Friday, November 16, 2007

Give Thanks for Your Health

Sitting in front of a ridonculously scrumptious piece of Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake is definitley something to be thankful for. Here are some of the Healthy Voyager's tips to stay healthy and sane on this super duper food based holiday!
  • The week of Thanksgiving, try not to flake out on your work out routine. If you will be traveling, make sure you pack your sneaks and go f or a brisk walk every day just to keep your juices flowing. Every step counts!!
  • Try to eat breakfast the morning of Thanksgiving so that you are full throughout the day and you don't gorge that night.
  • Drink water all day ; )
  • Don't sit after your dinner! I know we like to sit around and shoot the breeze with family and/or friends but this is terrible for you. Suggest a nice walk around the neighborhood and start planning your holiday shopping strategy.
  • Be smart with left overs! Instead of a heavy sandwich, make a salad with your leftovers. It's a carb heavy holiday and this is only the beginning of holiday piginess! Try your darndest to make smart choices.
  • Cook up some of these great dishes that will keep your mouth, tummy and your hips and thanking you throughout the holiday season to go your your non-bird dish or to just have healthier alternatives at a bird centered meal:
Mushroom Gravy

1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 T vegetable oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 T whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup water or vegetable stock
1 T soy sauce
1/2 t molasses
1/4 t each: savory and thyme
Dash of pepper

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, saute onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes over low heat. Stir in flour; cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add water or stock, soy sauce, and molasses. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with herbs and pepper. For a richer flavor, replace part of the oil with vegan margarine.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

2 quarts water
1 tablespoon table salt (Alanna says it's essential)
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces

Bring the water to boil in a large pot. While it's heating, cut up the beans. Add the salt and beans to the boiling water. Cover and cook for 6 minutes. Drain beans in a colander, and then spray for a minute with cold water to stop the cooking. Let them drain in the colander, shaking every now and then to get off all the water.


10 ounces mushrooms (I used a combination of regular button mushrooms and shiitake)
3 cloves garlic, minced
generous pinch cayenne pepper (had to add it for the New Orleanians)
Salt to taste
Fresh pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup vegetable broth (I used Imagine's No-Chicken)
1 tablespoon dry sherry (Alanna's brilliant addition)
3/4 cup soy creamer (or try full-fat unsweetened soymilk)

Trim and discard the mushroom stems and chop the mushrooms into pieces. Spray a non-stick pan with canola oil and heat it. Add the mushrooms, garlic, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are very soft and exude their juices. Whisk the flour into the vegetable broth and add to the mushrooms along with the sherry. Simmer, stirring, until mixture thickens. Add the soy creamer and simmer until thick, about 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust the seasonings and stir in the beans.


1 1/2 slices whole grain bread
1 tablespoon Earth Balance margarine (the best tasting margarine in the world and no trans-fat)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/16 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 3-ounce can of French fried onions

Put the bread, margarine, salt, and pepper into a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Pour into a bowl and add the onions. Stir to combine.

To assemble:
Put the green beans into an oiled casserole dish and top with the onion mixture. Bake at 425 F for about 15 minutes. If you are not serving this right away, refrigerate the topping separately. Bring to room temperature before sprinkling the topping on the casserole and baking for about 20 minutes or until hot throughout.

(from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen)


This unique fruit combination is one of the sugarplums of the autumn season. It's so rich in colors and flavors, you can serve it often as a meal accompaniment throughout the holidays.

2 C. (480 ml) whole fresh cranberries
2 large sweet apples, cored and chopped
2 C. (480 ml) black raisins
30 dates, pitted and chopped
2 large Fuyu persimmons, diced
1 C. (237 ml) pecans, toasted and chopped
2/3 C. (158 ml) toasted pine nuts

Leaving the peels on, wash apples thoroughly, and pulse-chop in food processor until finely minced. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Add remaining ingredients to the bowl with the cranberries and toss to distribute evenly. This fruit dish can be made several hours ahead. Serves 8 - 10 as a side dish.
Note: If you decide make this dish a day ahead, don't add the cranberries until just a few hours before serving. They have a tendency to lose some of their delightful tang.


