If you are making every attempt to try and eat good food this holiday season, food free of sweetened condensed milk, reddi whip, and jello fluff, then here is a menu that might lend you a hand.
Some of these recipes are my own, and some I’ve gathered from my bloggie friends and neighbors who are good cooks and use whole ingredients. Some offer special dietary options such as dairy free or paleo (I’m not necessarily a paleo person but I have friends who are).
I’ve also included a few splurges, so please note that some options do include conventional ingredients such as flour and sugar. However, these ingredients can easily be switched out for healthier alternatives such as rapadura, spelt flour, or soft white wheat flour. You can read more about those alternatives here.
Start your meal off with:
Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts – a creation of our own. My very cosmopolitan sister would call this “mainstream” I prefer to call it a classic. We shared it recently with the readers at Gnowfglins.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup – tips for this recipe include no dairy options.
Brined Turkey with gravy – If using a fresh turkey, brining will give you a juicier bird. The recipe for the brine includes sugar. I would use Rapadura instead. If you don’t want to use flour in your gravy, substitute Arrowroot flour, using a few tablespoons at a time (dissolved in cold water first) until you get the resulting thickness that you want.
Mashed Potatoes - Does one really need a recipe for mashed potatoes? However, I can give you a few tips that I learned that have made some of the best potatoes ever: use a potato ricer for a great texture, fold in a small amount of sharp cheddar cheese while the potatoes are still hot, and add about a tablespoon of grated onion. Just run it across the fine teeth of your grater or press a chunk of it in a garlic press and add it to your potatoes ~ juice and all. It adds an unexpected depth of flavor you’ll really enjoy.
Roasted Vegetables – consider passing these as a side instead of offering dressing or stuffing. However you choose to refer to it in your kitchen, it can leave one feeling very heavy.
Cranberry Relish – also included are the health benefits of cranberries. If you don’t want to use sugar as the recipe suggests, consider using a small amount of Rapadura, honey, or maple syrup to taste.
Acorn Cookies ~ Serve in small teacups at the table or on your buffet with the rest of your desserts (Be sure to register for the giveaway when you go to get the recipe)
Homemade Applesauce Cake ~ while this recipe uses sugar both in the cake and the frosting, as well as white flour, you could consider using Rapadura and soft white wheat flour instead. Also Lisa uses her duck eggs for baking. Here are some tips if you wanted to do the same.
Pumpkin Pie – made completely from scratch. Recipe is listed below.
Tips and recipes for using your leftovers:
then for your leftovers:
From Scratch Pumpkin Pie
If you want to process your own pumpkin, I recommend doing it on the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving at the latest.
If you try to do it on Thursday and then do a pie crust, while you are baking a turkey, and you have people in your kitchen trying to help: it won’t work. It will be a disaster.
So I recommend you block out some time early in the week to do both the pumpkin and the pie crust.
The tutorial for processing the pumpkin is here.
For the pie crust:
- 1 cup of soft white wheat flour
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/3 c + 1T of butter; cut into small pieces
- 2 – 3 T of cold water
In the bowl of a food processor with the blade attached, blend the salt and flour. Add the butter and toss the pieces to coat with the flour (unplug the food processor while you are doing this please!)
Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
Add water through the feed tube just until the dough starts to hold together. Stop the food processor (and unplug it again). Gather up the dough and flatten into a small disc. For best results wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate overnight before rolling out the dough.
To bake: Roll out dough and place in pie pan. Set a large sheet of aluminum foil inside the pan and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake in a 475 degree preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until slightly browned.
Note: You can see from the photo that my crust was burned. :( That is because I followed the above directions to a “t”. I would recommend blind baking the crust at 425 degrees instead of the recommended 475; and watch carefully.
~Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker
For the pie:
- 1/2 cup of Rapadura (the original recipe calls for 3/4 cup of sugar; this adjustment makes for a less-sweet pie. Just keep that in mind)
- 1 t salt
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- 1/2 t fresh grated ginger
- 1/8 t ground cloves
- pinch of grated nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 15 oz of cooked pumpkin (or canned, but please don’t use canned)
- 1 1/2 c of heavy cream
- 2 t vanilla
- 1 T bourbon (optional, but very tasty)
Roll out crust and blind bake for about 15 minutes or so. Adjust the oven heat to 425. Stir together the rapadura, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a small bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, beat the eggs and add the pumpkin, cream, vanilla, and bourbon. Add the sugar and spice mixture and mix well.
Fill the pie shell with the pumpkin mixture and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 and bake until the filling is set in the middle: about 40-50 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve with sweetened whipped cream. May also spike the cream with a small amount of bourbon.
What is on your menu for Thanksgiving?
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