Healthy Recipes for Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away, and now is the perfect time to start planning your menu.

A few of our favorite Thanksgiving menu items include turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Delish!

Chances are these items are probably already on your dinner menu.

But Thanksgiving is all about food. The more, the better! Se we thought we’d share a few of our other favorite healthy recipes for side dishes with you this year.

Check out our suggestions for new and healthy Thanksgiving side dish recipes you can bring to the table this year.

Lemon-Dill Green Beans Recipe

It’s not uncommon to see a dish of green beans at Thanksgiving. But you might want to try jazzing up your green beans this year with this lemon-dill recipe.

This side dish tastes fresh, provides everyone with a serving of vegetables, and, most important, is easy to make. Check it out.


  • 1 tbs. lemon juice (from a fresh lemon)
  • 1 tsp. whole-grain mustard
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ pepper
  • 1 lb. green beans
  • 4 tsp. chopped dill
  • 1 tbs. minced shallot
  • 1 tbs. olive oil


#1 Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add green beans, cover and cook until tender-crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.

#2 Meanwhile, whisk dill, shallot, oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the green beans and toss to coat. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving to blend flavors.

Recipe Source:

Barley & Wild Rice Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds Recipe

Mix it up this year by bringing a rice dish to the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Barley is a whole grain that is an important source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and, which are not found in refined or “enriched” grains. And the pomegranate seeds in this dish are a superfood that adds a great source of antioxidants in this dish.


  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds, (1 large fruit)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


#1 Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened. Add wild rice and barley; stir for a few seconds. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the wild rice and barley are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 45 to 50 minutes.

#2 Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until light golden and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.

#3 Add pomegranate seeds, lemon zest, parsley and the toasted pine nuts to the pilaf; fluff with a fork. Serve hot.

Recipe Source:

Massaged Kale Salad Recipe

With a lot of heavy, carb-loaded foods around the table, it’s sometimes refreshing to enjoy a fresh salad.

The main ingredient in this salad is kale. Kale is high in iron, loaded with antioxidants, and a natural anti-inflammatory.

Add a little cheese and some dressing, and this side dish is sure to be a hit.


  • 2 bunches kale
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 minced anchovy fillet or 1/2 tsp. anchovy paste (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


#1 Strip kale leaves from the stems and then wash and dry the leaves.

#2 Tear the leaves into small pieces and place in a large bowl.

#3 Add Parmesan, oil, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce, anchovy (if using), pepper and salt. With clean hands, firmly massage and crush the greens to work in the flavoring. Stop when the volume of greens is reduced by about half. The greens should look a little darker and somewhat shiny.

#4 Taste and adjust seasoning with more Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce and/or pepper, if desired.

Recipe Source:

Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts Recipe

 Skip bringing the cold veggie tray this year and try your hand at making some delicious ban seared Brussel sprouts instead. This fantastic recipe comes from our friends at Positive Health Wellness.

This veggie is packed with numerous nutrients including vitamin B6, dietary fiber, vitamin B1, potassium, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids.

And the best part is that you don’t have to be a professional chef to make them. Give this quick, easy, and savory recipe a try.


  • ½ pound of Brussels sprouts halved with stems removed.
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced.
  • 1 ½ tbs. grass-fed butter (or sub vegan butter)
  • 1 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil


#1 Melt 1 tablespoon of butter along with the oil in a skillet over medium heat.

#2 Cook and stir garlic until fragrant. Transfer garlic to a small bowl.

#3 Reduce heat to low and place the sprouts on the skillet, cut sides down. Sprinkle salt to taste.

#4 Cook sprouts without turning for about 15 minutes or until they’re slightly browned. Once cooked, transfer to a plate with brown sides up.

#5 Add garlic and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the skillet and cook over medium heat, about 1 minute.

#6 Drizzle the mixture over your sprouts and sprinkle with ground black pepper to taste.

Recipe Source:

Do you have a favorite side dish recipe? Share it with us below!

Berries! A Nutritional Quick Guide and Recipes

Strawberries have vitamin CBerries pack a powerful punch nutritionally, and they’re delicious and easy to build recipes around. They’re low in calories and full of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. For example, one cup of strawberries contains as much vitamin C as a glass of orange juice, potassium, and magnesium. Blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries may help reduce risk of cancer.

For best results, purchase berries from farmers markets or pick your own. If that’s not possible, buy berries in season at the grocery store, or try frozen berries. The advantage to frozen berries is that you can buy them in large quantities and not have to worry about spoilage.

The most common way to eat berries is straight from the bag. Other ways to enjoy berries include:

  • Mixing them in with cottage cheese, ice cream, cream cheese, or Greek yogurt for a delicious treat.
  • Combining with protein powder, other fruit, water, and ice to make a healthy smoothie.
  • Sprinkling them on salad, oatmeal, or cereal.

Berries make a flavorful, sweet addition to any recipe. Here are a few we know you’ll enjoy:

Strawberry Basil Salsa

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch Ground black pepper

2 tablespoons minced shallot

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

1 package (16 ounces) Driscoll’s Strawberries

Whisk together lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

Stir in shallot and basil.

