A Simple Recipe for Happy, Healthy Holidays

Tis the season for overspending, overeating and stress – that’s what our culture is projecting. I would like to take you down a different path: one that will simplify your holiday season so you don’t feel drained and actually feel joyful!

Here is my four ingredient recipe that I strive to follow each year — it is based on what I know is good for my body and the family traditions that are good for the soul.

  1. Power Foods: You’ve got to take care of your body so you can take on the holidays with vim and vigor! I don’t always have time to get the blender out and make a green smoothie, so I just pour a packet of Zija Moringa drink into a water bottle as I head out the door. Kids like it, too! Moringa is a power green with all the nutrients I need for the day. I also keep an extra packet of XM+ Moringa Energy Drink and an apple in my purse for those unexpected shopping excursions :)  You can order them HERE!

Brussels sprouts!

A warm, simple dish that can be eaten at room temp: anytime, anywhere!

Get even more veggies in! I prefer soups and roasted vegetables to salads in the cold months. I love this Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cherries and Pistachios. I was so excited to serve it on Thanksgiving day but with all the commotion I forgot it warming in the oven!! The upside was that I had a comforting nutrient-packed lunch to munch on all week :)


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cherries and Pistachios
This is a simple and satisfying winter “salad” & great for parties!


  • 2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbs Shire City Herbals Fire Cider* or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ⅓ cup shelled pistachios
  • ½ cup dried sweet cherries


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss Brussels sprouts on a rimmed cookie sheet with 1 Tbs of oil and ¼ tsp of salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, stir to mix, then roast for another 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard and remaining oil and salt. Stir in roasted Brussels sprouts, pistachios and cherries.

Denise’s Tip

*For generations, New Englanders have taken a daily a tot of vinegar as a morning ritual. Why? Because unfiltered apple cider vinegar can help support immune function and digestive functions. I was recently turned on to locally-made Shire City Herbals Fire Cider (click to learn more). Love the kick and flavor — it can be used in dressings and even cocktails!


2. Rest: You’ve got to get your rest or you will be a crabby, haggard looking Santa. Who wants that? Turn off the TV or computer and strive to get to bed by 10. Save the late-night wrapping for the kids to do on the weekend – think charming, instead of perfect :) If you have a late night that couldn’t be helped, skip the 5:30 am workout and don’t beat yourself up about it! Buy yourself an early gift of a 10 pass at your neighborhood yoga studio (try Yoga Mandala or Prana). I tend to hit the yoga studio more than the gym during this season. It’s a great de-stressor and physical workout.


3. Give a Gift from the Kitchen: My favorite gifts are homemade. And who wouldn’t rather be in their kitchen than shopping at the mall? Think simple and delicious, like this nut mix I will use for my Holiday Open House. I’ll provide seasoned nuts, dried fruit and other treats — each guest will create their own mixture. They will walk away with a gift that they can give to someone in need and a recipe to carry on the tradition. Enjoying a gift from the kitchen not only nourishes the body, by making it, you nourish the soul too!


Denise’s Spiced Nuts

Nut tray 2Ingredients

  • 4 cups walnuts (16 oz)
  • ¼ c brown rice syrup
  • ¼ c pure maple syrup
  • 3 Tbs pure cane sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • ⅛ tsp ground cayenne pepper


Preheat oven to 350. Spread walnuts on a cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes until lightly toasted.

Combine brown rice syrup and maple syrup and pour over nuts; toss and coat well. Bake another 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through, to coat the nuts.

Mix the sugar and spices in a large bowl. Add the nuts and toss to coat. Spread nuts out onto wax paper to cool.

4. Live Holiday Music: Get your body and brain into the spirit! Be it singing,  instruments or both — there is nothing like LIVE music. There are plenty of options for every budget, from attending a Christmas concert at your local church to the Holiday Pops. This will definitely  put a holiday spring in your step:)


Now mix all these ingredients together, sprinkle with love and have yourself a happy, healthy holiday!

Enjoy the Season!



Give a handcrafted treat from my Kitchen:

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