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Showing appreciation for holiday sides

Published 4:49pm Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thanksgiving is a special time for embracing everything we are thankful for and displaying gratitude.  Showing our gratitude is an empowering emotion, making us stop and think, because the present is really a gift.  Food on our tables is also something to be grateful for, here are three Thanksgiving favorites that deserve our gratitude.

Sweet Potatoes: We can be grateful that this vegetable contains more than three times our vitamin A daily needs and has more fiber than a bowl of your morning oatmeal.   Sweet potatoes are filled with heart-healthy potassium and immune-boosting vitamin C.  Include them on your table with Sweet Potato and Turnip Mash with Sage Butter (recipe below).

Cranberries: Our appreciation of cranberries grows with their ability to prevent sticking of bad bacteria that can cause recurring urinary tract infections.  Cranberries may also lower bacteria in the mouth to fight gum disease and rid the stomach of bad bacteria too.  It’s a tiny fruit with big benefits.  Include cranberries this Thanksgiving with Cranberry Sauce with Star Anise (recipe below).

Walnuts: Thanks go to walnuts for supplying the richest source (of all the nuts) of a heart-healthy nutrient, omega-3 fatty acids.   A one-ounce serving of walnuts (14 halves) provides antioxidants (more than any nut) and may benefit heart health, diabetes, cancer, cognition, aging and metabolic syndrome.  Include walnuts on your Thanksgiving menu with Creamy Grape Salad with Candied Walnuts (recipe below).

And a special way for your guests to share gratitude at Thanksgiving is to make Gratitude Crescent Rolls.  My guests enjoyed this activity last year and we will be repeating it again this Thanksgiving.

 Gratitude Crescent Rolls

All you need

•Ball-tip pen

•White printer paper or parchment paper, cut into 4-inch-by-1-inch strips, at least one per guest

•Refrigerated crescent roll dough (one for each of your guests plus some additional)

 All you do

1. Have each guest write one thing they are thankful for on a 4-inch-by-1-inch strip of paper.

2. Prior to rolling up crescent rolls, lay paper inside the dough and roll up. Bake as package directs.

3. Enjoy serving these gratitude rolls at the table. While everyone eats them, they can read what another person wrote. You can even guess who wrote it.

 Sweet Potato and Turnip Mash with Sage Butter

Serves: 6 (about 1/2 cup each)

Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

All you need

•1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

•8 oz turnips (about 2 medium), peeled and diced

•3 large cloves garlic

•30 fresh sage leaves, divided (12 left whole, the rest cut into strips)

•2 tbsp Hy-Vee butter

•1 tsp kosher or sea salt

•1/2 tsp coarsely cracked pepper

All you do

1. Place potatoes, turnips, garlic and 12 sage leaves in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the vegetables are fork-tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain. Return the vegetables to the pan and keep covered.

2. Heat butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. As it melts and turns lightly brown, add the strips of sage and allow them to crackle and flavor the butter, about 1 minute.

3. Pour the sage and butter over the vegetables and smash with a potato masher. Stir in salt and pepper and serve.

 Nutrition information per serving:

Calories: 88, Fat: 4g, Carbohydrate: 12g, Protein: 2g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Saturated Fat: 3g, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Sodium: 224mg

 Cranberry Sauce with Star Anise

Serves: 16 (1/4 cup each)

Source: Adapted from Eating Well All you need

•10 whole star anise

•2 (12 ounce each) bags cranberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)

•1 1/3 c. Hy-Vee sugar

•2/3 c. water

•2 tsp orange zest

•2/3 c. orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed

All you do

1. Place star anise in cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with a piece of kitchen string.

2. Combine cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest and juice in a medium saucepan. Add the star anise bundle and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have burst, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Remove star anise before serving. Serve warm or chilled.

To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze for up to three months.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories: 89, Fat: 0g, Carbohydrate: 23g, Saturated Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Protein: 0g, Sodium: 1mg

 Creamy Grape Salad

with Candied Walnuts

Serves: 12 (1/2 cup each)

Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

 All you need

Candied Walnuts

•1/2 c. Hy-Vee chopped walnuts

•2 tsp water

•1 tbsp Hy-Vee light brown sugar

•Pinch of salt

 Grape Salad

•1/2 c. reduced-fat sour cream

•4 oz Hy-Vee reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

•3 tbsp honey

•1 tsp vanilla extract

•6 c. seedless grapes, preferably red and green (about 2 pounds)

All you do

To prepare walnuts

1. Line a small baking pan with parchment paper or foil; coat with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Toss walnuts in a bowl with water. Sprinkle with brown sugar and salt; toss to coat well. Transfer to the prepared pan.

3. Bake until the sugar is melted and the nuts are barely starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool in the pan until the sugar hardens, about 6 minutes.

 To prepare salad

1. Meanwhile, combine sour cream, cream cheese, honey and vanilla in a food processor; puree until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Add grapes; gently stir to combine. Transfer to a serving dish. Crumble the candied walnuts on top just before serving.

To make ahead: Store candied walnuts at room temperature for up to 8 hours; refrigerate salad for up to 8 hours. Top the salad with the walnuts just before serving.

 Nutrition information per serving:

Calories: 143, Fat: 7g, Carbohydrate: 21g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Dietary Fiber: 1g, Protein: 2g, Sodium: 50mg


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