My family has several food traditions that I found out my husband has adopted as his favorite recipes for Thanksgiving (who knew?). The first recipe has been great for the recent cold Colorado weather. Wassail is good all holiday season to enjoy while warming up, snuggling under a blanket. I normally cannot drink much at one time because it’s so packed full of flavor and sweet. The other recipe is a cheesy broccoli and rice casserole that I started making because my mother-in-law loves rice. It has been a great addition to our Thanksgiving Dinner.



Recipe adapted from my mom who adds sugar and less water.

This is a very hot drink that requires a percolator. I recently bought a 12 cup one, which works well. I put ice cubes in cup for my kids to cool the drink off. Feel free to store any unused wassail in refrigerator in the percolator with spices to be heated up for another time.


1 cup organic apple cider
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 of frozen can of lemonade
1/2 tsp whole allspice
1/2 tsp whole cloves
2 whole cinnamon sticks


1. Pour all ingredients in a 12 cup percolator and fill the void with water leaving room for basket which should not touch the water. You can even add more water after the beverage has been warmed if it’s too sweet for you.

2. In basket on top add allspice, cloves and cinnamon sticks.

3. Plug in percolator. When the light goes off, pour into a mug and enjoy!


Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole

Adapted from: The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2010

Make this dish ahead to save time on Thanksgiving Day. Put all ingredients in baking dish and store in the refrigerator overnight. I only use half of the original recipe (this reduction is already included below) because, for my family of five, it is plenty considering how many other items we serve for Thanksgiving. Feel free to double it if you have a large party to serve (then use a 13×9 baking dish).


1 slices of sprouted grain bread – torn into pieces
3/4 oz of Parmesan Cheese, grated (which is about 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons)
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted; plus 1 Tablespoon, chilled
1/2-1 minced garlic clove, depending on how much garlic you like
1 lb. of broccoli (fresh is better), cut into 1-inch pieces, with steams trimmed and chopped
1/2 cup onion, minced
3/4 cup brown rice
2 cups of chicken bone broth (or normal low sodium chicken broth will do but it's so easy to make in a crockpot by using leftover rotisserie chicken or any chicken bones, and it makes your house smell great. Here's the recipe I use:

3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 oz (1 cup) raw sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)


1. Pulse bread, 1/4 cup of Parmesan, melted butter and garlic in food processor until coarsely ground. Place in air tight container and place in refrigerator.

2. Place broccoli florets in microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap tightly, and cook on high for about 2 min until broccoli is bright green.

3. Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in a big pot, like a Dutch oven or large sauce pot. Add onion, broccoli stems and cook until softened approximately 8 minutes.

4. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is translucent, about 1 minute.

5. Stir in broth, cream and salt.

6. Bring to boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

7. Take off heat, stir in cheddar, cayenne, 1/4 cup Parmesan and steamed broccoli florets.

8. Pour mixture into greased 8×8 baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.

9. When ready to cook, heat oven to 400 degrees.

10. Take out baking dish from refrigerator and set on counter to come to room temperature.

11. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture on top of broccoli casserole and bake until sauce is bubbling around edges and top is golden brown, about 15 minutes.

12. Cool before serving, about 5 minutes.

I’ll have other Thanksgiving recipes posted on my blog ( from our cooking demo by Chef Charlotte Muller from Cherry Creek Whole Foods. Have a happy healthy holiday!

As a holistic registered dietitian nutritionist, Angela has a passion to tell others about nutrition, because of its importance for prevention/treatment of chronic diseases, improving your mood, maximizing your performance, giving you energy, allowing you to lose weight, and much more. Check out her blog at

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