Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup + Tips and Tricks for Gobble Gobble Day

We are officially in the "Holiday Zone" and I am looking forward to making this holiday season the best one yet!  

How about you? 

The kids are off of school for part of the week and the excitement for Thanksgiving and Christmas is starting to rise.  Emmet is hankering for the Thanksgiving meal and Zoe can hardly wait to get the Christmas Tree and start decorating.  The holiday music is streaming and the holiday spirit is in full force!

Now, this time of year often conjures up feelings of overindulgence and excess, too.  I am all for having fun, but really feel better when I am on track with my health and wellness goals and try to pick and choose my indulgences mindfully.  

With Thanksgiving a few short days away, I thought I would share some of my tried and true tips for a happy and healthy Gobble, Gobble Day. 

Thanksgiving only comes around once a year and I want you to enjoy yourself. 

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5 Tips for a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving

  1. Be Active-Make fitness a family adventure, take a walk early in the day and then again after dinner. It is a wonderful way for families to get physical activity and enjoy the holiday together. I also have been enjoying these online Movement + Meditation Workouts from Kait Hurley!  She has a Free 7-Day Trial period so fire up your laptop and give one of her workouts a try!
     
  2. Eat Normally-While you might think it makes sense to save up calories for the big meal, I recommend eating your normal breakfast and  a light lunch if you eat Thanksgiving later in day. Eating a nutritious meal with protein, fat and fiber before you arrive takes the edge off your appetite and allows you to be more discriminating in your food and beverage choices.
     
  3. Portion Control: Thanksgiving tables are bountiful and beautiful displays of traditional family favorites. Before you fill your plate, survey the table and decide what you're going to choose. Then select reasonable-sized portions of foods you cannot live without. Don't waste your calories on foods that you can have all year long. Fill your plate with small portions of holiday favorites that only come around once a year so you can enjoy desirable, traditional foods.
     
  4. Be Mindful- Your mental state when you eat is important. Don't munch away without paying attention to the foods you eat. Instead, be present as you eat your meal with an attitude of thankfulness. This will help with digestion, and you will be more likely to be aware of the foods you are using to nourish your body.
     
  5. Focus on Family and Friends- Thanksgiving is not just about the delicious bounty of food. It's a time to celebrate relationships with family and friends. The main event should be family and friends socializing, spending quality time together, not just what is on the table.  Give thanks for love, life, good food, your body and for what you have right now.

As you can imagine, I love any excuse to get in the kitchen and cook up a storm.  If you are looking for Healthier Thanksgiving Recipes, check out what I will be serving this Holiday Season!

THANKSGIVING RECIPE ROUND-UP:

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Winter White Soup with Pomegranate Gremolata


This soup is super clean and absolutely GORGEOUS!  It is my absolute favorite holiday soup.  

Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus for drizzling
4 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 1 pound)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Pomegranate Gremolata, for garnish, recipe follows

Pomegranate Gremolata:

1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 teaspoon lemon zest
dash of sea salt and cracked black pepper

Pomegranate Gremolata: In a bowl, mix together the parsley, pomegranate seeds, lemon zest and salt.

Directions

1. Heat the olive oil in a 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven medium-high heat. Add the parsnips, celery, fennel, onion, salt and fennel seeds. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add 4 cups water and the bay leaf to the pan, and stir. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover with a lid. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft. Allow to cool slightly.
2. Puree the soup in two batches, adding half of the almond milk to each batch. Return the soup to the Dutch oven, and heat to warm through--alternatively, pour the soup into a slow cooker and keep warm on the low setting.
3. Serve garnished with pomegranate gremolata.

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Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Seeds

1 large butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds) (I buy pre-cut butternut squash to save time)
2 pounds Brussels sprouts (about 5 cups)
4 red onions, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
1 cup pomegranate seeds

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Use a knife to lop the top and bottom off the squash. Slice the skin off the sides, then cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Chop into small pieces. Divide the squash between 2 baking sheets.  TIME SAVING TIP:  I just buy pre-cut butternut squash or frozen butternut squash to save time. 

Trim the Brussels sprouts, then cut them in half if desired (or you can leave them whole). Arrange on the baking sheets with the squash. Break the quartered onions apart and add them to the baking sheets.

Drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the chili powder and toss. Roast 30 to 35 minutes, or until browned.

Take the vegetables out of the oven and tip into a serving dish. Drizzle with the pomegranate molasses and sprinkle on the pomegranate seeds. Toss and serve immediately.  So YUMMY! 

