Joy Makes Veggie Twice Baked Potatoes

Serve immediately and enjoy! Along with Caesar Salad, this is another dish that we ALWAYS have on Christmas Eve. Potatoes and broccoli have so many health benefits that I always feel good about this dish. Keep in mind, however, that as you add the faux cheese, faux sour cream and Earth Balance, you are adding fat calories…. still better for you than the dairy alternatives but fat, nonetheless.

Joy Creates Hotel Cuisine

The holidays! Such a fun time to travel for family get-togethers! It can also be a horrible time for weight gain, lethargy and illness. Much of this has to do with getting out of our normal routine, not exercising like we normally do, more meals than we normally eat, fewer healthful choices that we would normally make.

In addition to the recipes in this little book, I also suggest that you go into each holiday phase with your own “survival kit” of better food choices so that when you go to a holiday function, you’re not starving AND you’ve gotten some good stuff in your body and have set yourself up for better choices.

I call this section “hotel cuisine” but even if you’re not staying at a hotel, consider stocking your kitchen (or the kitchen where you will be staying) with some quick things to grab. If you ARE in a hotel, I always ask for a fridge to be put in my room and sometimes, as in the video that accompanies this, I have to get creative and use the mini-bar or even an ice bucket! Planning ahead makes it work.

If you’re able to get to a grocery store once at your destination, this can be easier but I’ve made do with what I can get in my bag, as well!


Raw almonds & Cashews mixed with dried cranberries. (Any mixture of nuts and dried fruit will do. I suggest making your own to ensure quality and absence of those chocolate pieces lots of “trail mix” has in them,) remember that if you are watching your weight, a handful or 2 of this is plenty.

Your favorite snack bars (ask me if you want to know what I use!)

Fresh Fruit. If you’re bringing from home, I suggest “sturdy” choices: apples, even grapes and berries in containers. Avoid things like pears and bananas as they can get “smushed” and all over everything. If I bring berries, I like to take them along when having breakfast out to add flavor and nutrition to the meal. I like to do this with avocados at any meal!

Baby carrots, cut up celery, red peppers, cucumbers, etc.

Hummus and/or nut butter. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to take these through security so either check in a bag (well sealed) or buy at your destination.

Gluten free crackers or baked chips (lentil, corn, etc.)

I’ve even brought left-over healthy dishes with me!

My number one tip and strategy, however, is to start each day with a whole food shake. Not just a protein shake but one that is dairy free, high in fiber and contains really quality ingredients. I usually just bring a shaker and use water or I pack a tetra pack of plant milk, if I’m checking a bag or buy a container of it at my destination. I also know that you can freeze any of these liquids and they will pass through security as long as it is still frozen. (U.S. rules…did not work last time I went to Canada!) I have gone so far as to pack my nutri-bullet when I want to entice my husband to join me in this healthy way to start the day!
(Ask me, if you want to know what smoothie mix I like best!)


Joy Makes The Ultimate Vegan Nog

*adapted from…really stolen from: The Artful Vegan: Fresh Flavors from the Millennium Restaurant one of our favorite restaurants AND cookbooks…you should get it!

When I was learning about vegetarian eating, back in college, The Vegetarian Epicure was one of my favorite cookbooks and I used many of their holiday recipes including one for FABULOUS eggnog. Alas, it relies on eggs and heavy cream for it’s brilliant flavor and that just can’t make the cut on “Cook With Joy”.

Several years ago, after doing a cooking demo for over 100 people, complete with samples for all, the organizers gave me the Artful Vegan cookbook and I have loved, loved, and loved trying the recipes. Some are pretty involved but others, like this one, are fairly straightforward. I share it with you today!

Just like the Lemon Drops, eggnog is not a “health food” BUT, this recipe does replace the higher fat, dairy-based options out there and can help you stay more aware of what you’re up to, with regard to eating a more plant-based diet.


Joy Makes Veggie Broth


Vegetable broth serves as a base for many soups, stews, casseroles, etc. but it can also stand alone as a beverage. I’ve substituted it for coffee.

People are largely ignorant about vegetable broth health benefits. Some of the pronounced vegetable broth health benefits include:

Low in Calories: Veggies, by their very nature, are low in calories. Not adding any oil, assures this low-calorie property. Stress Busters:. The vitamin C content of vegetables is known to work effectively in curbing the activities of stress producing molecules. Vitamin C and other important antioxidants halts the flow of free radicals through the body. The high vitamin content of vegetables also protects the body from oxidative stress.

