Tasty Thankfulness

Published on: 11/17/2021
Woman gratefully enjoying her food
My first couple of blogs had the same title, as I wanted to push the theme of my blog (and I had no idea what I was doing, but that is beside the point☺️). Eat. Drink. Be Healthy. Be Happy. Maybe another drink. Yup, 20 months later, that is still the theme. Especially with the Winter holidays blowing our way. Food becomes a major focus on the holidays, taking the challenge of eating and drinking healthfully, and being happy, to a whole other level.

Let’s start with the happy😃. If you are not there already, it is time to inject more gratitude in your day to day life. Be grateful for all you are surrounded by — your family, friends, the beauty of nature, and all that brings you joy. Let go of the little things. Exude appreciation, connect with your sincerity, pay it forward. Have a fuckin’ good time❗️Remember last year when most of us were not with our extended families and friends?! Focus on the togetherness. Focus on others in need. And focus on the fun. Food is surely part of the fun, just not all of it. How do you manage these indulgent times? Mindfulness. Or, not being mindless. Being more present when you are eating, how much you are eating, and if you are enjoying what you are eating.

One way to stay mindful of your food and beverage choices is to accept that you will desire or crave heavier foods than usual, and likely more food (and drink) than usual. Understand that cravings are an inevitable part of being human, and will come and go throughout the holiday season. They are to be expected. Observing cravings, even welcoming them (rather than judging them) takes away much of their power. Push your pause button. Try distracting yourself for bit and see if the desire fades away. Still there? Sit with the temporary discomfort of your craving or desire for more. Keep focusing on something else. Switch rooms, conversations, or positions. If you are alone, meditate or head outside for a walk. Just as all of your core exercises build up muscle and strength, your ability to distract/delay/deflect improves with practice. Not allowing your craving or desire for more to dictate your immediate behavior is a skill that easier with time, bringing a liberating sense of self-control.
Enjoy and savor every bite, every sip, every hug, every kiss, every smile. Savor those around you, and savor you, as you are always worth it.
These recipes are a delightful combination of possible holiday meal additions, as well as balanced suggestions for all the times in between. And of course there is a cocktail. Cheers🥂.

Continuing with our previous pumpkin theme, this bread is quite the loaf of nutrients (and a twisted update on my original banana bread 🍌). The pumpkin, banana, and applesauce bring plenty of fiber, which helps keep you satisfied for longer, as well as plenty of natural sweetness; no additional sugar needed. This makes a tasty breakfast with some protein on top (like peanut butter), a healthy carb for lunch or dinner, or a tasty addition to the big T-day table.


3 overripe bananas
1 cup puréed pumpkin
1 egg
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chocolate chips, mini-morsels
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Peel bananas and place in a medium mixing bowl. Mash well with a fork. Add pumpkin through salt and mix together until a smooth consistency. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50–60 minutes. Bread should be just lightly browned along the edges when done, but go with the toothpick check. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove and slice into 12 pieces.
Tis’ the season and the kale just keeps coming. These curly leaves and our other dark leafy friends (collards, spinach, arugula, chard, etc) are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium. Low in calories, high in fiber, vitamins, and phytonutrients, greens are a bountiful addition to any meal, including the holidays.
1 large bunch kale, washed, remove stems
Nonstick cooking spray
1 teaspoon truffle oil
1/4–1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic glaze, drizzle

Place a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add kale and saute for about 8 minutes, or until slightly frizzled. Add truffle oil, red pepper, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir and continue to cook for 1 more minute. Place in a serving bowl. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and red pepper flakes. Makes 4 side dish servings.

This recipe is really all about the sauce. This sauce is delicious on top of salmon, yet also works with lean red meat or tofu, plus as a dip for grilled or air-fried veggies (see note below). It has a tasty, addicting zing, you will want to make sure you are generous with each bite.

4 6-ounce salmon fillets
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 cloves or 3 Tablespoons garlic, minced, divided
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, plain
3–4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
salt and freshly ground pepper
Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use 1 clove or 1 tablespoon of garlic to rub all over each fillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place salmon on top and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until well-done. Remove and keep warm.
While fish is cooking, place cider vinegar, the other two garlic cloves (or 2 tablespoons), Greek yogurt, lemon juice, a few twist of salt and pepper, in the blender. Whirl for about one minute. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with your fresh herb of choice. Serve on top of fish, as well as a side dip for some veggies.

What veggies? Slice 3 medium zucchinis into thin circles. Place in a medium mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes, and a few grinds of salt. Mix well, making sure all slices are marinated. Preheat the air-fryer to 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Cooking in batches, add a single layer of zucchini. Air fry for about 15 minutes per batch, flipping halfway. Serve with horseradish sauce (and the salmon or protein of choice). Leftover sauce can stay in the refrigerator for 3–4 days.

Mindfulness is deliberately paying attention, non-judgmentally. Mindfulness promotes balance, choice, wisdom, and acceptance of what is. It is the holidays. Mindfully indulge in a cocktail (or beverage of choice) or two, enjoying every sip and every conversation with friends and family. Try to avoid the sugary mixtures and syrups, instead choosing naturally sweetened beverages. The frozen cranberries and rosemary create deliciousness to both the eyes and tastebuds.
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice, no sugar added
1/2 cup pomegranate juice, no sugar added
1 cup sparkling water
9 ounces of vodka (1.5 ounces per serving or 1 shot glass), divided
ice cubes
1 cup frozen cranberries
6 sprigs fresh rosemary

Pour cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, and sparkling water into a small pitcher. Stir well. Fill shaker about halfway with ice. Add 1/2 cup of mixture in a pitcher, plus 1.5 ounces vodka. Shake well. Pour into a martini glass or cocktail glass. Garnish with about a tablespoon of frozen cranberries and a rosemary sprig. Sip the sweet and savory. Makes 6 servings.
Prefer a mocktail? Skip the vodka and spritz with more sparkling water. Just as fancy.

.It always seems impossible until it’s done.

~ Nelson Mandela 

For comments, thoughts, requests or anything else you feel the need to share, please do: amy@rebelliousrd.com

Warren JM, Smith N, Ashwell M. A structured literature review on the role of mindfulness, mindful eating and intuitive eating in changing eating behaviours: effectiveness and associated potential mechanisms. Nutr Res Rev. 2017 Dec;30(2):272–283. doi: 10.1017/S0954422417000154. Epub 2017 Jul 18. PMID: 28718396.
Nelson JB. Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat. Diabetes Spectr. 2017;30(3):171–174. doi:10.2337/ds17–0015


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With a longstanding dedication to healthy cooking and eating, I promote nutrition with a rebellious twist: the belief that perfection is not required for success on your wellness journey. 

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