Thanksgiving is a good time to reconnect with our friends, family and everyone we love. The traditional foods at Thanksgiving can leave us feeling heavy. Here are some ideas to lighten up dinner and make it easier for all of us to enjoy the time together without collapsing into a coma afterwards.
1. Rice meet Cauliflower Rice Instead
While rice is a great vehicle for sauces and gravies as well as soaking up flavour-on its own white rice really is not doing us a lot of favours! We suggest trying out cauliflower rice. Sulphorphane in cauliflower and the other members of the cruciferous family such as Broccoli and Brussels sprouts, have been shown to aid in assisting in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels as well as kidney function. Our kidneys help us detoxify so we need to help them out sometimes! As well cauliflower has Choline, a B vitamin that helps boost brain health! One large cauliflower hold a fair amount of fiber and that will be great for helping you with overeating feeling later! 😉
1. Cauliflower Rice is more nutrient packed than white rice and soaks up flavor well! While rice is a great vehicle for sauces and gravies as well as soaking up flavour-on its own white rice really is not doing us a lot of favours! We suggest trying out cauliflower rice. Sulphorphane in cauliflower and the other members of the cruciferous family such as Broccoli and Brussels sprouts, have been shown to aid in assisting in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels as well as kidney function. Our kidneys help us detoxify so we need to help them out sometimes! As well cauliflower has Choline, a B vitamin that helps boost brain health! One large cauliflower hold a fair amount of fiber and that will be great for helping you with overeating feeling later! 😉
• 1 cauliflower (cut into florets)
• Avocado oil
• Sea salt
• Black pepper
• A splash cream or a dollop of grassfed butter
You can either grate cauliflower with a grater OR you can used a food processor.
Chop or cut fine enough for you put in large pan and pour avocado oil in. Heat on medium heat. Add the grated cauliflower with your desired amounts of salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and taste it to ensure it loses its uncooked cauliflower taste (especially if you are trying to impress persnickety guests) and finally stir in cream or butter or BOTH and serve.
2. Root Veggies Mash with Chives you can still have some traditional potatoes in this mash but amp it up with some of the other root veggies. Instead of just potatoes, which are addicting and delicious, add in a few of the other members of the root veggie family, carrots, turnips, and sweet potatoes! The other members of the root family provide new array of nutrients and you still get you have your potatoes! ☺
Carrots- Vitamin A and C. Rich in antioxidants and has heirloom options in purple and yellow which can be a crowd pleaser for kids!
Turnips: Similar to potatoes in that you can roast, mash and scallop and rich in vitamin C. GREAT at absorbing flavour.
Sweet Potatoes: One of the best options for healthy skin. Sweet potatoes help with collagen production, which maintains elasticity in the skin! Although sweet potatoes are sweet, their natural sugars are released slowly and give you a more balanced source of energy!
• 4 tbsps of butter flavoured coconut oil OR grassfed butter if you can tolerate dairy
• 2 rainbow carrots chopped
• 3 medium turnips or one large one
• 3 red potatoes chopped (can leave skin on)
• 2 sweet potatoes chopped (can leave skin on)
• 2 cups organic chicken or veggie broth (can be homemade!)
• 3 tbsp greens onions or chives chopped
• sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Chop all your veggies. Carrots, turnips, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium to high heat. Add the root vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. You want to give the veggies the opportunity to soften.
2. Bring the broth and sea salt to a boil in a large pot, and then lower the heat to medium. Add in the chopped veggies. Cover the pot and stir occasionally. You want your potatoes to become soft, this can take 35 to 40 minutes. (You can prep your other ingredients for other parts of your meal in this time, and chop your chives or green onions) Once you can poke a knife through the potatoes it is ready. Let cool for 2 minutes and drain any excess liquid. Be careful of the hot steam.
3. Return the veggies to the pot and mash. Add in the chopped green onions or chives.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste! Serve! ☺
3. Bread Stuffing try out Sausage Stuffing without Grains!
The reason why it is a good idea to try grain free stuffing is to alleviate the feeling of being… well stuffed! The white bread or even whole grain varieties can fill us up too much. This is better for you version uses local sausage that really fills you up and makes for excellent leftovers! Also if you buy boxed stuffing you get ingredients like: hydrogenated soybean oil, vital wheat gluten, yeast, sugar, a tiny bit of celery and parsley to add to the label, MSG, and corn syrup! Hopefully we can agree to say no thank you to those.
Grain free stuffing!
• 2 tbsps butter or coconut oil or avocado oil
• 4 to 5 celery sticks chopped
• 3 parsnips chopped
• 1 turnip removed
• ½ red onion chopped
• 4 sausages from Bearbook Farms Casings removed ( We used Wild Boar Apple and Cranberry and it was incredible)
• 1 tbsp fresh rosemary (2 tbsps if dried)
• ½ can of water chestnuts
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt butter in a skillet & sauté chopped veggies (celery sticks, parsnips, turnips, onions until they are soft and fragrant! ☺
2. In a different pan, open sausage casing and crumble sausage to the skillet & break with a utensil. Cook thoroughly ( 20 mins or more)
3. Add fresh chopped rosemary, and water chestnuts cook for another 20 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Add more oil if needed
4. Place into a dish and serve right away with a sprinkling of pepper.
4.Regular gravy meet Gravy Secret Ingredient Gravy
Gravy without flour is a better option than one with white flour. We end up eating a lot of unhealthy fat this way, and added sugar in packaged mixes as well. Using veggie broth and omitting the flour creates a simple switch that is much healthier!
