Thanksgiving is in just a few days, and here is a delicious and waistline-friendly side dish recipe for the big meal so that you don’t have to prevent your abs from turning into that cranberry jelly belly!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Shallots

Ingredients

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp. fresh sage, chopped
2 tbsp. honey
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste

1/2 cup thin shallots, julienned
1 tbsp. grapeseed oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a lagre bowl add the diced sweet potatoes, 2 tbsp of grapeseed oil, minced garlic, fresh chopped thyme and sage, honey salt and pepper. Mix and coat the sweet potatoes well and lay out onto a sheet pan. Roast until caramelized golden brown and tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure to check the potatoes in the oven after the first 15 minutes, to see if they need to be rotated or stirred around.

While potatoes are roasting, heat a lagre skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of grapeseed oil and add the julienned shallots. Saute the shallots and continue to stir, allowing the shallots to caramelize without burning. Continue to saute the shallots until tender and well caramelized. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Once the sweet potatoes are done, gently toss the potatoes and the caramelized shallots together and add the parsley and lemon juice to finish the dish.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Food Network star, Robert Irvine.*

Food Network star, Robert Irvine and Gold’s Gym have teamed up for Trim the Fat Friday – offering healthy alternatives to traditional recipes and opening up Gold’s Gym locations nationwide for FREE on Friday, November 27th, inviting people to come in and work off their Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving is almost here and while you’re planning that great turkey dinner, don’t forget about sprucing up your home as you welcome friends and family to celebrate the holiday with you.

Designer Robin Wilson, founder and CEO of Robin Wilson Home, who focuses on creating healthy and beautiful spaces for her clients and has products at national retailers, offers these eight tips to create a warm, inviting and healthy home this Thanksgiving:

1. Start with curb appeal: The exterior is the first impression your guests get of your home so you want it to look clean and inviting. Add fresh mulch, trim overgrown trees and shrubs and plant new flowers, and make sure the front door is freshly painted. Always wear a mask to prevent breathing in fumes and goggles to protect your eyes.

2. Make the windows sparkle with newspaper: Yes, you read that right. Spray your windows with non-toxic cleaner and wipe away with newspaper. The high absorbency of newsprint makes it so effective at cleaning windows because it absorbs the liquid instead of pushing it away. Be careful to stay on the glass and not dirty up moldings and trim.

3. Clean the chimney and stove: This isn’t just to help Santa when he descends into your home next month. A dirty chimney is a fire hazard and can release toxins into your home. On a related note, it’s also a good idea to clean your stove before you do any intensive holiday cooking. It’s also a good time to make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and have new batteries.

4. Switch to LED lighting: If you’re doing a lot of entertaining this holiday season, switching to LED lighting will keep your electric bills down. LED lighting is the most energy efficient lighting source available. And if you have young children, LED lights are cool to the touch.

5. Get your couches and rugs professionally cleaned: sofas and rugs can harbor all kinds of allergens, mold and bacteria. And if you have dogs or cats, removing the dander will help you and your guests prevent the “wheezes and sneezes.” Plus, a good looking couch will attract your company allowing time to catchup and reminisce, or just watch the parade or football games together.

6. Put on fresh bed linens: If out-of-town family and friends are staying with you, new linens are always a nice touch. Hypoallergenic comforters and pillows are a good choice especially if you don’t know if your guests have any allergy/asthma issues. For this reason, also use nylon shower curtains which don’t off-gas like vinyl does.

7. Non-toxic cleaners this time of year: With the cooler weather, most people keep their windows shut for the next five months, keeping everything sealed up and trapped inside. For this reason, it’s especially important in the winter to use non-toxic cleaners as you prepare your home for the holidays.

8. Make it smell like the holidays: To make it feel like the holidays it needs to smell like the holidays. Consider soy candles as a healthy alternative to regular candles, which not only add a visual element and warmth, but come in a variety of scents.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net by artur84.*

With Thanksgiving just days away, this weekend will most likely be spent freshening, cleaning and sprucing up the home in preparation for family and friends! Why not ‘green up’ your cleaning routine as you mop, dust, wash the dishes and launder the sheets? “Mom” has chosen a few of her favorite eco-friendly cleaning items to make the job an earth-friendly one!

