Placing importance around meals and making them all a celebration is something that we should be doing on a regular basis but at Christmas time it’s a given! By making a meal something out of the ordinary we are saying “this food and these people are important ~ this is a special moment.” Eating as a family on a regular basis is so very valuable. Studies have been done to prove that families that eat together have children who feel better about themselves, cope better in the world and have better relationships with their friends.
Being respectful of our food is another important practice to get into. By eating with respect for the food we are nourishing our bodies with, and eating in an atmosphere that supports this, we can increase the absorption of the nutrients in our food and enhance the support and enjoyment that it gives us. Think about where the food came from, how it was harvested, how it travelled to the store where you bought it. Appreciate the food and be thankful for it as you prepare it. Be in the moment. Be mindful.
To make your Christmas meals as stress free as possible, it’s important to plan ahead and do some prep ahead of time. I always make my stuffing the day before so it’s ready to go. I make at least one dish ahead of time as well. The parsnip and carrot gratin or the onion tart that I’ve given the recipes for is great made ahead and even frozen until needed. On Christmas day you can just have it defrosted and pop it into the oven. There are many dishes like this.
Plan a meal that doesn’t include the usual turkey or ham selection. There are dozens of cultures to choose from with countless options of proteins, grains, vegetables, salads and sauces. Middle Eastern meals contain a richness of flavours that can be very celebratory! Try this lamb dish and top it with toasted cashews. Serve it with a curried quinoa dish and a cucumber & dill salad! Nothing better!
More ideas ~
Use several phyllo pastry as a crust to line a pie plate. Leave the sheets whole while you fill it with your favourite cooked vegetables, spices, an egg and perhaps a bit of cheese. The possibilities are endless. Fold the phyllo over the vegetables in a decorative pattern and bake until pastry is brown and the pie is hot throughout. This makes a wonderful main vegetarian meal. I’ve tried it with a mixture of root vegetables (parsnip, beets, carrot, yam), some artichoke hearts, goat cheese and fresh herbs. Delicious! Try any combination that you’d like.
Kira Neumann, RHN