The 12 Days of Healthy Dinner Recipes

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on December 12, 2011

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For many of us, this is the time of year when finding a balance with food can be a challenge.

Sweets, desserts, drinks, and treats are plastered all over cooking shows, magazines, blogs, and grocery stores everywhere we turn. I think I even have a pair of holiday socks with cookies on them! It’s easy to start thinking that chocolate fudge makes the perfect daily breakfast staple or washing vitamins down with spiked cider is totally normal.

Well, some days I guess. I won’t judge.

But let’s be real for a minute. Sugar overload doesn’t make most of us feel our best on a day to day basis. I love sweets and indulgences as much as the next person (ok maybe more…), but I’ll be the first to admit that too much of it can leave me feeling tired, unmotivated, and blah. Over the years, I’ve realized that food and winter blahs can be closely related. When I eat crappy, I tend to feel crappy too.

Einstein said that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” and I kind of live my life by that theory. When something doesn’t work, change it up! So that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

[Did I really just quote Einstein in a food post?]

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring 12 days of healthy meal recipes** that will hopefully inspire us to stay on a healthy path over the holiday season. That’s not to say that I won’t be indulging or posting a couple holiday sweet recipes (it is me you’re talking to!), but I also want to make more of an effort to fit in healthy meals whenever possible. Eric and I are both busy with work right now (he just started a new position and I’m wrapping up my cookbook proposal), so we need these healthy meals to stay at the top of our game. Plus, more healthy food means more room for Secret-Ingredient Chocolate Pudding, of course.

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**subject to change, based on how many casseroles I burn, how many gifts I have left to wrap, and how many cats I have to remove from the Christmas tree.

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{ 95 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex December 12, 2011 at 10:40 am

Love this idea! Thank you :)

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Shannon December 12, 2011 at 10:42 am

I just want to say I love your blog, I’ve been reading it for a while now and it’s just fantastic!!

This is my cats first Christmas and I’m so excited to see what she does to the Christmas tree!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 12, 2011 at 10:47 am

hah goodluck!

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Dalai Lina December 12, 2011 at 10:43 am

I can’t wait to see what you come up with…you are so creative! I’ve made the Roasted Tomato Soup with Coconut milk in the top photo and it is now one of my favorites!

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Willow December 12, 2011 at 10:44 am

Great idea for the holidays! Can’t wait to see what you come up with. :)

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Kate (Bread & Chocolate) December 12, 2011 at 10:47 am

Great idea! This year my family asked me to help them make our holiday menu a bit more healthy. I’ll be looking through your recipes for ideas – I definitely see quinoa, squash, and kale making an appearance!

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Heather @ Get Haalthy with Heather December 12, 2011 at 10:55 am

This is going to be great! I can’t wait to see what 12 you share :)

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Cat @Breakfast to Bed December 12, 2011 at 10:56 am

Ok, I love pudding. REALLY love pudding. So that’s a win. You know what’s crazy? I like sweets, but not as much as I love baking and sharing them. That’s where my joy with them lies. I’m such a weirdy, I know. I just love sharing them.

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Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers December 12, 2011 at 10:56 am

Yesss! Can’t wait! I’m actually having your wild rice n’ dried fruit pilaf tonight for dinner with broccoli. At least I had enough sense to cook it yesterday so that it’s nearly ready when I get home from work today.

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Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy December 12, 2011 at 10:57 am

These are wonderful ideas for the holiday! Love it!

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Audrey December 12, 2011 at 10:58 am

Great idea! Definitely looking forward to this feature.

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Michelle December 12, 2011 at 11:02 am

Your blog keeps me from getting anything done! I’m making your Holiday Soup for the Soul for a dinner get-together to prove that veg food can taste good as well as be healthy.

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Rebecca @ Naturally Healthy and Gorgeous December 12, 2011 at 11:07 am

What a great idea! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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Lindsey @ Why Just Eat December 12, 2011 at 11:11 am

I am SO looking forward to this!! Today is my “weigh in” day and let’s just say it wasn’t good. LOL.

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Coco December 12, 2011 at 11:17 am

I’ve been thinking exactly the same thing lately — what we need this time of year are healthy recipes to keep feeling good throughout the holidays. Looking forward to seeing what you’ve come up with, Angela!

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Ashley December 12, 2011 at 11:18 am

I love this idea! I am such a sweets person, so it’ll be nice to have some good recipes to go to!

