Wednesday, November 26, 2014



APPETIZERS: Instead of chips and salsa, make a hummus out of roasted butternut squash with toasted pita chips.

GRAVY: Use cornstarch to thicken gravy instead of a heavy roux. Try adding a squeeze of fresh Meyer lemon to your gravy, citrus offers a nice light finish on the palate.

STUFFING: Try using grains such as faro or wild rice rather than bread. Use a turkey or chicken sausage in the mix in place of pork.

SWEET POTATOES: Use a drizzle of local honey to roast with instead of brown sugar and maple syrup. For a healthier sweet potato casserole as opposed to butter and sugar, add evaporated milk and crushed pineapple. Skip the marshmallows on top and opt for meringue .

DESSERTS: When making a pie crust try using equal parts all purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Replace   butter with canola oil and corn syrup with maple syrup.

Maple Ginger Cranberry Sauce
Yield: 6 servings

  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries, washed and any stems removed
  • 1 cup apple cider, reduced by half to a half cup
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. allspice
  • 1 tbsp. minced ginger


  1. Place medium sized sauce pan over medium high heat and add all ingredients. Bring mixture to a simmer.
  2. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to simmer stirring occasionally for approx. 10 minutes. The cranberries will start to blister and burst and release their fruit pectin which will thicken the sauce.
  3. Once cranberries have burst remove pan from the heat. Place sauce into clean container and cool and refrigerate until ready to use. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Slow Roasted Balsamic Butternut Squash with Braised Kale
Yield: 6 servings
  • 12 oz. butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cut into 1” dice
  • 1 each small yellow onion, peeled & sliced ½”
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp.brown sugar
  • kosher salt & black pepper to taste
  • 6 oz. fresh kale, cleaned & roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp. oil
  1. Place butternut in medium sized mixing bowl and toss with oil, half of the     balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, onions and brow sugar. Toss well to incorporate all ingredients. Spread mixture evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in pre-heated 400 degree oven. Roast approx. 30 – 40 minutes until the squash is tender and golden in color. Stir the mixture several times during the cooking process to ensure even cooking.
  2. Place medium sized heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat and add the kale and vegetable stock. Bring mixture to a very light simmer then cover and reduce heat. Cook until kale is tender but still a vibrant green color. Drain any excess liquid at the bottom and reserve for another use.
  3. At this point this dish may either be served hot or cold. If serving cold chill both the squash and the kale mixture and when chilled mix together and finish by lightly drizzling with the remaining balsamic. Taste and adjust seasoning if  needed. 
  4. If serving warm mix both the squash and kale together and arrange onto serving bowl or platter and finish by lightly drizzling with the remaining balsamic. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Pumpkin Pie Mousse
Yield: 12 servings
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cups whipped topping
  1. Stir the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar in a medium bowl.
  2. Fold in the whipped topping.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Garnish with additional cinnamon and confectioners' sugar or whipped topping.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Avoiding Overeating During the Holidays

By Meghann McMillan

The holidays are quickly approaching and the motto tends to be “eat, drink, and be merry”. Thanksgiving with the family, friendsgiving with the friends, Christmas parties, Hanukah celebrations, New Years Eve...the next month is loaded with evens that tend to revolve around lots of food and drink. Many people surrender to the fact that they are going to gain some holiday weight, and simply over indulge in it all. This year, don’t surrender to overeating during the holidays. You can have your pumpkin pie and eat it too, if you pay attention to your intake and portion sizes.

Lets start with appetizers, the typical first course that no one can pass up as the hunger of the main course starts to set in. No need to shy away from the wonderful app table, just make sure you keep it to just a taste. Use a napkin or a small plate to place your food on. If it doesn’t fit on it, you don’t need it. Try just one of the appetizers you like. If there are too many to chose from, cut one in half so you can have a taste. Appetizers are something that hold you over for the big meal and the trick is to not fill up on this course, and to avoid extreme calorie intake.
Extra Tip: Make sure the meal before the celebration is a light one.

Moving on to the main course, again you can have all the things you’ve been waiting all year to eat, just do it in moderation. A great way to keep your portions down is to use a smaller plate. This way you don’t over eat by over filling an extra large plate. Even with a small plate, it is important to keep portion sizes in mind. Here is a portion size guide to help you...

