Eat Right: Healthy Holiday Recipes for the Whole Family

Holiday meals are full of New Jammies’ traditional favorites, from turkey and stuffing to pumpkin pie topped with fresh whipped cream. With many of these holiday appetizers, entrees and desserts loaded with fat and calories, we like to discover some of the more healthier options for families, especially those with kiddos to please.

One way to start thinking healthy for the holidays is to consider switching out traditional ingredients for less sugar- and calorie-heavy items. Everyday Health healthy living newsletter offers these options, featured in its “11 Healthy Holiday Food Swaps” article. These include skipping:

• Full-fat dips, and eat yogurt dips (hummus with yogurt and lemon recipe)

• Some alcohol calories, drink wine spritzer instead (8 ‘skinny’ holiday cocktails)

• Candied yams, eat roasted sweet potatoes (low-calorie candied yams recipe)

• Store-bought, eat homemade stuffing (low-calorie stuffing)

• Traditional gravy, eat low-fat gravy (click here for recipe from the Mayo Clinic)

These recipes will be a hit with the family this holiday, and help with staying healthy:

Spinach Parmesan White Bean Dip

Found on Pinterest, one of our favorite resources for ideas for healthy recipes and fun holiday do-it-yourself projects, this simple, vegetarian, five-ingredient, gluten-free dip is “packed with protein and veggies, and tons of cheesy flavor.” Sounds great to us!

Ingredients
1 cup baby spinach, packed
1 15 oz. can white beans, small
2 tbsp freshly squeeze lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions

1. Blend in food processor; salt and pepper to taste.

2. Serve with carrots, celery, cauliflower, pita chips or any healthy chip or veggie stick that goes great with dips.

 

Wild Rice with Cranberries & Almonds

This low-calorie (120 per 1/2 cup), low-cholesterol (0 mg) side dish, courtesy of the American Diabetes Association’s Recipes for Living, is a healthful holiday option that can be made for a big dinner, or a small get-together with lots of leftovers, as it serves 11. According to the ADA, wild rice takes longer to cook than other rice, but it has a lower glycemic index of 45 compared to white rice with a glycemic index of 70. This is important for those holiday guests with diabetes or other special diet considerations. The toasted almond slices and dried cranberries are a nice touch for any holiday spread.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
2 (4-ounce) boxes wild rice
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Instructions
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes.

2. Add the water and chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil.

3. Add the rice; cover and cook according to package directions; usually about 50-60 minutes.

4. Remove the lid and add in the toasted almonds and cranberries; use a fork to mix together.

MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Confirm all ingredients are gluten-free, including the chicken broth, and this can be made gluten-free.

 

Orange Glazed Turkey with Potatoes & Carrots

The American Heart Association offers many healthy options for traditional recipes on its website at recipes.heart.org. This citrus-roasted recipe for a turkey breast, to make holiday prep easier, caught our eye for a healthy take on festive meals.

”Try this new Simple Cooking with Heart take on traditional turkey. Its seasoning gives the dish a base of flavor, and orange marmalade adds tangy sweetness. Serve with potatoes and carrots. Enjoy the taste of Thanksgiving year-round!”

Ingredients
6 Servings
Nonstick cooking spray
1.5-1.75 lb. boneless, skinless turkey breast (all visible fat discarded)
2 tsp. dried mixed herbs (mix a combination of any/all – rosemary, basil, parsley, tarragon, chives, thyme, sage)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. orange marmalade
1 lb. washed potatoes (can use any type of potatoes), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 medium carrots (peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Spray a 9×13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Place turkey in the dish.

3. In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients (herbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder). Rub half of mixture over the turkey.

4. Spread marmalade over turkey.

5. Stir potatoes, carrots and oil in to remaining herb mixture. Place vegetables in dish around the turkey. Bake for 1 hour.

6. Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.

 

Spiced Caramel Apples

Better Homes and Gardens knows a little something about entertaining, and has spent decades being one of the foremost experts on food. So it’s no surprise they’ve put together a list of Healthy Apple Desserts that includes this easy recipe that slow cooks while everyone is visiting.

“Instead of serving caramel apples on a stick, we cut apples in half, topped them with a sprinkle of cinnamon and cloves, and cooked them in a slow cooker. We added a drizzle of caramel topping later, along with a few chopped pecans, to create a healthy apple dessert that wows.”

Ingredients

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
5 medium red-skinned cooking apples (such as Rome or Jonathan), cored, and halved
1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar-free caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans

Instructions
1. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and cloves. Core and halve the apples.