Soapberry Suds

 

Buckaroo Organics Soapberry Suds Organic Laundry Detergent

Yee-haw! Treat your linens and your guests to freshly laundered sheets and bedding! Instead of using a synthetic surfactant or soaping agent, Buckaroo Organics’ detergent contains 100% USDA Certified Organic Soapberries, which are also known as soapnuts.

According to the company, “The soapberry not only cleans, but also possesses natural fabric softening capabilities. The saponin contained in the husk of the natural berry is our active ingredient for wranglin’ tough dirt and hard to treat stains and is gentle on delicate fabrics.”

All ingredients used in the detergent are organic, natural and safe for both family and the environment. It is also hypo-allergenic and a wonderful choice for those with sensitivities.

 

Frosch Dishwashing Liquid

Frosch Aloe Vera Dishwashing Liquid

Germany’s “Most Trusted Household Cleaning Brand” is now available in the US, and your dishes will sparkle and shine for your guests on Thanksgiving Day when you use this dishwashing liquid. The Aloe Vera Dishwashing Liquid gets dishes spotlessly clean while moisturizing hands, and smells amazing!

Frosch Lavender Universal Cleaning Liquid

 

Frosch Lavender Universal Cleaner

One of “Mom’s” favorite essential oils is lavender, and cleaning with the Lavender Universal Cleaner is like breathing in relaxation as you scrub, mop and prep the household. The Lavender Universal Cleaner cleans away dirt and grease while sanitizing floors and most washable household surfaces, leaving behind only a wonderful scent!

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about healthier options for dessert! This Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe is made without the cream cheese, using tofu and Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese instead! Topped generously with 100% all-natural, non-GMO skinny truwhip, it is a delectable and delicious dessert!

Pumpkin Cheesecake (‘No Cheese”)

Ingredients

12 oz. firm silken tofu
8 oz. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar (“Mom” prefers organic sugar or Stevia in the Raw)
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 graham cracker crust
1 carton Truwhip

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 deg.

In blender or food processor, puree all ingredients except crust and Truwhip. Pour into crust.

Bake 350 deg. for 50 min. Cool at least 30 min.

Cover top of pie with generous amount of Truwhip.

truwhip 2

About truwhip

truwhip and truwhip skinny are the first frozen whipped toppings that are 100% natural and gluten-free. Unlike other chemical-laden whipped dairy concoctions, truwhip contains no high fructose corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils, no polysorbate 60, no trans fats and no GMOs. truwhip is also certified gluten-free and Kosher. Available at Wal-Mart and Kroger, as well as grocery stores nationwide. http://www.truwhip.com/

*Samples of truwhip, recipe and image courtesy of truwhip.*

Bravado Desigs Pink Yoga BraMom” is expecting her third little bundle of joy, so you can imagine her delight when trying out this new nursing bra from Bravado Designs! Throughout each pregnancy and afterwards when nursing, the Bravado Designs line of bras has been “Mom’s” top pick. The bras are seamless, incredibly soft and made to change with your ever-changing and shifting shape without discomfort. Now, they have brought this level of comfort to your yoga practice or workout routine! And yes, to answer your question, “Mom” has been practically living in this “pretty in pink” bra above since it arrived for review in her home!
Bravado Desigs Charcoal Yoga Bra

About the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra
With convertible criss-cross straps and four-way stretch fabric that molds to a woman’s changing shape, whether in the third trimester or throughout breastfeeding, the Body Silk Seamless Yoga nursing bra is luxuriously soft, seamless and wire-free for added comfort. It also features removable foam inserts for shape and discretion, as well as easy open and close clips and full drop-away bra cups for skin-to-skin contact. The bra also comes with a conversion kit for extended usage. Now moms can indulge in their favorite yoga practice or activity, in total comfort and style.

The Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra also features patented Silverbreeze™ technology, an antimicrobial finish that is applied to the fabric which prevents the growth of odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew that can cause unpleasant odors, premature decay of the fabric and discoloration. The active ingredient, silver ions, control the growth of odor-causing bacteria on the fabric surface, keeping it fresh through the most rigorous Vinyasa class, power walks and Pilates routine.

Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra is currently available in Charcoal Heather and Pink Heather for $55.00 in the US and Canada at www.BravadoDesigns.com and National and Specialty retailers including Diapers.com, Breakout Bras.com, Figure 8 Maternity.com, Bosom Buddies, The Pump Station, Yummy Mummy, and in Canada at West Coast Kids, Snuggle Bugz, andWell.ca.

