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.

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.*

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.*

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.*

It’s time to start preparing for what will be served on Thanksgiving, and the answer to an overly cooked, dry turkey is here! Now you can make a perfectly cooked, moist and delicious Thanksgiving Turkey using the Ronco Rotisserie Oven. The constant rotating of the rotisserie means that your turkey is continually basting as it cooks, while the high intensity heat means that you get the delicious, crispy skin you’re looking for on Thanksgiving Day! At “Mom’s” house, we prefer the D’Artagnan Organic Free Range Turkey for our Thanksgiving feast!

The Ronco Rotisserie Turkey

Brine Ingredients

1 teaspoon of Kosher salt per pound (make sure you use Kosher salt, sea salt and table salt will make your bird too salty)
1-2 tablespoons of cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried rosemary

Instructions

1. Mix together brine.
2. Remove neck and giblets from defrosted turkey
3. Using a paper towel, completely dry the inside and outside of your turkey.
4. Generously rub brine all over the outside and cavity of your turkey
5. Allow turkey to brine in the refrigerator, uncovered, in a large pan for at least 12 hours and up to 2 days.
6. When ready to cook, pat down skin with a paper towel to remove excess moisture, but not the salt brine
7. Place on to Rotisserie spit and cook for 12 minutes per pound. If using a meat thermometer, allow turkey to reach 165 degrees F.

Allow your turkey to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Tips from the Experts at Ronco:

For this recipe, which we’ve coined The Ronco Rotisserie Turkey, we used simple dry brine and cooked it in our 5500 Rotisserie (though you can use any of our rotisseries) for about 2 ½ hours. The result was a deliciously seasoned, moist, yet crispy Thanksgiving masterpiece. Dry brining works by opening the pores of the meat, allowing the natural juices to make the meat more moist, while crisping up the skin. I personally prefer a dry brine to wet because of the results and simplicity. A dry brine is basically 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat and any other seasonings you may want to add, however salt alone does the trick as well. The following recipe is what I used. Feel free to mix it up with your favorite seasonings.

On a side note, do not use a dry brine on a Kosher Turkey. It has already been pre-salted and will result in an overly salted bird.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Ronco.*

It’s November 1st already! This time of year brings with it a season of warm, tummy-filling delights created using root vegetables. Try your hand at making these delightful little puff pastry hors d’oeuvres for any upcoming get-together you may be throwing or attending!

Butternut Squash & Herb Tarts 2Butternut Squash, Chestnut and Herb Filled Puff Pastry Hors d’oeuvres

Ingredients

1 butternut squash, about 3 lbs. (you can also use kabocha)

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 jar or package peeled chestnuts (5-8 oz.)

Salt & freshly ground pepper

Sauce:

1/8 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

1/8 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 large garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

Salt to taste

1-2 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 package frozen puff pastry (we suggest DuFour which is an all-butter puff)

1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon water

Make the filling:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Top and tail the squash, halve it crosswise, put each piece flat-side down on the cutting board, and peel with a knife. Remove the seeds, then cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in a large bowl, toss with the 2 tablespoons olive oil and season lightly with salt & freshly ground pepper. Spread on a parchment-paper covered sheet pan. Roast 20 minutes, until the squash is tender and starting to brown. Add the chestnuts and roast an additional 2 minutes, just to warm them.

While the squash roasts, make the sauce by combining the ingredients in the food processor (start with the smaller amount of lemon juice, and half a teaspoon of salt; you can always add). Pulse to puree to a sauce consistency.

Toss the squash with the sauce, and allow to cool. If you’re making these hors d’oeuvres ahead, you can finish the pastry, fill the cases and freeze. Just remove from the freezer and reheat to serve.

For the puff pastry cases, raise the oven temperature to 375°F. The pastry sheet should be well-chilled so thaw it in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. Unfold the sheet, use a rolling pin to even it out and thin it slightly. Use two square cutters (try a three-inch and a 2 1/4 inch) to first cut the larger squares, then the smaller square inside each one. Once you get them all cut, refrigerate for 10 minutes. Once chilled again, brush the edge of the inner square with the beaten egg, and carefully fold the large square over it, so that the corner of the large square meets the edge of the small, doing this twice so that you have a high-sided case. Where the two sides cross, the corners will be a bit thicker. Brush the whole case with a little egg wash, refrigerate again for 10 minutes, then bake until lightly brown and puffed up. As you take them from the oven, squish the centers down to form the cup for the filling. Let cool, then heap in the squash mixture. Reheat before serving.