Hull strawberries and chop (you should have about 3 cups.)

Add to lemon juice mixture and stir until evenly blended.

Healthy Blueberry Bran Muffin

1 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cups packed brown sugar

1/3 cups flaxseed meal

1/3 cups raw wheat or oat bran

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoons salt

1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

1/4 cups orange juice or water

2 large eggs

1 package (6 ounces or 1 1/3 cups) Driscoll’s Blueberries

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Line 12 muffin cups with papers or coat with cooking spray.

Combine flours, sugar, flaxseed, wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; stir well.

Stir together yogurt, oil, eggs, and juice in a small bowl.

Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture; stir just until blended.

Fold in blueberries just until batter is completely moistened.

Divide batter between prepared muffin cups.

Remove muffins from pan and cool on wire rack.

Bake 18 minutes or until golden brown and pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Mascarpone Dip with Basil Blackberries

1/3 cups balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon light brown sugar

1 package (6 ounces or 1 1/2 cups) Driscoll’s Blackberries

2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil leaves

1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Large pinch of fleur de sel or other flaky salt

1 container (8 to 8.8 ounces) mascarpone cheese

Crackers, for serving

Bring vinegar and brown sugar to a boil in a nonreactive small saucepan over high heat. Boil until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Pour into a medium bowl. Let cool.

Gently stir in blackberries, basil, pepper, and salt.

Fill a bowl with hot water. Dip bottom of the mascarpone container in water for about 5 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, unmold mascarpone onto a serving platter.

Spoon blackberry mixture over mascarpone, being sure to scrape all juices out of the bowl, and letting berries fall randomly.

Serve with crackers.


Java, Java: The 5 Unexpected Health Benefits of Coffee

For years, we’ve heard physicians warn about the negative health effects of drinking coffee—making every morning cup of joe feel a little like an act of defiance.

You may have heard that coffee will raise your blood pressure, lead to heart disease, give you an ulcer, or make you diabetic. But as more research about coffee surfaces, the more it seems coffee might not be bad for you at all.

In fact, drinking coffee may indeed have some health benefits. So pour yourself a little java and enjoy—this latest research gives you the go-ahead:

Increase Your Life Span. Drink up—researchers from the National Institutes of Health conducted a study that found people who drank three or more cups of coffee a day had a 10 percent chance of living longer than their coffee-abstaining peers. From 1995 to 2008, researchers monitored 400,000 people from ages 50 to 71 years old. At the beginning of the trial, all participants were relatively healthy, with none reporting a history of heart disease, stroke, or cancer. Of that number, 50,000 passed away during the course of the trial—and those who drank coffee had a 10 percent longer life span. Researchers deduced coffee must have protected against various forms of death with the exception of cancer.

Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Rejoice! The University of South Florida found that of the coffee drinkers followed over the course of four years, not one developed Alzheimer’s disease. The participants in the study were all over 65 years old and were already suffering from slight memory impairment. For those studied who did develop dementia, their blood caffeine levels were 51 percent lower than those whose cognitive impairment remained level.

Decrease the Likelihood of Skin Cancer. Harvard professor Jiali Han conducted a study with her colleagues that found that coffee decreases the risk of developing the most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma. In fact, the more cups of coffee that you drink, the greater the benefit seemed to be. Han plans to further study whether or not the link is correlative or causative.

Safeguard Against Heart Failure.Elizabeth Mostofskyfrom Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center and her colleagues found that coffee is good for your heart—until the second American-sized mug. Before that point, however, coffee drinkers had an 11 percent decreased risk of suffering from heart failure.

Lower the Risk of Stroke. Investigators at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute and Harvard University found that drinking coffee—even decaffeinated coffee—can decrease the risk of strokes, because coffee is filled with beneficial antioxidants. When compared against soda, which elevated the risk of strokes, coffee was associated with a 10 percent decrease in stroke risk.

Celebrate the health benefits of coffee by telling us about the best cup of coffee you’ve had!

Top Foods to Help Fight Cancer

cancer fighting foodsHippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.” As Charleston breast surgeons,  we know that eating the right foods is a powerful weapon in your cancer-fighting and cancer-preventing arsenal. Here are four groups of foods you should include in your diet daily.


Berries of all types not only nourish your body, but also help cancer treatments work. They contain ellagic acid, a substance that helps your body fight cancer. They also help to inhibit cancer growth. Eat a variety of berries to get the full range of nutrients, including cherries, cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.

Yellow, red, and orange fruits and vegetables

This food group, the carotenoids, gives your body powerful compounds such as lutein and lycopene to help your body attack cancer cells. These foods come in a variety of colors, which means they contain a wide range of nutrients.

Green tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants and reduces cancer cell growth and spread. Like berries, it acts as a helper for cancer treatment, specifically radiation.


Flaxseed is rich in magnesium, copper, thiamine, fiber, alpha-linolenic acid, and tocopherols. It helps your blood carry oxygen throughout the body. Oxygen is a natural enemy of cancer. For more info the benefits of flaxseed, check out this article or check out this video below.

