Good Food and Gratitude: My Paleo Thanksgiving

  Photo credit istock by Getty Images

Photo credit istock by Getty Images

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Quite frankly, this year the holidays couldn't come soon enough. With all of the noise and intense energy that has been going on in the aftermath of the election, we could all use a break. It's time to surround ourselves with family and friends, good food, and LOVE. During these next few weeks, we need to stop, breathe, and reflect on all that we are grateful for. 

Gratitude is one of the most medicinal emotions we can feel. It elevates our moods and fills us with joy.
— Sara Avant Stover

Although I am a little late in planning my menu this year, I can't wait to start cooking. This weekend I will pick up my fresh, pasture raised turkey through the Rivertown CSA, from Hemlock Hill Farm. The birds are fed vegetarian non-gmo grains, and are never given hormones or antibiotics. They also eat fresh grass, seeds, insects, worms, plus wilted kale & collards from the garden. I will also pick up a huge harvest of fresh, local, organic produce from Ironwood Farm, including potatoes, leeks, squash, parsnips, carrots, beets, brussel sprouts and more. Local food brings us all together around the table, and we can all be reminded of the beauty in nature that surrounds us every day. 

Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.
— Lauren DeStefano

First, the bird. I am planning to try a new technique this year, using this dry brine technique. It's very different cooking with a fresh (not frozen) turkey, so drying it out a bit before cooking should help give it a flavorful, not-too-moist consistency (I hope!)

  Photo credit Istock by Getty Images

Photo credit Istock by Getty Images

I will be making the best use of all the veggies from the CSA haul with these delicious soups and side dishes: 

I love to start the meal with a warm, comforting soup. This parsnip-leek soup from reciperenovator.com looks amazing!

 Photo Credit reciperenovator.com

Photo Credit reciperenovator.com

With the main course, I'll be serving this Roasted Garlic Autumn Mash from NomNom Paleo. Roasting the garlic gives this dish such an incredible flavor. 

My favorite Brussel Sprouts recipe is this one from the Diane Sanfilippo's 21-Day Sugar Detox. Brussel Sprouts with bacon and crispy capers. So good!! 

 

This Squash and Apple Bake came from an old magazine recipe that I had been making for many years. The original included white flour and brown sugar. I've replaced several ingredients to make it Paleo and it's been a huge success. It's just sweet enough for the adults and kids to all enjoy!

Recipe for Paleo Squash and Apple Bake:

  • 1 TBSP Coconut Oil (for greasing pan)
  • 1 Butternut Squash (2 lbs), peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 Medium Apples (Rome apples work well), cored, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/3 Cup Coconut Sugar
  • 1 TBSP Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP Grass Fed Butter, melted
  1. Heat Oven to 350 degrees and grease baking pan with oil. 
  2. Add apples and squash to the pan
  3. In a small bowl, stir together coconut flour, coconut sugar and cinnamon
  4. Sprinkle mixture on top of squash and apples, pour melted butter on top, and cover the dish with tin foil or lid. 
  5. Bake about 45 minutes covered or until ingredients are fork-tender.  Enjoy! 

Of course, there will also be homemade Paleo Cranberry sauce. I love this recipe from Cook Eat Paleo. Just three ingredients and so easy to prepare! 

 Photo credit Cookeatpaleo.com

Photo credit Cookeatpaleo.com

Dessert can be healthy and delicious! How cute is this Thanksgiving Fruit Platter from melaniecooks.com?

 Photo credit: PInterest via melaniecooks.com

Photo credit: PInterest via melaniecooks.com

For the Grand Finale, these Paleo Pecan Squares from Worth Every Chew are the highlight of the dessert menu. Seriously, they are AMAZING. Shown here with my daughter's famous thumbprint cookies. The cookies are not Paleo, but she uses a gluten and soy-free flour blend and all-fruit jam so that I can have one. Or two. Yum!

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
— Melody Beattie

Thank you for reading! 

I wish you a happy, healthy Thanksgiving filled with joy, peace and love. 

- Julie