Get Real this Thanksgiving

The big Turkey-Day is one week away.  By now you probably know where you’re eating, but do you know what you’re eating?

The “traditional” Thanksgiving feast has morphed over the last 200 years from real food harvested from the family farm to this photo I took of a Target ad in the mail today.


Far from real food.  These packages contain factory fresh substitutes for the real food we are afraid will be too expensive, take too long to cook, or not taste the way our family and guests would expect.

We spend so much time cleaning and decorating and preparing 10 different sides that if we pare down and chose 3 instead of 10 sides we can buy the real food ingredients – often organic – and still save $$ and time and provide a full meal for our guests.  Show your love for your family by serving real, whole, nutritious food this Thanksgiving.  Afraid it might not taste right?  I will share with you a few tried and true recipes. You have a week, do a trial run before the big day.  If you are going to be a guest at someones home for Thanksgiving, – offer to bring a dish.  It will save them time, $ and oven space – and you know that there will at least be one healthy, whole food choice.

The Food Babe has a great article on why whole food matters on this, the KING of eating Holidays, the dangers lurking in some traditional Thanksgiving packaged foods, and helpful tips and recipes.

A few recipes for you to try this Thanksgiving (or the week prior on your guinea pigs – oh I mean, family!)

Cranberry-orange sauce

  • 1 medium  navel orange
  • 1 pkg (12 oz)  fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup  Orange Juice
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, 1-inch dice
  • 2T   sugar (or to taste)
  • 1  cinnamon stick

Zest orange. Cut and peel all white pith from orange. Section orange and cut into 1-inch dice. Combine orange, 2 T grated orange zest, cranberries, orange juice, apple, sugar, and cinnamon stick in saucepan. Cover; cook on MEDIUM about 15 min, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat. Discard cinnamon stick. Optional: Use stick blender or regular blender for smoother texture.  Makes about 4 cups.

Blistered Brussel sprouts

  • 1 lb fresh Brussel sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • 3T olive oil
  • 3/4 t kosher, sea salt
  • 1T honey, 1T hot water
  • 1T minced garlic
  • 1T soy sauce
  • 1/4 t crushed red pepper flake
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh mint leaves.

Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Trim Brussels sprouts, and cut in half lengthwise. Add oil to skillet, and tilt skillet to evenly coat bottom. Place Brussels sprouts, cut side down, in a single layer in skillet. Cook, without stirring, 4 minutes or until browned. Sprinkle with salt; stir and cook 2 more minutes. Stir together honey and hot water. Stir minced garlic, soy sauce, dried crushed red pepper, and honey mixture into Brussels sprouts. Stir in mint leaves, and serve immediately.  Serves 4.

 Coconut pumpkin pie

  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, from 9 crackers
  • 1 T sugar
  • 3 T coconut oil
  • 1 15-oz. can or 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup well-stirred coconut milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t grated fresh ginger
  • 1/8 t freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, stir graham cracker crumbs, sugar and oil until evenly moistened (mixture will be dry). Press in bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. In a large bowl, whisk pumpkin, coconut milk, eggs, brown sugar, salt and spices. Pour into crust and smooth the top. Bake until set, except in center, and crust is brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Slice; top with a small dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

 And the promised Chocolate Brownie Lara Bars / Mounds Bar truffles!

Chocolate brownie (LARA Bar)

  • 1 c. pitted medjool dates
  • 1/3 c. warm water (for soaking dates)
  • 1 c. almonds
  • 2 T. baking cocoa
  • 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional – I usually add a few more dates and an extra 1T cocoa and omit the chocolate chips)
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • dash salt
  • protein powder optional
  • 1 c. shredded, unsweetened coconut – for Mounds Truffles

Soak dates in warm water 5-10 minutes. Drain dates and put all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.  Press into a 9×5 loaf pan lined with plastic wrap. Chill until firm.  Lift out and slice into 1” wide bars.  Store covered in refrigerator. MOUNDS TRUFFLES – roll 1 T of chilled mixture into a ball and roll in coconut.  Roll in your hands to press coconut into truffle.  Refrigerate.  20141120_133202

If you like these recipes – they are just a sample of the 25+ recipes in the Healthy Holiday Recipe Book that I am selling for $10 each as a fundraiser for the Strong for Dom Foundation for childhood cancer research.  Learn more about the Strong for Dom Foundation at You can message me through the fundraiser facebook page, or post a comment to this blog. I will continue selling recipe books until 12/1/14.

Wishing you a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!

2 thoughts on “Get Real this Thanksgiving

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