Weight Management: The vegetable broth aids in weight management by serving low calories with high nutrient content. When used as a base in the preparation of soups, stews, etc., it can actually boost the dish’s nutritive and flavor value, while not adding extra calories. Having broth as a snack between meals can help to curb the appetite without consuming extra calories.

Added Benefits: Many health professionals feel that all broths can enhance gut health. With anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties, the quercetin content of onions makes it an important ingredient in this stock as it decreases intestinal permeability through a ‘sealing’ effect. Garlic is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial across body systems and has anti-candida and anti-cancer properties. By using mushrooms in your stock you get a wonderful dose of intestinal membrane-healing zinc; they also contain immune-boosting polysaccharides. All three vegetables are also naturally rich in prebiotics that promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

Sausage and Kale Stuffing


First, read the info on benefits of avoiding gluten in my episode with Gluten Free Bagels and Faux Lox. Second, watch “Forks Over Knives” for reasons to avoid animal products and a good movie to watch with family for the holidays. Next, understand that kale is one of THE MOST nutritious foods on the planet; we should all strive to get some kale in our diet every day! Anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories, anti-cancer, detoxification…. need we say more? Eat More Kale!! Here’s an easy way!

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte


This recipe was in the same magazine as the vegan pumpkin risotto recipe; what a contrast! The original recipe called for heavy cream so I just substituted almond milk creamer and coconut whip and it was delicious. What a great way to wake up on a holiday morning and its easy to make for a crowd by just multiplying the ingredients. I’m not going to pretend that this is a “health” drink but substituting the dairy products for plant based alternatives make it a healthier choice and the addition of pumpkin, cloves and cinnamon add nutritional benefits. Spices are often overlooked as the nutrient powerhouses they are.

Let’s talk about cloves.

Clove contains significant amounts of an active component called eugenol, which has made it the subject of numerous health studies, including studies on the prevention of toxicity from environmental pollutants like carbon tetrachloride, digestive tract cancers, and joint inflammation. Eugenol functions as an anti-inflammatory substance. In animal studies, the addition of clove extract to diets already high in anti-inflammatory components (like cod liver oil, with its high omega-3 fatty acid content) brings significant added benefits, and in some studies, further reduces inflammatory symptoms by another 15-30%. Clove also contains a variety of flavonoids, including kaempferol and rhamnetin, which also contribute to clove's anti-inflammatory (and antioxidant) properties.

In animal studies, the addition of clove extract to diets already high in anti-inflammatory components (like cod liver oil, with its high omega-3 fatty acid content) brings significant added benefits, and in some studies, further reduces inflammatory symptoms by another 15-30%. Clove also contains a variety of flavonoids, including kaempferol and rhamnetin, which also contribute to clove's anti-inflammatory (and antioxidant) properties.

Like its fellow spices, clove's unique phytonutrient components are accompanied by an incredible variety of traditionally recognized nutrients. Cloves are an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of vitamin K and dietary fiber, and a good source of iron, magnesium, and calcium.

Vegan Pumpkin Risotto with Sage

This delicious recipe was adapted from a recipe from Chloe Coscarelli.

A Little about this Dish!

Okay, first of all…this is a fabulous fall dish! Now that I’ve made it, I’m going to have it as the first course of our Thanksgiving dinner. It’s really simple and the taste PLUS health benefits are fantastic!

People are a little confused about Risotto. Many confuse Arborio rice with Orzo…shaped similarly but Orzo is a wheat product and Arborio rice is a type of rice whose nature makes it super absorbent without it becoming soggy so makes it really easy to imbue with intense flavors. The other thing about risotto is that most recipes call for cream, butter and cheese…not the healthiest nor weight friendly way to make it but THIS recipe is completely vegan and the addition of pumpkin, sage, garlic and onion, really pack a super nutritional “punch”!

Arborio rice is high in protein, good carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Of course brown rice has a better nutritional profile but as an Italian choice, it sure beats pasta.

Pumpkin is super high in beta-carotene (the highest of any vegetable), which converts to vitamin A…great for eyesight & cardiovascular protection, potassium: fantastic for recovery from exercise (higher than bananas!) and vitamin K, a cancer fighter. Sage has been found to have flavonoids and polyphenols beneficial to brain health as well as anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Top this off with the anti-viral, anti-bacteria, anti-cancer properties of onion and garlic and we’ve got a winner! (a little side note about onions: the outer layers are highest in the anti-oxidant quercetin, so be careful not to “over-peel”)