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Zarah December 12, 2011 at 11:24 am

Sounds fantabulous! Looking forward to your posts. Then again… I ALWAYS do! :D

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Giulia @ Tutupa's Lab December 12, 2011 at 11:27 am

can’t wait for all your recipes!

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erin December 12, 2011 at 11:27 am

Thanks for doing this – can’t wait to follow along! We are making an effort this year to enjoy the season in a healthy way.
We have two new kittens in our family this year… so far the tree is still standing, but there are always one or two ornaments on the floor when we come home from work. :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Congrats on your new kittens! They are just about the cutest things on earth.

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[email protected] KatieDid December 12, 2011 at 11:27 am

Can’t wait to see what you put together. I have a month off from school with tons of time to cook up healthy dinners, so I’ll be looking forward to some inspiration!

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Angie B December 12, 2011 at 11:30 am

fabulous idea! love all the info you provide (and yummy food ideas!)… quick question, do you have a “staples grocery list” on your blog at all, things that you tend to always have on hand?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm

This is probably the closest thing I have to a list:

http://ohsheglows.com/2011/09/11/5-make-ahead-vegan-and-gluten-free-lunches-part-1/

(see bottom of that post)

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Angie B December 12, 2011 at 2:58 pm

thanks so much for taking the time to respond. you have a wonderful site & offer such great info… I love checking back regularly!

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Erin @ Creative Styletopia December 12, 2011 at 11:40 am

Such a great idea! I tend to fall prey to holiday sweets too often, this is a great way to stay on track!

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Laura @ My Pink Thumb December 12, 2011 at 11:43 am

What a great idea!
… we’ve already found the tree laying on its side.. grrr darn cats!! :P

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Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed December 12, 2011 at 11:43 am

I just wrote a post about this – if i eat like crap, I will feel like crap! It’s SO true.

PS – I like the Einstein quote haha.

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Stephanie @ Snacking on Sunshine December 12, 2011 at 11:44 am

This is a great idea. I feel exactly the same way!! Can’t wait to try your delish healthy dishes as you post ’em.
ps: what is it with Christmas trees that make cats answer the call of the wild??

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Julia December 12, 2011 at 11:49 am

I’m excited to see what you come up with.
I’m also making an effort to balance out the holiday food with healthy food and exercise – the same procedure as every year :)

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Liz @ Tip Top Shape December 12, 2011 at 11:58 am

Love this! Your recipes are always fantastic :D

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Sarah with Veggie Kids December 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Love the idea about 12 Healthy Dinner meals. I’ve been completely overloaded with sugar from all the holiday baking posts I’ve been writing and had to put myself on a raw vegan diet for the past 2 days to get back to my zen place! Of course, now I’m ready for more naughty treats!
The pudding looks too good!!

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Rhona December 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I love it! This is a refreshing stance on the holidays because all over the blogosphere, people are discussing how okay it is to indulge right now (and of course it is) but to see you making an effort to stay on a healthy path this season and sharing is inspiring. Thank you.

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Cait's Plate December 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Hahahaha – the addendum of “**subject to change, based on how many casseroles I burn, how many gifts I have left to wrap, and how many cats I have to remove from the Christmas tree.” at the end made me crack up!! Looking forward to this!

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes December 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Hahaha cats in the Christmas tree?! This is a great idea :D

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Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning December 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Awesome- can’t wait to see your recipes as the days go by! I haven’t made one of yours yet that hasn’t been anything but stellar- and anything that I make that doesn’t rely on meat is always a bonus! :)
And I agree with Rhona above- it is very refreshing to find normal, healthy recipes amidst all of the sugar and butter.

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Addy December 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Yay! Thank you! The sugar overload started this weekend and I am already feeling yuck (and am out of ideas for healthy dinners!). I’m looking forward to the ideas! PS- I made your eggnog biscotti the other day, and it was AMAZING. I am in love with a cookie.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Glad to hear that you enjoyed it!

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Moni'sMeals December 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I think we all appreciate this Ang. Thank YOU! It will come in handy this I know. It is all about balance and this is a good time of year to honor that. :)

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Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon December 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I’m excited–I always love your recipes!!

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Jenna December 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Love your blog. You’ve inspired me to become vegan and I absolutely love the way I feel! Thanks for everyhing!

