Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means it's time to plot and plan what you will serve, bring, or simply enjoy.
This holiday has had an interesting (if not common) path throughout my life. As a kid, I have fond memories of big family celebrations at Aunt Betty's house. Two turkeys roasting to perfection in the extra basement oven and everyone passing out on sofas after the feast with football playing in the background.
In my 20's it was the decade of friends and experimentation. And by this, I mean we cooked the turkey in every possible way you could imagine – smoked, deep-fried, spatchcocked, and even one year in a plastic bag. Oh, and of course, the vegetarian days when the bird was replaced with texturized vegetable protein loaf or some kind of tofu miracle – with mushroom gravy.
These days, our family of four has come full circle to traditional Thanksgiving, every year honing our recipes til we find the ones that will be our recurring annual dish.
Butternut squash soup – Sometimes, but not always, we serve soup before dinner, and in those cases it's usually this perfect and simple recipe. Click here for the soup recipe.
Oysters on the half shell – Every year my best friend, Jess, is in charge of starters. If we're lucky enough to have a talented oyster shucker on the guest list, these are always on the menu.
Butter rub (How to make a moist turkey every time) – What is Thanksgiving without a good healthy debate about how to make a turkey? After all of the trials and errors, I've found that this butter rub method yields the most delicious and moist meat every time. Don't do butter? No problem. You can use extra duck fat instead. Click here for the butter rub and turkey recipe.
Gluten-free gravy – While I love a traditional gravy thickened with (sprouted) flour, my hubby feels so much better when he's gluten-free. So this gluten-free gravy is the perfect solution to please everyone at the table. Click here for the gravy recipe.
Perfect mashed potatoes – To me, the best part of this holiday has always been the mashed potatoes. This version is perfection with butter, cream, roasted garlic, and sea salt adding the creamy, savory notes. Click here for the mashed potato recipe.
Simple green salad with ranch dressing – Rather than go bananas with green bean casseroles or heavy bacon and brussels dishes, I prefer to keep the Thankgiving veggies light and fresh. We love to drizzle mixed greens with a homemade fresh herb ranch dressing, adding herby tang to a very rich meal. Click here for the ranch recipe.
Cranberry sauce – As a kid, cranberry sauce usually came out of a can, cut into perfect circles. When I realized how simple and more delicious homemade cranberry sauce is, I've never looked back. Follow the recipe on the bag, substituting a healthier, mineral rich sweetener (coconut sugar or sucanat) for the white sugar. If you're feeling adventurous, grate some orange peel and throw a cinnamon stick and a couple of cloves into the simmering cranberries.
Grain-free homestyle stuffing (by Mommypotamus) – Stuffing is one of those dishes that we often will vary each year depending on our mood. Sometimes, wild mushrooms. Other years we add sausage and chestnuts, or even oysters. By far, one of my favorites is this grain-free stuffing from my friend Heather. Amazing how a non-bread stuffing can taste so good! Click here for the stuffing recipe.
Sweet potato Casserole – Looking for a Americana classic turned real food wonder? This sweet potato casserole made with homemade brown butter sage marshmallows is a fun addition to the holiday table. Click here for the sweet potato casserole recipe.
I know I'm the odd one out, but I'm just not a fan of pumpkin pie – or pies in general. So here are three of my favorite non-pie Thanksgiving desserts…
Paleo chocolate cupcakes (by Hollywood Homestead) – Sylvie has brought these beauties over for more than one holiday celebration. They are so delicious, you'd never know they were grain-free. Click here for the cupcake recipe.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies – My version of pumpkin perfection – spiced cakes surrounding maple cream cheese filling. Click here for the whoopie pie recipe.
Slow cooked caramel apples with homemade vanilla ice cream – Why have crust when you can enjoy even more of the good stuff? These apples melt in your mouth and are even better over a scoop of vanilla. Click here for the apple recipe and click here for the recipe ice cream recipe.
Happy Turkey Day!
What are your family's holiday favorites?