Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Healthy Mushroom Recipes

Healthy Mushroom Recipes

This week, we’re helping you get ready for Thanksgiving with some healthy mushroom recipes that make the most of the fall-favorite ingredient.

First up is the perfect appetizer bite, Avocado Prosciutto Stuffed Mushrooms.

Avocado Prosciutto Stuffed Mushrooms
Image and Recipe via The Paleo Paparazzi

 

Looking for an easy and light dish to bring? Enter Slow Cooker Mushroom Soup.

Slow Cooker Mushroom Soup

 

Lighten up the classic or make a dish especially for the vegans in your life with Vegan Creamy Mashed Potatoes & Savory Mushroom Gravy.

Vegan Creamy Mashed Potatoes & Savory Mushroom GravyImage and Recipe via Vegan Huggs

 

If you’ve ever had a holiday meal disaster and had to resort to takeout, whip up tasty Shiitake & Oyster Mushroom Dumplings and be thankful for smoother sailing.

Shitake & Oyster Mushroom Dumplings
Image and Recipe via Blissful Basil

 

Still entertaining family? This Crustless Slow Cooker Spinach Quiche with mushrooms makes breakfast easy.

Crustless Slow Cooker Spinach Quiche
Image and Recipe via Everyday Wholehearted

 

Mix up your leftover go-to with this Turkey in Creamy Mushroom Sauce.

Leftover Turkey in Creamy Mushroom Sauce

 

Get the whole family eating leftovers with this Leftover Turkey Mushroom and Pancetta Risotto.

Leftover Turkey Mushroom and Pancetta Risotto

Healthy Potato Recipes

Healthy Potato Recipes

This week, we’re featuring healthy potato recipes that you can use this holiday season without hurting your healthy diet.

First up are The Creamiest Vegan Mashed Potatoes, perfect for your Thanksgiving.

The Creamiest Vegan Mashed Potatoes
Image and Recipe via My California Roots

 

Make this easy Seasonal Leek and Potato Pan Roast for a beautiful side dish.

Seasonal Leek and Potato Pan Roast {Paleo, Vegan}

 

This Skinny Stuffed Baked Potato Soup will be a hit at holiday potlucks.

Skinny Stuffed Baked Potato Soup
Image and Recipe via Jeanette’s Healthy Living

 

This Vegan Avocado Potato Salad is a light and easy side for work events.

Vegan Avocado Potato Salad with Dill & Cilantro

 

Skip the unhealthy fried snacks with Simple Baked Potato Chips.

Simple Baked Potato Chips

 

This Vegan Breakfast Skillet is veggie-packed and will satisfy your potato craving.

Vegan Breakfast Skillet

 

Whip up this refreshing Cilantro Lime Potato Salad for a hearty side.

Cilantro Lime Potato Salad Image and Recipe via Julia’s Album

Change in the Air

Vantage Point: Change Is Near

As our days get shorter, our nights get longer, the temperature drops, and the cool crisp air hits our faces, we know winter is approaching. It’s also a reminder that the year is about to end, and a busy time is coming.

Our grocery lists start to get longer as we start preparing for Thanksgiving. We begin our research for recipes to outdo our dessert from last year. Then, we gather with our family and friends, share what we’re all thankful for, and of course, enjoy a delicious meal.

I personally start to reflect on the year I’ve had. Was this a good year? What would I do differently? Did my health change? Do I need to look at my coverage?

As you all know, we’re in the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. This is the time for you to reassess what type of coverage you might need for the upcoming year.

In September and October, Medicare beneficiaries’ mailboxes were full of marketing materials from many different insurance companies. So much information is provided that it can be hard to keep track of everything that’s coming in. Each company has different prices, networks, copays, and perks.

It’s hard to handle all of this alone. Your family might be able to try to help sort everything out, but even then, it is a hard task to take on without any background knowledge. You want to make sure you’re making the right decision for the year ahead and that you’re not missing out on the perfect plan for yourself. Who should you turn to?

