Thanksgiving Thoughts & Recipes

Today I’m sharing a few family favorites along with what I’m cooking for the big day. Some of them are healthy and others are most definitely not. I think thanksgiving is as good a day as any to let loose and enjoy a few special treats. Balance them out with lots of veggies and be sure to stay hydrated.

Don’t forget to get in your 30 minutes for #noexcusenovember I’ve definitely missed a day or two, but I’m still averaging 30 minutes per day, every day this month. Are you rounding up the family for a Turkey Trot Thursday? I’ll be running the Concord Turkey Trot first thing on Thursday morning, hope to see you out there!

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Click through to see what I’m cooking for the big day.

It’s probably too late to make changes to your Thanksgiving menu now, but I suggest you bookmark these for Christmas or New Year’s Day. Really any day is a good day for pumpkin pie in my opinion ūüôā I’ll be adding some more photos to this post and my Instagram as I make these,¬† so stay tuned for some updates.

Smitten Kitchen <Рmy go to for just about everything 

Baked Camembert – from Smitten Kitchen Everyday

Kale Caesar with Broken Eggs and Crushed Croutons – also from¬†Smitten Kitchen Everyday¬†(similar here)¬†You’ll never look at Caesar Salad the same way again. We ate this 3 times this last week.

Sweet Potato Roast

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Brussels Sprouts, Apple & Pomegranate Salad

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Pecan Pie

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New York Times

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Cornbread Stuffing – if you’ve never had cornbread stuffing, I urge you to give this one a try. Yes you could use store bought cornbread or make it from a mix, but this one is so easy to make and virtually fool proof. Tips: Make the cornbread a day or two ahead of time, cut into small pieces and allow to dry out on counter, loosely covered.¬†This results in a crispier stuffing, you can also toast the chunks in the oven at about 250 degrees for 10-15 minutes to help dry them out. I’ve found that double batch of cornbread is not necessary, unless you’re serving a very large group of people. I prefer this baked separately from the turkey and the addition of sage-y pork sausage is welcome but not necessary.

Family Favorites

Orange Cranberry Sauce

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One 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
1/4 cup of sugar or maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup of water

Rinse and sort cranberries, removing any damaged berries or stems. Add orange juice, water and sugar to small saucepan and bring to a low rolling boil. Add cranberries, orange zest and cinnamon stick. Lower heat to just a simmer, cook for 30-45 minutes stirring occasionally, OR if you’re in a hurry you may boil for 10-15 minutes.¬† Remove from heat, cover and cool completely. Refrigerate until serving time. Personally I love the slower method as it really infuses the flavors. This is a very tart and citrusy sauce, add more sugar, maple syrup or honey to taste if you prefer it sweeter. You may also substitute the orange juice for apple juice if you’d like a more subtle citrus flavor.

Easy Cauliflower – Potato Mash
1 package Trader Joe’s Frozen Mashed Potatoes
1 package Trader Joe’s Frozen Mashed Cauliflower

Combine both in a large serving dish and microwave on high according to package directions, stir halfway through cooking and again before serving. Serve topped with salted butter, gravy or both. I also really like the addition of a tsp or two of truffle oil and several tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese, if you’re feeling fancy. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, fear not. There are a few brands making mashed cauliflower these days, like Alexia and Green Giant. You can also add equal parts steamed riced cauliflower to your go to mashed potato recipe for a lighter take on traditional mash.

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Nana’s Fast Rising Dinner Rolls

2 tablespoons yeast (not fast acting)
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered nonfat dry milk
6 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 cups warm water
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup melted shortening ( you may substitute butter but it will result in a denser more biscuit like roll as apposed to a light fluffy dinner roll)

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and sprinkle a little sugar over the top to hasten rising.

Sift dry ingredients together on a large clean work surface or large mixing bowl. Make a well in center of ingredients. Pour in yeast mixture, warm water and whisked eggs. Knead together until it forms a sticky ball of dough (you may use a stand mixer for this but I prefer the hand method). Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Sprinkle flour over a large cutting board, clean counter or pastry slab. Divide dough into 24 equal portions. Roll into small balls and place in a buttered 13×9 inch baking pan. Cover, let rise and double again, approximately 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush roll tops with melted butter and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Best served warm.

Pumpkin Pie 

Pie Crust Recipe -Make your own. Trust me on this one.

Filling (Adapted from Trader Joe’s Organic Pumpkin Pie Recipe + Smitten Kitchen)

1 can Trader Joe’s Organic Pumpkin or 15 oz pumpkin puree
1 cups cold heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed organic brown sugar or 1/4 brown sugar + 1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
A few gratings of fresh nutmeg (or a pinch of ground nutmeg)
Pinch of ground cardamom
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Prepare Crust, and par bake if you’d like a crispier crust, I prefer this but it’s not necessary.

To par bake, prick unbaked crust a few times with a fork, line it with lightly buttered parchment paper and fill with pie weights, dried beans or pennies. Bake at 400¬įF for 15 minutes. Remove paper and weights, and bake 5 to 8 more minutes until crust is golden brown and lightly crisp. Lower oven temperature to 375¬įF,¬† while crust bakes prepare filling.

For the filling: Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring often and cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in cold heavy whipping cream, until combined. Add eggs one at a time. Pour filling into prepared pie crust. Cover crust edges with foil or a silicon pie crust protector. Bake in center of oven for 40-50 minutes. Checking at 35 minutes for doneness and removing crust protectors. Pie is done when filling is set and center trembles slightly. The pie will continue to set as it cools. Cool completely and refrigerate until serving. Top with slightly sweetened fresh whipped cream. May be made up to one day in advance.

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I’m so thankful for my health this year, my family and my friends. I’ve been blessed with the ability to do so many races this year, and made it through most of them with my wits in tact. I’ve been on some incredible adventures, started my own business, graduated from college and grown in so many ways. If you’ve had a part in this I’m beyond thankful for you, especially to my clients for trusting me with your goals and allowing me to push you to reach them.

What are you thankful for this year? Let me know in the comments below, I love hearing from you. Happy Thanksgiving to those of you that celebrate!

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PS. There will be no Friday Favorites post this week. I encourage you to skip the craziness of Black Friday and join the #OptOutside crew instead.