Rooted In Nutrition Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my holiday!  I have been cooking for my in-laws for years and I love every minute of it. The menu planning, shopping, prep and of course the eating of the feast all makes my heart swell with love.  To me it is not about having a fancy meal, just one made with love.  I am pretty traditional in my Thanksgiving menu and stick with many of the same dishes each year.  This year I am adding a few new sides.  Please see my Paleo Thanksgiving Guide for more recipes and ideas. I hope you all enjoy your holiday feast.

If you don't want to brine your turkey, or make sides or your pies I have just what you need.  My fabulous guest recipe blogger Alicia Garcia is looking to do your cooking for you. Please feel free to email her at alicialolita@gmail.com to help with all your holiday cooking.  

Also see what others are doing here.

Turkey

I brine my turkey 2 days before Thanksgiving.  This makes the turkey super moist, tender and full of flavor.  This is for a 20 lb turkey although I use the same recipe for my 14 lb turkey, extra flavor!

32 cups water
2 cups kosher salt (for 12 lb turkey 1 1/2 cups salt)
2 cups pure maple syrup
2 bunches fresh thyme, sage and other poultry fresh herbs
6 bay leaves
4 large garlic cloves
1/4 cup peppercorns

In a large pot bring all ingredients to a simmer, just enough to dissolve salt.  Remove it from heat and let it cool completely.  Place turkey and brine in a large garbage bag ( I like to double bag it, I have had the bag break!  I cleaned up turkey juice for days). Put the garbage bag in a cooler, surround with ice and if it is cold enough outside place outside to brine or put it in the fridge.  

Roast Turkey
2 sticks of grass-fed butter and 1/4 cup fresh sage, minced.  Mix together and lather all over bird.  I have been known to put the butter under the skin as well. 
Stuff the inside of the bird with onions, carrots, celery, and fresh herbs.  Tie the legs together.  Bake at 350 covered with foil for about 15 minutes per pound.  Uncover near the end to get it nice and brown and to crisp up the skin.  

Stuffing and Gravy

Pan Gravy

Once you take the turkey out of the roasting pan, put the pan on the stove.  Scrape all the glorious drippings off the bottom of the pan.  Add 1/2 stick to a full stick of grass-fed butter.  Add 1/4 cup shallots or onions, diced, option to add 1 cup mixed wild mushroom, fresh herbs ( sage, thyme, or any other herbs you like). Sauté together until fragrant.  Add 1/3 cup almond flour.  Whisk in 3 cups chicken stock.  Bring to a boil until it thickens.  Double the recipe if you want to yield more then 3 cups of gravy. 

Stuffing

2 loaves Paleo Coconut Bread of Elanas Pantry bread, left out for 24 hours to get stale. Cube bread.  1 cup diced onions and celery each.  Fresh sage, sea salt and pepper.  1 stick of butter.  Sauté onions and celery in butter until translucent.  Remove from heat and in a big bowl mix with stale bread and add chicken broth until moist.  Season with as much fresh sage, sea salt and pepper that you like.  Bake at 350 for an hour or so. I like to keep it uncovered at the end to get it nice and crisp. 

Sides

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon I often add kale and broccoli to this as well. 

Mashed potatoes with lots of grass-fed butter, full fat milk or coconut milk, with chives, sea salt and pepper. 

Arugula Maple Roasted Squash 

OR Apple Salad

Dressing 
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs minced shallots
2 1/2 tbs pure maple syrup
Black pepper and sea salt to taste
Mix together

Salad
Spinach and mixed greens
Crumbled goat cheese or feta
Pecans or walnuts (candy by melting xylitol in a pan, toss nuts and let dry)
1-2 granny smith apples, thinly sliced


Sweet Potato Gratin (Eat Well approved if you tolerate dairy)

3 tbl grass-fed butter
4 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups heavy whipping cream or full-fat canned coconut milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Grease 9X13 pan with 1 tbs of butter.  Layer potatoes with the cheese.  Combine other ingredients and pour over top.   Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes covered.  Uncover and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are tender. This dish can be assembled ahead of time and baked day of. 

OR Sweet Potato Casserole

4 large sweet potatoes, boiled until soft and mashed
1/2 cup + 3 tbs xylitol
3/8 tsp sea salt
1 large egg or 2 small, lightly beaten 
3 tbs plus 1 tsp grass-fed butter softened
5 1/2 tbl coconut milk
3/4 tsp vanilla
Mix all ingredients and place in graded 7X9 pan. 

Topping:
3 1/2 tbl grass-fed butter, softened
3 1/2 tbl almond flour
3 1/2 tbls coconut sugar or xylitol
3/4 cups pecans

Mix until first 3 ingredients until creamed, add pecans and mix.  Top potato mixture and bake at 350 for 35 minutes.  This dish can be assembled ahead of time and cooked day of. 

Desserts

Pumpkin Pie

Start with a basic grain-free pie crust  
Cook pie crust at 375 for 12-15 minutes.  Put parchment paper down in pie shell and top with dried beans or rice.  Remove crust from oven and set aside. Reduce oven to 350 degrees.

Filling:
3 pasture-raised eggs
1 lb canned solid organic pumpkin puree or 2 cups cooked pureed pumpkin
1 cup plus 3 tbs xylitol
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp each of grated nutmeg, ground cloves, and ground ginger
1/2 to 1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 2/3 cup Paleo Condensed Milk
Mix all ingredients tougher in a mixing bowl and beat on high for 5 minutes.  Pour mixture into pie plates.  Bake on middle rack for 45 minutes ( I usually have to bake a bit longer then this), until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Grandma's Apple Pie

Start with a basic grain-free pie crust
Filing:
5 cups granny smith apples, thinly sliced
1 tbs almond flour
1/2 tbs cinnamon 
1 cup xylitol
Mix together

Topping:
1/2 cup xylitol
3/4 cup almond flour
1/3 cup grass-fed butter, room temperature
Mix together with hands so that it is in broken down into little crumbles. 
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes then 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the center is boiling.

Whip Cream

Dairy Version - 1 pint heavy whipping cream, stevia and vanilla.  In a blender on high speed blend the heavy whipping cream, whip until it forms stiff peaks.  Add stevia and vanilla to your flavor liking. 

Coconut Milk Version - Put full-fat canned coconut milk in the fridge for 2+ hours.  Stevia and vanilla.  Open the can of cream, remove the top cream, leaving behind the water.   Mix in a mixer on high until stiff peaks form. Add stevia and vanilla to your flavor liking. 

Leftovers

My favorite left over of all times is turkey soup.  Simply take your turkey carcass, put it in a big pot, cover it with purified water.  Add 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar to get all the good minerals out of the bones. Add a whole quartered onion, 5-10 carrots, cut into chunks, 5-10 celery stalks cut into chunks, 3 bay leaves. Simmer on a low boil for 6-12 hours.  Once broth has really gotten all its flavor strain the broth from the other flavor giver foods.  Add 1 diced onion, 5 diced carrots, 3 stalks of diced celery, sea salt to taste, black pepper to taste.  Add left over turkey.  Instead of noodles try grating cauliflower and sautéing it butter until tender.  Add that to your soup.  Other options to add: chives, bacon, coconut cream…hmm what else can you come up with?