Luckily, Health Alliance Northwest has a local office in Wenatchee with a staff ready to assist current or future members. Our local office is a great asset to our community. We know insurance is already hard, and getting help over the phone can be an added barrier. We’re able to sit down with you and your family to answer and explain any questions you might have.

Our Wenatchee office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and no appointment is needed to sit down with our representatives. We want to help educate you, put you at ease before the holidays begin, and make sure you’re ready for a new year.

Jessica Arroyo, born and raised in Wenatchee Valley, is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband and infant son.

Thanksgiving Desserts Done Right

Healthy Thanksgiving Desserts

This week, we have some healthy Thanksgiving desserts for you to whip up for this week’s holiday celebrations.

These delicious Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are a crowd-pleaser.

Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Image and Recipe via Amy’s Healthy Baking

 

This 5-Ingredient, No-Bake Vegan French Silk Pie will be a hit for the holidays.

5-Ingredient, No-Bake Vegan French Silk Pie

 

These Pumpkin Pie Cups help you keep portions under control.

Vegan & Grain-Free Pumpkin Pie Cups

 

Make these No-Bake Berry Tarts to bring a simple and gorgeous dessert to the party.

No Bake Berry Tarts with Cashew Cream

 

Lots of leftover sweet potatoes? Whip up a Sweet Potato Nice Cream Split.

Sweet Potato Nice Cream Split

 

 

Salted Caramel Pecan Pie Tarts are surprisingly good for you.

Salted Caramel Pecan Pie Tarts + Vitamix Giveaway! (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free)

 

This Spiced Hot Fruit Bake is perfect for the holiday season and chilly nights.

Easy Spiced Hot Fruit Bake {Gluten Free}

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Love Story through Alzheimer's

Chasing Health: Member’s Love Story of Caring for Wife with Alzheimer’s

As a writer, I get to interview all kinds of people about all kinds of topics, and sometimes I come across a story that gives me goosebumps.

Earlier this year, I interviewed Cary Ulrich, a member who lives in Washington, for the spring issue of House Calls, one of our Medicare newsletters. This former drafter and current fire photographer was kind enough to share his heartfelt story with me.

Cary’s wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago and passed away after we published this article. But for nearly three years, Cary was her primary caregiver, a tough task for a person watching someone he loves suffer from a disease that does not yet have a cure.

I don’t know if I could handle it, but Cary did. And he even found a way to make something positive out of it. Today, Cary leads caregiver support groups and is writing a book to capture how grateful he is for the time he spent with the love of his life.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and with Thanksgiving coming up, I think it’s the perfect time to share Cary’s story of being grateful while making sacrifices. Maybe it’ll inspire you to join the cause to end Alzheimer’s or thank a caregiver.

Take a Minute to Care about Caregivers

Cary Ulrich, a second-year Health Alliance Medicare member, likes a challenge. The one-time drafter and surveyor at an engineering firm went from designing layouts for Wenatchee Valley’s buildings and subdivisions to taking photos on the frontlines of wildfires.

The toughest challenge he faced wasn’t learning the art of drafting by hand before the drafting world went digital, and it wasn’t going out on his first fire call to take pictures of people putting their lives on the line to save others. It wasn’t even a challenge he enjoyed, but it was his most important, being a caregiver for one of the people he loves most, his wife.

Sharon Ulrich was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (a type of dementia) after showing some confusing symptoms, like having visions of everything from Old English-style visitors to spies and people trying to break into her home.

At first, doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Was it depression? Dementia? And if she had dementia, what kind was it? At 63 years old, she seemed too young for that.

While doctors looked for answers, Cary stayed by his wife’s side. From her earliest symptoms and first diagnosis in March 2010 to moving her to an adult home in February 2013, Cary was a caregiver. And he quickly learned that being a caregiver can take its own toll.

“I was on the outside going through everything,” he says. “I was very frustrated and angry at the situation, not at her. I had all those feelings, and no one seemed to care about me.”