Sprouts and dark leafy greens

These delicious salad fixings boost your immune system and give you antioxidants to fight cancer. Chlorophyll helps your body stay healthy, and these foods are full of enzymes that contribute to detoxification.

Cruciferous vegetables

Years ago, the comedian George Carlin had a joke about broccoli and cauliflower killing cancer. It turns out he was correct: cruciferous vegetables, which also include cabbage, Brussels sprouts, chard, and collard greens, help fight cancer. Their potent anticancer nutrients not only aid the body in killing existing cancer, but they also stop precancerous cells from progressing.


Strong-flavored herbs such as turmeric, mint, ginger, rosemary, and oregano flood your body with anti-inflammatory compounds that inhibit cancer growth. They also increase the effectiveness of cancer treatment and block the spread of cancer.

To receive the full effect of these foods, eat them regularly in generous amounts. The more you eat, the more effective your fight against cancer will be. Eat organic foods as much as possible, and drink plenty of filtered water.


Can Green Tea Really Help Fight Cancer and Help Your Heart?

green teaFor years, green tea was believed to help keep your heart healthy and fight cancer, among other health benefits, and we’re learning more about it every year.

Catechins are the antioxidants in green tea, and they act as scavengers in your system, gobbling up free radicals that can contribute to disease. These antioxidants are abundant in green tea because it doesn’t go through the processing that other teas do. One particular catechin, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG, was found to shrink tumors in mice in one Canadian study. Other lab studies have shown it stops cancer growth, but human trials have not proven it yet.

According to Marji McCullough of the American Cancer Society, the challenge of green tea human studies is finding populations that drink enough green tea for an adequate length of time. A few human studies have shown green tea to be effective, but most were conducted in Asia and the East, where green tea is widely used. Also, the typical Asian diet is higher in fish and soy than the standard American diet, which may influence results.

One study in Japan showed that women with Stage I and Stage II breast cancer had a lower recurrence if they drank more green tea before and after surgery. A second study in China showed that increased green tea consumption led to lower risk of several cancers including colorectal, stomach, prostate, and pancreatic. An analysis of 22 studies found that green tea could reduce risk of lung cancer.

In the case of heart disease, Japanese researchers found that four cups of green tea a day might have contributed to a reduced severity of heart disease among men in one study. A Dutch study of over 3,000 women and men found that those who drank more tea had less severe blood vessel clogging, perhaps because green tea’s antioxidants improve the flexibility of blood vessels. In addition, green tea has been found to help obesity and reduce LDL cholesterol levels, which also improve heart health.

Although the studies aren’t yet there to prove green tea’s benefits, researchers believe that the antioxidant load from green tea is beneficial. For more on green tea, click here.

What are your thoughts on the benefits of green tea?

5 Tips for Improving Skin’s Appearance and Health

skincare tipsHealthy, beautiful skin is within reach of anyone, no matter the age. A few simple tips will help your skin heal itself and glow.

Reduce sun exposure.

While a certain amount of sun exposure is a vital source of vitamin D, spending too much time in the sun can prematurely age your skin. Don’t be afraid to spend 10–15 minutes in the sun without sunblock a couple of times a week. The more skin you can expose, the less time you need to spend in the sun. Be sure to use sunscreen, cover-ups, and hats if you’re out longer.

Increase antioxidants.

While antioxidants are added to some skin products, you also want to get them from your diet. Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits of all colors gives you a full range of antioxidants, which strengthen collagen and restore elasticity to skin. Other sources of dietary antioxidants include green tea, wine, coffee, dark chocolate, and grapeseed oil.

Eat more essential fatty acids.

If you’re getting the good fats you need every day, your skin will glow and your hair will shine. The best way to get these fatty acids is to eat real food, such as avocados, fish, and nuts. Some women keep their skin supple and moist by applying coconut oil or olive oil directly to the skin. Beware: a little bit goes a long way!

Read labels and reduce the number of products you use.

Beauty products are full of chemicals, petroleum, and preservatives. Many women are switching to gentler, more natural beauty products, such as goats’ milk soap. Read your labels, and consider switching to products with fewer ingredients.

Many of us are using the same products we used when we were young adults, and we may not need them anymore. For example, toner formulated for younger skin can be drying, while cleansers may be harsh. Don’t kill your skin—cleanse it gently and rethink the products you use, including all of your makeup. Do you really need them? Could you use a moisturizing cleanser and skip a separate moisturizer?

Try mineral makeup.

In addition to using the same skin care products we used 20+ years ago, we also tend to use the same type of makeup we did as youngsters. Mineral makeup covers as well as any other foundation—even if you have acne or rosacea—and it’s better for your skin because it’s not made from petroleum and doesn’t clog your pores. Mineral makeup has fewer chemicals, is easy to use, and makes your skin glow. It’s you, just better.

When buying mineral makeup, beware of the ingredient bismuth oxychloride, as it can cause irritation or itching.

What do you do to keep your skin healthy and beautiful?