Holidays/Parties/ RECIPES/ Sides

Cranberry Apple Citrus Vinaigrette & Eating Plant Strong During The Holidays

Keeping my food intake plant strong during the holidays is a little bit challenging, but not impossible.

How do I plan on doing it?

1. I’m not going to stress about it.

2. I plan on indulging a bit.

3.  I will start my day with a green smoothie, which will give me a big head start on getting my fruit and vegetable servings in, provide all my protein needed for the day, and get in my Omega’s from chia.

4. Most of our Christmas celebrations are pot-luck style, where everyone brings a dish to share, so I am planning on making one that is plant strong, to load my plate with and share with others.

I have decided not to stress about small amounts of dairy and sugar, and just enjoy what the season is about.  I am focusing on getting in my servings of plants each day, and as long as I do that, having a bit of junk along with it seems just fine.  I do notice that I don’t feel too well when I do indulge in foods I am not used to eating (sweets, meat and cheese), so that keeps my portion sizes to a minimum, which is not a bad thing.

One way I plan on keeping plant strong, especially during our FIVE Christmas celebrations coming up, is by bringing a dish that is mostly green.  I want it to be delicious and festive, one that everyone can enjoy, but I also want it to be one I can fall back on, one that I can fill the majority of my plate with, leaving less room for foods that won’t make me feel very good.  The below recipe of Cranberry Apple Citrus Vinaigrette, drizzled on a salad of greens, fruit and nuts is the perfect dish to bring in my opinion!

Another reason I choose to bring a plant strong dish is that I never want to put extra stress on my hostesses due to my different eating habits.  It is amazing what I can find at a potluck- style dinner that is plant strong, as long as I do not stress about small amounts of food that I usually do not eat.

I have been surprised at how letting go of a few of our family traditions involving junk food has been just fine this year.  We have plenty left that do involve tastes of the season, so my kids are not even missing my traditional “Chocolate Andes Mint Cookies.” Neighbors and my husbands co-workers have kept some yummy treats in our home, which we love.  This frees me to “just say no” to doing my own traditional Christmas baking. We did make our traditional sugar cookies, but I kept it very simple and minimal by buying a kit from Trader Joes, which made just enough to enjoy for one evening!  Love that, no leftovers to tempt us. 

So what green recipe am I planning on bringing to at least 2 of our Christmas celebrations?

A Salad of Greens,

Topped with Candied Pecans from Trader Joes, Apples, Pears, Clementines and Dried Cranberries,

Drizzled with Cranberry Apple Orange Vinaigrette! Delish!!

Cranberry Apple Orange Vinaigrette

Cranberry, maple, apple, and clementine make one lovely stand-out holiday dressing. This festive cranberry dressing is sweet with a light tangy aftertaste. Feel free to use more or less maple syrup to adjust to your own taste buds. You can also use any type of sweet citrus that you prefer.
Yield: just over 1 and 1/4 cups
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, or adjust to taste
  • 1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp fresh clementine or orange juice (or use bottled)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
1. In a medium pot, heat the cranberries, maple syrup, and vinegar over medium heat until the cranberries burst, about 7-10 mins.
2. Slightly cool cranberry mixture and place in a blender along with the rest of the ingredients (except salt and pepper). Blend until smooth. Now add salt, 1/4 tsp at a time, to taste. Blend again. Adjust other ingredients to taste if necessary. You may want more maple syrup than I used. I liked this dressing with a bit of tart aftertaste to really let the cranberries shine. Place in fridge to chill. Should keep in fridge in an air-tight container for up to 5-7 days.

Yum!  I made this as part of our Thanksgiving dinner and it was a big hit.

I do think my nephews are going to miss my famous Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Lil’ Smokies, but I just can’t bring myself to handle all that raw meat.  I am out of practice!

What are you thoughts on eating healthy through the holidays?

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  • Liz
    December 21, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    We’re having a GAPS/SCD Christmas so we’re eating healing, traditional foods.

  • Kim
    December 19, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    It’s all about the balance, the smoothie and salad just look therapeutic as compared to what else we end up eating around this time. Thanks for some great ideas… That smoothie looked awesome.

  • gotjoy3
    December 19, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    I have to admit I am having a hard time with my eating habits. I ate so healthy a few months ago. I did that for the last two years and then I hit a bad spell of some things I just turned to food.

    I am praying about it. But you have encouraged me today my sweet blog friend.

  • adventuresindinner
    December 19, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Awesome ideas! A nice touch for the season too is a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds on top of a salad.

  • the Mrs.
    December 19, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I can so appreciate this post. Holidays can be challenging with so many gatherings and eating different than most. I too don’t like to stress out the host and since most of our gatherings aren’t pot luck, I’m the one with the plastic container. 🙂 I don’t mind, as it keeps me feeling well and able to enjoy the gathering. My focus is on the company I am with instead of the food I’m eating….or not eating as the case may be. 🙂
    If I do bring something, its usually some sort of gluten free baked treat like apple cake or lemon tart, banana bread or this year, homemade english toffee. 🙂
    Merry Christmas!

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