Being a foodie, I completely live for the holidays. I always make sure to contribute a dish (or several) no matter which relative’s house I end up at. Because of my allergies and intolerances, I end up having to make a bunch of substitutions, so I find it easier to make an allergy-friendly dish than explain the situation to my host. Overall, you have to do what makes you the most comfortable. I am always reading ingredients and hesitate to eat from packages and in kitchens where I did not see the labels firsthand. Cooking alleviates a lot my anxiety. I spend hours each week researching different recipes on the internet and Instagram. I am constantly favoriting, bookmarking and emailing myself links of foods to try out or meal prep. During the holidays, I tend to stick to my staples: sweet potatoes, cornbread, collard greens, and pumpkin pie. I also enjoy experimenting and trying new dishes, so I will usually cook 1 new recipe in addition to my favorites. Below was the menu that I put together for my family for Easter. It was my first time cooking a full meal–from meats and sides to dessert. The food was delicious and I’m sure my colleagues could smell my lunch full of leftovers from a mile away #SorryNotSorry!
Slow Cooked Spiced Lamb Shoulder from Natural Kitchen Adventures: Lamb is my favorite red meat next to bison. It is so rich in flavor. The marinating beforehand and the slow cooking bring out the flavors of the meat. I used organic grass-fed lamb shoulder for this recipe!
Old Fashioned Gluten-Free Cornbread from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: If there is no cornbread on the table, it is not a holiday. I don’t really care for biscuits, but I need my cornbread. This recipe yields dense, tasty slices of cornbread. I typically add in about 1/2 cup of frozen corn kernels and substitute coconut oil for the butter and full fat coconut milk for the yogurt.
Coconut Oil Roasted Carrots Life is better when you add coconut oil. Side dishes are everything during a holiday meal. I’m always trying to save as much room for dessert as I can, so I love loading my plate up with veggies because I know that I won’t feel so heavy later on when I go back for dessert!
Brussels sprouts I spent the first 20 years of my life questioning the existence of brussels sprouts. I hated everything about them and the scent from the pot unnerved me. It took me a while to realize why I didn’t like brussels sprouts, which was because I had only ever tried them/smelled them when they were steamed. The first time I tried roasted brussels sprouts, I had an epiphany. They were actually delicious, well textured, and packed with flavor. I still only eat roasted brussels sprouts and refuse to eat them any other way. Even so, brussels sprouts have earned a spot on my holiday table, which says a lot. I roasted about 1.5 pounds of brussels sprouts with olive oil and black pepper. I then mixed them with quinoa and pomegranate seeds.
Pumpkin Pie While there are certainly advantages to eating seasonally, I am a pumpkin fiend. Whether it’s PSL season or the middle of July, I’m always down for pumpkin pie. What started as me following the recipes of the backs of cans has now turned into a quest for the best whole foods pumpkin pie recipe out there. I currently use two recipes to make my pie the way I like it. I make a delicious savory sweet oat flour crust from Oatmeal with a Fork. It has very few ingredients and is an easy crust to make if you’re like me and not too experienced in the baking arena. For the pie filling, I use Primally Inspired’s paleo pumpkin pie recipe.