BY KATHY HESTER
The easiest thing to do is put off being “good” until the New Year. That’s what resolutions are for, right? Well, really the best thing to do is have some healthy choices for you and your guests so you can end the year with no regrets.
Remember, taking care of yourself is worth more than overindulging one last time. Let this be the New Year’s that you wake up invigorated for.
New Year’s Eve
This is the holiday that undoes the best of intentions. If you have more than a drink or two, you may find yourself eating foods that you would rather avoid. You may also find yourself waking up with a vise on your head in the form of a nasty hangover. No one wants to start the New Year off like that!
The easy way around this is to host the party yourself or bring a few healthy treats where you are going. At my party I’ll have drinks, but I’ll lighten up the cocktail. That way people can drink all night, but still only take in a reasonable amount of alcohol. That way we’ll all be ready to face 2012.
• Mushroom and Brown Rice Dolmas
• Savory Carrot Cake: Cut into bite-size squares
• Garlic-Scallion Jalapeño Savory Buns
• Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Basil-Chive Pesto: Make minis
• Chickpea Crackers
• Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade with Garlic and Herbs
• Roasted Chickpea Nuts
• Sweet QuinoaBalls
• Raw Gingersnap Cookies
New Year’s Day
Since you were so virtuous the night before, you’ll have the energy to host a causal New Year’s Day Brunch with traditional dishes made from scratch.
I like to make the bean and greens dishes and keep them warm in slow cookers for the easiest buffet ever. That also allows everyone to wander over as they’re ready. Some of your guests will have overdone it the night before and need you to help them back on track.
Since these dishes are filled with whole foods, everyone gets to fuel up right for the New Year. If you want to add some humor to your day try make this Double Layer Cornbread Cake with Black Bean Filling and Mashed Potato Frosting for your main course. I’d sub black-eyed peas for the black beans and sneak some green in for the ultimate New Year’s healthy treat.
• Black-Eyed Pea Curry
• Black-Eyed Peas with Sweet Potatoes and Greens: Leave out ham and use a few dashes of liquid smoke instead to healthy up this dish.
• Black Eyed Peas and Rice
• Warm Salad of Black-Eyed Peas, Bacon and Maple: Use liquid smoke instead of bacon or use Fakin’ Bacon by Lightlife.
• Black-Eyed Pea and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Tomato-Chile Vinaigrette
• Stuffed Squash
• Flourless Chocolate Cake: For the pea haters–they will never know!
• Mustard Greens with Creamy Mustard Sauce- Use soy or almond milk in place of the cream
• Collard Wraps
• Salad of Asian Greens w/ Szechuan, Sesame Oil & Lime Dressing
You’ll find a few new favorites in the list above. I bet you’ll even convert some of your friends to eating green and healthy all year long.