Nicki Anderson
Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Category

Thanksgiving- Lost in Translation

By Nicki On November 25, 2013 2 Comments



One of the reasons I love Thanksgiving is that it’s not about the gifts, it’s about family. Coming together, sharing a meal, sharing stories and realizing what really matters. However, thanks to this crazy world of consumerism, we can’t even forget about the world around us for one day because stores have decided to open. I don’t know about you, but I really hate the idea.

If you look at the evolution of Christmas, this once very sacred holiday has become more about everything other than the historical meaning. People have become obsessed with shopping and getting the perfect gift.  Money, greed and stress have replaced, peace on earth.  Kind of crummy.

I know there are some people that cherish Black Friday as  a family tradition. They wake up at the crack of dawn and begin their shopping marathon. Given that it’s AFTER Thanksgiving I figure to each his own.  But now it seems no holiday is immune to the marketing  ploys of big business. The one day a year when people come together, the good, bad and the ugly of holidays feasts and it’s now compromised because the world of retail has come up with one more tactic to part you with your money and your family.

Personally, I will not even think about going out shopping on Thanksgiving, it’s the one day out of the entire year where we sit down as a family, with no agenda, no place to be, no rushing off to work and we can just be a family. No cares, no worries. I always considered Thanksgiving the calm before the storm. The big exhale of the holiday season. thanksgiving-pledge

I don’t know about you, but I plan to stay toasty and warm without any plans  other than being with my family. I owe it to them and to the holiday. It’s is a time to be THANKFUL. The idea of putting shopping before family just doesn’t sit well with me.  As much as people have complained about losing Christmas or Chanukah to the world of retail, that loss now includes Thanksgiving, the one holiday I thought was immune. Sadly, I was wrong.

What will you be doing on Thanksgiving?


Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.



Butternut Squash w/ Wild Rice Porcini Mushroom Risotto

By Nicki On November 15, 2012 No Comments

My new favorite recipe!

I don’t post recipes very often, but I feel obligated to share something that is not only healthy but full of flavor. You can add in chopped kale, spinach for a little extra nutritional kick. This is a great vegetarian meal, but for meat eaters, just grill up some marinated chicken tenderloins and place them on top with an extra sprinkling of parsley. Delicious!




2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms

2 c water

2 c cubed butternut squash

1 TBSP olive oil

½ TBSP maple syrup

3 c vegetable stock

1 ½ TBSP butter (olive oil can replace)

½ c. large red onion, finely chopped

1 TBSP shallot, finely chopped

1 tsp (or more if you like) fresh minced garlic

½ c wild rice

1 c Arborio rice

½ c white wine

½ container (3 oz) goat cheese – optional

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley



Combine the mushrooms and warmed water in a bowl making sure shrooms are covered with water. Soak for about 30 min. or until tender. Drain and reserve liquid for later use.

Preheat over to 375 (190 C)

Toss the butternut squash cubes, olive oil, maple syrup together in a bowl until squash is evenly coated. Spread on to baking sheet (I use parchment paper)

Roast squash until squash is tender but still in it’s cubed state, about 30 minutes.

Bring veg stock and mushroom liquid to a simmer in a saucepan over med/low heat.

Melt butter or oo in a large skillet over med heat, when butter begins to bubble stir in onion, shallots and garlic until soft and golden about 5-7 minutes.  Stir in the wild rice and Arborio rice and mix well with onion mixture. Then add white wine and mushrooms (which I chopped up) to mixture and stir occasionally until liquid has been absorbed, about 7-10 minutes.

Pour enough of simmering stock mixture into the skillet to cover rice. Slowly stir until absorbed. Continue adding about ¾ of a cup until the rice is tender. It will take about 40 minutes, especially w/ wild rice.

When all liquid has been absorbed, carefully stir in squash and heat up for about 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add in cheese (optional) and parsley until risotto is nice and creamy. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and serve!

Don’t Get Overstuffed on Turkey Day!

By Nicki On November 21, 2011 No Comments

The season is upon us, the season of overindulgence despite our best efforts. Over the years, I have helped clients avoid the pain of the Thanksgiving “hangover” by providing some basic tips. Following are some of my tips.


1. Relax. All too often people will approach a meal-focused celebration by promising not to over-eat. Trust me, that is the first step to overeating. Go to your celebration with the intention of enjoying the food and steer clear of the all to common “Thanksgiving bloat”. If you tell yourself you will completely shun the once-a-year treats, you’ll likely overeat. Begin the festivities by having a large glass of water and enjoy. Before you sit down to dinner, have a full glass of water. Before dessert, have a large glass of water. You’ll stay hydrated (there’s a lot of sodium in holiday food) as well as limit the likelihood of overeating.


2. Keep in mind the reason for the holiday. I’m not sure how Thanksgiving turned in to a gorge-fest, but it has. The purpose of Thanksgiving as I understand it, is to reflect on all of the blessings we’ve been given throughout the year and focus on that. Instead, we tend to focus more on eating all we can in the shortest amount of time! Thanksgiving has become an eating event vs. a celebration of the true meaning of the holiday. This year, focus more on the holiday and less on the food.


3. Savor the food. I’ve been at Thanksgiving dinners where it’s almost like someone has waved a checkered flag, and everyone just starts shoving food in to their mouths. Stop, look at the variety and color and abundance of food. Take in the moment. Be thoughtful about what you’re putting on your plate, it took someone a long time to make it. With each bite, savor the taste, chew it thoroughly and WAIT until you’ve swallowed the food in your mouth before you start putting more food in. Simply put, slow down there Mario Andretti!


4. Eat a good breakfast and/or lunch. Many folks will skip breakfast and lunch in order to “save room” for Thanksgiving. Not only does skipping meals stifle your metabolism, it also creates excessive eating. You’ll likely eat twice as much by skipping meals, feel lousy and wish you hadn’t done that. Eat normally (healthy, maybe more veggies) before your Thanksgiving feast to avoid unnecessary overeating.


#5. Go for a walk.  Almost every year, I run the Turkey Trot here in Naperville. It is a wonderful way to kick off my Thanksgiving. I start off with the run, thankful for the ability to do so. I’m thankful for my community and all the wonderful things they do to raise money for such great causes, and I’m energized for the day. Getting in a walk, run or any activity gets your priorities right for the day, including what you eat!


Enjoy the holidays with your families and loved ones. And aside from being thankful for family, friends, jobs, food on the table, housing, etc., don’t forget to remember the blessings of good health. Take care of your body and it will take care of you!

Happy Thanksgiving!