Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Menu

Okay so I am doing a little better than last year to give you our Healthy Thanksgiving Menu ideas two days before instead of one day. You still have time to go to the store today or tomorrow if you dare. That was quite an accomplishment yesterday to come out alive and sane.
So here goes!
We will of course be having a turkey since it is so traditional. It just wouldn't feel right to me to not have turkey. What is with those crazy fish eaters on Thanksgiving?? Even my vegan friends eat a Tofurkey! Plus turkey is a lean white meat with lots of protein and no carbs (since the rest of the meal is carb heavy.) It also has plenty of vitamins and minerals and is particularly high in selenium. There aren't a ton of dietary sources of selenium so turkey is a great way to get you some.

I am not a gravy lover but others in my family are so I won't ruin their Thanksgiving. Here is a link to the recipe (and source of the above picture) I am probably using.

I am a cranberry lover though and this is what I will be eating on my Turkey. I actually just finished making this so it has two days for the flavors to blend and get even yummier. It is very simple. Just add one bag of cranberries and the zest and juice of one orange to the food processor and pulse into very fine pieces. Then simmer on the stove for about 10 minutes adding two heaping spoonfuls of honey, a little water and a little Stevia if you need it sweeter. You can sweeten it to your own taste.

On the Side

We skip the green bean casserole in favor of these much better for you green beans. No one ever ate that green bean casserole anyway. I would end up throwing it away every year. Just blanch some fresh green beans and then saute them with a little red onion, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and slivered almonds. I make these last because they cool off pretty quickly.

I could also live without the potatoes but others really need them to feel like it's Thanksgiving and since I understand the turkey thing and not the fish thing I will make these too. I will clean them up however! Instead of cream and butter I will use chicken broth and light sour cream or Greek yogurt and possibly a little chive and garlic for flavor. Buttermilk is also a better alternative to heavy cream. Save that for dessert.

We will also have a fresh fruit salad. When I was a little girl my mom always made fruit salad with fruit cocktail and whipped cream all mixed together. It was one of my favorite things then, but of course I like to just let the fruit shine in all it's natural glory and not come from a can now! Even though all the fruit isn't at its peak right now the flavors all help each other out. Especially the oranges and pineapple. Hopefully my kids will have a different story to tell about their Thanksgiving meals!

I made this Spaghetti Squash Gratin not very long ago for dinner one night and knew right away that it would be a side dish on my Thanksgiving table. Last year I made something similar from Kalyn's Kitchen called Spaghetti Squash and Chard Gratin. I will make it Wednesday so I just have to heat it up Thursday. You can find the full recipe in the October Archives on my blog but you just need some onions, reduced fat cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream, a tiny bit of butter or butter alternative, and a little seasoning like parsley or thyme. I will be adding some kale to it for Thursday to green it up and give it a little more nutrition.

I am planning on making some homemade stuffing. Again this is something I could totally live without because I would rather eat two portions of spaghetti squash gratin, but it's traditional. I really don't have a recipe I am following but it will involve dried whole wheat bread I have already laid out, celery, onion, leeks, chicken broth, nuts, maybe cranberries and pears, parsley, sage, and rosemary.

Thanks to Pinterest my family will get some rolls too. I would normally just make my homemade oatmeal bread but the recipe for these seemed simple and fairly healthy so I am going to give it a try. You can find the recipe here.


Also thanks to Pinterest I am going to make something similar to this delightful turkey for the kids and the grownups to enjoy!

These apple chips are a Pinterest thing as well. I want to make them but time will be my issue so they are last on the list. You can make them though if you like!

Black olives may seem strange to you but there hasn't been a single Thanksgiving in my life without them. Even in college while home with a friend her family happily obliged and included my black olives on their table! Thanks Karon! We will not be eating them on a spoon though. The tradition is for the kids to put them on their fingers of course!

The other thing I can't remember a Thanksgiving without are deviled eggs. There are a few creatures in my house who devour these in one bite. You have to take one while you can because when you turn around they will be gone.

I also got a few fun cheeses and some whole grain crackers. I love a good aged cheddar so that came home with me and a smoked cheddar and Swiss blend. I will also put out a reduced fat Colby jack blend the kids like.


We all love pumpkin pie around here but especially Evan. It isn't really the crust we love it is just the flavor. So I decided to make this crust from Oh She Glows. It sounded much better to me and it is a bit healthier. Pumpkin is another one of those Thanksgiving traditions that gets good grades for its healthiness! It is rich in vital antioxidants and dietary fiber, low in calories, and is often recommended by dietitians in weight loss and cholesterol reducing programs. So no guilt people!

This was also a Pinterest find. I told you that darn site would be a time kill for me. But who could say no to mini pumpkin cheesecakes made with a gingersnap for the crust? Pumpkin pie and cheesecake are Evan's two favorite desserts so maybe he will forgive me for not making Pumpkin Yummy his other favorite. Plus they are small so they are just a mini indulgence.

Finally something to drink. I found this recipe reading one of my favorite blogs, Peas and Thank You. Pumpkin Pie Latte in the crock pot that I can drink all day long if my little heart desires. Ummmm........YES!!!!!!! You just need some strongly brewed pumpkin spice coffee. Dunkin' Donuts makes a great one but so does Trader Joe's I hear. You add the coffee to the crock pot along with some unsweetened vanilla almond milk, canned pumpkin, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and some Stevia to taste. I might froth a little milk for the top of my cup(s)! Click on the link to get all the correct measurements. You know me. I will just dump.

So there you have it! This will be our healthier Thanksgiving Meal. I realize I should have typed up those appetizers first but I didn't and I need to get working on this huge meal now so I am not about to try to move things around. I also realize this is a ton of food but I don't want to cook for about 3 days after this so I will need lots of leftovers.

Good thing I am running the Turkey Leg 5K first thing in the morning Thursday so I can burn some calories and make room for this meal! The exciting part is that I get to run it with Evan. I am sure he will beat me but he promises not too bad!

I hope your Thanksgiving is a blessed one and that you can find a moment to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for. I know my Portions of Goodness are many and I am very grateful.

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