Joyful and Yummy Holidays

Angela Braden has researched and reported on wellness and lifestyle for a decade. She has been published hundreds of times in national and international magazines. Angela serves as a speaker for Alive! Expo (health convention) and as the Editor and Founder of web magazine, where you’ll find more indulgent health tips and articles updated monthly.

What’s a holiday party without the sumptuous savories? Thankfully, by making over your grocery list with whole, fresh foods, you don’t have to sacrifice your heath to eat with your party hat on this season. Get ready for decadent noshing, Angelically!

This Tuscan-inspired spread packs an angelic dose of one of the healthiest foods on earth—olive oil. The hearty beans provide satisfying protein as fragrant rosemary herb tantalizes the senses. This recipe can serve as a healthy veggie dip as well~

  • 2 whole garlic bulbs
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced, fresh rosemary
  • 2 cans white or navy beans, drained and liquid reserved
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 or 4 rosemary sprigs

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Cut 1/2 inch off the top of the garlic bulbs. Place the garlic in a large square of foil and drizzle with 1teaspoon olive oil and seal the foil. Roast until soft and golden brown—about 40 minutes. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the soft cloves into a medium bowl and mash. Add the minced rosemary and beans to the bowl. With a fork or potato masher, mash the beans randomly and not completely for a creamy but slightly chunky texture; add some of the reserved bean liquid. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl and drizzle with the remaining olive oil; garnish with rosemary sprigs. Serve with whole wheat pita wedges, crackers or tiny cut veggies. The secret to making your veggies irresistible: smaller cut pieces are more appealing; infuse some creativity in the presentation and include a variety of colors in your crudités. Be sure to include plenty of festive red and green: red peppers, broccoli florets, cherry tomatoes, celery and bell peppers.)

Don’t Skip Dessert!

Fat tastes good because it tenderizes, moisturizes, smoothes out texture, and carries the flavors and aromas of your holiday desserts. But, you can cut back on fat then compensate with natural extracts (butter, lemon, maple, coconut), spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice), and grated citrus zest—for many of your favorite treats. To maintain the desired texture in baked goods, add a natural, moisture-holding fat substitute such as applesauce, prune puree, or mashed banana. Food-grade vegetable glycerine, available at health food stores, is like magic in a bottle! It adds moisture and sweetness with no calories! More importantly, remember good fat is necessary for good health. Choose healthy fats, like nut oils and butters (peanut, macadamia nut, almond butter), coconut milk, and organic butter, milk and cream. (Click to learn why organic dairy has healthy fat.) For more Angelic Indulgence desert recipes that honor the body, visit

Did you know that feeling good is actually, physically good for you? Especially if that warm, inner joy comes from good times with friends. Research shows that the more contact we have with a network of friends the longer we live! Feeling connected to buddies keeps those good chemicals, associated with optimism, self-esteem, and good coping mechanisms, flowing. These same chemicals can positively affect heart and cardiovascular health, as well as speed healing and improve immune function. So, carve out time to share the joy of the holidays with your friends this season—your heart will benefit in more ways than one.

Happy holidays and stay well!


Click here and check out Angela's other healthy tips.

*Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer

sign up for the weekly newsletter

Get the latest on TBS shows from videos, games and other fun content.