•  1 serving of turkey is 3 oz, about the same size as a deck of playing cards
•  A serving of gravy is 1/4 of a cup, about the size of a golf ball
•  A serving of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, applesauce is 1/2 cup, about the size of a tennis ball cut in half
•  A serving of cranberry sauce is about 1/4 of a cup, about the size of a golf ball
•  A serving of stuffing is a 1/2 cup, about the size of an ice cream scoop or a tennis ball cut in half
•  Want butter on your Thanksgiving roll? A serving is a teaspoon, about the size of a single die
•  A serving of raw vegetables is 1 cup, about the size of a baseball
•  A serving of cooked vegetables is 1/2 cup, about the size of a tennis ball cut in half
•  1 latke is about the size compact disk

If you still have room for dessert, keep in mind that a proper serving size of a slice of pie is about the size of a standard light bulb. If desserts are already portioned out, you could always cut a serving in half to enjoy. Taking your dessert home for later is another great way to avoid over eating during your celebration feast.

To top of off your perfectly portioned holiday, take an after meal walk (weather permitting), to make sure you are putting out some energy that you are putting in.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Boosting Your Immune System with Food

By Meghann McMillan

The weather is getting colder which means cold and flu season is just around the corner. There is no reason to let illness ruin things like Homecoming weekend or the upcoming Holidays and it certainly shouldn't put a damper on your daily life. We’re all very busy and there is just no time for getting sick. Fortunately there are ways we can boost our immune systems with the food we eat every day! Here are some immune boosting foods that can help you prevent or even kick seasonal sickness...

Citrus Fruits: This is the one that comes to everyone's mind. Oranges, clementines, lemons, grapefruit, they are all a loaded powerhouse of vitamin C. This antioxidant helps boost our immune system, preventing our bodies from falling ill and fighting something that is already in our bodies. Adding oranges to smoothies or lemon to tea is a great way to get that vitamin C pick me up our bodies may need.

Garlic: This potent bulb is a triple thread when it comes to our health. Garlic is an antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal! All there of these are a huge benefit to our immune system. Garlic contains allicin which is known for its antimicrobial affects and is anti-carcinogenic. Garlic also helps clear the sinuses. The best way to consume garlic is in its raw form. If that's a little too intense for you and you just want to add it to meals for an immunity boost, use fresh garlic that has not yet been chopped.

Mushrooms: Mushrooms are known for their antiviral and immune enhancing properties and are also rich in protein and fiber as well as a number of vitamins and minerals. Mushrooms also contain beta-glucans, a powerful compound known for its ability to activate the immune system. Mushrooms have also been shown to increase the production and activity of white blood cells which is important when you are already fighting off the flu or a cold.

Tea: Tea is packed full with antioxidants to boost immune systems during the colder months. Two teas that have the most antioxidants are green and black teas. Aside from boosting the immune system, tea is very soothing and aids in thinning of mucus. 

Fish: Believe it or not, fish is a great food for boosting the immune system. It is high in selenium and protein. Fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids which aid in reducing inflammation. 

Fermented Foods: Some great examples of fermented foods are yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, olives, kimchi, and kefir. These fermented foods are fully loaded with good bacteria known as, probiotics, that keep our guts free of germs and bad bacteria. One of these good strains of bacteria is Lactobacillus reuteri, which has been shown to stop the replication of viruses that take over the body when we get sick. These good bacteria also aid in the production of antibodies in our bodies.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Festivities

By Meghann McMillan

It’s that time of year again where the leaves have changed colors, the air has gotten cooler, picking and carving pumpkins is a must and everyone seems to have tons of candy to share. With Halloween right around the corner it is easy to get caught up in the festivities, allowing a healthful eating to slip down the drain. This year, why not make some traditions a little healthier?

Can’t seem to get enough of any sort of pumpkin spiced drink that’s out there during the season? Ditch the high calorie drinks loaded with sugary pumpkin syrups and artificial colors and flavors for something more natural and chuck full of vitamins and minerals. Spice up your day with a homemade pumpkin spice smoothie! Pumpkin is loaded with anti-oxidants and vitamins A, C and E. One serving of pumpkin gives your body more than 250% of your RDA for vitamin A! Pumpkin is also a good source of B vitamins and is rich in minerals such as potassium and calcium. Combine that with the ingredients below and you’ll have a nutrient dense, low calorie delicious treat to give you a boost during the fall season.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

  • ½ can of pumpkin puree
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch of ginger
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 3 ice cubes

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until contents are combined and smooth. 
  2. Add more Almond Milk as needed to think smoothie to your liking. Best enjoyed in the fall!

If one of your Halloween season activities includes picking and carving pumpkins, try turning it into a nutritious and delicious activity to add to the fun. Instead of tossing the “guts” of the pumpkin as you scoop them out to carve, put them aside and roast the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are just as nutrient dense as the flesh. Pumpkin seeds are packed with antioxidants, especially tryptophan. Pumpkin seeds contain heart healthy mono-unsaturated fats. They are loaded with fiber and protein and provide our bodies with tons of iron and zinc. To roast pumpkin seeds, preheat your oven to 170 degrees F. Spread the seeds on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt (you could also toss in olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary, cayenne….whatever flavors are your favorite!). Once in the oven, let the seeds roast for 15 - 20 minutes. Enjoy these crispy treats on salad, in a snack mix, in your oatmeal or by the handful! 

