12 Days of Healthful Holiday Tips – Day 4!

Holiday Potluck – What should I bring?

Written by: Instructor Stasia (aka The Optimistic Ninja!)

I love holiday parties! I love eating the different, rich and delicious appetizers and desserts that go along with attending these events. The problem for me is that sometimes I have hard time moderating what I eat because it is all so very delicious.

Tonight I am going to a potluck. I know that my mom is also attending and making butter tarts, one of my favorite desserts of all time. All week I have been running through possible appetizer recipes but nothing sang to me until I thought of this… I need to bring the healthiest thing I possibly can that I absolutely love to eat because I am assuming that everything else will be rich and heavy. What popped in my head after this thought? Veggies and hummus! At first it sounded sort of boring but this is something that is easy to prepare and is speaking to the way I have been trying to eat lately. I am not saying I won’t be sampling the other delicious food, but with a stomach full of veggies and hummus, I know I will eat less of the more calorie heavy treats. By the way, any time I have brought veggies and hummus to a gathering, other people have been thankful for the opportunity to eat something healthy as a break from all the other rich food.

I feel that making everything fresh (including cutting my own veggies) is surprisingly quick and easy. There are a million recipes for this but my partner and I have made this so many times that we have adapted the recipe to suit what is in our cupboards.

Here is my idea for tonight:

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 can of chick peas

1/4 cup of tahini (sesame seed butter – we have also tried it with peanut butter and almond butter)

1 whole roasted red pepper (you can roast your own or buy them in jars in the pickle aisle)

2 tbsp. of olive oil

Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon (to taste)

Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Cayenne pepper (just a dash – this is optional if you like it a little bit spicy)

I am allergic to garlic so I always leave it out. Most recipes will have you add a clove or so of garlic, to your liking.

Put the chick peas, tahini and red pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend it all up. Add lemon juice gradually (start by adding 1/2 and then go from there), mix and taste after each addition as you don’t want it to be too sour. Add salt and pepper to taste. It should be a nice balance of tangy, salty and smooth. You can add more roasted red pepper or omit it all together. Experiment with it from time to time to see what you can come up with as your own favorite recipe.

Prep time: 5 minutes – honestly! 

For veggies, choose whatever you like to eat but make it easy on yourself. Today I will cut up cucumber, carrots, celery, bell peppers and cauliflower. If this was just for us at home, I actually wouldn’t use cauliflower because I never have it in the fridge. Since this is for a party, I thought I would add one other choice. Broccoli, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes are really good suggestions too. Whatever works for your time and budget.

Prep time: 20 minutes 

I am actually making a double batch because this is something that will get eaten in my house this week. Hummus is great from a nutritional standpoint. It is an excellent source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Most often, it is served with pita or some other flat bread but I like serving it with veggies because I figure that you can never have enough raw vegetables in your diet!

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