Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving n’ Siggi’s Yogurt Giveaway

I thought this would bring along a bit of a chuckle…

Happy Thanksgiving.

I hope your meal is delicious and enjoyable!

On this day, I thank YOU…

My Readers, My Clients, My Fans, My Family and My Friends.

Thank YOU for all of your support.

Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!

Now, go ahead and eat…

Hehe…

And here is an amazing offer to receive an iPad from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, where I received my Nutrition Certification.

Prospective students who enroll in IIN this Friday are eligible to receive an iPad, so tell your friends and family to call IIN at (877) 730-5444 from 10am – 4pm ET on Friday, November 26.  All you have to do is mention my name, Amie Valpone to ensure you receive referral credit when you enroll.  It’s a win-win situation!

Also, Free Shipping for any order in my Shop over $50 with code: FREESHIP50

I know all of you out there love Siggi’s thick, fabulous yogurt…

So, I’m offering 5 lucky readers Siggi’s Yogurt Coupon Bundles!

To Enter:

Simply leave me a comment telling me how you enjoy eating Siggi’s yogurt? A recipe? By itself? In a soup? Morning Breakfast?

Lookin’ forward to hearing your tasty yogurt creations.

I’ll be pickin’ 5 Random winners on Monday, November the 29th at 5PM EST.

Good Luck!

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Healthy Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Tips n’ Recipes

Tired of the heavy sides and mundane main dishes at your Thanksgiving table? Well, I’ve got some fun, fresh n’ healthy tips to keep your dining experience as pleasureful and worry-free as possible…

What scares you most about enjoying Thanksgiving gluten-free? Is it the contamination? The stuffing? The lack of taste?

We’ve all got our ‘scaredy pants’ on during the holidays…worries there may be a trace of gluten or soy or dairy in a beverage, dessert, main dish, side or condiment…

No matter what worries you the most, be sure to always check the ingredients on the labels and stick to ‘fresh, clean’ foods made from Mother Earth…

Here are a few tips n’ swaps for you to test out on your Turkey table…

Enjoy!

Steer Clear of Canned Gravy

  • Instead use the drippings from your freshly roasted turkey.  I don’t like to take a chance on ‘processed’ foods, when you can simply get creative and combine your fresh drippings with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of oregano and black pepper.

Swap Out the Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • Who doesn’t love pure, organic canned pumpkin? I know I sure do…use pure pumpkin instead of the pie filling to nix the added sugars.. the real stuff is best when you use it with a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and all-spice.  You won’t be sacrificing the flavor and you’ll reap the healthy vitamins from the pure pumpkin, too!

Jarred Cranberry Sauce

  • Create your very own chutney using fresh cranberries, apples, pears, stevia and ginger.  The taste will surely beat that of anything inside a jar…so, go ahead turn on that stove top and whip up your very own cranberry sauce or chutney to serve atop your turkey and roasted veggies.  You can even use this chutney to top your desserts, as well.

Heavy Whipped Topping

  • Instead, try whipping a mixture of Greek yogurt with gluten-free vanilla extract, stevia on medium-high speed with a mixer until stiff peeks form.  This will create a beautiful whipped topping without the additives or preservatives in bottles whipped toppings and processed heavy creams.

Boxed Mashed Potatoes

  • Break out the creativity at your farmer’s market or produce stand.  Try mashed beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes, turnips…I could go on forever…these natural root veggies add the perfect touch of sweetness without the starchy additives, sugars and preservatives.  Serve these mashed veggies with the above chutney and whipped topping for a special decadent treat.

And here is an amazing offer to receive an iPad from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, where I received my Nutrition Certification.

Prospective students who enroll in IIN this Friday are eligible to receive an iPad, so tell your friends and family to call IIN at (877) 730-5444 from 10am – 4pm ET on Friday, November 26.  All you have to do is mention my name, Amie Valpone to ensure you receive referral credit when you enroll.  It’s a win-win situation!

