Traditions build healthy connections.
Growing up I enjoyed many simple fun holiday traditions with my family. There was always turkey at Thanksgiving, grandma’s rainbow jello for Christmas, and lemon cake with homemade frosting was the perfect ending to our classically German pork and sauerkraut for New Years. I had never given it much thought back then about how many holiday traditions are centered around food. People love to share the joy of the holidays with food. I have great memories of making Christmas cut-out cookies with my mom and decorating them with all different colors of frosting and sprinkles! When my husband and I decided to start our family, I looked forward to sharing my family’s traditions with my own children. All those warm memories of holiday foods came crashing down hard when my first child was found to be severely allergic to all dairy, all nuts, egg, and fish. Every Thanksgiving turkey was covered in butter, my grandma’s rainbow jello was filled with sour cream (dairy), and that lovely lemon cake was full of eggs and more dairy! Suddenly, every holiday became a battlefield of struggling to keep my young son safe and included while still trying to share in the joy of the holidays. I was devastated to put it mildly.
Over the past several years, I have spent a lot of time reshaping my perspective on classic holiday traditions and finding new joy in creating new ones that are safer and healthier for my family as a whole. An article in Psychology Today discusses how holiday traditions provide a sense of predictability and comfort in an ever-changing fast-paced world. I believe it is important for me, as a parent, to be a source of constant and comforting support for my children and rebuilding holiday traditions that accommodate their food allergies in fun and creative ways is all part of that process.
I’m “sweet on” sweet potatoes.
I have learned that food allergies and sensitivities don’t have to mean the end of delicious traditions during the holidays. That’s not to say that special diet changes don’t require a little extra time, planning, and understanding. Believe me, they do! Nevertheless, I encourage everyone this Thanksgiving to try a few new things to keep the feast a little more fresh, clean, and safe for all our guests.
For example, my wild orange sweet potato bake has become a family favorite at our Thanksgiving table. It’s completely dairy, nut, gluten, and egg free but still loaded with flavor. Sweet potatoes are also a terrific source of Vitamin A and C. Feel free to add it to your Thanksgiving menu this year or any time you’re in the mood for delicious and nutritious comfort food during these colder months.
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes with Apples Recipe
Makes: 6 – 8 servings
- 3 large sweet potatoes
- 3 Granny Smith apples
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 6 drops Wild Orange essential oil ( My favorite wild orange oil is available here. )
- 1 tsp grated orange rind
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup dairy-free butter substitute* ( I prefer Earth Balance dairy-free, soy-free spread. )
* If you can and prefer to use actual butter, I highly recommend Hartzler’s salted roll butter. It’s amazing!
- Cook sweet potatoes in boiling water to cover 45 minutes; drain and cool slightly. Peel sweet potatoes, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Peel, core, and thinly slice apples into rings.
- Combine brown sugar and next 4 ingredients.
- Arrange half of potato slices and half of apple slices in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with half of brown sugar mixture, and dot evenly with half of butter. Repeat procedure with remaining ingredients.
- Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Serve warm.
Adapted from the following recipe originally provided by Southern Living: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/scalloped-sweet-potatoes-with-apples
Wild Orange … a tasty way to uplift your mood.
What makes my wild orange sweet potatoes really stand out is the wild orange essential oil. Wild orange doesn’t just add great flavor, it has a therapeutic effect on the body as well. True Wild Orange essential oil reduces anxious feelings, calms your nerves, and uplifts your mood. It is considered the “oil of abundance” because of it’s ability to support feelings of generosity, creativity, and playfulness. In light of the stress around the holidays, Wild Orange is a wonderfully positive oil to experience and share this time of year.