“Tis the Season

In case anyone needs reminding, this Thursday is American Thanksgiving and despite all the gluttony that is associated with the holiday there are many traditional dishes that have great nutritional value. Fortunately for Americans in Shanghai the humble trio of sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash (yes Americans do make a distinction) are in season and locally available.

This family of bright orange vegetables have a lot to offer nutritionally , especially when you talk about anti-oxidants. All of these veggies have loads of vitamin A, a potent anti-oxidant that is important for healthy mucous membranes including our lungs.  This type of nutritional protection is becoming more and more important to those of us living and breathing  here in Shanghai. Along with the anti-oxidants, pumpkin,squash and sweet potatoes are great sources of folate, a vitamin that protects against birth defects and is considered  vital for all women of child-bearing age. Last but not least is the abundance of fiber that is found in this super nutrition triumvirate.  Both insoluble ( think “nature’s broom”) and soluble fiber, essential to cardiac health, are freely available in these holiday favorites.

Speaking of dishes… I came across two recipes this week featuring these very vegetables that are perfect for any Thanksgiving meal.

The first , courtesy of our friends at Sprout Lifesyle  is Superfood Butternut Squash Mash

Step 1: Roast 8 lbs butternut squash, halved and seeded and drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Place the cut squash side down on rimmed baking sheets. Bake at  400F for 45 min. or until fork tender.                                                                                                                                                 Step 2: Take a large pot and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Then add 2 cloves garlic, minced  and 1 medium onion , finely chopped. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until onion is soft, about 5-7 min.                                                                                                                                                                     Step 3: Add  1 teaspoon each of the following spices: cumin, turmeric, ground ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon  and 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper.  Cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.                                                                                                                                                                        Step 4: Using a large spoon  scrape the squash flesh ( separate from skin)  into the pot and add 1/4 cup of water.  Cook over moderately high heat, stirring and mashing the squash until well blended and heated through. Season with salt and pepper.  I also added some palm sugar at this point.       Step 5: Transfer, garnish with bright green sprouts and enjoy.

The second recipe, Pumpkin Goulash can be found on the Body & Soul Wellness Clinic website, under Healthy Living (www.tcm-shanghai.com)

Don’t feel like cooking or you don’t have all the ingredients listed, no worries. Grab a couple of sweet potatoes, wash and split in half, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and pop into the oven for 30-40 min. Voila! A tasty Thanksgiving treat.

Eat Well, Live Well, Give thanks this week for all the blessings in your life…including good food.