2. Place 1/2 of the apple halves in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle evenly with some of the cinnamon mixture. Add remaining apples and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture.

3. Pour apple juice and lemon juice over apples. Stir to coat apples evenly.

4. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, stirring gently halfway through cooking time.

5. Spoon apples and cooking liquid to individual serving dishes. Drizzle with caramel topping and sprinkle with pecans.

 

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Play Right: Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids to Create

Happy HolidaysAt New Jammies, we love the idea of kids learning and playing in the kitchen to help make gifts for their loved ones with found objects and fresh-from-the-pantry ingredients. From homemade pine cone bird feeders to a healthy vegetarian bean soup mix, these kid-friendly ideas for gift-giving help us inspire creativity and nurture imagination. They can be gifted during the holidays or year-round for birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. Happy holidays from our family to yours!

Homemade Bird FeederBirds of a Feather
The Outdoor Parent, online at theoutdoorparent.com, is a useful website for moms, dads and caregivers with a message we love featuring content from “surfers, climbers and skiers who have embarked the greatest adventure — parenthood.” They offer their stories, perspective and reflections on parenting, children and the outdoor lifestyle. One holiday or birthday gift idea great for bird watchers and nature lovers that attracts a wide range of winged species winter through fall is Outdoor Parent contributor Becca Cahall’s Pinecone Bird Feeder project for kids.

Materials
Pinecones (preferably opened)
String or ribbon
Peanut butter/suet/vegetable shortening
Oatmeal and/or cornmeal
Birdseed (make it high-energy with sunflower seeds and or chopped nuts)
Plate or pie tin

Directions
1.Tie ribbon or string around the pine cone.
2. Mix ½ cup peanut butter/suet/shortening with ½ cup oats/cornmeal.
3. Use a spoon (or fingers!) to spread the mixture onto the pinecone. Make sure to get the mixture into the open areas of the pinecone. It’s easier if the mixture is warm.
4. Place birdseed in pie tin. Roll and press seed onto pinecone until well covered.
5. Hang your pinecone feeder in a tree just outside you window. Try to place it away from the tree trunk so it’s more difficult for squirrels to get to it.

Reindeer ChowAll Santa’s Reindeer
The birds won’t be the only creatures enjoying homemade treats when you and the kids whip together easy-to-make Reindeer Chow, also called Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies. This favorite holiday snack can be given out as gifts in cute treat bags, decorated mason jars or plastic containers with red, green or blue lids adorned with ribbon. The recipe is easier than pie, and kids can join along in the fun of making homemade gifts that everyone loves to receive.

Ingredients
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine
12 ounces chocolate or butterscotch chips
1 large box Chex or Crispix
2 ½ cups confectioners sugar

Directions
1. Melt peanut butter, margarine and chocolate or butterscotch chips in a saucepan.
2. Pour mixture over Chex or Crispix; coat well on a baking sheet.
3. Place confectioner sugar in a paper or Ziploc bag.
4. Add coated cereal.
5. Shake well and place in gift containers.

Tip: Add red-and-green holiday-colored M&Ms to the mix for a splash of color. Make this treat anytime of the year by adding M&Ms in seasonal colors on Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July and during the fall.

 

Courtesy Hello Natural

Courtesy Hello Natural

So Minty Fresh and So Clean
The kids may not know what a mojito is, but Grandma Sue or Aunt Patty, and maybe even Grandpa Jim and Uncle Bob, will enjoy the idea of a rejuvenating soak in a cool minty bath. On her site Hello Natural, at hellonatural.co, writer and mom-of-three Stephanie Gerber offers up this Mint Mojto DIY Bath Salts recipe. It’s fast and perfect for homemade holidays gifts that kids can take part in mixing up since all the ingredients are fresh and safe. This gift can be especially fun for those who love mojtos by adding a drink recipe and spirits components so cocktails can accompany that refreshing, minty soak.

Materials
2 cups Epsom salt, sea salt or kosher salt
Fresh mint, finely diced
Juice and zest of one lime
Mint essential oil
Green food coloring (optional)

Directions
In a small bowl, add salt, mint and lime juice and zest. Stir everything together. Then add 3-5 drops of mint essential oil. You can also add 1-2 drops of food coloring to give it a hint of green. Mix together until fragrance and color are well combined. Add 1/2 cup of salt to your bath. Enjoying while sipping a fresh mojito is highly recommended.

Tip: Package in cute mason jars with a burlap bow and a spring of pine tied to the center.