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Abby's Autumn Harvest Salad

This is a gorgeous salad loaded with seasonal goodies.  It is a real crowd pleaser.  
Serves 4-6

 8 cups mixed greens
1 cup roasted butternut squash, diced
1-2 cups finely sliced red cabbage
2-3 green onions, sliced (optional)
1 firm pear or apple, diced
½ cup Zante Currants
½ cup raw hazelnuts or walnuts, lightly roasted
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds

Dressing:
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (ACV)
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt

Roasted Butternut Squash
 2 cups butternut squash, cubed (to save time, buy the pre-cut cubed squash
 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss butternut squash with oil, salt and pepper and spread out in a single layer. Roast, tossing occasionally, until just tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Directions
Place into a large bowl with the chopped cabbage, diced pear, currants, squash, walnut and pumpkin seeds.  Toss lightly.

Prepare the dressing by placing ingredients into a jar with tight fitting lid, shake well.  To serve pour dressing over salad, gently toss and serve immediately.

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Grape and Fennel Salad

This side dish is kid-friendly and adds a lightness amongst the heaviness of the rest of the meal. 

Ingredients

 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
 5 cups red and green seedless grapes (about 1 3/4 pounds), halved
1 large fennel bulb, halved, cored and thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
3 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted

 Directions

Whisk oil, vinegar, fennel seeds, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add grapes, fennel, celery, and scallions; toss to coat. Serve topped with almonds.

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Healthier Sweet Potato Pecan Casserole

Skip the marshmallows this year and treat yourself to this healthier version of the classic sweet potato casserole.  The sweet potatoes are naturally sweet and you will enjoy this version without the sugar crash.

INGREDIENTS

5 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup raw honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
Cooking spray

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mist an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a pot with a large steamer basket in place. Put the sweet potatoes in the basket, cover, and steam until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer the potatoes to a bowl, and let cool slightly. Add the honey, egg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the nutmeg, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt; whip with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread the sweet potato mixture in the prepared baking dish.

Mix the coconut palm sugar, pecans, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over the potatoes. Bake until hot and beginning to brown around the edges, 40 to 45 minutes.

Serves 6.

 DESSERT TIME!

DESSERT TIME!

OMG! Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting
 

This cake is AMAZING but RICH!  A little goes a long way.

Cashew frosting:
2 cups cashews, preferably soaked for a couple hours
1-2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup
Water, as needed

Cake:
2 large carrots, peeled
1 cups oat flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
3/4 cup dried pineapple
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Garnish:  chopped pistachios

To make the frosting: blend all ingredients in your high speed blender or food processor with S blade, until smooth, adding as little water as possible.  Put in a bowl and set aside. 

To make the cake: cut the carrots into small chunks. Add the carrots, flours, dates, dried pineapple, coconut, and cinnamon in your food processor and pulse until it's a sand-like and sticks together. 

Assembly: Press half the cake mix into the bottom of an adjustable spring-form pan, mine was about 6 inches. Then spread on about 1/3 of the frosting. Put it in the freezer until the layer of frosting is hard. Then press on the rest of the cake mix layer. At thls point you can pop the whole cake in the freezer overnight and then take out before frosting the rest of the cake.  Remove cake from pan and use the remaining frosting to frost the cake.  Garnish with the chopped pistachios and enjoy!!  

Save the remaining cake in the refrigeration. Holy Yum Balls! 

Now, if you want to stick with a more Traditional Pumpkin Pie but lighten it up, then you will enjoy my Pumpkin Pie Bar Recipe!
 

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Pumpkin Pie Bars

I have lightened up the traditional pumpkin pie by eliminating the pie crust but kept all the traditional flavors.  I promise these bars will be a hit at your Thanksgiving celebration. Serve with a dollop of coconut whipped cream.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp ground flax seed (optional)
2 eggs
½  cup coconut palm sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2.In a medium bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Mix in flour. Fold in oats. Press into a 9x13 inch baking dish.

3.Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes, until set.

4.In a large bowl, beat eggs with sugar. Beat in pumpkin and evaporated milk. Mix in salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Pour over baked crust.

5.Bake in preheated oven 30 to 45 minutes or until set. Every oven is different so make sure the top is not jiggly and a toothpick comes out clean Let cool before cutting into squares.

Okay- these are the things that I am planning on making because truth be told I am not a HUGE fan of the actual Thanksgiving meal.  I know.... god forbid.  So we often do a hybrid of picking up our Turkey Breast and a few of the sides from Zupan's or Whole Foods.  My daughter loves my Mashed Potatoes and my husband always makes a pot of Thanksgiving Gumbo and Oyster Stuffing (he is from the South : ).  
Here are a few more Thanksgiving Recipes that I am contemplating:
https://detoxinista.com/sweet-potato-noodle-casserole-pumpkin-sauce/ 

https://detoxinista.com/stuffed-acorn-squash-vegan-quinoa-stuffing/

I hope these tips and tricks help you through the holiday and I also wanted to remind you that I am kicking off my Bliss Skinny Black Dress 7-Day Challenge post-Thanksgiving to get you back on track!  SIGN UP Today by clicking here.

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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!
 

xoxo,

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Abby White