Also, I’m offering all of you Free Shipping for any order in my Shop over $50 with code: FREESHIP50

Here are a few Gluten-Free dishes you can easily serve up for your Turkey Table…

Chilled Cranberry Macadamia Crunch

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 large pears, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 12 dates, chopped
  • 3 large Honey crisp apples, cored and chopped
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. stevia
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp. freshly graded lime zest
  • Pinch of all-spice
  • Pinch of chili powder
  • Topping: Greek plain yogurt
  • Topping: Ground flax seeds

Directions

  1. In a food processor, combine cranberries, pears, dried cherries, dried apricots, basil, dates, apples and macadamia nuts; pulse until minced.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Gently toss to combine.
  3. Place into the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.
  4. Serve chilled with a dollop of Greek plain yogurt and a sprinkle of ground flax seeds.
  5. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Golden Stuffin’ Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado, very finely mashed
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 12 pieces gluten-free bread, roughly chopped into 1/2 inch cube-like pieces
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup baby portabello mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a muffin tin with non-stick baking spray.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium sized pot over medium heat, cook avocado, sweet potatoes and vegetable broth; approximately 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine gluten-free bread, raisins, mushrooms, rosemary, egg, vinegar, cinnamon, sea salt and pepper; gently toss to combine.  Add warm avocado mixture and mix well.
  5. Transfer mixture to prepared muffin tins.  Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven; set aside to cool before removing.
  7. Serve warm.
  8. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Cherry Chia Cornbread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado, finely mashed
  • 2 cups grilled corn kernels
  • 1 1/2 cups rice milk
  • 1 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tsp. sage
  • 1 tsp. lemon peel
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • Optional Topping: Greek plain yogurt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
  3. In a food processor, pulse avocado and grilled corn for 15-20 seconds.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix well to combine.
  4. Transfer mixture into prepared baking dish.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Serve with fresh cranberry sauce and a dollop of Greek plain yogurt.
  7. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Rustic Roasted Potatoes with Orange Cranberry Relish


Perfect in time for your Thanksgiving menu planning..here is a fabulous side dish that will wow your holiday guests…a delicious spin on the classic roasted taters…

You’ll love my Orange Cranberry Relish, which pairs perfectly with these warm, rustic potatoes. I love the combination of smoked paprika, grapeseed oil and flax seed, which add a fabulous kick and flavor to your dish.

Rustic Roasted Potatoes with Orange Cranberry Relish

Rustic Roasted Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ lbs. red potatoes
  • 3 Tbsp. grape seed oil
  • 2 Tbsp. wheat germ
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Arrange potatoes in a roasting pan; toss with grape seed oil.  Sprinkle with wheat germ, flax seeds, chili powder, smoked paprika, sea salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 35 minutes, flip potatoes and roast another 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Serve with orange cranberry relish (below).

Orange Cranberry Relish

  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • 1 orange, peeled, sliced, seeds removed
  • 1 lemon, peeled, sliced, seeds removed
  • 2 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries

Directions

  1. Blend orange, lemon and dates in a food processor
  2. Add cranberries and process for approximately 60 seconds or until mixture forms a chunky, ‘chutney’ consistency.
  3. Serve atop roasted potatoes.

I am incredibly honored to be featured as an Applegate Farms “Change Maker”…

Thank you, Applegate!

A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

With a little experimentation and creativity, you can effortlessly tweak your Thanksgiving menu into a gluten-free holiday spectacular.


Appetizers

Make your appetizers simple by offering a variety of cheese, spreads and rice crackers.  Quinoa stuffed mushrooms are a great alternative to wheat- stuffed mushrooms and taste just as delicious; your guests will never know the difference.  Arrange a platter of nuts, seeds and dried fruits for nibbling throughout the evening; your guests will take pleasure in snacking while savoring wine and socializing.

