For many of us, Thanksgiving means consuming large amounts of turkey or ham, mashed potatoes and stuffing and then topping it off with a hearty slice of pie. That is very often followed by a nap, or a "food coma," as it has become known as.
We now know that the nap is the result of not only overeating, but our bodies crashing from ingesting all those carbohydrates. Maite Bou is a local healthy living cook, advocate and consultant who shares her passion for the subject on her website, www.maitebou.com.
She has created a healthy version of a pecan pie and non-potato mashed potatoes using cauliflower instead of the more carbo-loaded spuds.
"I wanted to add a healthy thing to these two classic recipes," she says.
"My pecan pie contains no corn oil, which is just processed junk. I'm sorry to use those words, but it just is. It's not even food. Instead, I'm using natural coconut sugar or pure maple syrup, or you can even use raw honey.
"And instead of conventional butter or margarine, I'm using ghee or coconut oil. Ghee is clarified butter that has been simmered down and the fat [or milk solids] has been removed from the protein."
She says it is a healthier alternative for people with gluten issues.
"The crust also will be gluten-free, and we will use pink salt instead of table salt. It's going to be delicious and easy to make."
As a teenager in her native Spain, Bou found herself dealing with some health issues. Fortunately for her, she says, her neighbors happened to be pioneers in the fields of vegetarianism and microbiotics.
"I suffer from psoriasis and anxiety, and I talked to them and noticed how happy and healthy they were. I realized that there was a big connection to the food I was eating and how I felt. That was a big aha moment."
Always passionate about food and eating, she redirected that passion toward healthy eating. As she began to have children, the passion grew and she turned her efforts into sharing what she was learning with others via social media and her website.
A friend in Spain helps with the technical aspects, but she does the content and social media.
Marvelous Healthy Pecan Pie
Yield: About 8 servings.
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
1 gluten-free pie crust (store-bought or homemade)
2 cup halved pecans
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 melted ghee butter or coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon to 3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar ( in place of bourbon)
2 tablespoons almond flour (to thicken a bit)
3 large farm eggs
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie dish if you are using a store-bought crust, and place it in the dish. Or get your homemade baked pie crust ready.
Toast the pecans at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, while you work on the filling.
In a bowl, whisk the coconut sugar, syrup, melted ghee, vanilla, salt, apple cider vinegar and almond flour. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and then add them to the syrup bowl. Whisk well again.
Once the pecans are done toasting, let them cool a bit first, then chop 1 cup of the pecans in small pieces using a knife and add them to the mix, stirring well. Reserve the other cup for topping the pie.
Add the mix to the pie crust, and decorate the pie with the leftover pecans. Bake the pie for 40 minutes until the middle is not jiggly anymore and firm.
Note: If using a homemade crust, you want to protect the crust from overbaking, so cut some aluminum foil in a circular shape and cover the crust for the whole duration.
Let the pie firm before slicing.
Gluten-Free Pie Crust
Maite Bou provides this recipe for a pie crust made with almond flour for cooks who "want the adventure of making your own from scratch."
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1 tablespoons coconut sugar (less if you like it more savory)
1/4 cup melted ghee or coconut oil
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round pie pan with parchment paper, or grease well.
In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, coconut sugar and salt. Stir in the melted ghee or coconut oil, vanilla and egg until well combined.
At this point the "dough" will be dry and crumbly. Just keep mixing, pressing and stirring, until it's uniform and there is no almond flour powder left (alternatively, you can use a food processor to mix it all together).
Press the dough into the bottom of the greased pan. You can flute the edges of desired; if it crumbles when doing this, just press it back together. Carefully poke holes in the surface, using a fork, to prevent bubbling.
Bake for 10 minutes until lightly golden. Let it cool before you put the filling on it. Add fillings only after prebaking.
Cauliflower Non-Mashed Potatoes
Yield: About 6 servings.
Total time: 30 minutes
2 large cauliflower heads, stems cut short
1/2 cup chopped and peeled garlic cloves
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
Chop the cauliflower heads, and cut the stem short. Add the cauliflower to a steaming basket inside a pot with a bit of water, and steam for 15 minutes, until fork tender.
In the meantime, sauté the chopped garlic cloves in a pan at medium-low heat until golden. Once the cauliflower is done, let it cool for a bit, and press some of the water off using your hands.
To a food processor, add the cauliflower, sautéed garlic, olive oil, salt and black pepper, and process until your desired consistency. Sprinkle with chopped chives to serve.
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.