Live Real. Eat Real.

It’s That Time Of Year Again. Already.

Now that Halloween is over, we’ve been inundated with Christmas commercials, reminding us it’s time to ask ourselves that all important question:

“What the @#$% am I going to give them this year??”

Actually, we’ve already started our Christmas shopping – trust me, this is early for us – and what to give any particular person isn’t causing us too much grief (for a change).  No, it was the realization that, as of Thursday, we’re only two weeks away from Thanksgiving that’s stressing me a bit.

Last year about this time, I sent an SOS out to my readers about what to cook for my husband’s favorite holiday.  In the end, I took their advice and our dinner was a mixture of traditional favorites and new, healthy dishes.  Surprisingly (or not), the “traditional” dishes, which almost universally contained refined flour and/or sugar, didn’t taste as good as Beloved and I remembered – and we felt lethargic and kind of crappy for the rest of the day.

This year it will be different, for a couple of reasons.  I’m no longer consuming gluten-bearing grains of any sort, as well as any form of cow’s dairy so many traditional dishes will either be gone or reworked to fit my diet.  Then there will just be me, Beloved and The Young One for the big meal and while Thanksgiving is Beloved’s favorite holiday (“You get to eat too much, drink too much, watch too much football and you don’t have to buy anyone a present”), The Young One, being a picky eater, is less than enthusiastic about it.  Given my traditional menu, he’ll only eat turkey and rolls; if I make mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, he’ll eat the potatoes and nibble the green beans, after he’s picked off all the onions.  He could care less about pie.  All in all, The Young One much prefers Christmas dinners, which I don’t normally have a set menu for – last year I did a standing rib roast, and made chocolate souffle and peppermint ice cream for dessert (his all-time favorite).  (And no, don’t bother suggesting something non-traditional for Thanksgiving; Beloved loves him some turkey – besides, we already have one in the freezer and another on order.)

At any rate, I’m struggling a bit with Thanksgiving dinner this year.  I will probably buy some brown-and-serve rolls for The Young One (bread doesn’t even tempt me any more, so I that’s not a problem) and make him some Roasted Garlic White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes (I may even make him something chocolate for dessert).  As for the rest of it, I’m having trouble making decisions, especially since there’s just the three of us.

So, give a girl a hand, and give me your opinions:

The Turkey From Hell – this is a no-brainer.  I’ve been making the same recipe for 12 years, and have absolutely no inclination to change.  I only mention it so my newer readers can follow the link and read the recipe (just sub the flour with arrowroot or coconut flour).  It’s spectacular.

Spicy Cranberry-Wine Sauce – I originally posted this as a part of another recipe, and tweaked it for Thanksgiving last year and it was just wonderful.  I may make it again (perhaps tonight) and post it as a stand along recipe before Thanksgiving, but I’m entirely open to suggestions for another form of cranberry sauce or relish.

My Grandmother’s Cornbread Dressing made with Savory Almond Muffins instead of cornbread.  Once upon a time, this was my favorite dish at the holidays.  I’ve tried to sub the cornbread with the almond flour muffins already, and while it tasted just fine I wasn’t real thrilled with the texture.  I’m going to make it again tonight, with some tweaks and (perhaps) some different ingredients, so we’ll see.  This is one of those dishes I’m on the fence about, but what would I replace it with?  Suggestions for a grain-free stuffing/dressing?  Preferably without oysters or sausage.

Puree of Turnip with Crispy Shallots – this is just so good.  I don’t much miss mashed potatoes, but when I want them these will be a fine substitute – and they’re fancy enough for a special meal. However, I’m willing to take suggestions for another potato substitute as long as it’s not mashed cauliflower, of which I’m a bit tired.

Maple-Sage Hasselback Sweet Potatoes or Maple Butternut Squash Souffle – if I were having a houseful, I’d make both but since it’s just the three of us (and The Young One will eat neither), it will be one or the other.  I just can’t make up my mind which.

Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta or Green Bean Casserole, without the flour on the onions, and using coconut milk in the mushroom sauce. Both recipes are just stellar, and I’m really on the fence with this one.