Side Dishes

Cranberry sauce is an easy way to create a fresh, seasonal fruit on your dinner table.  Furthermore, everyone loves mashed potatoes; make a large batch of mashed sweet potatoes; add fresh apples and freshly squeezed orange juice in place of half the butter.  Not a sweet potato fan? Opt for mashed yams and top with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Roasted carrots and parsnips are a great way to incorporate tender, root vegetables onto your turkey table; simply chop into fry-like shapes, drizzle with olive oil and a dash of nutmeg, sea salt and pepper; spread on a baking sheet to roast in the oven until crispy.  Roasted cauliflower is a tasty side dish alternative; toss chopped cauliflower florets in a mixture of turmeric, rosemary, balsamic vinegar and olive oil before baking.   Green vegetables such as broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts, green beans and asparagus pair nicely sautéed with olive oil and slivered almonds.  If you and your guests are more inclined to dine on soup before your main meal, create a warm butternut squash or apple pumpkin soup with gluten-free croutons and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Main Meal

When selecting a bird, be sure to carefully check the label to ensure the turkey does not contain hormones, pesticides or additives.  Compliment your turkey with a unique twist to awe your guests and create a mouthwatering feast.  Gluten free stuffing is an easy alternative to bread stuffing using apple cider vinegar, brown rice, quinoa, dried cranberries, ground nuts and herbs.  Create a sweet herb rub by adding a touch of honey or agave nectar to fresh herbs, sea salt and pepper, creating a sweet and savory turkey topping.  Create gluten-free gravy combining cornstarch or arrowroot with water and chicken stock.

Desserts

Fear not, there are countless ways to prepare healthy, gluten-free desserts to satisfy any sweet tooth on a crisp autumn evening.  Create a fresh fruit crumble using your favorite harvest fruits and gluten-free flour along with a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg; top it off with Greek yogurt and fresh mint. Pumpkin pie is a staple at the Thanksgiving table; create the crumbs for this holiday must-have with crumbled gluten-free crackers, cereal or puffed rice. Pumpkin muffins are always a hit; try using tapioca starch and canned pumpkin to create a moist consistency.  Zucchini quinoa cake is another unique dessert; top this tasty treat with unsweetened coconut and powdered sugar.  Each of these gluten-free treats can be topped off with fresh cranberries and figs, a sprig of fresh herbs, a dash of cinnamon and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

 

And take a looksy at the POM Wonderful homepage where I’m featured as the POM Wonderful Blogger with my tasty Thanksgiving POM Recipes.

Scrumptious Sage Stuffing

You simply cannot go wrong with a gluten-free bread stuffing, especially when its enlivened with fresh sage, white balsamic vinegar and dried cherries. Chunks of bread, golden and crisp on top, soak up turkey stock and buttery juices from the sautéed onions and celery.


Ingredients

  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 ripened avocado, mashed
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 6 cups gluten-free bread, chopped into cubes
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. sage, chopped
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • Sea salt and crushed white pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Over medium heat, cook onion and celery in a large skillet with olive oil, salt and pepper; stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a bowl and toss with bread cubes, dried cherries, white balsamic vinegar, mashed avocado, celery leaves, and sage.  Set aside to cool for five minutes.
  • Whisk together vegetable broth and egg in a large bowl.  Gently toss with bread mixture until absorbed.
  • Transfer to baking dish and bake, covered with foil for about 45 minutes.

In The News This Week…

Sodium Reduction- A Top Trend

Relaxation Snacks- A Trend for 2010

Whole Foods Endorses Healthy Lunches

Interview with Top Chef’s Andrea Beaman

Last Spring, I had the opportunity to meet Andrea Beaman, Natural Foods and Health Expert, for hot tea n’ chit chat, a few weeks ago we got together again for more tea n’ chit chat…this time I decided to pop the interview questions and post Andrea’s responses to share with all of you.

andrea

Tell me about your Top Chef experience; did you find it hard to introduce nutritious cooking to the judges?