 

Hortus Ltd./Mark Fonville

Hortus Ltd./Mark Fonville

Just Like Mom Used to Make
Soup’s on this winter as HGTV lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith shares his recipe for a savory, healthy, and cost-effective Vegetarian 5 Bean Soup Mix on hgtv.com. Smith suggests this easy gift idea for kids as a way for them to help out at the kitchen table, sorting the dry beans and filling up the mason jars. According to Smith, the recipes makes 4 jars, but feel free to double and triple as needed. And make sure to save a few for your own pantry for those cold winter evenings by the fire. These also make great housewarming or get well gifts Bon appetite!

Ingredients
1 lb. pinto beans
1 lb. split green peas
1 lb. great northern beans
1 lb. black beans
1 lb. kidney beans
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons dehydrated onions
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
8 bay leaves
4 vegetable bouillon cubes

Materials
4 clean quart-sized mason jars with lids and rings
Parchment paper
Decorative twine
Fabric to cover top (optional)
Paper for cooking instructions

Directions
1. In each of the mason jars, layer 2/3 cup of each bean, shaking gently after each layer to even out. Set jars aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine all spices except bay leaves and bouillon cubes.
3. On a 10-by-10-inch piece of parchment paper, spoon 3 tablespoons of the spice mixture in the center and top with 2 bay leaves and one bouillon cube. Fold paper around the spices to make a spice envelope and seal with tape.
4. Place spice envelope on top of the layered beans, cover with a square piece of decorative fabric and seal jar.
5. Decorate as desired. On a piece of cardstock or decorative paper, write:

Preparation directions for labels
Rinse beans and place in large stockpot, cover in 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, remove from heat and let soak for one hour. Drain and rinse. Return beans to the pot and add in spice envelope, one 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for two hours until beans are tender and soup is thick. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Eat Right: Whole Foods for the Holidays

46462_471058762932291_1055129273_nIt’s no secret that when it comes to the holidays, food takes center stage for New Jammies families. So there’s no better time than now to establish healthy habits for kids with whole food recipes. Whole food is defined as “food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances.”

These food types include fresh fruits and vegetables, local, grass-fed meats, fish, eggs, dairy and cheese, whole-wheat and whole-grains, local- and home-baked goods, seeds and nuts. A whole food diet avoids refined grains and sugars, high-fructose syrups, food loaded with fillers and preservatives, and junk and fast food, especially.

During the holidays, hearty meals can be made fresh with all-natural ingredients grown in the garden and frozen after harvest or, in warmer climates, local farmer’s markets. Traditional dishes such as roasted turkey and squash, sweet potatoes and yams, Brussels sprouts, cooked carrots, creamed spinach, quinoa with mushrooms, corn casserole, green beans with almonds, cranberry salad, whole-grain rolls, baked apples, and gluten-free pumpkin pie.

These recipes from Whole Foods, located online at wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes, can help families plan for a healthy whole food turkey dinner this holiday:

Roast Turkey with Apples and Onions
Serves 12 with leftovers

Ingredients:

· 1 (14-pound) turkey, neck and giblets removed
· 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
· 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
· 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
· 1 tablespoon kosher salt
· 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
· 5 crisp apples, such as Pink Lady or Fuji, peeled, cored and quartered
· 5 red onions, quartered

Preheat oven to 475°F.

Pat turkey dry inside and out with paper towels; brush skin with butter. In a small bowl, combine sage, garlic, salt and pepper. Loosen skin over the turkey breast meat with your fingers and work a little of the sage mixture under the skin and over the meat. Sprinkle remaining mixture over skin and in the cavity of the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under the body; place in a large roasting pan fitted with a rack and roast 20 minutes.

Lower oven temperature to 350°F, tent breast loosely with a piece of foil and roast 1 hour longer. Remove turkey from oven, remove foil and baste with pan juices. Arrange apples and onions around turkey and continue to roast (without foil covering) until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F or juices run clear (not pink) when you poke thigh with a paring knife, about 2 hours more.

Transfer turkey to a platter and let rest 30 minutes before carving. Cover pan with foil to keep apples and onions warm and serve alongside turkey.

Quinoa with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms
Serves 6

Ingredients:

· 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
· 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
· 1 pear, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
· 1 garlic clove, halved
· 2 pounds Portobello mushrooms, stemmed and gills scraped out
· 1 cup red or white quinoa
· 3 cups tightly packed fresh spinach, chopped
· 4 green onions, thinly sliced
· 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
· 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
· 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 475°F.

Put vinegar, mustard, pear and garlic in a blender with 1/3 cup water and blend until smooth, about 1 minute, to make the dressing.

