Most people who do elimination diets specifically schedule them to avoid the big food holidays. No one plans their Whole30 to include Thanksgiving, right?! But, what if you have to avoid certain foods for your health? This is something that I have struggled with for the past year and there have been holidays where I have woken up in a bad mood and have had a hard time changing my attitude. Up until we had to start eliminating foods for Arden I had always been able to eat what I wanted when I wanted. And although I like to think that I typically made healthy choices I definitely wasn’t thinking about any specific dietary restrictions on holidays.
That all changed pretty soon after Arden was born and we discovered that she didn’t tolerate dairy. All of a sudden I couldn’t just eat whatever I wanted because it was a holiday. I had to take special care to avoid dairy and that eliminated many of the traditional holiday recipes. Then when we had to start eliminating a lot of foods it really changed how I looked at holiday meals and I was honestly afraid of what Thanksgiving and Christmas would look like this year. Luckily, we have successfully reintroduced almost all of the foods that we had to eliminate and now we’re back to only avoiding dairy and grains which feels pretty darn easy at this point!
Ever since we moved to Portland we have always spent Thanksgiving at home. Because our families don’t live here we typically travel for most other holidays and occasions but Thanksgiving has always been in Portland. Over the years we have had various guests at our Thanksgiving table, but last year and this year it has been just the four of us. In case you couldn’t already tell, I love to cook. So while most people would probably limit the menu for a four person Thanksgiving, I still cook the whole feast! In fact, one of my bucket list items has always been to cook an entire Thanksgiving meal from scratch and even though I have cooked our Thanksgiving meal for the last 4 years I don’t think I will really give myself this check mark until I have my whole family sitting at my table.
Last year’s Thanksgiving meal showed me that a dairy free, gluten free Thanksgiving could be just as good as the meal that I grew up eating. And now with another year of strictly adhering to this diet I know that our dinner will be even better! So here’s our menu, I’m including links to any recipes that are available online but I don’t always cook from recipes so some of these dishes are just made up on the fly!
Fresh Herb Dry Brined Turkey and Gravy – we’re going to spatchcock our turkey this year and I’m pretty excited about it, for the past 4 years we have followed the America’s Test Kitchen method for cooking a turkey and we’ve had great results but I wanted to switch it up this year!
Garlic Mashed Cauliflower – I might do a combo of mashed potato/cauliflower or just straight up cauliflower, I’m still not 100% sure about how I tolerate potatoes, but Everett is loving them right now and not always loving cauliflower, so I think a combo might be a good compromise.
Green Beans or Brussels Sprouts – I will decide based on what looks good at the market, either way they will probably involve bacon or pancetta
Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Beets and Candied Pecans – just a really nice Fall salad probably with a mustard and apple cider vinegar dressing. I like to make the sweet potatoes shine in this salad since I’m not doing another sweet potato dish.
Cranberry Sauce- I LOVE cranberry sauce! It was the first thing that I started making to contribute to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. I make mine with fresh cranberries, orange juice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. It’s my favorite and I have had to stop myself from buying more than one bag of cranberries. I don’t usually measure when I make this, but I’m planning on making it tomorrow and I will include it in my Instagram stories!
Grain Free Popovers – this is a recipe from the cookbook My Paleo Patisserie and we’ve tried it before and didn’t love them. Bryston wants us to try them again and I’m hoping that I can get a better result this time!
Apple Pie – Everett has requested an apple pie for dessert and Arden enthusiastically agreed (this is really what I wanted too!). I haven’t decided which grain free crust recipe I will use.
Chocolate Pecan Tart – Bryston loves this Chocolate Pecan Tart from Danielle Walker’s Celebrations cookbook so he gets his request too! I like to up the chocolate factor on this tart and make a chocolate crust, this tart is also delicious with hazelnuts instead of pecans- I highly recommend this recipe and this cookbook in general!
I haven’t decided if I’m going to make stuffing or not. Last year I used gluten free bread from a local bakery to make the stuffing recipe from the Celebrations cookbook and it was super tasty. The recipe actually calls for her blender bread which is grain free so we could make that, but 1. I’ve never made it before, 2. I’m trying to simplify my life and 3. we honestly don’t need it. It could still show up on the menu, because who doesn’t like another vehicle for gravy?! What’s on your Thanksgiving menu? Follow along with our Instagram stories this week to see our Thanksgiving adventure!