Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the harvest, revel in our abundance, and show gratitude for our many blessings. To me, this means being fully present and engaged with those we love, and NOT having a hangover of guilt from over-indulging and “ditching our diet”.
Like any other day of the year, my philosophy for Thanksgiving is the same: prepare your meal with an abundance of wholesome, quality ingredients and be mindful as you eat. Be present, be grateful, be joyful.
So I decided to do a Healthy Cooking Club with traditional (and not so traditional) Thanksgiving side dishes – made only with fresh, whole ingredients. Note: I did not make a turkey – I’ve actually never cooked a whole turkey in my entire life, and I didn’t really see a “lesson” in turkey preparation going very well.
To start, we had a date, goat cheese and almond appetizer that was drizzled with a honey and balsalmic glaze. It looks so fancy, but is a breeze to make. To drink, we made Apple Spice Cocktails, using organic apple juice fused with cinnamon sticks.
We prepared three side dishes. First was Butternut Squash Spiked Mashed Potatoes. The squash gave the potatoes a little extra kick, plus delivered an extra dose of nutrients. We also made pan seared brussel sprouts, sliced thin and prepared with coconut oil, salt and pepper. And then I also had made a kale and mushroom stuffing beforehand – this was my favorite! Whole wheat bread from Bluegrass Bakery made it so tasty, and the kale and dried cranberry combination looked so pretty.
I also prepared a salad that was loaded with “fall” ingredients…carrots, beets, pistachios, pumpkin seeds. I think most people are surprised to eat raw beets and actually like them. The trick is to cut them thin using a mandolin or a veggie spiralizer. I really would love a mandolin but I know myself too well – I would cut the HELL out of myself trying to use that thing. So I use my spiralizer, which is a bit more idiot-proof…
Dessert was fresh cranberry and apple crumble. I love crumbles because it is just that…a crumble. No worries on making a perfect, roll-worthy dough. Just mix the ingredients in a bowl and crumble it on top. EASY!!!! I used almond flour, so the dessert was gluten free. And instead of whipped cream, I made a cashew cream in my vitamix. So it was also dairy free.
Great company, great food. It’s what Healthy Cooking Club is all about!