Sides of Gratitude

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Thanksgiving is a special time for embracing everything we are thankful for and displaying gratitude. Showing our gratitude is an empowering emotion. It makes us stop and think, a pause in our normal routine, to recognize all we are grateful for. Thanksgiving is a day that we tend to think of when sharing our gratitude with family and friends. We can do that with food as well. Here are some foods to be thankful for this Thanksgiving:

Sweet Potatoes: One medium-sized sweet potato contains more than three times one’s daily need for vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium. A medium sweet potato has more fiber than a bowl of your morning oatmeal. Believe it or not, a sweet potato contains only 20 grams of carbohydrates, a little over 100 calories and only 1 gram of fat per serving and would be a lovely addition to your holiday meal.

Cranberries: This tart fruit contains proanthocyanidins (PACs) that may prevent the adhesion of certain of bacteria, including E. coli, associated with urinary tract infections to the urinary tract wall. The anti-adhesion properties of cranberry may also inhibit the bacteria associated with gum disease and stomach ulcers. Recent scientific research shows that cranberries and cranberry products contain significant amounts of antioxidants and other phytonutrients that may help protect against heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Walnuts: In addition to antioxidants and essential ALA omega-3 fatty acids, an ounce of walnuts provides 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Walnuts are also a good source of magnesium and phosphorus. Eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low-saturated fat and low-cholesterol diet, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and may assist in decreasing inflammation and oxidative stress.


Sweet Potato and Turnip Mash with Sage Butter
Serves 6 (about 1/2 cup each).

All you need:

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 8 oz turnips (about 2 medium), peeled and diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 30 fresh sage leaves, divided (12 left whole, the rest cut into strips)
  • 2 tbsp Hy-Vee butter
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp coarsely cracked pepper

All you do:

  1. Place potatoes, turnips, garlic and 12 sage leaves in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the vegetables are fork-tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain. Return the vegetables to the pan and keep covered.
  2. Heat butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. As it melts and turns lightly brown, add the strips of sage and allow them to crackle and flavor the butter, about 1 minute.
  3. Pour the sage and butter over the vegetables and smash with a potato masher. Stir in salt and pepper and serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 88 calories, 4g fat, 3g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol, 224mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 2g protein.

Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.


Cranberry Sauce with Star Anise
Serves 16 (1/4 cup each).

All you need:

  • 10 whole star anise
  • 2 (12 ounce each) bags cranberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 1 1/3 cups Hy-Vee sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2/3 cup orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed

All you do:

  1. Place star anise in cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with a piece of kitchen string. Combine cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest and juice in a medium saucepan. Add the star anise bundle and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have burst, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove star anise before serving. Serve warm or chilled.
  2. To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition information per serving: 89 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 1mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, 0g protein.

Source: Adapted from Eating Well


Creamy Grape Salad with Candied Walnuts
Serves 12 (1/2 cup each).

All you need:

  • Candied Walnuts:
  • 1/2 cup Hy-Vee chopped walnuts
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1 tbsp Hy-Vee light brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Grape Salad:
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 4 oz Hy-Vee reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 cups seedless grapes, preferably red and green (about 2 pounds)

All you do:

  1. To prepare walnuts: Line a small baking pan with parchment paper or foil; coat with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss walnuts in a bowl with water. Sprinkle with brown sugar and salt; toss to coat well. Transfer to the prepared pan. Bake until the sugar is melted and the nuts are barely starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool in the pan until the sugar hardens, about 6 minutes.
  3. To prepare salad: Meanwhile, combine sour cream, cream cheese, honey and vanilla in a food processor; puree until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a large bowl. Add grapes; gently stir to combine. Transfer to a serving dish. Crumble the candied walnuts on top just before serving.
  4. To make ahead: Store candied walnuts at room temperature for up to 8 hours; refrigerate salad for up to 8 hours. Top the salad with the walnuts just before serving.

Nutrition information per serving: 143 calories, 7g fat, 2g saturated fat, 11mg cholesterol, 50mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate, 11mg dietary fiber, 2g protein.

Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.


Gratitude Crescent Rolls

A special side dish for your holiday meal for showing others how grateful you are.  

All you need:

  • Ball-tip pen
  • Parchment paper
  • Refrigerated crescent roll dough (one for each of your guests plus some additional)

All you do:

  1. Have each guest write one thing they are thankful for on a 4-inch-by-1-inch strip of parchment paper.
  2. Prior to rolling up crescent rolls, lay paper inside the dough and roll up. Bake as package directs.
  3. Enjoy serving these gratitude rolls at the table. While everyone eats them, they can read what another person wrote. You can even guess who wrote it.

This information is not intended as medical advice.

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