A Grateful Feast of Health: Thanksgiving

Posted on October 31, 2010 by

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Make a memorable feast to be grateful for with our Thanksgiving recipes!  Thanksgiving is one of the easiest holidays to center around real food, since the centerpiece is a clean protein:  the ever-so-healthy roasted turkey.  Yes, many ‘traditional’ modern tables will be laden with gooey sweet potatoes, green beans swimming in canned soup and topped with canned fried onions, canned cranberries and boxed stuffing.  If you’re facing a spread like this, our advice is to bring a large festive salad and perhaps one of these side dishes.  This way if you focus on the turkey, fill your plate with salad and small ‘tastes’ of other dishes you’ll do minimal damage to your health and fat loss efforts.  It may help to remember that if you allow your dinner to consist of sugared items, you’ll be helpless against the dessert spread as your blood sugar will already be on a ride…

Start this feast with by roasting a large, organic turkey.  The leftovers will make the rest of the week that much easier!

Quinoa Stuffing (This is best after it’s roasted in the bird – recipe makes enough for a 17-20 lb turkey.)

1 cup apples, chopped

1.5 cup celery, chopped

1 TBS coconut oil

1 cup onions, chopped

4 oz quinoa, dry

.5 cup raisins

.5 cup walnuts, chopped

Cover quinoa with water in pan, bring to boil and simmer 15 minutes, covered, until soft and drain. (water ratio is 1:2 quinoa to water, and cook like rice.) Season with freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Saute everything else in the coconut oil, mix with the quinoa, and stuff the bird. Makes about 4 cups.

Cherry Cranberry Relish (The flavors are intricate and sublime. Best to make it the day before.)

.5 cup raw honey

.5 cup dried cherries

.25 tsp ground cinnamon

12 oz raw cranberries

.75 cup water

.5 tsp nutmeg

.5cup port wine

1 tsp grated orange zest

Heat the honey, water, port, and spices to a boil. Add the cherries and boil one minute. Add the cranberries and simmer until they pop. Remove from the heat and add 1 tsp grated orange zest. Cool, and then chill. Makes about 3 cups.

Roasted Squash & Pomegranate Seeds on Arugula (festive and pretty!)

4 oz arugula

2 TBS balsamic vinegar

2 TBS orange juice

1 TBS extra virgin olive oil

2 TBS raw pine nuts

1 pomegranate

1 acorn squash

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Whisk together orange juice, vinegar, olive oil and cardamom, set aside. Lay squash in baking dish, spray with olive oil, low sodium tamari, and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, turn and spray again, roast for another 15 minutes until brown and tender. In a large bowl mix arugula, pomegranate seeds and pine nuts. Toss with 1/2 the dressing. Place on serving platter with arugula in the middle, squash on the edges, drizzle dressing over the squash

Sweet Potato Bake with Maple Syrup Cinnamon Pecans

1 raw cranberries

1 egg

2 TBS pure maple syrup

.5 cup raw pecans

4 sweet potatoes

.25 tsp low sodium tamari

8 oz tangerine sections

.5 tsp ground cinnamon

.25 tsp nutmeg

Bake 4 sweet potatoes until soft in the middle. Lightly coat skillet with olive oil, place pecans in pan with maple syrup and cinnamon. Cook and stir often until toasted, about 5 minutes, remove from pan and when cool break into pieces. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Puree tangerines in blender or mini food processor. Mash baked sweet potatoes and stir in tangerine puree, egg, pepper, nutmeg and tamari, fold in cranberries. Transfer to a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish coat lightly with olive oil. Bake for 30minutes. Top with pecans and bake for another 10 minutes, serve hot.

Mashed Root Vegetables (these look like regular mashed potatoes, and taste like mashed potatoes with ‘zing’)

Ingredients:

.25 cup (or less) unsweetened almond milk

2 TBS extra virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil

2 lbs mix of sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, winter squash, rutabaga, turnip and/or parsnip

Steam or boil veggies until tender. With hand masher, food processor or mixer, blend veggies,  oil, almond milk, and a bit of black pepper . Serve immediately.  The more squash and sweet potatoes you use, the less milk you need.  You may find you don’t need any!  These surprise people – if you don’t tell them it’s not all potatoes, they’ll ask for your seasoning secret!

Sheri’s Pumpkin Custard (basically pumpkin pie without the crust, this is quick and easy!   I keep baked pumpkin in the fridge just so I can enjoy this dish anytime.   It makes a delicious dessert, snack or even brunch dish!)

2-3 cups baked pumpkin (cut pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds.  Bake open side down on baking sheet at 375 for about 30-40 minutes, depending on size of pumpkin – it’s done when it’s soft)

1.5 TBS pumpkin pie spice

2 large or 3 medium eggs

.25 cup real maple syrup

1.5 tsp vanilla

1 cup coconut milk (not light!)

Measure it all into the blender and blend until well mixed.  Pour into casserole dish or pie plate greased with extra virgin coconut oil.  Bake in preheated oven at 375 for approximately 40 minutes – will be slightly browned and slightly firm in the middle.  Great warm or cold!

Pumpkin Pie (Grain Free)

Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds

2 cups raw walnuts

10-15 dates

2 TBS orange juice

.75 cup xylitol

1.25 tsp ground cinnamon

.25 tsp ground cloves

.25 tsp ground ginger

.25 tsp nutmeg

15 oz cooked or canned pumpkin

2 eggs

1.25 cups unsweetened almond milk

Soak walnuts, almonds and dates overnight in water. To make crust,use S blade on your food processor, put dates and nuts in food processor, add the orange juice, and mix until you end up with a sticky ball of dough. Grease a 10 inch pie plate with olive oil. Press the crust in as best you can.  In a large bowl, mix xylitol, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.  Add pumpkin, almond milk, and eggs; whisk until well blended. Pour mixture into pie crust.. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350°; continue baking until center of pie is set and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 45 minutes longer.  Set pie on a rack until cool, at least 2 hours.

Posted in: Eat This!