Whether you’re crayon-thick or pencil-thin, one thing is for sure, you will likely, at some point during your engagement partake in the quintessential ritual of prepping to look your best for the nuptials. The habit of whitening your teeth will magically appear in your nightly routine. You’ll start to walk taller in hopes of straightening the lazy posture. And of course, you’ll find yourself trying to “shed for the wedding” like me and FunnyGirl.
The cat’s out of the bag, we are engaged! And now begins the process of a year’s worth of planning and spending, while also getting in
shape better shape. It doesn’t escape me that we are entering the beginning of the holiday season in just a few weeks. It does worry me though. How will I pass on second servings? How will I step away slowly and walk the other way when the overflowing dessert table is calling my nsme? No clue. But wait! Determination? Perseverance perhaps?
Invitations place me at two post-Thanksgiving Day celebrations. Will I pig out? Likely not. But I certainly won’t be “that girl” who goes to a holiday feast and laments over what she can or can’t have. So to take control, I’m going to aim to make my at-home Thanksgiving dinner as healthy as possible so I can splurge at the two other dinners.
Stuffing has always been my downfall. Last year I even made it in muffin pans to control portion sizes, and guess what that did for me–3 muffins worth of stuffing instead of the one-serving. I’m a stuffing junkie, it’s cool. I’m still trying to come to grips with the idea of a stuffing-free Turkey Day. In the meantime though, I will try my best to recreate its unmistakable flavoring. I simply nixed the bread and brought in the quinoa. Sure it’s not bread stuffing, but the flavors are enough to keep me satisfied. All in the name of wedded bliss, right?
Thanksgiving Quinoa Stuffing (makes 6 – 8 servings)
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock (vegetable stock or water can be substituted)
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
8 oz package button mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
5 or 6 leaves fresh sage, chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (stems removed)
*Rinse quinoa by vigorously swirling it around with your fingers in a sieve under running water for about 5 minutes. In a saucepan add the stock, poultry seasoning, and quinoa and bring to a boil. As soon as the quinoa is boiling, cover it, and lower heat to cook until all liquid evaporates (about 15 minutes). While the quinoa is cooking, add oil to a pan and on medium-low heat **Sweat the vegetables along with the salt, garlic, and herbs until soft but not browned. When the veggies have let out all their juices, mix them with the cooked quinoa. Adjust salt to your liking. After all is mixed, you can also pop it in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes to get a crunchy top.
*Thoroughly rinsing quinoa helps to wash off the natural bitterness.
**Sweating draws out the naturally flavored water in vegetables. Salt speeds up the sweating process.