Reclaiming Thanksgiving

November 24, 2015

Well I blinked, for only a second, and summer and fall have disappeared!  Thanksgiving is only days away and I’m so excited!  I have not always enjoyed the holidays (think self-inflicted Martha Stewart perfectionism and ‘traditional’ holiday foods), but this year my perspective is totally different.  I’ve decided to reclaim Thanksgiving from the depths of bland mashed potatoes, dry turkey and flavorless gravy, and Grandmom, please forgive me, cranberry sauce in a can (my not-so-healthy Turkey Day obsession).

So this year, bring on the family and the much improved menu!  Thanksgiving, I have you in my cross hairs and I have no intention of letting you get away with stuffing me silly and making me sleepy on the couch!  You will not cause me to be filled with gluten and sugar regret for a week.  Nope.  Not this year! 

I hereby reclaim Thanksgiving! 

So let’s talk turkey.  Basically my only advice here, since my strengths are more in the veggie arena, is to not deep fry your turkey.  Yep.  I know, sad face.  But let’s face it, the price you pay for all that flavor is too high.  While healthy fats are your friend, and great for your brain and joints, saturated fats (think all fried foods), are not good for you.  The other thing about deep frying is that lots of nutrients are destroyed, so while turkey is a great protein, high in many minerals like iron and zinc, and B vitamins, deep fried turkey provides very little of the original nutritional value.  What a waste, right?  I agree!  The bottom line, roast that bird!

Fortunately for my dinner guests, my significant other is responsible for the turkey.   My job?  The Magnificent Sides.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling just a tad competitive.  I want my sides to blow that turkey away.  I want my guests coming back to the buffet table for my butternut squash soup, or the roasted brussel sprouts.  I pride myself on converting somewhat reluctant adults into trying small bites of unfamiliar vegetables, this kale salad being one of my most successful ways to accomplish that.  Let them eat kale!  Okay, too far with the Marie Antoinette quote.  But it’s a great salad, I promise.

Lastly, we cannot forget the most important course, dessert!  I plan to focus on having sweets without added sugar, so I decided on a family favorite, Raw Apple Bliss, and some pumpkin pie.  I’m using the crust from this site, and this filling.  I’ll use half of a cup of pureed dates instead of the palm sugar in the filling, but feel free to do what’s easiest for you.  I love when my desserts add nutrition to the meal, but it’s important to choose recipes that I know I can accomplish.  I have many hands to help this year, so I can make things complicated.  If I was the only one doing the cooking and cleaning, you can bet I would buy a pumpkin pie and call it a day.

Don’t forget, this day is not about you slaving away in the kitchen.  It’s about being together, so don’t be afraid to put them to work when your guests ask if there’s anything they can do.  The best conversations often happen in the midst of chopping, stirring, and sampling.  It also tends to increase the amount of vitamin L in the food.  What?  You’ve never heard of vitamin L?  It’s my favorite; Love!  And that’s what happens when friends and families come together on Thanksgiving or any day to cook and eat together, lots of love!

Have a great Thanksgiving!

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