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Ah, holiday menus. There tend to be two camps: “We love to mix in new recipes each year to keep things fresh for the holidays,” and "Why mess with perfection? We serve the same menu every year.”
It’s certainly easier than ever to find new recipes to keep things interesting, whether you have the New York Times recipes app, look forward to the new Bon Appétit magazine each season, or collect cookbooks. And if you have a diverse crowd to feed or a food-enthusiast crowd joining your table, you may have even more motivation and leeway to mix it up.
This year, as you plan out your menus, we want to encourage you to add one or two new recipes that are crowd pleasers and brain healthy, too. (And be sure to Artifct them all to easily share and recreate in the future. Bonus points if you include video of key steps or the awesome results!)
Please don’t get any wild ideas that we are contorting your beloved holiday meals to fit some sort of dietary fad. The reality is that the food we eat on a regular basis is as much a part of our healthcare as is the steps we take in a day. If we can integrate more brain healthy crowd-pleasing recipes into our holiday repertoire, too, why shouldn’t we?
Holiday Perfect, Brain-Healthy Recipes
Don’t worry, folks, we did not spin up an Artifcts food test kitchen to create recipes to test on you all. We’ve left the science of food to the people with the training and expertise.
We turned to Annie Fenn, physician, chef, culinary instructor, science advisor, and author of none other than The Brain Health Kitchen: Preventing Alzheimer’s Through Food. She is the only doctor-meets-chef who is exclusively focused on the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. You can find her on Instagram at @BrainHealthKitchen and via her online community’s Brain Health Kitchen newsletter, too.
Annie has kindly offered up two recipes, one sweet and one savory, for us to share with you today that we hope are homeruns in your household. Each uses easy-to-find ingredients popularly associated with cool weather holidays spent with family and friends.
Pleasantly tart and packed with antioxidants, cranberries deserve to be a part of your brain-healthy dietary pattern year-round. It’s best to enjoy them as a whole fruit rather than dried or juiced, since those processes add a lot of sugar. For this tender pumpkin muffin, you’ll use whole fresh or frozen cranberries, which burst as they bake—adding pockets of jammy fruit. These muffins pack in a nice roster of brain- healthy ingredients, from the almond, oat, and flaxseed batter to the sprinkle of pumpkin seeds on top. Excerpted from The Brain Health Kitchen, by Annie Fenn (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2023.
SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE DIP
Typical spinach artichoke dip wears a health halo that comes from having the word spinach in the name. Although it may sound good for you, it is all too often loaded with saturated fat and an excessive amount of sodium in a cheesy base that makes it easy to overindulge. Enter this brain-healthy take on the classic dip, which pairs the spinach—and lots of it— with a creamy, cashew-based sauce. If you love artichokes, you’ll like this version even better than the standard, since the artichoke flavor really shines, and you still get to dip the crispy chips in the hot, creamy dip. Excerpted from The Brain Health Kitchen, by Annie Fenn (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2023.
And to further help you in all things culinary and introduce some fun new family activities, we’ll be sharing a special Saturday-edition of ARTIcles by Artifcts this weekend. Recipes will be among the topics we'll cover. Stay tuned!
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