Because it's so easy to prepare, this broccoli recipe is ideal when serving a special Thanksgiving meal with its multitude of traditional dishes.

2 broccoli crowns, bottoms trimmed, florette portion cut into 8ths
3/4 C. (177 ml) water
3 to 4 T. lemon juice
1/4 C. (59 ml) + 2 T. water
1/2 to 3/4 t. salt or to taste
1 to 2 T. extra virgin olive oil (optional)


1 slice lemon
Parsley sprig

Put prepared broccoli into a 4-quart (4 liter) saucepan. Add 3/4 C. (177 ml) water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down to low, and steam 4 to 5 minutes or until broccoli is just tender.
Transfer broccoli to the food processor. Add lemon juice, water, salt, and olive oil and process until pureed but still textured. Adjust seasoning to taste. Remove to an attractive serving bowl and garnish with a twisted slice of lemon and a sprig of parsley. Serves 4 to 5.
Note: For a low fat version, eliminate the extra virgin olive, and add extra water if mixture is too thick.


When you want a brilliant accent of color, you can count on this appealing combo of root vegetables. It's the ideal marriage--both partners are endowed with natural sweetness.

4 large carrots, sliced
4 large parsnips, sliced
1 1/2 C. (355 ml) water
Salt to taste
Dash of nutmeg

Combine carrots, parsnips, and water in a 3-quart (3 liter) saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down and steam until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked carrots and parsnips to a food processor. Add 1/2 to 1 C. (118 to 237 ml) water, salt to taste, and a dash of nutmeg. Process to a smooth puree, adding more water if needed. Serves 6.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

7 potatoes
1/3 cup vegetable broth
2/3 cup water
2 cups chopped onions
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/3 cup soymilk
5 pressed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon dairy-free margarine
2 teaspoons of rosemary

Boil potatoes and onions in a large saucepan for 15-20 minutes covered with water and vegetable broth, or until potatoes soft.

Drain potatoes and onions. Mash.

Add soymilk, nutritional yeast, pressed garlic, butter, rosemary, salt and pepper.

Mix together.

Makes 6 1 cup servings.

Maple-Pecan Pumpkin Pie

Recipe by: Susan Voisin

With or without the pecan topping, this decadent-tasting pumpkin pie is sure to be a crowd pleaser during the holidays...or anytime you get a craving for a treat! (NOTE: The pecan topping, obviously, adds fat. You can make a truly fat-free pie by using a fat-free crust and skipping the topping.)

Ener-G Egg Replacer for 2 eggs, prepared (1 tbsp. Ener-G plus 1/4 cup water)
1 (16 oz) can pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp pecan extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cup soymilk
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 fatfree or regular pie crust
Maple Pecans, optional (recipe below)

Prepare pie shell. Preheat oven to 350 F.

In large bowl or blender, beat egg replacer lightly. Beat in remaining ingredients, except for Maple Pecans, blending well to combine. Pour into pie crust.

Put pan onto a baking sheet (in case of drips). Bake for 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack.

OPTIONAL: For added decadence, after it's cool, top the pie with Maple Pecans:

Maple Pecans

Makes 1 cup

4 ounces pecan halves (about 1 cup)
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 tbsp. sugar

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F

Spread the pecans in a roasting pan and bake until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes.

Pour the maple syrup over the nuts and toss to coat well. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the nuts have absorbed most of the syrup, about 7-10 minutes.

Pour the nuts into a bowl. Toss with a spoon, gradually adding the sugar, until the nuts are coated with the sugar. Cool slightly and break apart any nuts that are sticking together. Pour onto a baking sheet and cool completely before placing on pie.

Makes one 9" pie.

Enjoy your time off as well as some of these great tips and recipes!!

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