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Liz December 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Yay! Love this, I was just thinking last night that I need to be focusing on eating good, healthy and nourishing food. I made your butternut squash burritos and they were so delicious! Thank you so much for all of your amazing recipes!

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga December 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I didnt know that was Einstien who said that about insanity. I thought it was Dr. Phil. (kidding!)

But seriously, I agree!

And love the disclaimer re the burnt meals, cats climbing the tree, and gifts to wrap (please keep on using that same roll of paper you lovingly mentioned the last post!)

Love the idea and your sense of humor :)

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The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh December 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm

It will be such a welcome change from the decadence going on around here from time to time. I think I might be getting a food processor soon so I can’t wait to try the pudding!!

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caroline m. December 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm

i’ve been working on balance, too. i eat a filling, fresh kale salad for lunch every day to make sure i at least get SOME greens and vitamins in :)

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Anna @ The Guiltless Life December 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Yay – this is exactly what is needed this time of year! My creativity gets sapped from other things and I have no energy to think of better dinners or new things to try out. Thanks Ang!

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Erica | Cupcakes & Coffee Breaks December 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Yay! I was just thinking last night “gosh I’ve been eating a lot of fudge and cookies for dinner”… vegetables, and health in general, should probably make a comeback!

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Stacie December 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Congrats to Eric on his new position and you wrapping up your cookbook proposal! Lots of excitement for you guys!!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Thank you Stacie!

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Melissa December 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Hi Angela!

I’ve been following Oh She Glows for nearly a year now and finally decided comment. I just want you to know I think you’re blog is fantastic, I’m on it everyday and I love trying your recipes. Half the fun is reading your posts, they have so much personality, and I LOVE looking at your photography, it makes me want to try everything immediately, and it makes such a difference to the overall look of the blog!
I stumbled across your Green Monster site a while back which lead me to here, and I can honestly say reading it is what inspired me to start eating better. I’ve made a huge change in my diet and overall lifestyle. I’m a post grad student now (in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, not too far from you!) and during my undergrad I ate terribly (typical). I knew I wasn’t treating my body well, but I didn’t REALLY know how badly I was treating it until I started educating myself on healthy eating.
I’m not vegan or vegetarian but I love your recipes because they are so healthy and mostly easy to make! I have never even considered being vegan or vegetarian (because of my family mostly) until I started reading your blog. I’ve never been a big meat eater, but I have cut down my meat consumption by probably 85% and could see myself developing into a vegetarian one day over time (maybe even vegan!). I’ve found alternative and BETTER ways to get protein through researching and reading your blog. I used to think healthy eating took SO much effort, it takes some thought, but its not hard, and I now look forward to making healthy meals for myself everyday.
I’ve definitely noticed a difference in the way I feel. My next big change is to start exercising regularly because I know how important it is. I have always had trouble motivating myself to workout and usually the idea just gets lost among homework, class, exams, assignments, work and life in general!
So now that I have basically written an essay when I should be studying for my exam tomorrow, I’ll stop there, lol. I’ve wanted to comment for a while so I finally decided to. Congratulations on following your dreams and helping others live a healthy lifestyle, I can’t wait to buy your cookbook!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 16, 2011 at 8:35 am

Hey Melissa! Thank you so much for your kind words…I’m happy to hear you enjoy the blog! Love to hear that you are near me too! Small world :)

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Katie @ Peace Love & Oats December 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm

this is very true, sometimes when i’m eating the delicious sugary food, i forget that it doesn’t make me feel great if i have too much!

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TeenyLittleSuperChef December 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Woohoo, I love when bloggers feature this kind of thing. I’m always looking for new and healthy recipes to serve, especially over the holidays when over-doing it on sugary desserts and fatty main dishes is bound to happen. I’m already feeling like I need a major detox and Christmas hasn’t even happened yet. Not a good sign. Thanks for trying to help us all get back on track.
P.S. I have a question for you that doesn’t really relate but I figured you’d be the best to ask. I’ve recently become vegan but I find it’s been really hard to resist the urge for eggs and yogurt. Do you have any good suggestions for items that are also high in protein and low in fat and sugars? I used to eat Greek yogurt like nobody’s business and miss the fullness it used to provide me from all the protein.

