Conscious Cook: Holidays at home mean comfort food

Potatoes can be the basis for healthy and festive dishes.
Potatoes can be the basis for healthy and festive dishes.

Home is where the heart is, and a meal prepared with loving intent, fills you with the most glorious feelings of contented fullness.

The holiday season is a wonderful example of preparing a delicious life, when we head into the kitchen to prepare old family recipes and establish new traditions. We truly pay attention when preparing treasured recipes. We invoke such luscious memories of childhood and happy moments with loved ones. While they may no longer be here with us in person, their spirit is always alive in all the fragrant, comforting  dishes that we now prepare. The taste of love is in every bite of these ancestral recipes, bringing an inner glow of sentimental satisfaction.

Festive celebrations with family and friends are an excellent time to cook a wide variety of vegetables, whether it be crispy, crusty roast potatoes, robust root vegetables, hearty greens, salads sparkling with a bit of citrus, or silky soups enriched with scintillating spices.

Potatoes are one of the premier players at holiday meals. Completely comforting, potatoes offer many health benefits, as well as being a marvelously versatile vegetable. With plenty of B and C vitamins, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc, potatoes have the ability to help maintain superbly healthy, soft skin. The powerful antioxidant attributes of vitamin C assure extra protection for the immune system during the cold winter months.

Soft and easily digestible, potatoes may help relieve inflammation of the intestines and digestive system. The fiber content in potatoes may be helpful in lowering cholesterol, and the high carbohydrate content feeds the brain a steady supply of energy, keeping it active and alert, staving off brain fatigue.

While there are a multitude of potato varieties, the three most readily available would be the Russet, which are ideal for baking, the Common Red, which have a creamy, white flesh that holds up well when boiled, making them ideal for salads and the wonderfully buttery Yukon Gold, which are excellent for mashing.

Available year round, look for potatoes that are firm, unblemished, without any tinges of unappealing green. Store them in a basket or bin in a cool, dark spot and they should keep for several weeks.

Enjoy your home throughout the entire holiday season. I am sure we are all reminded, especially at this time of year, to be grateful for a warm and comfortable home and the continuing joy of preparing a delicious life.

Try this super simple, yet completely fabulous recipe for roasted potatoes and serve with your favorite holiday roast.

Golden Roasted Potatoes

4-6 servings

6 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes (cut them into quarters if you can’t find small ones)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

½ cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook potatoes in 2 batches, 3 minutes each batch.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to a rimmed baking sheet. When cool enough to handle, firmly scrape the tines of a fork up and down potatoes, creating a rough, grooved surface. Pour oil onto another rimmed baking sheet; put pan in the oven for five minutes to heat the oil. Add potatoes; turn to coat. Season with 1 tablespoon salt. Roast, turning several times during cooking and occasionally basting with oil, until browned and tender 60-70 minutes.

Find more from Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, The Conscious Cook, at