My Top Chef experience was great.  I got to work in kitchens with professional chefs.  I’ve never done that before.  I’m a home-schooled chef. So, it was thrilling.  I did find it difficult to cook with ingredients I don’t approve of.  I use only naturally raised, organic or certified naturally grown ingredients.  It made it tough for me to compete in that type of environment.  But, I stuck it out as long as humanly possible.

Tell me about hosting WISE UP! and FED UP!,  which allowed you to travel across the country in search of alternative therapies, organic foods and healthy lifestyles.

I love hosting both Wise up and Fed Up (Fed Up was recently nominated for a cable award – best food series).  Hosting those shows allows me to share my knowledge of food and healing with millions of people.  I feel grateful that I get to teach from such a cool venue (cable tv).

What do you enjoy more; teaching cooking classes or traveling to find new discoveries?  Are you a kitchen girl or an outdoorsy gal?

I am both a kitchen gal and an outdoorsy gal.  I love to go outdoors hiking, biking, walking, swimming, fishing and hanging in nature, and then come home to cook up a fantastic meal.  Life is delicious!

What was your diet like growing up? Do you think this affected your long term health?

My diet growing up was total CRAP!  I was a chronic dieter and it definitely affected my health.  I was eating everything that was fat-free, sugar substitutes like nutrasweet, diet soda and other “non-food” foods.  I wasn’t eating food that was nutritious or wholesome and it caused my system to break down.

At the young age of 28 you were diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and a goiter, how did you take the steps to heal yourself?

I changed my diet and my lifestyle and I changed my life.  I began taking full responsibility for my health and my life and amazing things happened.  My skin cleared up, my body reached a normal healthy weight (without dieting), and my health improved.

Can you elaborate on your thyroid condition?  What discouraged you from modern medicine and lead you to a more holistic approach?

The doctors had recommend radioactive iodine for my thyroid condition and then to be on synthroid for the rest of my life.  I watched my mom go through radiation treatments when she had cancer, and I vowed that I would never destroy my body in an attempt to heal a condition.  I believe the body needs loving support, not destruction, to heal.

What specifically, did you do to heal yourself through nutrition?

I began eating real food, straight from the farm or the ocean.  Eating real food meant it was food in its most whole form (not in packages or boxes filled with chemicals and carcinogens).

As a graduate of IIN myself, I learned a vast array of useful information about natural healing; was IIN a valuable resource to you? Did you use your education at IIN to continue to heal yourself and your clients?

I healed my thyroid disease first and then attended IIN.  I used my education at IIN to help set up my business model.  It gave me the structure I needed to start my practice.

What is the most difficult struggle that you see clients facing? What is the hardest part for them to overcome, as I’m sure many clients are used to eating the SAD (Standard American Diet).

One of the most difficult struggles I find with clients is that they put themselves last, or just don’t want to make the time to cook and prepare meals.  It seems like this is a horrible chore for many people. Until clients get into the kitchen and begin cooking for themselves, optimum health may always be out of reach.

Tell me about your memoir and accompanying food guide that helps people heal from diseases.

My memoir is an inspirational story of hope and healing that teaches people why sickness comes, then it motivates people to get moving in a healthier direction.  The accompanying Eating and Recipe Guide shows them how to do it; how to cook, what to cook and how to make it taste delicious.

What is your ideal meal to create in your kitchen?

Every meal for meal is the ideal because I listen to my body’s needs and I give it what it craves.  I never begin the day without breakfast.  It helps set the precedent of self-care and self-love for the rest of the day.

When did you discover an appreciation and passion for food?

I became passionate about food when I discovered it had an effect on my body.  It was no longer just a “substance” I put into my system.  It became the fuel that drives me forward.

What is your favorite food that you can’t live without?

This question is too difficult to answer because there are too many foods I can’t live without.

Can you share with us a recipe for Thanksgiving?