Yield: About 24 pieces

About Paulding & Company

Founded by mother-daughter duo Terry and Tracy Paulding, Paulding & Co. is a commercial kitchen and instructional/event space that specializes in creating innovative event ideas for families and corporate entities through public cooking classes and exercises. Located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay area, Paulding & Company inspired Disney/Pixar animators for the Ratatouille film and director Clint Eastwood for several projects.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Paulding & Co.*

Pumpkin Spiced LatteTis’ the season for Pumpkin! The harvest fruit is everywhere – from Jack O’ Lanterns on every doorstep to pumpkin spiced lattes and pies in every store! Besides pumpkin being a great decoration and having a delicious flavor for sweets and treats, pumpkins are healthy and nutritious for you.

Pumpkins are a potent antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory food. Juicing them can be better for you (instead of the overly sugar treats). So, instead of a super sweet pumpkin treat — try a healthy twist to the pumpkin craze. The juicing experts at Juicepresso created a healthy twist to a pumpkin spiced latte which also puts to use the pumpkin meat from your Jack O’ Lantern.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte

Ingredients

1/2 small pumpkin (seeds, hard rind and stem removed), chopped
1 red apple
1 Meyer lemon, quartered
1-inch piece ginger, well scrubbed

Preparation

Once all fruits and vegetables have been prepared, pressed, and placed in a glass, top off your drink with a dab of cinnamon. Enjoy!

*Recipe and image courtesy of Juicepresso.*

Pritikin Candy Corn Fruit CupLooking for more nutritious fare for Halloween entertaining? Try this recipe for a ‘candy corn’ fruit cup – it is excellent for a Halloween party or for a dessert any time of the year! It’s healthy, sweet, tangy, and super simple to put together. This makes a great activity for the kiddos, too!

‘Candy Corn’ Fruit Cup

Ingredients

2 cups mango cubes

2 cups clementine segments

2 cups fat-free, plain Greek yogurt

Top with zest of clementine

Preparation

Layer fruit in a martini glass and place the Greek yogurt on last, topped with the clementine zest. Yum!

Serves 4.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Chef Anthony Stewart, Executive Chef at Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa.*

Witch Hand 2Here’s a scarily healthy treat on Halloween! Fun to put together and almost too spooky to eat, these Pistachio Chewy Bite Witches’ Fingers are made with nutritious ingredients, such as pistachio kernels, almond milk and dried cranberries!

Pistachio Chewy Bite Witches’ Fingers

Ingredients

6 Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup non-dairy dark chocolate chips
Dash sea salt
12 dried cranberries
1/2 cup Setton Farms Roasted Pistachio Kernels, finely ground

Preparation 

Unwrap all chewy bites and cut each chewy bite in half lengthwise. Gently press the two halves together, with the stickiest sides facing each other, creating one long strip. If desired, to create thumb and pinky finger, leave two halves short. Set aside.

Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl.

In a small pan, bring almond milk to a boil. Pour over chocolate chips and let sit for about 20 seconds to melt chocolate. Add sea salt. Whisk until smooth.

Dip long Pistachio Chewy Bite strips into chocolate mixture and then sprinkle or roll in pistachios immediately. Place on wax paper lined plate and top each strip with 2 overlapping dried cranberries at the tip. Set aside for about 20 minutes to firm up.

Yields 6.

(C) Spork Foods, 2015

About Pistachio Chewy Bites
With two main ingredients, Pistachio Chewy Bites provide healthy snack lovers the amazing benefits of pistachios and cranberries in a delicious and nutritious bite-size bar. Pistachio Chewy Bites are heart-healthy, 100% all natural, gluten and dairy free, low in sodium, GMO free, vegan and a great on-the-go protein snack. They also have no cholesterol, zero trans-fat and are a good source of dietary fiber. These nutrient-rich snack bars provide a great balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat for sustainable energy. With 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and healthy fat, the individually wrapped bars are the perfect one stop shop.

Available in major grocery store chains across the country such as: Bristol Farms, Fairway, Shoprite, A&P, Roundy’s, HEB, Safeway, Ingles, Gelson’s, King Kullen, Earth Fare, Price Chopper, Wegmans, Save Mart, Lucky, Hy-Vee, Shop n’ Save, etc. They are also available online at Amazon.com and Puritan.com.

Pricing: 6-Pack $5.99 and 16-Pack $12.50
Website: http://www.pistachiochewybites.com

About Spork Foods
L.A.-based sisters and celebrity chefs, Heather Goldberg and Jenny Engel of Spork Foods are vegan chefs that own a Los Angeles-based gourmet cooking school. The culinary duo are also cookbook authors and work with some of Hollywood’s elite including Emily and Zooey Deschanel, Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Kristin Bauer van Straten, and Alicia Silverstone.