Nancy's Organic Kitchen: Home for the Holidays

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By Nancy Chuda Editor-In-Chief LuxEcoLiving co-founder of Healthy Child Healthy World

Santa Ynez California

Beautiful white linen is the perfect backdrop for your holiday meals

How To Make Chiles Rellenos

When it comes to the holidays I am always looking for an excuse to make something different. I have so many vegan friends and I admire the way they eat. I think eating is a mind set and partly hereditary (familial) or cultural habits. But there are many philosophical reasons why people prefer not to eat meat. Or as my friend says, "I don't eat anything that has a family." I get it.

I am not a vegetarian. I was raised in a "foodie" family and my brother Jon was an incredible cook and chef. He loved the art of cooking but had a natural talent to take any series of ingredients and turn them into a magical feast. He loved his smoker and made the most fabulous chicken recipe in which he marinated the poultry for days before putting it in the smoker which contained cherry wood chips for flavor.

I celebrate him and this recipe at least once a year. The flavor of the marinade plus the slow smoking method creates fabulous results. And the leftover chicken makes the most marvelous chicken salad. I have some reservations about buying anything prepared especially after the recent Costco discovery of their Rotisserie Chicken Salad containing E. Coli bacteria.

I miss my brother so very much and the holidays seem to bring up a stir-fry of emotions for me as I am sure they do for many of you who have also lost loved ones. But, I find that cooking really heals those feelings especially when you are putting all that energy into preparing foods for your family and friends. I am so thankful for so many things. Dr. David Agus claims that people who have gratitude have better self-esteem and quality in their lives.

I was lucky to have learned how to cook from my mother and brother but I always learn even more from friends. One very special person in our lives is a woman named Olga Santos.

In the early years of my daughter, Colette's life, she was her nanny. Olga hails from Oaxaca Mexico and is now a citizen of the United States. She always loved to cook for us. One of my favorite recipe's of her's was Chiles Rellenos. She would spend tedious amounts of time preparing the ingredients. Sometimes this recipe can over consume your energies especially if you are in a rush... and who isn't over the holidays! But believe me it's worth it.

Getting ready for a fabulous dinner tonight. Pre Thanksgiving...enjoy.

Posted by Nancy Gould Chuda on Monday, November 23, 2015

When I am not cooking, one of my most favorite things to do is scour the Internet for table settings.I found this absolutely beautiful Hemstitch Table Cloth on Overstock. And the matching napkins are great because you can always order more as they are so affordable. I love the idea of crisp white linen tabletops for the holidays. What's great about using white linen as a backdrop is you can always add color to brighten things up and more importantly, stave off any gravy stains or wine drips. WATCH!

And the best part about this table setting is you can change the motif every day. The linen is of highest quality and washes easily. Just a light starch and iron... and your ready to set the table again. Here's wishing you a great holiday season. Health, happiness and gratitude for all that we have.