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Turkey and Herbed Gravy

Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squash, halved and deseeded
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup celery root, peeled and diced
  • 1 apple, cored and diced
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tbsp. fresh sage, minced
  • 1 cup wild rice blend (wehani, red rice, black rice, long grain, wild, etc.), soaked overnight
  • 2 cups stock or water
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 12 oz. cooked turkey, diced (dark meat, white meat)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly oil halved acorn squash and place flesh side down in a baking pan.
  • Cover and cook 35-45 minutes or until soft. While squash is baking, saute onion in a frying pan until translucent.  Add diced celery root, apple, cranberries, and sage.
  • Add wild rice blend (discard the rice soaking water) and stock, and bring to a boil.  Add sea salt, cover and reduce flame to simmer for 50-55 minutes.
  • After rice cooks, fold in pre-cooked turkey pieces.
  • Fill squash with wild rice mixture and tops with 2-3 tablespoons herbed turkey gravy.

Herbed Turkey Gravy

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 1 cup turkey stock
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh sage, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Combine flour with turkey stock.
  • Add fresh herbs, sea salt and pepper.
  • Cook on medium heat until mixture becomes thick and creamy.

To go along with Andrea’s Thanksgiving themed recipe above, I thought I’d share with you a humorous twist on the Thanksgiving traditional turkey.  Here is the video clip of one of Montreal’s most popular chefs and his take on a traditional Turkey.

Click here to watch Joe Beef chef Fred Morin on  how to make a Montréal Thanksgiving Turkey.

An Aspen Retreat…

ExtNight High Res

I just came across this amazing special in Aspen for active adults and foodies like you and me.  I love Aspen; it is by far my favorite mountain in Colorado as I too love to ski, taste unique cuisine, dress up for a gala event and be pampered by a spa treatment.

Have any of you stayed at A RockResort property? I’ve heard they are exquisite…take a look at this incredible offer for any of you ski bunny, food-buffs…The iconic Hotel Jerome, A RockResort, announces plans to commemorate its 120th anniversary in grand style this Thanksgiving during Aspen Mountain’s first ski weekend of the season. History buffs, skiers and foodies alike are invited to attend Hotel Jerome’s majestic gala with the “120th Anniversary Celebration” package.

2HotelJerome-king copy(3)

Available Thanksgiving weekend, November 25 – November 29, 2009, the package includes:

  • Four-night stay in a Junior Suite
  • Two full-day ski lift tickets for two people
  • Two tickets to Hotel Jerome’s 120th Anniversary grand soirée on Wednesday evening – Bring your 1889-themed costume, and your ballroom dancing shoes!
  • Thanksgiving dinner for two on Thursday night
  • A 50-minute massage per person at the Aspen Club & Spa
  • Rate is $1,889 based on double occupancy, which represents a savings of 50 percent off of room rate. Four-night minimum stay required. Excludes resort fee, tax and gratuities. Subject to availability.

Hotel Jerome’s Wednesday night anniversary bash will transport guests back in time, by recreating the atmosphere and energy of the hotel’s original opening night celebration on November 25, 1889. Guests will be escorted to the hotel in grand style via a horse-drawn carriage, passing street entertainers, characters and perhaps a few donkeys along the way!

The evening affair at Hotel Jerome will include live entertainment, ballroom dancing, authentic cocktails such as Curaçao Punch, a live auction of luxury items, and a gourmet dinner. The feast will be a culinary retreat honoring classical French preparations with such dishes as oyster bisque with wild spinach paillettes au Parmesan; Colorado prime rib with sauce béarnaise and croquettes de pommes de Terre; and profiteroles with pistachio ice cream, Belgian chocolate sauce and vanilla whipped cream.

Wow! Anyone else dying to jump on a jet and head out to Aspen for this fabulous Thanksgiving soiree?


Don’t forget your last chance to enter my Genuine Health Gift Basket Giveaway; I wil be picking the winner tomorrow morning!