Looking for alternatives to sugar-filled treats? Click here!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

This year, try a Thanksgiving without packaged food; I’m going to.  I don’t need the MSG, trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, stabilizers, or thickeners.  Skip the canned cream of mushroom soup, canned chicken broth, box stuffing mix, pre-made pie crusts, imitation whipped cream, canned French-fried onions, canned green beans, canned cranberry sauce and canned gravy.  I’m also going to deny myself eggnog this holiday season.  Eggnog is a much-loved treat, but I’m ready to cut it out.  Read the label and you’ll see why.  (I probably will try making it at home, though, because it is SO yummy!) 

Most years I’m not in charge of the whole meal, but this year I am, so I’m going to do it my way.  I’m going to roast a turkey with the following sides –

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Sweet Potatoes (without sugar or marshmallows)

Green Beans (probably add a little bacon grease, yum)

Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Stuffing (I’m going to use my Crusty French Bread)

Rolls using half white and half wheat (I like my rolls really soft)

Apple Pie (all butter crust; no shortening which is trans fat!) with raw cream drizzled over it instead of store-bought ice cream; mmm, I’m getting hungry. 

And don’t forget, when the turkey is picked clean you can boil up the bones for the best broth ever!  Place them in a pan and cover with water.  Let it come to a boil and simmer it all day.  Drain the broth over a colander to catch the bones and either chill the broth or freeze it.  When you’re ready to use it you can skim the fat off the top and discard.  Don’t know what to do with the broth?  Keep it in your freezer and I’ll let you know soon.  This broth will keep in your fridge for 3 days.  Bonus – if you add a bit of vinegar (like ¼ cup) to the water before boiling you will get a very mineral-rich broth, a great source of calcium.  

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Boil or steam your potatoes.  Place a generous amount of butter in a bowl and press 1 or 2 garlic cloves in.  Place the potatoes in the bowl and mash.  Add cream and milk and mash some more until creamy.  I usually use half cream and half milk.

Cranberry-Orange Sauce
This is from Cook’s Illustrated (Nov/Dec 1999)

¾ cup water

1 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon grated orange zest

¼ tsp salt

1 12-ounce bag cranberries

2 Tablespoons orange liqueur (such as Triple Sec or Grand Marnier) 

Bring water, sugar, salt and orange zest to a boil in medium pan (non-reactive, like stainless steel) over high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.  Stir in cranberries; return to boil.  Reduce heat to medium; simmer until saucy, slightly thickened, and about two-thirds of berries have popped open, about 5 minutes.  Off heat; stir in the orange liqueur.  Transfer to non-reactive bowl, cool to room temperature, and serve.  (Can be covered and refrigerated up to 7 days; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.)


  1. Wow! You are good! I can't claim to even try that this year (although I definitely want to babystep up to it.) Tonight I did a test run of pumpkin pie made with honey and cream instead of sugar and evaporated milk. It turned out pretty good. I am going to make a couple of small adjustments for Thanksgiving, though. I did use the dreaded purchased pie crust. Do you have a reliable butter crust recipe? What are you going to put on your mashed sweet potatoes? I am up in the air about those. I have a fabulous recipe, but it does have marshmallows (otherwise is healthy, though). Last year we just baked them and served with butter and maple syrup--yum! I have to say that I love the jellied cranberries. I'll have to work on getting used to more natural versions.

  2. I do have a good pie crust recipe, I'll post it someday or you can call me. :)

    I normally top my sweet potatoes with marshmallows, but this year I'm doing just butter and salt.

    You should try my cranberry sauce recipe, it's so easy. You can even make it a non-orange variety if you just leave out the zest and liqueur. It's not healthy, but I think it's lower sugar than the back of the bag or canned kinds.

  3. Thanks! I practice a homemade crust between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but for this holiday I'll be happy with storebought. You should see my pumpkin. It is so gorgeous and orange. Someday I'll try homemade cranberry sauce, but I truly love the canned jellied kind. It is the only processed item I can think of that I truly prefer over homemade.

  4. Shannon,

    Thanks for the gralic mashed potatoes recipe. I'll try that this week. I try to incease our intake of garlic in the winter. The potatoes sound delicious and will be a good way to add a little more garlic!

    I serve sweet potatoes just like a baked (white) potatoe. I bake then add a little organic butter. We love it. Butternut squash is a nice easy side vegetable too. I half it, bake it at 350 for an hour and a half, then scoop out the inside and add a little butter and real salt. Delicious!!


  5. [...] is going to be a nice relaxing time with my family.  To see what my menu was last year, click here.  It will be pretty close to the same this [...]