He watched his wife’s health get worse while knowing he couldn’t help her get better. The woman who’d walked past his back-row church pew almost two decades ago, the one he thought was way too classy to ever even talk to him, now needed him to be her caregiver.

Cary and Sharon

“It’s a hard process,” he says. “I don’t exactly know how I did it, but I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve had to let go of what was and just totally accept her for the person she is now.”

Cary never backed down. Instead, he used his experience of caring for a loved one with dementia to help others do the same, turning his negative situation into something positive.

Today, Cary helps run two caregiver support groups, one specific to dementia at the Grief Place of North Central Washington and a more general one at Aging and Adult Care of Central Washington in East Wenatchee. In both groups, Cary gives support and tips to other caregivers because he believes it will help them feel better and make smarter choices about their own loved ones.

“The more you know when these things happen, the more you can kind of accept them,” he says. “You know you’re going to have to change because your loved one has changed and can’t go back the other way.”

He also talks to nursing classes at Wenatchee Valley College and to first responders in different fire districts to help them know how to work with people with dementia and the family and friends who care for them.

Cary takes on other challenges, too, like helping put on the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Wenatchee. Last year, he lined up sponsors, set up, and took photos for the 2-mile event that raised money and awareness.

Wenatchee's Walk to End Alzheimer's

Cary’s selflessness shines through in everything he does, and the man who likes to take on challenges and still goes out on fire calls hopes to make caregivers’ lives less challenging in the future.

“As a caregiver, you have the memories of what was, but all you have is what is. It’s a very difficult place to be. I know what these caregivers are going through, though. And I want them to know they are valued and can still enjoy life.”

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Sweet Potato Recipes

Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes

This week, we featured in-season, holiday favorites, sweet potato recipes, to help you get ready for the big meal or use up leftover produce.

Always wanted to make the Perfect Sweet Potato Fries? It’s easy!

Sweet Potato Fries
Image and Recipe via Camille Styles

 

This Roasted Sweet Potato Soup makes a perfect and unique Thanksgiving appetizer.

Roasted Sweet Potato Soup
Image and Recipe via Simply Recipes

 

Turkey and Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie is a tasty version of the classic comfort food.

Turkey and Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie
Image and Recipe via Real House Moms

 

These Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato Skins make a great snack, app, or weeknight dinner out of your leftovers.

Healthy Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato Skins

 

Make this vegan and gluten-free Coconut Curry with Sweet Potato Noodles for an allergy-free holiday.

Coconut Curry with Sweet Potato Noodles
Image and Recipe via Food Faith Fitness

 

Slow Cooker Turkey Quinoa Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans is an easy make ahead dish for the big game.

Slow Cooker Turkey Quinoa Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans

 

Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Bread is a wonderful November breakfast or treat.

Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Bread
Image and Recipe via Averie Cooks

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Cranberry Sunset for Healthy Cranberry Recipes

Healthy Cranberry Recipes

Cranberries are in-season, and with the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to put them in all your favorite dishes with these healthy cranberry recipes.

First up is a healthy Orange Cranberry Bread with Honey that makes the perfect light holiday breakfast.

Orange Cranberry Bread {with Honey}

 

These Roasted Balsamic Cranberry and Brie Crostini are a rich and delicious holiday appetizer.

Roasted Balsamic Cranberry and Brie Crostini
Image and Recipe via Neighbor Food

 

Crockpot Chicken with Butternut Squash, Pears, and Cranberries is a great weeknight meal to take advantage of the in-season fruit.

Crockpot Paleo Chicken with Butternut Squash, Pears and Cranberries

 

Cranberry Apple Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf is a sweet and savory side that’s perfect for Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Apple Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf

 

This light Chicken or Turkey Salad with Cranberries and Pecans is the perfect use of holiday leftovers.

Chicken or Turkey Salad with Cranberries and Pecans
Image and Recipe via The Yummy Life

 

If you’re looking for a light and healthy palate cleanser after dinner, try this Cranberry Frozen Yogurt.

Cranberry Frozen Yogurt

 

Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries are a delicious, holiday treat.

Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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