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Smart Sides

Garlicky Green Beans

If you can get fresh green beans, they really don’t need more than a light treatment of garlic and herbs to be worthy of playing handmaiden to the sacrificial bird, so to speak. Color and crunch are also often lacking on a Thanksgiving table. While you could provide those with a salad, you could also save yourself time, money, and oven space by swapping in a fresh green bean recipe like this one instead.

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Fun & Food at FNCE 2019

We recently attended the 2019 annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Known as FNCE, this year’s conference was held in Philly and once again included an extensive expo floor, complete with many food industry companies. There continues to be a trend toward plant-based products, lower-sugar foods, and products made with fewer ingredients to provide consumers with the simplicity their looking for in their foods. As always, we enjoyed trying new foods and having fun on the expo floor.

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Food Safety Considerations for Big Batch Food Cooking

Beef Spanish Rice

Between a busy fall season and upcoming holidays, big batch cooking holds appeal for lots of us at this time of year. After all, having plenty of prepped food ingredients around can make it easier to put together a variety of healthful meals quickly and easily. Maybe you’ll be cooking for a crowd in the next month or two and doubling (or tripling) recipes to accommodate your guests. And don’t forget those comforting slow cooker meals that result in multiple portions of food. Whatever your reason, it’s important to realize that recipes that have large yields require special food handling in order for the food to remain safe to eat.

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Smart Appetizers

Sweet Potato Tapas

Snacking during the parade in the lead up to dinner is a tradition in my family. The array of nibbles, however, isn’t really all that different than the same kind of snacks we have access to all year. Cheese, nuts, shrimp cocktail, cream cheese and olives on celery. The dominant flavors are salt and fat, and the truth is, the apps tray can lean towards the side of more calorific than flavorful.

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Shop Smart, Not Hard, for Thanksgiving

Herb Roasted Turkey

If you host a large Thanksgiving, as I do, then the beginning of November marks the beginning of planning and locating recipes ready to make your menu shine. I annually host a Thanksgiving for about 35 people. (Yes, you read that correctly.) With plenty of planning (and furniture moving) we seem to pull off a delightful day. There are some smart shopping strategies that are the key to making it work. I’m happy to share the process with you.

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Smart Thanksgiving

Sweet Potato Tapas

When I say “smart,” I mean…follow me off the beaten path, here. Let’s play with the traditional ingredients of Thanksgiving, but put them to work in different and delicious ways. This month, I’ll be showcasing some recipes that our team especially enjoys using fall flavors to their best in recipes you don’t see every year.

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Modifying Recipes for the Slow Cooker

Quick Black Bean Mexican Soup

Chances are you have a slow cooker, and there’s a good likelihood that you don’t use it for more than making chili or soup. That’s okay, certainly, but if that’s the limit of your slow cooking, you’re missing out on a lot of easy meal possibilities! If you are new to slow cooking or it’s been a while since your cooker found a perch on the counter at your house, check out this previous post that covers some of the basics. Would you be more adventurous if you knew how to modify traditional recipes to work in the slow cooker? If that’s your issue, this post is for you. As an author of a couple of slow cooker cookbooks, here are my best tips for solving the modification conundrum…

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Ham It Up

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Here at Guiding Stars, our algorithm is intentionally designed to help you minimize the saturated fat and salt in your food. Ham, of course, is full of both. Ham, bacon, pancetta, and salt pork are not products you will find labeled with any stars. Slow cooking, however, gives us a beautiful opportunity to showcase the philosophy that no food is “bad” food, per se, but rather, that enjoying great nutrition and a good relationship with food is all about balance. 

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