them why they mean so much to you. May Thanksgiving be a day bursting with blessing and may the times surrounding it bring moments of grace and beauty.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Serves 2 - 3

1 large sweet potato or 2 small: washed and cut into very small cubes [if you are using organic you don't need to peel]
1 large bunch of kale: washed, spun dry, and cut into small ribbons
1 c. kidney beans [or beans of choice]: soaked, cooked, rinsed, and drained [or drain and rinse a can of pre-cooked beans]
1 c. quinoa: soaked / sprouted, rinsed, and cooked
1 - 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. whole cumin seeds
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. granulated onion
1/4 tsp. freshly ground fennel seed
sea salt, to taste

Prepare all vegetables as noted above. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet until hot but not smoking or popping. Carefully add sweet potatoes, toss to coat with oil, and then let cook for a few minutes or until the undersides are browned and crispy. Stir, add cumin seeds, and repeat until most of the sides are browned and potatoes are just soft. Add cooked kidney beans, oregano, nutritional yeast, granulated garlic, granulated onion, and ground fennel, stir, and let cook for 1 - 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium - low, add kale and gently try to stir [the kale will probably be heaping], add a 1/8 c. of water, cover and let steam for 30 - 60 seconds or until kale starts to wilt. Remove cover and stir to combine. Add cooked quinoa stirring gently until quinoa is warmed. Salt to taste.

I usually make the full recipe and then store the leftovers for the next day's breakfast.



Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Holiday Crackers with Cheesy Pumpkin Dip
Roasted Chickpeas
Parsnip Chips

Main Meal:

Three Winter Salads + One Dressing
Roasted Veggie-Stuffed Hubbard Squash
Mixed-Vegetable Mashed Potatoes
Quinoa-Walnut Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Spiced Pear Sauce


Buttercup Custard
Pumpkin Ice Cream
Upside-Down Pumpkin Pie Crisp
Pumpkin-Apple Crisp


Spiced Pumpkin Latte
Chamomile Latte [a little digestion aid!]

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