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Amber K December 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm

What a great idea! Eating healthier the majority of the time helps me have the energy to enjoy the rest of the time :)

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Char @ www.charskitchen.ca December 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Looking forward to it! This time of year can definitely be a challenge. I got off to a rocky start, but lots of healthy food with sprinkles of shortbread and chocolate to fill in the gaps seems like the best balance for me in the winter :) I agree that eating too much crappy food makes you feel crappy- I also think eating NOT ENOUGH crappy food makes one feel crappy :D so yes to green smoothies & shortbread cookies! Can’t wait to see your new recipes.

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Misty December 12, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Love this idea! Looking forward to it. And your ** cracked me up!

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Vicki December 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Cookbook proposal, YAAAAAYY!!!!!
Looking forward to it :)

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Urban Wife December 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Yes, bravo!! I applaud your forthcoming healthy recipes and can’t wait to try them for myself. They are much needed during this time of year – especially since I have a sweet tooth. Good luck getting the cookbook proposal all wrapped up! Have a lovely day.

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raechel @the rebel grrl kitchen December 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm

sooo happy you’re doing this! i’ve already started to feel the affects of having real sugar in my body, which i tend to avoid the rest of the year. i’ve been cranky and bloated since thanksgiving, and it doesn’t to take a genius to figure out why! looking forward to healthy ideas! : )

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hannah alehandra December 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Wow that chocolate pudding- GIMME!

http://hannahalehandra.blogspot.com/

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Anna December 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm

What an awesome idea..so excited to see all the recipes! I’m going to be sure to pass this along to my mom. She always is asking me for recipes ideas for dinner at the holidays when I am visiting along with a lot of other family. I know anything from your site will be healthy and delicious!

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Annie December 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm

great idea! :) and just what I need right now!

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Kristin (Cook, Bake, Nibble) December 12, 2011 at 3:56 pm

What a great idea! I can’t wait to see what you come up with. I have a 12 days feature on my blog, too, but it’s much less healthy :) xoxo

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Lori December 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm

YAY!!! I have been searching for something JUST like this!! You’re so fabulous!! I can’t wait to see what the recipes will be! I’m as excited as my daughter is waiting for Christmas!! :)

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Kristy December 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Yay! This is our first Christmas as a vegan family :o) One good thing about it is that we don’t eat quite as much of the junk foods, but still have it none the less… Looking forward to what you post about Christmas dinner. I’ll be serving a vegan meal to a bunch of probably-will-complain-a-bunch-non vegans. But I am hopful… I made your walnut loaf at Thanksgiving and everyone who tried it really enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing your food talents!

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Kit-Kat December 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Great idea! I know CookingLight.com does something similar, but I have to modify their recipes. I won’t have to with yours!
The pudding looks divine! Oh, I LOVE pudding!

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Violets and Cardamom December 12, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Looking forward to your postings! Thanks for the inspiring words to keep on a healthy path. :)

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Lisa (bakebikeblog) December 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm

What a great idea!

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Kaila @healthyhelperblog! December 12, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Your recipes are the best! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin December 12, 2011 at 6:40 pm

I’m excited for this! It can be way too easy to rely on take out after a long day of Christmas shopping – but I’m sure these recipes will give me motivation to actually get into the kitchen and cook instead!

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Sophie December 12, 2011 at 6:57 pm

I have been thinking about that Einstein quote too, for the same reasons. I think too much sugar starts this unhealthy circle and it takes a bit of effort to get out of it. Hate the feeling! That’s why I love this post, (you are awesome to inspire others) :) For me exercising helps to get back to ‘normal’ a bit more.

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Jen December 12, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Angela,
This is such a great idea. I love inspiration to stay healthy over the holidays. My family does a family fitness challenge this time of year to try to combat all of the seasons temptations.

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Jessica @ Hungrygems December 12, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Locked in and ready to rock it out! Bring on day number 1!

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Bethany :0) December 12, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Love that pudding! Tasty and mostly good for you! :0)

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[email protected] December 12, 2011 at 10:19 pm

CANNOT wait! This post totally beat the Monday blahs for me. :) The Einstein quote was the icing on the cake. Thanks, Angela!

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Kelly @ Foodie Fiasco December 12, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Thank goodness! Being “good” during the holidays is NOT always easy… so thank you for taking a load off. ;)

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Amy December 12, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Yay! I always crave fresh veggies, especially, around the holidays. I get sugar overload just *looking* at typical Christmas dessert recipes.

