With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’m sure many of us have started scurrying around, picking up the turkey, pumpkin pie shells, cranberry sauce, stuffing for the turkey and
stocking up on bags of marshmallows for our sweetly infamous candied yams.
Are you getting stressed just thinking about it?
Let’s put a different spin on this for a minute and ask the question, “What is Thanksgiving?” Aside from what we already know it as, a holiday where we gorge ourselves with stuffing dripping with gravy, followed by pumpkin pie and apple pie a la mode while spending the afternoon watching football games or perhaps getting ready for some late night Christmas bargain shopping, it’s really a holiday for “Giving Thanks”. Giving thanks for the gifts of love, life, family, shelter and having food on our plates. Now that’s something to celebrate! Lets Not forget the reason for our gathering.
OK, so yes… the food is great, football games can be fun, and I know some of you love those bargains, but most importantly let’s not forget why we are all here together on this day, the spirit of the holiday, the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
How many times do we actually pay attention to the story of Thanksgiving rather than focus so much on the holiday stressors? It seems we can easily lose sight of Thanksgiving and the true meaning behind it.
Make it less stressful.
What’s so beautiful to me is the compassion that lies within the story of Thanksgiving Day, the collaboration and the spirit of it. Consider the beautiful crops grown by the American Indians who helped the Pilgrims harvest foods to sustain them at a time when they didn’t have enough food to nourish themselves. It was from this bounty they shared a celebratory feast; the first Thanksgiving Day. Doesn’t that make Thanksgiving Day sound so much less stressful?
It does for me! Instead of going out and waiting on long hectic grocery lines to pick up excess canned foods and processed goods to use for my feast, it makes me want to go out and visit local markets where farmers are harvesting their own crops and sharing them with the community. It makes me want to have a potluck Thanksgiving dinner so we can all share our creativity with our meals and collaborate in such a beautiful way that will lift the holiday stress and provide meaning behind the food we’re about to eat. How about preparing these foods from scratch using whole organic ingredients mixed with lots of love to honor those who worked so hard for us? This is a great way we can get our kids involved too in teaching them where these amazing foods come from and why whole fresh ingredients are so much healthier.
Be grateful everyday of the year!
Lastly, let’s not leave our “thanks” at the Thanksgiving Table but instead practice being grateful every day of the year. Take the time to see the beauty in it all, which is the time we get with family and friends, the laughs and smiles, the sharing and caring. When we are feeling grateful, we have more energy, more vitality, we are less stressed and more optimistic and overall happier!! What a wonderful legacy we can leave our children by teaching them to be thankful each and every day of their lives and causing a ripple effect to generations to come.
Last but not least, I’d love to leave you with two of my favorite holiday healthy recipes that are packed with nutrients and great for feeling grounded.
2 lbs. of parsnips, peeled and halved lengthwise
8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
¼ onion, thickly sliced
5 sprigs of fresh thyme, divided
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven at 350°. Place parsnips in a medium-roasting pan with 2 tbsp. water, cover tightly with foil and bake 20 minutes. Add garlic, onion, and 3 sprigs thyme. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Roast, uncovered, until golden and tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Garnish with remaining thyme. Sprinkle with salt.
Vanilla Sweet Potatoes:
10 small sweet potatoes or yams
1-½ cups of maple syrup (100% organic maple syrup)
1 6-inch vanilla bean
1 teaspoon whole cloves
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven at 350°F. Scrub the sweet potatoes, pierce each with a fork, and place in oven directly on the rack. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until fork-tender. Combine the maple syrup, vanilla bean, and cloves in a small saucepan and simmer 5 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven, cut each lengthwise into 4 wedges. Arrange on a serving dish, sprinkle with the salt, pour the scented syrup (without the cloves and vanilla bean) over them.