Cut mushrooms into chunks and combine in a large mixing bowl with 1/4 cup of the dressing. Spread mushrooms in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

While mushrooms roast, prepare quinoa. In a medium pot, bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa, cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside, covered, 10 minutes more. Uncover and fluff quinoa with a fork.

Combine mushrooms, quinoa, spinach, green onions, almonds, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup more dressing in a large, wide serving bowl. Stir to mix well. Serve with remaining dressing on the side.

Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Chestnuts
Serves 6

Ingredients:

· 10 chestnuts
· 1 large or 2 small red bell peppers, diced
· 1 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts
· 1 tablespoon olive oil or safflower oil
· 1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Slash an “X” through chestnuts; on the flat side of nut. Place them, cut side up on a cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove husk. Cut chestnuts into small pieces and set aside.

Clean and trim sprouts. If sprouts are large, cut in half vertically. Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté red pepper for 3 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts and sauté 3 more minutes.

Add water, cover, and steam about 5 minutes. Remove lid, stir in chestnuts, and cook, uncovered, until chestnuts are warmed through and sprouts are tender, being careful not to overcook sprouts. Serve immediately.

This rec12060_481840848520749_1695193353_nipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Greek Yogurt, contributed to Food and Wine at foodandwine.com, by Todd Porter and Diane Cu, is a great option for a whole food side that babies eating solids and toddlers can enjoy, as well as the whole family:

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Greek Yogurt
Serves 4

Ingredients:

· 2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
· 1 tablespoon unrefined brown sugar
· 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
· 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot and fill with cold water to cover the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and then simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

Drain the sweet potatoes in a colander, shaking the colander to help remove excess water. Pour the potatoes into a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and Greek yogurt to the sweet potatoes. Mash to your desired texture and serve warm.

Healthy and homemade recipes from food blogger the Wellness Mama, online at wellnessmama.com, offer whole food-friendly options for traditional holiday fare that will have the family asking for seconds:

Healthy Grain-free Paleo Green Bean Casserole
Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

Onion Topping

· 2-3 medium onions, very thinly sliced
· 2 eggs
· 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or coconut milk
· 2-3 tablespoons of coconut flour
· ½ cup coconut oil or tallow for frying (I use tallow)

Healthy Cream of Mushroom Sauce

· ½ cup butter
· ½ cup cream or coconut milk
· ⅓ of onion mix above
· 8-10 mushrooms, finely diced
· ½ tsp garlic powder
· Salt and pepper to taste
· 4-5 egg yolks
· Coconut milk or water to thin

Other

· 5 cans of cut or french style green beans (Can also use fresh or 2-3 bags of frozen, or 2-3 pounds of fresh just heat first to remove extra liquid.)

Thinly slice all the onions, separate, and put in medium bowl.

Add the two eggs and the heavy cream and mix well until evenly incorporated.
Add coconut flour and mix by hand until evenly coated (note:may use slightly more or less depending on your brand of coconut flour.)

Put tallow in large skillet and turn on medium high heat. When hot, add the coated onions and evenly brown, turning occasionally. When browned, remove from heat and set aside.

In medium sauce pan, melt butter and saute mushrooms until starting to brown, then add cream or coconut milk.
Whisk in egg yolks and spices and about ⅓ of the onion topping mixture and continue stirring until the yolks begin to cook and the mixture thickens.

Add extra milk or water if needed to thin (only a few tablespoons might be needed). Drain green beans and pour into a 9×13 baking dish. Pour the cream mixture over and mix well until incorporated.

Top with onion mixture and heat at 325 in oven until topping starts to crisp (but not burn) and green beans are heated.

Sugarless Cranberry Sauce
Serves 8

Ingredients:

· 2 bags of fresh cranberries (usually 12 ounce bags)
· ¾ cup pineapple juice or orange juice (I recommend pineapple)
· ½ cup of applesauce (no sugar added)
· ½ cup of water
· Juice and zest of one orange
· 3-4 tablespoons of honey or to taste (optional)

Put cranberries, pineapple juice, applesauce and water in a sauce pan and and bring to a boil.

Keep on medium heat, stirring constantly until the cranberries start to explode (about 10-15 minutes).
Reduce to a simmer and pour the juice and zest over the cranberry mixture.

Simmer 10-15 minutes and remove from heat.

Cool completely and store in fridge at least 4 hours but preferably overnight before serving.

NOTE: This is not as sweet as store versions. Taste at the end of cooking. It is naturally sweet from the fruit juice and applesauce but you can add more honey or stevia to taste if needed.
Bon appetite, and happy holidays!

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