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Lorin December 13, 2011 at 12:31 am

I think this is definitely a good idea. As much as we all want to eat cookies at every meal and enjoy eggnog for a dessert drink every night, it just isn’t healthy. Plus, if we do that daily it is not as appreciated. I think it’s hard enough with cold weather in the winter and desserts surrounding us to stay on track and all the pushing of desserts around this time doesn’t help. I’ll definitely be having desserts; heck, I made gingerbread snowmen yesterday and pumpkin dough balls today. However, the gingerbread men was sent with my mom to work and I haven’t eaten any of the dough balls yet. I enjoy eating and baking all those desserts but I can’t go crazy all month. Like you said, I need to fit the desserts into the diet, not have it make up my diet.

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[email protected] December 13, 2011 at 2:17 am

During the holiday season everybody tends to let himself eat unhealthy and a lot! Thanks for such a healthy recipe roll in the time when it’s needed the most! :)

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Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers December 13, 2011 at 7:31 am

I understand sugar overload! I have been there since Thanksgiving! I am so glad your posting healthy stuff! I’m trying to do that myself!! Look forward to seeing what you have in store!!

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Anna December 13, 2011 at 8:33 am

Oh my god, you are a rockstar. I need this so much. A combination of living on my own and some pretty horrible depression (usually managed, but I’ve just changed over meds and am having a shitty time of it right now) means that recently I’ve considered it totally appropriate to eat three still-frozen scones straight out of the freezer while crying and calling it dinner. Needless to say I am not at my… peppiest. Healthy, creative, vegan input would be so, so appreciated, you lovely woman you.

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Ashley December 13, 2011 at 8:48 am

Looking forward to it! :)

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Cheryl December 13, 2011 at 9:15 am

PERFECT timing on this one.

My aim for the holidays this year is to stay as nutritious as I can with my meals and snacks and then to have treats as treats! I think I’ll come out saner and healthier for it!

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Cindy Robinson December 13, 2011 at 11:46 am

I’m looking forward to it. After a sugar overdose yesterday, all I want to eat is veggies and healthy stuff :) Why doesn’t anyone bring in that kind of stuff to the office?! Serenity now!!

P.S. What is up with cats and Christmas trees? We’ve had cats growing up, and they were always, in, on, or under it…presents and all.

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DeAnna December 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Angela, Just have to say I love your blog. My husband and I read “The China Study” seven months ago, turned plant-based, and haven’t looked back. I’ve made several of your recipes and they are always a hit. Thanks for sharing with the world!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Hey DeAnna, Thank you for your kind words…so happy to hear that you are enjoying the recipes. :)

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Sarah December 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm

I love that you’re doing this! It seems like all of the recipes being published right now are sugar-based. While there’s certainly a fun and festive place for that, I definitely crave some healthy meals after too much sugar. I’m looking forward to keeping up with (and hopefully trying) some of your recipes in the next few days.

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Amanda December 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Cant wait, I really need as much direction as possible too much temptation!!

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JenATX December 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Angela you’re hilarious, I love the Einstein quote

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm

heh

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Sabrina December 17, 2011 at 6:06 am

My boyfriend and I love your website. It’s like a religion in our house since we decided to become Vegan 4 months ago. In fact I’m not sure the transition would have been an easy one without you-especially for him. He lives for your carrot cake cookies and soft serve. Thank you so much for all you do. We love it!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 17, 2011 at 9:25 am

Thank you Sabrina, that is so awesome to hear!

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Michael December 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Loved reading your post on desserts that are not loaded with too much sugar
I am guilty of my daily routine to Dunking Donuts for my coffee and donuts and yeah
too much sugar can make you tired and grumpy. I am looking to satisfy my cravings
for sweets without the intake of sugar.
==================
Warmly mike
The eat healthy guy
http://bit.ly/betalains_FreeReport

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Janice December 19, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes, I have tried many and especially love the Red lentil butternut squash curried soup. Fantastic! Our family is not vegan but eat many vegitarian meals and use your recipes for all of them!!

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Megan November 26, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Hi,
I’m new to your site and came across this blog post however, I can’t locate the 12 recipes that you added each day after this post. I’ve tried searching by ‘healthy dinners’ and also looking through recipes by date order but have no luck.

Would it be possible to add the links in, or post below please? I’d love to see these ideas.

Thanks
Megan

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Rachel August 21, 2016 at 6:34 pm

I just made this recipe and I was surprised by the beautiful pudding consistency! It is really rich and not too sweet which makes this a double bonus! Thanks for the recipe can’t wait to have it after dinner!

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