The end of the year is always full of excitement, filled with friends, family, holiday parties, time off from work, gym amnesia, lots of sweet treats, rich holiday meals, and booze. Lots of booze. Staying away from fun isn’t realistic or enjoyable. Rabbits are awesome, but eating like one during the end of the year festivities gets old quick (so see my vegan mac and cheese recipe down below).
- 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup carrot, chopped
- 1/4 onion, diced (1/2 cup)
- 1 tablespoon peeled and diced turmeric (or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups water, plus another 1/2 cup, divided
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 10 minutes
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Whole wheat, brown rice, or quinoa pasta
- In a medium sized pot add the potato, carrot, onion, turmeric and garlic with 2 cups of water. Simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.
- After 20 minutes, add the veggies (along with the remaining liquid in the pan) to your blender.
- Drain the cashews and add them to the blender along with the nutritional yeast, sea salt and the additional 1/2 cup of water.
- Blend until the sauce is creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Place a towel over the blender lid, so no hot splats of sauce escape.
- Cook as much pasta as you want according to the directions on the package and then strain and rinse with cold water to stop it from cooking. Return to the pan.
- Turn heat to very low and generously pour the cheese sauce over the pasta.
- Add black pepper and salt to taste.
- If you have leftover cheese sauce, pop it in the fridge—it should be good for 7 days!
Here are 3 easy ways to create balance in your life during whatever holiday situations you find yourself in.
Pick one super healthy thing to incorporate into your daily routine and stick with it for the rest of the year. This way, even if your day consists of mimosas, vegan donuts, mashed potatoes and gravy, and nutty cheese dip, you’ll have a boost of nutrients in your body, going to work for you. Plus, choosing one healthy thing to add to your routine is much more realistic and less daunting than going for perfection. Here are a few ideas:
- Drink one green smoothie or green juice a day.
- Eat one raw green salad a day.
- Incorporate a small bowl of steel cut oats topped with lots of fruit and non-dairy milk into your breakfast routine.
- Drink a glass of warm lemon water each morning.
Whatever you choose, be sure to stick with it and make it non-negotiable for the rest of the year.
Make plenty of yummy veggie-filled side dishes for your get-togethers, even if those get-togethers are boozy. Tofurkey, stuffing, gravy, pie, vegan sausage, cookies, and warm fluffy rolls with melted Earth Balance is part of the deal this time of year—no doubt. Making sure there are plenty of side dishes that focus on veggies is the perfect way to balance it all out.
Here are some ideas:
- Balsamic Green Beans with Mushrooms
- Brussels and Kale salad
- Mac and cheese (oh yeah baby, there’s a way to make this veggie-focused. See recipe below.)
- Roasted Root Veggies
- Butternut Squash Bisque
Your beautiful bod will thank you for rounding out your holiday spread with lots of veggies, and you will feel the benefits throughout the rest of the year.
Have a post-holiday / New Year’s plan all set up for when the party comes to an end.
Have your gym membership set up, find a walking buddy, find a good food reset plan to clean out the holiday cheer (I have one starting January 9th that’s perfect for this), get your juicer ready, and take steps to set up your new year game plan.
Having a plan in place to reset your body and bring it back into balance after the new year will allow you to fully enjoy the end of the year hoopla. And enjoying the fun is what it’s all about! If you make a plan now, you won’t have to think about it later. You can sit back, relax, and enjoy every ounce of holiday cheer, knowing that help is ready for you when it’s all over.
Here’s one of the best vegan mac and cheese recipes you will ever make. It’s the perfect balance between naughty and nice. This falls under the category of a veggie-heavy side dish—so whip it up and feel good about nomming on it!
Photos, article and recipe by Molly Patrick, co-founder of Clean Food Dirty Girl.