*Company generously provided a sample and images for this piece.*

This deliciously simple recipe for Superfood Pesto is a staple in “Mom’s” house! It can be made ahead and stored for use, or eaten immediately – we love it served over pasta or salmon, as well as swirled into soups or spread on fresh bread! “Mom” started adding in flax and chia seeds as a great way to sneak in some extra nutrition unnoticed by her little ones – Carrington Farms has made it even easier to add in with their convenient Flax Chia PAKS.

Superfood Pesto

Tiny Green Mom’s Superfood Pesto

Ingredients

2 cups fresh organic basil leaves (“Mom” prefers Trader Joe’s Organic Basil)
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 fresh garlic cloves
2/3 cup organic extra virgin olive oil (divided – see below)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, preferably organic
1 package Carrington Farms Flax Chia PAKS

Preparation

Combine the organic basil, pine nuts, fresh garlic and parmesan cheese in a blender or small food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process the mixture until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with the salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

If you plan to serve the pesto immediately, add in all the remaining oil, incorporating until smooth.

If you plan to store the pesto, place the remaining extra virgin olive oil over the top of the pesto in the container. “Mom” prefers to place a layer of Press’n Seal over the top of the pesto, and then placing the lid of the container on top to help keep it fresh.

Enjoy!

Carrington Farms Flax-Chia-Packet-STACKED

About Carrington Farms Flax Chia PAKS

Combination of Carrington Farms’ popular sliced Organic Milled Flax Seeds with Carrington’s Organic Chia Seeds. Excellent source of energy and nutrients for lasting heart health and boosted metabolism. Rich in Omega-3’s, Fiber, Antioxidants, and Protein. Packed in a portable and convenient single serve packet with a pre-measured daily dosage, FlaxChia Paks answer all needs for the health conscious, on the go consumer. No refrigeration necessary. Available at grocery stores nationwide and online at www.CarringtonFarms.com; MSRP: $9.79. / 12-pak box

*Images and samples of Carrington Flax Chia PAKS courtesy of Carrington Farms.*

Serve up these sweet, healthy and delicious nachos for breakfast when hosting relatives and guests at your home this holiday season! Yes, you read that correctly, nachos! Terra’s Kitchen has shared their delightful recipe for Fruit Nachos that make an excellent breakfast or brunch dish, as well as a nutritious dessert! “Mom” thinks it is almost too pretty to eat!

TK fruit nachos

Terra’s Kitchen Fruit Nachos

Ingredients

2-3 medium peaches, apricots, berries, and/or bananas, sliced
1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon honey

Optional topping: granola (“Mom’s” pick is Mamma Chia Organic Chia Vitality Granola Clusters), pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, mini chocolate chips, dried and snipped cherries, or dried and snipped apricots

Preparation

Arrange the fruit slices on a large serving platter. Stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, vanilla, and honey in a small bowl. Drizzle over the peaches and sprinkle on toppings as desired. Serve immediately.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Terra’s Kitchen.*

R.W. Knudsen Mulled CiderIn the midst of the holiday bustle, it’s easy to fall short on good eating habits.

Heeding five hints, however, can help you celebrate a happy holiday season with family, friends and feeling good about yourself.

1. Focus on fun. Holidays often revolve around food and spending time with your loved ones. This year, try a new activity that the entire family will enjoy. Step outside the box and create great memories you’ll have forever.

2. Motivate now. Don’t wait for the New Year to get started on your resolutions. Try integrating best practices into your life today. Aim to take a daily walk or eat vegetables with every meal.

3. Indulge in moderation. No need to skip your favorite seasonal foods. You can still enjoy all the delicious holiday treats without the guilt by planning your portion size and sticking to it.

4. Sip seasonal. Holiday beverages can be delicious and festive. Try a glass of R.W. Knudsen Family® Cider and Spice, made with 100 percent juice from ripe, whole apples and naturally flavored with allspice, cinnamon, cloves, lemon peel and orange peel.

Hot Mulled Cider

Ingredients

4 cups R.W. Knudsen Family® Cider & Spice

5 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 orange (peeled and sliced)

6 slices fresh ginger (peeled about ¼ inch thick)

Additional cinnamon sticks for garnish (optional)

Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Simmer 20 to 25 minutes. Strain mixture. Divide warm liquid among individual mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick, if desired.