With all the fall and Halloween festivities comes the Halloween parties. Halloween parties may mean the over consumption of many different sugary treats. This year, forget about bringing the traditional sugar laden candies and make your own sweet treats….without all the refined sugar! Check out this honey sweetened dairy free delights that are brimming with antioxidants and heart healthy ingredients.

Fall Dark Chocolate Treats

  • 1 cup coconut butter
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder OR 1 cup 100% Dark chocolate chips/bar chunks
  • ½ cup honey (raw is my favorite!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1/3 cup toasted almonds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

  1. Melt coconut butter in a nonstick pot over a stove top on medium heat. Make sure not to burn by stirring. 
  2. Once melted, stir in dark chocolate until smooth and combined. 
  3. Next add honey, vanilla and sea salt. Continue to stir until contents are combined and smooth. 
  4. Lastly, add the almonds and cranberries. Take off of heat. 
  5. On a parchment lined cookie sheet, drop spoon fulls of chocolate clusters. Let stand until hardened or store in the refrigerator until solid and ready to eat.

With these Halloween ticks, you will certainly be in for a treat this fall season, adding a little health to your fun. Enjoy and be safe!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mushrooms, The Ultimate Superfood

By Meghann McMillan

The mushroom, a fruiting body of spore bearing fungi has been recognized as one of the top superfoods. A superfood is a food that very nutrient dense, contains properties that contribute to good health and wellbeing as well as the ability to help prevent many diseases. Mushrooms are fully loaded with essential nutrients, antioxidants and health promoting properties.

Mushrooms contain riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, copper, chromium and selenium. When exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet (UV) light, mushrooms naturally generate vitamin D and become a good source of this important vitamin. In a country where low levels of vitamin D is becoming a very common and major issue, mushrooms are something people should be consuming more of. Mushrooms also contain fiber and protein and are low in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium; an overall healthy food choice!

With cold and flu season approaching, it is important to consume more mushrooms. Why, you ask? Because mushrooms are known for their antiviral and immune enhancing properties. Whether you are fighting off a cold or preventing getting sick all together this season, mushrooms are always a good choice. These powerful fungi also have anti-cancer properties as well as cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar lowering properties. Mushrooms are a good choice for those following a heart healthy diet.

You can find a wide variety of mushrooms at your local grocery store or farmers market. Some of the more popular types including shitake, enoki, oyster, portobello and button. These mouthwatering mushrooms can be added to salads, soups and stir fries; topped on pizzas, burgers and sandwiches. They can be sautéed, baked or stuffed and are often used as a meat replacer due to their tender and meaty texture. The possibilities are endless and the health benefits of this superfood are immense.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant

The creator of the wildly popular blog How Sweet It Is, Jessica Merchant, was welcomed to the Xhibition Kitchen by her large following of "invisible internet friends." By the huge crowd in attendance, it was clear her friends were quite real and not invisible. Jessica showed the audience how to prepare two incredible recipes: Whipped Goat Cheese with Warm Vanilla Berries; Amaretto Butternut Squash Soup. These recipes are featured in Seriously Delish along with 148 other imaginative recipes that are tasty and original and bring readers to a place where cooking becomes adventurous and food becomes fun. Five lucky audience members won signed copies after correctly answering what recipe Jessica posted in her blog the previous day. The audience enjoyed Jessica’s White Cheddar Apple Crisp while waiting in a line that wrapped around the room, all just to get their book personally signed. Jessica certainly made our Friday "Seriously Delish!"

Thursday, October 2, 2014

One-Hour Cheese by Claudia Lucero

A rainy day in Boston was brightened up by Claudia Lucero, whose inviting presence which filled the Xhibition Kitchen with warmth and the sweet smells of fall. She welcomed the crowd proclaiming “Do It Yourself cheese is a great rainy day activity”. Claudia is the entrepreneur behind and DIY Cheese Kits, which she used as inspiration for her cookbook. Claudia demonstrated Chevre French Kisses, infused with Herbes de Provence this cheese is layered with flavor. She taught us how easy it can be to be creative noting “Cheese makers are creative people, there is a lot to discover by accident. Many of my accidents ended up being some of my best recipes”. Claudia never imagined that she would be the one to write the ideal cheese book, which five lucky audience members won.

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