Apple Bacon Upside-Down Cake or my grandmother’s Pumpkin Pie without a crust and the appropriate paleo/real food substitutes (after all, pumpkin pie is really nothing more than a custard baked in a crust).  Again, if I were cooking for many I’d make both, but two desserts seems a little superfluous for two people.  Opinions on which I should make?  Suggestions for a different dessert?

So, that’s what I’m thinking about making; I’d love your feedback on my choices.  I’d also love to hear what you’ll be having for Turkey Day, whether or not you prescribe to any sort of “diet” or not.  So, let’s talk food!

OH – one thing that will be on the “drink it while you’re cooking” part of the menu is an absolutely fabulous dairy-free eggnog I’ve come up with.  I didn’t get any pictures when I made this weekend (it went that quickly), but Beloved’s done nothing but beg me suggest that I make it again immediately soon, so you’ll get the recipe for that before The Big Day.

And have a lovely Tuesday, y’all.


15 comments

Be says:

OK, this is the only vote that matters today!

1) Turkey from Hell stays. I don’t want to be lonely.
2) I could go without dressing at all, but I do know some fine Texan ladies who would tell you that leaving out oysters is the reason you can’t find a good substitute Dressing! MMMM I love oyster dressing!
3) Turnips stay. Add garlic to the puree? You made YO’s potatoes sound too good.
4) Brussels sprouts!
5) Pumpkin souffle?

I’ll be there!

PS. GO VOTE!

Jan says:

Sorry, dear – I’ll cook tongue and heart and kidney and liver, but oysters are on the “will NOT cook or consume” list (along with maybe eyeballs and anuses). They’re disgusting critters.

Be says:

Are you just saying that because they are purportedly aphrodisiacs!

I have to side with Jan on this one…sorry Be! :)

I’m drooling over your menu, so I don’t have any suggestions. ;) I’m sticking with my usual menu:

Champagne Turkey
Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes
Slow Cooker Apple Stuffing
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce with Ruby Port and Cinnamon
Pumpkin Cognac Crème Brûlée
Apple Cranberry Pie

Even though this year we’re not having the usual 15 people over (it’ll just be the 4 of us) I still like going all out with Thanksgiving since it’s my favorite! :)

Jan says:

Stacy, every year I drool over your holiday menu! You know, the Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes, the Slow Cooker Apple Stuffing and the Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes would all work for Make Ahead Mondays. I know you’ve posted a lot of these recipes on your blog already, but it would be great if you’d link one of them up next week!

Did you say two WEEKS? OMG .. how did that happen?
I think I have guests arriving next week ….

Jan says:

Yup, two weeks. It took me completely by surprise, too. So – what are you cooking, woman?

Lisa says:

Do you think the Turkey from Hell would work as a Chicken from Hell? (My Thanksgiving is VERY small this year.)

Jan says:

I think The Turkey from Hell would work VERY well as The Chicken from Hell! I understand about the small dinner this year, but I’d have some very unhappy men in my house if there weren’t turkey leftovers.

Nancy says:

We’re having turkey cooked on the Weber grill, grilled sweet Italian sausages, baked sweet potatoes, green beans with almonds, and cranberry salsa. No dressing since my husband and I don’t eat bread anymore and my parents said don’t bother (and it’s just the four of us). The last two years dessert has been marionberry crisp with an almond and coconut topping. We all like it, but it’s not very traditional (but I guess neither are Italian sausages). I might try an almond meal pumpkin cake this year, or maybe an apple crisp. I will pick up a couple of dinner rolls for my Dad, and some ice cream for his dessert topping.

Jan says:

I’m becoming less and less concerned with what’s traditional – it’s my family that feels otherwise for the most part – so your menu sounds pretty good to me, especially the crisp. Do you have a recipe for the cranberry salsa? It sounds intriguing!

Nancy says:

Cranberry Salsa
3 c. cranberries, coarsely chopped (one 12 oz. bag)
2 med. navel oranges, peeled, sectioned and cut into chunks
1 tbsp finely minced sweet red onion (or more to taste)
1/4 c. minced fresh cilantro
1/4 c. honey (more or less to taste)
pinch of cayenne
3 tbsp lime juice

In bowl, combine cranberries and honey. Stir in all other ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. OK to make a day ahead. Enjoy!

Jan says:

WOW – that looks great!!!

All I know is I have got to find a way to get myself up to Ohio for Thanksgiving!

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