Cooking for Self-Care

Gingerbread Muffins

The holidays have arrived. From Halloween through the new year, celebratory foods add stress and joy alike to our lives. If you’re the chief cook in your family, you may receive the fullest helping of stress around the holidays. Truthfully, though, no matter how many cookies we want to bake to send to family and friends, our own bodies manage stress better when they’re well-nourished. This month on Kitchen Smarts, we’ll focus on recipes and approaches to cooking that make good nutrition the obvious choice. Here are a few ideas to get you started

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The Best Thanksgiving Casseroles

Green Bean Casserole with Caramelized Onions

The purpose of Thanksgiving is more than sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. It’s a once-a-year reminder to reflect and focus on gratitude. Food guilt should have no place at the holiday table, but it’s common to struggle with this. The goal is to enjoy your favorite Thanksgiving foods without regret. For this month’s Surprising Stars, we want to share our star-earning versions of classic Thanksgiving vegetable casseroles. These are delicious options if you’re looking for traditional comfort and heartiness with improved nutrition.

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Self-Care During the Holidays

Family at the holiday table

The picture-perfect holiday scene doesn’t just “happen,” but instead takes a bit (just a bit!) of work and planning. While the holiday season is a busy time, it’s also a time for mindful moments, with opportunities to be thankful and express gratitude. Believe it or not, it can also be about self-care and choices that make things easier on you. Let’s see if we can start by building holiday food traditions that your family loves that don’t wear you down.

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Orange Treats

Tasty Sweet Tots

Kids love colorful snack food. For many families, special food is an easy and affordable way to make Halloween a little extra special. If you can’t trick or treat, you can still enjoy treats. Candy takes center stage during Halloween, which means we may want to make sure the other fun foods bring nutrition to the table. All things in balance, as it goes.

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Orange: Real & Artificial

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

This time of year, we see orange foods all around us. We associate orange with autumn, and also with energy and vibrancy. Of course, we know that some of our favorite orange foods come by their color naturally (although there are some instances where might be fooled—more on that later). Other foods we know are colored somehow to appear orange. This is a little primer on the various ways that foods can acquire their orangey hue—and why those methods may impact your food selection criteria.

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Herb Rubbed Roast Beef with Orange Salsa

We’ve talked about squash and roots this month. Both categories offer a wide variety of naturally orange foods and the nutritional benefits that come with them. The food with shares its very name with the color is less associated with fall, but oranges begin their season in fall. Orange juice is the most ubiquitous use of the fruit, and it does have merits as a natural sugar. The fruit can also star, however, in a wide variety of dishes from sweet to savory.

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