Monday, December 30, 2013

Boldly Healthy Christmas Dinner Earns Praise, Second Helpings

They ate my thoughtfully planned, carefully crafted, boldly healthy dinner, and they enjoyed it. Really enjoyed it, believe it or not. 

"They" are my immediate family... four adult children, one fiance, and my husband of twenty-something years. 

The dinner in question was Christmas dinner, a few days ago. My family invariably enjoys my meals, as I'm an experienced and fairly imaginative cook. In our home, meals are meant to be enjoyed, not endured. And my Yuletide fare is a special feast. 

This year's Christmas dinner, though, was different. Experimental, sort of.  It was vegetarian. (Well, except for the Boar's Head ham on the side, for those who just couldn't hack a meatless holiday.)

Yup, I boldly ventured where few middle-class baby-boomer cooks tread on indulgent foodcentric holidays... vegetarian!   Here was my scrumptious Christmas 2013 menu:
  • Penne pasta with elegant tomato-parsley sauce, Marcella Hazan rustic-style
  • Organic carrots, sauteed in butter, kissed with cinnamon
  • Organic greeen beans, sauteed in olive oil and soy, sprinkled with sesame seeds
  • Organic applesauce, spiced with light brown sugar, cinnamon
  • Asiago-rosemary rolls (source: Trader Joe's)
  • And yes, a Boar's Head ham, unglazed, succulent in its own juices
  • San Pellegrino water, fruit juices
All dishes and elements were homemade, except for the pasta (and except as noted). All produce was selected from our weekly CSA carton delivery, except vine-ripened tomatoes from Sprouts.   

As a delightful result, our family Christmas spread was healthy, low fat, largely devoid of dairy, and not loaded with carbs, salt, or sugar. 

I heard nothing but compliments on taste and that requisite feeling of satisfaction.  Eating was hearty, and second helpings were scooped up by all. To several of us, it was a revelation that a holiday meal could quench our appetites, yet not leave our bellies uncomfortably stuffed.  (I confess that three of us seven, including me, also sampled the ham. It, too, was delicious.)  

Would I serve vegetarian again at Christmas? Absolutely, although the group tentatively approved next year's theme to be Mexican cuisine.    

Would I again serve a Christmas meal that was healthy, low fat,  minimal dairy, and not saturated with carbs, salt, and sugar? Absolutely.  

In fact, consider it a new White family tradition. It feels terrific to grasp that we can genuinely enjoy holiday meals, without our table groaning with 2,000-calorie meals so typical in American homes. 

Yes, they ate my thoughtfully planned, carefully crafted, boldly healthy dinner, and they enjoyed it. Really enjoyed it. I am proud and pleased

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