Happy Thanksgiving week everyone! Has anyone else started cooking for Thanksgiving…. just me? Fine… lie, its ok. I know you all are getting ready otherwise how the heck do you feed 20 people!!!? But, in the case that you have not finalized your menu and shopping yet, I am FINALLY sharing my menu and Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup for this year!
I admit, I have been nervous about having the whole family over for Thanksgiving. I mean, I know that my food is good… the hubs says he has never eaten so well in his life. But… my family thinks our way of living/eating is strange. They haven’t been ugly about it at all and love the things that I take to family gatherings, but a whole meal…. I may be wrong… but I think they are wondering what it will include too.
Last month, I was chatting with Heather over at Virginia is for Hunter Gatherers at a fabulous Paleo Parents party about Thanksgiving. She did her first hosted paleo Thanksgiving last year and talking with her about it was SO nice… similar ideas and same fears. She said her meal was delicious and everyone enjoyed it, which eased my mind… a little.
So if you are nervous about hosting family this holiday season… a few things to keep in mind, especially if your family is questioning your food options.
1. Seriously, its food.
More often then not, when we are eating with family or hosting family and friends, they are flustered about what they can offer us or what we will serve. “Is it going to taste good?” “What CAN you eat?” So lets just put it out there… we eat actual food. We also put our pants on one leg at a time, just like you. Just because we choose to live a slightly differnt way, doesn’t make us weird. And really, we are eating food too, very good food. We eat so many vegetables (what!? I thought paleo was all meat?!…Not so friend, not so.) and make lots of different foods and preparations to make nutrient dense meals, but its all “normal” food. Just try it and you might be suprised.
2. “Why does it have to be _____?”
Yeah- insert the item, gluten-free, organic, pasture raised, etc. I have found that knowing why you eat what you eat is super important, not just for your own body, but to tell people why you make the concious food choices that you do. I mean, why do you choose a pastured beef steak over one bought at the local discount grocer? If you know the answers to that and why you feel its an important decision, then if someone ask or even (GASP!) ridicules your choice, you can tell them why. Ultimately, its your choice for yourself and your family, so it doesn’t matter what they think. But if they are eating in your home for the holidays, they may ask or wonder. One of the biggies in our home is gluten-zero. I seriously have a reaction just touching gluten filled products, so we really have a NO gluten policy in our home. With that we ask people to not bring gluten containing items to the house, which can be a little harsh sounding, until we explain that there are serious medical implications as a result of gluten for us.
3. “Does it taste the same?”
I’m not gonna lie… I have had people wonder if the food is going to actually taste decent. Its not Stouffer’s Lasagna and definitely not a Sarah Lee pie, or pie crust for that matter, its better! Its true that many of the things that we prepare, especially for holiday meals, take a bit longer than a lot of the convenience foods that would make it, obviously easier. But, we really want to only put whole foods, no additives, no GMOs, not junk, into our bodies. I am willing to work a little harder to do that for me and my family. The benefit? Well… I may just be tooting my own horn, and those of the many bloggers and authors who share wonderful gluten-free and paleo recipes, but the food is amazing.
4. “I guess there won’t be desserts… since your paleo, right?”
Seriously…I have been talking about the sugar detox and how… I am almost certain think I would implode should I try it. Treats are a part of our lives… they are gluten-free and paleo-ish treats, but treats none the less. What is a paleo treat, you ask? Well check out the Thanksgiving menu and see: we have pumpkin pie, pecan pie, pumpkin roll, biscotti and more! (Maybe a little too much…) But all those desserts are made with organic ingredients, pastured eggs, non-GMO products and totally unrefined sugars. It doesn’t mean they are sugar-free or even healthy for you… they are just a little easier on your body, if you are going to have a treat anyway. I am also a pumpkin pie nut and having a pumpkin pie (or any other Thanksgiving treat for that matter) taste the way it should, without the junk, is super important to me. So again, try it! You may be surpised.
That may not cover everything you might hear while hosting family and friends for the holidays, but maybe some of it. Of course, you are going to make a delicious meal and they will enjoy it (sometimes albiet grudgingly), so try not to focus on what they will think and just focus on your menu, what you and your family like and share it with others. I always feel like making something for other people is an opportunity to share our lifestyle with them and maybe some day they too will look at food a little differently.
Ok, so your wondering… where the heck is the round up!? Fine… here it is folks. We are super excited, mostly. I am nervous about cooking a 20 lb turkey, my biggest bird ever! I picked her up from my local farm this past weekend and holy moley, she is a beauty! The girlie was salivating looking at her… I had to tell her to quell her turkey hunger. We are working on a new turkey brine for this year, so I will have to get that recipe posted after the holiday. There are a few that are finalizing this week and those will go up later this week too, so check back. If you don’t follow Cake Cooks (cakecooksgf) on Instagram, your missing out, all the most delicious photos go there. This week is sure to fill my feed with Thanksgiving ridiculousness and preparations.
Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup
Sweet Potato Chips
Cider Brined Turkey
Paleo Green Bean Casserole (from And Love it Too)
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Garlic Caulitflower “Mashed Potatoes” (Paleo Nom Nom)
Sauerkraut (homemade instructions from Fermented)
Giblet Gravy (adapted from Alton Browns Turkey Giblet Gravy)
Pull Apart Rolls (adapted from Gluten-free Momma, recipe coming soon!)
Roasted Winter Vegetables
Roasted white potatoes
Last year I really wanted a no junk Green Bean Casserole and found Sunny’s recipe. It is by far the very best Green Bean Casserole I have ever had. Even my sister who hates green bean casserole loved it! My family is Latin, and I think my father would have a small heart attack if there wasn’t rice present. So I put together this Confetti Rice, but it works incredibly well with cauli-rice too. Instead of actual mashed potatoes (I can’t do nightshades) we are doing caulimash, which the little lady says “it tastes better because its like the gravy is already in it.” The pull apart rolls are being made this week as an adaptation from Gluten-free Momma’s recipe with per cup measures of a grain-free blend. And finally- the hubs insists that Thanksgiving can not be done without “5-cup salad” or Ambrosia. This recipe by The Paleo Parents hits the mark perfectly without any icky stuff.
We think that our family will really enjoy this Thanksgiving, with real food. Maybe just maybe they may actually be suprised! We hope that you have a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving!