NEW CASTLE —
Making an opportunity to choose change can be a blessing you give your family this holiday season.
I know at the hospital when we have a special theme day in the cafeteria, it boosts moral and gets people excited for something different.
We had a special “South Western Santa Fe Day” menu at the hospital Thursday. There is excitement in getting the opportunity to choose something outside the norm. It was truly a feast for someone like me, who doesn’t eat much meat. When you have yummy options like lime rice, three bean chili soup (no meat) or roasted vegetables, it becomes Southwest Heaven in the cafeteria.
I decided to get the vegetarian 7-layer dip. It had refried beans, lettuce, tomato, green onions, shredded cheese, olives and sour cream. It came with corn chips. Now, because I knew this was probably not the fat-free version, I shared this delicious Mexican delicacy with a co-worker. In this case, even though it’s yummy, less is still more if you are really watching your fat intake for health reasons.
I find that people seem to perk up when they get the opportunity to eat “south of the border,” unless they just don’t like Mexican-style food.
If you don’t like lime, chili powder can give a zip to your rice. Remember, it’s best if you make brown rice instead of white rice to get whole grain into your diet. Watch out for the refined foods, which also include white pasta, white bread and rolls.
So let’s once again talk about how we can modify recipes to make them healthier. In the case of the 7-layer dip you would look for the canned, fat-free refried beans, fat-free shredded cheese, fat-free sour cream — or better yet, fat-free plain Greek yogurt because it gives you more protein.
So now I’m going to ask the big question. Do you dare to change the old-time family recipes over the holidays?
If you prefer to use a gentler wisdom, you can add whole wheat rolls in the bread basket along with what some people might be expecting.
My daughter still absolutely insists on having “brown and serve” rolls on the Thanksgiving table. These are the refined white bread that you pop into the oven to brown right before you sit down to the Thanksgiving feast. I still include a whole grain option on the table as well.
As a side note: I purchased both white and wheat buns for our last picnic of the season this year, and no one chose a white bun. My guess is that as you give people the option to choose, over time, they may surprise you. It just might take a while. That’s why you don’t want to go “cold turkey” at Thanksgiving and switch all of the old favorites.
This idea of presenting the opportunity to choose a healthier option keeps peace around the holidays and helps when the ripple of tradition might give a little resistance to change. Make change an option. Even if the brown and serve rolls are the first choice, the whole wheat may show up on the plate for seconds — and leftovers.
For instance, you might want to think “outside the bird” and make a whole wheat stuffing in a separate baking pan. If you stuff your turkey with family expectations you can’t go wrong, and you have something new on the side.
Once again, options give your family the power to choose.
Sage and Herb
Whole Wheat Stuffing
- 12 slices stale whole wheat bread
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped celery (including leaves)
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
- 2/3 cups vegetable broth
Take 8 of the 12 slices of bread, and tear them into small pieces. Place the pieces in a food processor or blender, and process into coarse crumbs. Measure the crumbs. There should be 4 cups. (Adjust the amount if necessary.)
Take the remaining four slices of bread, and cut the bread into half-inch cubes. Measure the cubes. There should be 4 cups. (Adjust the amount if necessary.)
Place the bread crumbs and cubes in a large bowl, and add all of the remaining ingredients except for the vegetable broth. Toss to mix well. Slowly add the broth as you continue tossing, adding a little more than the specified amount if the mixture seems too dry.
Coat a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Loosely spoon the stuffing into the dish, and bake covered at 350 degrees for about an hour.