Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to get together for good food, good fun, and to give thanks for everything life has to offer. But, this is also a time for overindulgence of unhealthy treats. The main food offenders that cause a host of issues are processed foods made with grains and sugars. If you could eliminate these food products, your body would be so much better off, and your mouth would smile. Stuffing and dessert could be the most challenging, so I have focused on healthy solutions for both of these – a healthy stuffing on the side and a healthy pumpkin pie. YUM!
HEALTHY STUFFING ON THE SIDE
Stuffing is always a problem because of the grains and sugars that are part of the recipes. Here is a simple recipe for a healthy stuffing:
4-5 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 tablespoons coconut oil (warm to make liquid)
salt & freshly ground pepper
4 celery stalks, thinly chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
8 oz. country style ground pork sausage, crumbled (preferably pastured pork)
2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 large eggs, beaten (preferably pastured eggs)
1/2 cup chicken stock (preferably homemade)
4 pitted dates, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup chopped pecans
• Preheat oven to 400° F. In large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with 1-tablespoon coconut oil and sprinkle with 1/2-teaspoon salt and 1/4-teaspoon pepper. Place potatoes on baking sheet (lined with parchment paper) one layer thick and roast in oven until just tender, about 20 minutes.
• Meanwhile, heat 3-tablespoons coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery, onions, garlic, 1-teaspoon salt, and 1/4-teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the sausage and cook through until thoroughly browned.
• Add mushrooms and wine; cook until liquid evaporates, 2 to 4 minutes.
• Transfer the mixture to a large bowl along with the roasted sweet potatoes and let everything cool for 10 minutes or so. Turn oven down to 375° F.
• Add the beaten eggs, chicken stock, pecans, dates, and sage to the veggie/meat mixture and combine well. Use coconut oil to grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until browned, 20 to 30 minutes more.
HEALTHY PUMPKIN PIE
Refined sugars and flours are usually ingredients of every dessert. Here is a healthy Pumpkin Pie recipe without added flours or unnatural sugars.
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup hazelnuts
4 tablespoons coconut oil (warmed to make liquid)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
extra coconut oil to grease pie pan
1 can organic pumpkin puree (usually 15 oz.)
2 eggs, beaten (preferably pastured)
1/2 cup local raw honey
1/2 cup organic coconut cream (Native Forest is a good brand)
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
• Preheat your oven to 350° F.
• Grind nuts in a food processor into a flour consistency. Don’t over process; it will turn into butter.
• In a bowl, create the crust mixture by mixing the processed nuts, coconut oil, and salt; then spread the mixture into a 9-inch glass pie pan greased with coconut oil and bake for 10 minutes.
• While the crust bakes, mix the filling ingredients together in a bowl.
• Add the filling evenly into the baked crust and bake for an additional 45 minutes.