Serve and enjoy.

5. Enjoy simple things. Using R.W. Knudsen Family® Just Juice® can be the key to creating simple salad dressings, reduction sauces and marinades. R.W. Knudsen Family® believes great juice is the result of great fruit—so for more than 50 years, it’s produced quality juice products, including more than 100 types of natural and organic fruit and vegetable juices, carbonated fruit beverages and specialty items.

Learn More

For facts and recipe ideas, see www.rwknudsenfamily.com and www.facebook.com/RWKnudsen.

*Article courtesy of NAPS. Image of “Woman With Santa Hat” by Ambro courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Looking for a healthier marshmallow – free of artificial ingredients that are not made with gelatin? Dandies Vegan Marshmallows are completely free of the ingredient gelatin, 100% vegan, and perfect for making animal-friendly, gooey, warm and satisfyingly sweet homemade crispy treats or s’mores. In “Mom’s” kitchen, that is exactly what we made – Vegan Crispy Treats! A simple and fun cooking activity for little ones (with mom or dad’s help, of course!), these Vegan Crispy Treats were a hit using Dandies Vegan Mini Marshmallows!

Mom’s Vegan Crispy Treats

Ingredients

6 cups organic crispy rice cereal (“Mom” prefers Nature’s Path)
3 Tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1 package Dandies Vegan Mini Marshmallows

Preparation

Coat 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with coconut oil cooking spray.

In a medium or large saucepan, melt the Earth Balance Buttery Spread over low heat. Add in the Dandies Vegan Mini Marshmallows, and stir until completely melted. Remove this misture from the heat, and add in the organic crispy rice cereal. Stir until well coated.

Press the mixture evenly into the pan using a spatula and let cool. Once completely cooled, cut into squares and enjoy!

About Dandies Vegan Marshmallows

Dandies are the first Non-GMO Verified marshmallows on the market, and they are produced in the company’s dedicated facility, which is free of dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree-nuts. In addition, Dandies Vegan Marshmallows are free of artificial ingredients and high fructose corn syrup and do not contain any wheat, corn or soy. The best part is, these vegan marshmallows are indistinguishable from their conventional counterparts and perfect for making all of your favorite marshmallow treats. Dandies are air puffed, which gives them a traditional light and fluffy texture.

Dandies Classic Vanilla Marshmallows are available in campfire style and mini sizes at Whole Foods Market and other natural food stores across the U.S. for an SRP of $5.29 per 10oz package. Visit DandiesMarshmallows.com for more information or find @MyDandies on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

*Company generously provided Dandies Vegan Marshmallows for this recipe and review.*

It’s time to indulge in the culinary delights of the season with these nutritious and tasty finds! Cut down on calories in traditional holiday favorites such as egg nog and pumpkin pie by stocking the fridge with these alternatives everyone in the family will enjoy!

Noosa PumpkinPumpkin and Cranberry Apple Flavors from noosa yoghurt

Kids and adults alike will be raving about noosa’s velvety pumpkin deliciousness, as this yoghurt’s fusion of spicy and sweet makes it taste like a spoonful of pumpkin pie filling itself! Noosa pumpkin yoghurt is a great substitute for the traditional pumpkin pie – especially with their convenient mini-containers!

Noosa Cranberry-Apple-FamilyA rich cranberry apple flavor is also available this season – a tart yet sweet treat for the taste buds!

Both pumpkin noosa and cranberry apple noosa are now available on grocery shelves nationwide in the traditional 8 ounce container at $2.99, as well as 4 ounce 4-packs mini-containers at $4.99. Intrigued? Make sure to visit their website to download a $0.55 coupon, too!

Lifeway Eggnog KefirHoliday Kefir from Lifeway Foods

Lifeway Foods, leaders in probiotic and nutritious foods, has introduced a series of wholesome treats for the holidays! Their holiday kefir, rich in flavors of Pumpkin Spice, Eggnog, and Cranberry Crème Brûlée are filled with probiotics and contain only 140 calories and 2 grams of fat per serving. If you are a fan of egg nog, like “Mom,” but not the calories, the Eggnog Kefir is almost too good to be true! Rich, sweet and just plain yummy, the container did not last very long in our home!

Lifeway Pumpkin Spice KefirYou can use the store locator tab on the Lifeway website to locate a store near you that carries the seasonal flavors.

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this piece.*