You can give your gravy an upgrade this way:
• 1 tbsp avocado oil
• 1 large onion chopped.
• 1 tsp thyme and oregano dried or fresh
• 2 tbsps butter
• 2 garlic cloves peeled and diced
• 1 cup of chicken or veggie broth (feel free to use your own)
• Coconut flour 1 tbsp
• Sea salt
• Black pepper
• A sprinkle of sumac (has a tangy flavour secret ingredient)
• 1 tbsp coconut milk
1. Add avocado oil, and onion to a pan and cook for 10 minutes. Add in thyme, oregano, butter and garlic. Let it cook for another 5 minutes.
2. Add in your Broth. Sprinkle in sea salt and pepper.
3. Add coconut milk and then add in coconut flour until desired thickness.
4. Stir gently and add in more coconut flour if you need or more broth to reach the thickness you enjoy. ☺
5. Acorn Squash Pudding Power!
This is a bonus that seems crazy but really is a great option for dessert if you want to take a twist on the traditional or make both!
You cook the acorn squash as you normally would but then you can scoop it out, add maple syrup or apple sauce, cocoa and vanilla.
Acorn squash full of Vitamin A , which is good for the skin and Vitamin C again which helps with immunity. As well acorn squash is super tasty and a great seasonal food for fall. It is versatile and can be made into sweet and savoury delights.
Acorn Squash Pudding Time!
• 2 acorn squash, baked
• 1 can of coconut milk
• 1/2 cup maple syrup or 1/3 cup of xylitol
• 3/4 cup cacao powder
• 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
• 3 tsp. cinnamon
• 3 tbsp. coconut oil
Instructions: Heat oven to 350 degrees and baked squash for approximately 45 minutes. Take out those seeds and save to roast! Scoop out the rest into a bowl and add in coconut milk, maple syrup or xylitol, cacao, vanilla extract, cinnamon and coconut oil.
Add your other ingredients into the mixture and blend in high until smooth or in a food processor and set in the fridge for an hour or longer ( if you can even wait that LONG) and enjoy. This is a high yield recipe and great to bring with you to dinners!
6. Pumpkin Pie in a whole new light! Instead of using sweetened condensed milk which is a major sugar bomb, we will switch out for coconut milk (which holds healthy fat!), and sweeten with honey or stevia.
To amp up your pie shell (instead of the regular white flour crust ) we can use a date and walnut (Brain power) or almond combo to completely eliminate white flour. This will give your pie extra fall like flavour. Pumpkin itself is rich in Vitamin C and Zinc which is great for skin AND which helps our immunity, as well fiber for keeping things moving in the digestive system!
For the Crust
• 1 cup of almonds or pecans, finely ground in blender until flour like (or almond flour)
• 3 tbsps of coconut oil plus some to grease pie pan, ensure you are using unrefined organic for the best flavor
• 1 cup of soaked dates for at least 20 mins (if you forget just soak in hot water for a few minutes)
• 1 egg beaten
• ½ tsp. cinnamon
For Filling aka Tasty Insides
• 1 (15 ounce) can of pumpkin NOT pumpkin pie filling or approximately 2 cups of homemade pureed pumpkin ( Pumpkin often comes in larger sizes so save the rest for smoothies!) It is hard to find Organic Canned Pumpkin but the Natural Food Pantry has it on special this MONTH!
• 3 eggs beaten
• ¼ cup of honey or maple syrup (or to taste) – can substitute a 2 tbsps od stevia or a ½ cup of xylitol but honey or maple syrup helps hold it together better and ensure to add a little extra liquid, water us fine if using the dry sweetener
• 2 tsp cinnamon
• ¼ tsp each of cloves
• ½ tsp ground ginger
• ½ tsp ground nutmeg
• 2 teaspoon of natural vanilla
• 1/4 cup of canned coconut milk that has been stirred as it can separate.
1. Preheat the oven to 325.
2. Using a 12 inch pie plate minimum grease the inside fully with coconut oil. You can use parchment paper as a liner and try to fold it over the crust.
3. Press crust firmly and evenly on the pie plate dish and place in the oven.
4. Take your crust ingredient and mix well in the large bowl or food process or use a potato masher to really smoosh in the dates. Put the crust into the oven for about 15 minutes on the lowest rack. The crust can brown quickly so keep and eye out.
5. Combine all your ingredients with a large mixing spoon, ensuring you have beaten your eggs, add in honey of desired, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, natural vanilla and then coconut milk. It will be runny.
6. Check on your crust and if starting to brown it is ready. If not return to oven for a few minutes.
7. Next pour and smooth out the filling over the crust with a spatula and spread out evenly.
8. Bakes for 1 hour until the middle is no longer jiggly. Check at the 30 minute mark. Keep the oven at 325 and on the lower rack to avoid the crust from browning too much.
To feel less stuffed try going for a walk after dinner! Catch the segment Here!