Just one week from today, our quiet house of two will turn into a noisy house filled with air mattresses, conversation, and ridiculously loud laughter as our families gather to give thanks. Of course, I’ve been planning my menu for weeks because I get overly-excited about this sort of thing. I’ve ordered our turkey and ham, but I’m still having trouble deciding on side dishes. After looking at my first draft of my menu one day, I realized that everything was a starch. With the exception of the meat, there wasn’t a single ‘low gylcemic’ food on there. I know, I know, it seems as if I’m taking ALL of the fun out of Thanksgiving, I’m well aware. I’m really just trying to avoid a carb crash on Thursday afternoon, our family will only be here for a short amount of time and I’d rather spend it awake and energetic, than groggy and grumpy. Maybe you see your family all the time and you’re bound to end up groggy and grumpy either way, so the outcome of the day is inevitable–in that case, I’d say eat more pie.
For those of us who are trying to stay healthy throughout the holiday season, planning ahead goes a long way in preparing for these upcoming parties. By thinking ahead of the food that is bound to tempt you, you can prepare to indulge without improvising your health. The way I see it, there are three different ways to get through Thanksgiving without feeling like you’ve gained 20 pounds and need to be medevaced from the dinner table:
1. Have a lot of discipline and will-power avoid eating anything sweet or starchy all day long.
2. Eat a good amount of turkey/ham, greens, vegetables and small portions of sweet and starchy foods like desserts, dressing, and potatoes.
3. Offer to bring a healthier option of your favorite dish. For example: make pumpkin pie using honey and an almond flour crust (nice and nutty!), make sweet potatoes using honey instead of marshmallows and sugar, or mix mashed cauliflower into the mashed potatoes (you won’t taste the difference, but you will feel the difference)! There are many ways to make these heavy, sugary, starchy Thanksgiving dishes into something a easier on your body.
Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving or headed to a relative’s house, I’d like to add a couple new menu items that will be healthier, lower-glycemic options to keep you awake and energetic all day long!
Stuffed Parmesean Mushrooms
I got this recipe from Giada de Laurentiis and made a couple changes to make it grain-free!
- 1/2 cup pulverized almonds
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves (or regular, flat leave parsley if you’re not Italian:)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 28 large (2 1/2-inch-diameter) white mushrooms, stemmed
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Stir the pulverized almonds, Pecorino Romano, garlic, parsley, mint, salt and pepper, to taste, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl to blend.
Drizzle a heavy large baking sheet with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, to coat. Spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities and arrange on the baking sheet, cavity side up. Drizzle remaining oil over the filling in each mushroom. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through and golden on top, about 25 minutes. Serve. Warning: these will go very quickly and you will wish you had made more than you did!
Spiced Pumpkin Bread Bars
2 1/2 c. ground almonds
2 3/4 c. pumpkin puree
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
1/2 c. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients, I use my food processor to get a really smooth batter. Put in a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
These are so delicious and have such a great texture…yum! If you like things on the sweeter side, add 1/4 c. more honey, if you tend to like the ‘spice’ part of spice cake or pumpkin pie more, add a little bit more spice!
I have a few more recipes to try and share with you this week, I will keep cooking if you keep reading!