This holidays has been anything but traditional. To be honest, I’ve really liked it that way. Of course there’s been the Christmas parties (enjoyed to their fullest), dinner with friends and upcoming plans to visit family. But the food? It’s taken me far away from turkey’s and potatoes and as a result, I feel a heightened sense of balance from it.
Dietary diversity through unconventional food choices helps to not only ensure the intake of a broad spectrum of nutrients, but also a balanced mind set when it comes to a point in the year when we obsess about tradition. It’s true! It’s often easy to get caught up in traditions (which don’t get me wrong, are beautiful in their own right), but the repercussion is when we forget to have a little fun and get creative.
This year, D and I ate all over the map (literally, our mouths visited more than a couple continents), and at every chance where I was bringing, serving, or sharing food, I tried to emphasize ingredients I’d never used, recipes that challenged me and focused on quality. I believe these tenements made for one memorably unconventional holiday of eats.
I pulled a fair number of my holiday ideas from my latest obsession: Pinterest (If you ever find yourself cutting out and pinning up pages from magazines, you’ll become addicted to Pinterest, the online version of this). There were more than a few potlucks at work, so I opted to try making tortellini skewers and pesto dip for one, and soft goat cheese and pecan bites at another. Super easy, super portable.
I also got the idea for some delicious lemon themed meals and snacks from my Pinterest board. Lemon poppyseed buckwheat pancakes for breakfast on the 25th, and raw lemon ice box cookies! The lemon icebox cookies, while difficult to transport to a friends house if you’re bringing dessert (they’re supposed to stay frozen, even until right before you eat them), are absolutely delicious. I substituted vanilla extract for vanilla powder, and maple syrup for agave nectar. I also still haven’t bought a food processor yet, so I had to grind the cashews in my blender which left the cookies with a more rough texture. All the same, this recipe is going to be in high rotation at our place now.
Between dinners hosted and dinners attended, the salads quickly became my favourite dish to prepare. For dinner with some friends on the 25th I made a tropical salad with mango, coconut flakes, chia and hemp seeds, with a lemon, raspberry vinegar and Vega EFA oil dressing. Actually my Vega EFA oil made a number of appearances, and I’m claiming it as my (not so) secret ingredient.
I took a trip one night to south east asia in order to make raw, vegan salad rolls after an especially gruelling BodyRock workout with my GF Andrea. They were super fun to make while catching up and drinking some wine. The key ingredients for the filling were mint and green onions, while Andrea’s dressing (which I could have eaten with a spoon it was so good) included peanut butter, tamari, lemon, ginger, garlic, chill, fresh herbs, a dash of honey and olive oil. This is up on our fridge now screaming “make me again!”
To wrap it all up, on a date night in, we made loaded naan bread pizza’s with grated beet, smoked salmon, cilantro, basil (both fresh), and chipotle spice. Sounds like a mash-up, and indeed it was, but when there’s a glass of fine whiskey on the rocks to wash it all down, life couldn’t have been better.
Happy holidays everyone. Wishing you nothing but the best in health, and life for the coming new year.