YES YOU CAN MAKE: EASY, HEALTHY CHRISTMAS DINNER
Since deciding to eat healthier, I have become a bit of a grocery store connoisseur you could say. I see going to the grocery store as a fun activity rather than a chore. I know, I know how crazy does that sound? To me, last year at this time, pretty crazy.
One of my favorite stores in SF is Bi-Rite. If you mention the name Bi-Rite in SF, you almost always get a "Ooooooh I love Bi-Rite." I appreciate it because it is a SF-run grocery store that seems to have stayed true to its neighborhood roots while bringing in the very best from all over the country. I love how everything seems so thoughtfully curated--it is the perfect edited selection of products.
I was lucky enough to partner with Bi-Rite this holiday season to put together a menu of healthier-than-traditional dishes for Christmas (or any other holiday) dinner. The best part about the menu below is that it is pretty easy to pull together (under 2 hours) and for the most part healthy for you. That being said, the holidays can be tough to try and squeeze in healthy options. Here are a few thoughts/ideas from me on how I'll be keeping this holiday healthy:
#1 Bring your own veggies - who knows what will be on the table at Aunt Sally's house, but if you volunteer to bring the veggies or the salad, you will know what ingredients went into them plus have the guarantee that there will be veggies at the dinner.
#2 Only eat it if it is DELICIOUS - Those holiday cookie exchanges are super fun but you could end up with a plate of cookies that maybe aren't worth eating (unless maybe you go to a food blogger exchange, then, by all means, eat all of those) I keep trying to remember this holiday season, when there are so many options around, to only eat what is truly amazing. Then I don't have to feel guilty because I am not mindlessly eating, I am making a conscious decision to enjoy that cookie because I love it.
#3 Eat Christmas Dinner Once & Enjoy It - This one is from Kelly Leveque (my hero, as you know) She said to only eat each holiday meal once. Thanksgiving is one day, Christmas is one day but we have made it into a whole month of celebrating. It is not that one meal that is going to throw you off-track, it is the aggregate of the holiday season. So, if you are going to indulge in foods you don't normally eat, just make it one meal and enjoy that meal.
Now on to the menu and the recipes...
ON THE MENU
Simple Cheese Plate - I tried to keep the appetizers, drinks and dessert simple here to focus our energy on the main course. Since Bi-Rite has such an amazing selection of cheese, putting this small plate together was easy. I picked a soft feta from Australia (if you haven't had Australian feta go get some now!) and a festive cranberry hard cheese. I paired with my favorite green olives and some crackers. Just a nice nibble before the main event.
Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Cardamon Orange Sauce - After making cranberry sauce once I didn't understand why anyone would buy canned. It is so easy and nearly impossible to mess up. In an effort to go lower glycemic index/natural sugar I used maple syrup to sweeten. I followed this recipe from Cookie and Kate and added cardamon to make it taste even more like the holidays.
Roasted sweet potatoes with caramelized pecans - I love sweet potatoes and wanted to get that delicious sugary rich and roasted taste without all of the sugar. I followed Minimalist Baker's recipe and added small toasted marshmallows. Because I was using marshmallows, I decided to omit the sugar in the sweet potato mash. They were so roasted and brown that I didn't even miss the sugar!
Healthier green bean casserole - Another recipe from the Minimalist Baker. I love her recipes because they are so simple (as the name implies) and healthy. This recipe also happens to be vegan but I would keep that to yourself until after you get rave reviews from the family. I loved the mushroom sauce (I'm thinking of making it for other dishes) but felt like there wasn't enough of it so maybe next time I would double just that part of the recipe.
Seared steak with herb butter - This was all Bi-Rite. All I did was select the steak and sear on the stovetop with the herb butter they provided. Check out this article on how to cook steak on your stovetop. It was my first time making steak at home and, despite my fears of setting off the smoke alarm, everything went very well. The best part is that steak cooks quickly and can be easily made while the other two dishes are warming in the oven.
Peppermint Cupcakes - Again, this made everything easier thanks to the bakers at Bi-Rite. After cooking this beautiful meal, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven again and create even more of a mess. This was a simple, delicious way to finish off the meal. They also had a great selection of pies and a beautiful Bouche de Noel. I love dessert but have noticed that, since I started cutting back on sugar, I don't need or even want as much of it. So, I cut this little guy in half and enjoyed every bite of it.
Now you are all set with the recipes, check out a few more photos of the dinner below...
Thank you Bi-Rite for sponsoring this post.