Happy Holidays 2013Our Holiday menu this year will be significantly different from all other years it has been in the Means House.  Since adopting a more plant-based diet, we decided that we must apply this to even our Holiday food menu so that we can continue through the holidays with our healthy eating plan.  We have certainly learned over the past several months that a vegan or vegetarian diet is not simply healthy by principle, it takes a lot of forethought and effort to follow a clean and healthy plan.  So when we began discussing what exactly would be on our menu for Christmas lunch, we took a lot of time to decide what dishes would make the cut, but we did stick with the though that just because you went vegan or vegetarian does not mean that you have to end your love relationship with good flavorful food!

Holiday Place SettingsHere’s what will make it to the Means’ Holiday Table this year!

Happy Christmas TurkeysFree Range Turkey – Yes, we are keeping the traditional bird on the menu this year, but with a slightly different upbringing.  I was excited to get to our local co-op yesterday and pick up two of their free-range turkeys that were even on sale.  We initially thought we would have to leave this meat option off the menu because we would either not be able to get a free-range turkey or it would cost more than the entire normal Holiday dinner would.  So needless to say, we will be Infrared Frying our free-range turkeys again this year for our Holiday Feasting!  A hormone-less and grease-less bird of goodness!

Cornbread Dressing – Born and Raised in the South, I cannot even begin to imagine not having our traditional cornbread dressing.  Yes, it’s a side-dish not stuffed into the turkey while cooking it as some other parts of the US prepare their Holiday traditions.  Our dressing is created from cornbread, sage and other spices, but most importantly the broth from a free-range duck.  It’s one thing I look forward to indulging in every single year.  (All things in Holiday moderation)

roasted Sweet PotatoesRoasted Sweet Potatoes – Usually I make my Great Aunt’s recipe for Sweet Potato Souffle, but this year I am forgoing that for a less traditional dish of roasted sweet potatoes and carrots tossed in coconut oil and spices to give us the flavor of indulgence without all that sugary filler.  We became hooked on this concoction when I did the Whole30 Challenge in January of this year.  Now Unrefined Coconut Oil and sweet potatoes are a staple in our weekly shopping routine.

Mustard GreensWilted Mustard Greens – Every year my Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law have gardens, one in the summer and one in the winter.  As we all know, winter gardens contain a lot of greens and lettuce varieties.  This year we will be using those greens of goodness in our menu with some Wilted Mustard Greens.  Traditionally, we would have these boiled (for hours and hours it seems) until all the nutrients that we are looking for are gone down the drain with the juices you boiled them in.  However, this year we will make sure that we keep all those nutrients intact for consuming as I will just wilt the greens so we can keep all that flavor.

Garlic Green BeansGarlic Green Beans – Another traditionally boiled vegetable that I incorporated into our menu several years ago is the green bean, because with all the cheese filled and starchy sides, I wanted to add a green vegetable to our menu.  I began making my Garlic Green Beans as a flavorful alternative to the boiled-to-death versions.  These are always a hit with our Foodie Family!

Roasted VegetablesOven Roasted Vegetables – As you can see, our menu will be lacking in those traditionally dairy and egg infused dishes and as our last vegetarian menu item, we couldn’t forget our new favorite side dish, the mixed roasted vegetables.  I use this dish as a base for so many dinners.  I have mixed it with basmati rice, veggie rice gluten-free noodles and sometimes just by itself.  A variety of all our favorite hearty veggies, this dish is always gone in a flash!

I'm VeganMixed Fruit Medley – Lastly, in the final effort to stay on track, we will not be indulging in those sugar-filled desserts, mostly because we have cut out dairy and a lot of those pies and cakes of goodness are filled with butter and other animal by-products, we decided to opt for a lighter option in a Mixed Fruit Medley.  Yes, it will be a little more expensive than the traditional Holiday dessert, but in the end (the hind-end) it will be so worth it!

So there you have it!  That’s what we will be enjoying on Christmas Day at the Means’ House!  What are your traditional holiday indulgences and treats that are a staple on your menu?  Have you ever stepped outside your norm and tried something different?  Share your favorites in the comments!  Disasters and successes, I wanna hear about them!