Hi all Danica’s Daily readers!! My name is Sarah and I write a little blog called Sarah Eats By the Bay, where I ramble about my daily eats, fitness, lifestyle and fashion while working and living in the San Francisco Bay Area (right by Danica)! I am so honored that Danica asked me to write a guest post while she is livin’ it up in the Caribbean for her anniversary! 🙂
This is my first ever guest post, so bear with me as I struggled to think of something awesome and interesting to write about. After spending a considerable amount of time debating over a few main things (story of my life), I decided to focus this post on the glorious holiday that is Thanksgiving.
Ever since I can remember I have been obsessed with Thanksgiving. The aroma of a turkey roasting in the oven all day, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, relaxing in pajamas all day with family by my side, and preparing myself for the feast that was about to come. I remember always trying to eat bare minimum all day so I could gorge at dinner time. Now I realize that this is not the way to go at all! I am here to give some helpful Turkey Day tips for all you bloggers out there!
1. First and foremost, don’t skip breakfast and lunch just so you can eat more at dinnertime! This was foolish for me to assume! This is one of the few holidays we have where we celebrate thanks with family and food (although I advocate there should be plenty more of these occasions throughout the year) and it should be enjoyed thoroughly! You must fuel yourself throughout the day, especially at breakfast. This is when you have a chance to kick start your metabolism for the day. I advise you to eat continually throughout the day, but keep in mind all of the food that will be available later on, and gauge this to make wise food choices earlier in the day!
2. Secondly, I encourage indulgence. I don’t think you should hold yourself back on Thanksgiving. If you want a slice of pumpkin pie, by golly, have it. Just remember to keep everything in moderation. Savor the flavors, tastes and aromas.
3. Eat more veggies, and eat less bread! I am one to over indulge with bread and biscuits on Thanksgiving (omg just thinking about it right now is causing me to drool). Once again, have bread in moderation. Don’t deny yourself what you crave, but at the same time load your plate with veggies such as steamed carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and green beans. Not only are these veggies loaded with fiber to keep you full, they are all chocked full of vitamins as well!
4. Pace yourself. I typically inhale my Thanksgiving dinner, and I have to tell myself to slow down and enjoy each and every bite. Try and take a sip of water in between bites, and chew your food completely before shoveling in another spoon or forkful. One of my favorite tricks is using a smaller utensil, so you physically cannot overload your spoon or fork with delicious food!
5. Be active! Sign up for a local Turkey Trot! I just signed up for one with some of my old high school friends. Try searching at Active.com for a race near you to get your heart pumping and your legs moving before Thanksgiving dinner. If races aren’t your thing go for a brisk walk in the morning, or toss around the football. Whatever floats your boat.
In honor of this post I am going to share with you one of my FAVORITE side dishes at Thanksgiving. Around this time last year is when I became more health conscious and knew I wanted to start taking care of my body. I found this recipe in Cooking Light and recreated it as a side dish at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Oh, and for all you vegetarians out there…this is one heck of a vegetarian dish!
Butternut Squash Gratin with Blue Cheese and Sage (adapted from Cooking Light)
§ 5 cups frozen cubed butternut squash
§ 1 slice whole wheat bread, toasted
§ 4 cups thinly sliced white onion
§ 1 tbsp. dried sage (I did not have any fresh sage, or I would have used it)
§ 1/2 tsp. salt
§ 1/2 tsp. pepper
§ 4 tsp. olive oil, divided
§ 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
§ Cooking spray
First off…preheat that oven to 400°F!!! It’s always the first thing I do when I am baking anything…even if I won’t need to use the oven for a while. I’d rather remember and have it ready then forget and have to wait around for the silly thing to warm up.
I first measured out about 5 cups of frozen, cubed butternut squash and put them in a little bit of boiling water to thaw and cook for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Note: go ahead and use fresh butternut squash, I was just pressed for time!
Meanwhile, I chopped an onion into thin slices. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of onion, but I absolutely ADORE onions, so after I noticed that 2 cups did not look like enough for my liking, I just ended up chopping the whole onion and it made about 4 cups.
I then strained the butternut squash and began to sauté the sliced onions in 2 tsp. of olive oil for about 5 minutes until they became a little bit browned.
While the onions simmered I toasted up a piece of bread and gave it a spin in the food processor until it turned into a nice, thick breadcrumb consistency. I prefer bigger crumbs to smaller ones, but it’s up to your personal preference! I then mixed the remaining 2 tsp. olive oil with the breadcrumbs and fluffed with a fork to combine.
When the onions finished up I put them in a bowl with the butternut squash, sage, and salt and pepper. I gave them a quick, gentle toss and then evenly distributed the mixture into a 9 x 9 baking dish coated with cooking spray.
This goes into the oven for 20 minutes at 400°F. While you wait for it to cook you then take care of all the mess that found its way into the sink (or counter) or if you’re lucky someone will do it for you! 😉 Get the cleanup out of the way!
After the dish has baked for 20 minutes, remove from oven and coat with 1/2 cup of blue cheese and then top with breadcrumb/olive oil mixture and throw it back into the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and the crumbs turn brown. (I actually started the broiler after 10 minutes because the cheese wasn’t melting, and broiled it for about 3 minutes).
Remove and let cool, but please eat it warm because it’s the most fantastic harmony of flavors! Healthy, vegetarian and delicious. What more could you or your fellow eager Thanksgiving eaters ask for?!
I encourage you all to try bringing/making this for Thanksgiving dinner, or just because (hey, that’s what I did and I’m a happy girl). Thank you all for reading and have a happy, healthy, food-filled Thanksgiving!