A Perfect Health/ Primal-ish Thanksgiving

I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year, for the first time.  My parents and grandparents and my brothers are coming up for the holiday, and I’m so excited!  And a little nervous about the dinner.  But mostly excited, because I do enjoy cooking for people.

Ordinarily I might skip our diet for once, but my Mom is sensitive to gluten, corn, and oats.  So, I’ll be doing this Perfect Health Diet/   primal style.

Here’s what I’m planning to make:

  • Roast turkey (duh); I’m going to try to brine it ahead of time.  (It’s my first time roasting a turkey.  Why not make something as complicated as possible the first time you do it, I always say.)  A friend suggested brining it in a styrofoam cooler, outside overnight.  That way it doesn’t take up space in the fridge.  I plan to do that so long as the weather is cold.
  • Make-ahead gravy along these lines, using rice flour and homemade chicken bone broth.
  • Make-ahead freezer mashed potatoes.  Most of the time potatoes don’t do well after being frozen.  But I tried this recipe already, and it really works!
  • Wild rice “stuffing.” I made it for Thanksgiving dinner last year with the following modifications
    • I added about a cup of toasted chopped pecans.  I think the crunchy pecans contrasted nicely with the chewy rice.
    • I used Lundberg Wild Blend Rice in place of wild rice.
    • I used jasmine rice is place of basmati.
    • I skipped the parsley.
    • I used a cup of frozen pre-chopped onion and green pepper in place of the fresh onion.
  • Homemade cranberry orange relish  (I’m going to make this ahead of time and might substitute rice syrup for honey.)
  • Green beans with mushrooms and bacon (or another simple veggie dish; Pat doesn’t like green bean casserole, and it’s better to skip the canned soup anyway).
  • Rolls: regular store-bought rolls for those who aren’t sensitive to wheat, plus a gluten and corn-free alternative if I can find one.
  • Pickle and olive tray
  • Gluten-free pumpkin pie (I’m still pondering whether to use this healthy, sugar-free recipe for the filling, or just pull out the old White Crystals O’ Death).
  • Sweet iced tea . . . because we’re Southern and it’s our life blood.  Maybe I’ll sweeten it with Stevia

No sweet potatoes!  I know!  But Pat doesn’t like them, and I like them best with brown sugar and marshmallow so . . . I’m breaking with tradition and skipping them entirely.

My game plan:

This week:

  • Buy all ingredients
  • Make and freeze potatoes
  • Make relish

Monday and Tuesday next week:

  • Make pie
  • Make gravy
  • Defrost turkey
  • Make rice stuffing

Day before:

  • Brine turkey
  • Defrost potatoes

Day of:

  • Roast turkey
  • Reheat potatoes, rice stuffing, gravy
  • Cook green beans
  • Warm rolls and pie

Also, I’m looking for ideas for a simple centerpiece.  Simple, because I’m not crafty, and because I don’t want it to clash too much with my busy blue and white china.

What are your Thanksgiving plans?


12 thoughts on “A Perfect Health/ Primal-ish Thanksgiving

  1. It was such a treat to find your blog and the Thanksgiving menu a la Perfect Health Diet. I always eat gluten free but the holidays can be a challenge. And recently I’m trying to stick to the Perfect Health guidelines. It looks like you have done the menu planning for me – sounds yummy!

      • This is a good point. Raccoons are relentless and bears are scary. Garage?

        Also, this may be non-simple, but I made a Thanksgiving centerpiece for a charity auction last weekend. It was a candy bouquet with red Dove dark chocolates, golden ferrero rocher, and lindt truffles (yellow, golden, and orange) on the end of shish kabob skewers, all stuck into crinkly brown paper stuff and a hidden portion of a pool noodle in an orange flower pot that I had gotten at Dollar Tree last spring. I also added 5 sample liquors–vodka, tequila, etc., that I tapes onto skewers and arranged among the chocolates. I named it “Surviving Your Family” Thanksgiving Centerpiece. It sold for more than I thought it would! 🙂 It might take 3-4 hours to make your first candy bouquet, but, maybe you could just toss that kind of candy in a nice open bowl with some brown, orange, and yellow curled ribbon and call it good! 🙂 I’m all about edible decorating and this will definitely appease non-Primal guests. Or, you know, those among us Primal-wannabes who focus on that 20% instead of 80%…

  2. Thanksgiving menu looks delicious! I make my gluten free gravy with cornstarch (not sure if it’s PHD but you mix 1-2TB with 1/4 c cold milk then add to the pan with nore milk just like you would with reg flour and it doesn’t have that wierd rice flour aftertaste. With a lot of seasoning (salt, pepper, oregano, etc) most people can never tell its gf. But it’s not a make ahead recipe so yours might be better!

    • I haven’t tried the recipe I linked to yet . . . *fingers crossed!* . . . though it’s similar to what I do on my own without a recipe. Corn is not PHD compliant. I don’t worry about using a bit of corn starch on occasion, though, except that my mom is sensitive to corn too.

  3. I’m still more than slightly bummed (read that SO BUMMED!!) that I’m stuck in Texas on Turkey day and y’all are doing it at your place. I haven’t done a Henderson TDay in … 3 years? And I second Lizzie’s question about the coons.

  4. I’m actually allergic to poultry (turkey included), so the last few years i”ve made a beef roast instead. I can’t eat sweet potatoes anymore either, so it is regular mashed (which I like better anyway). This year, my husband is insisting on some turkey on the table for the sake of the kids, so my compromise was to buy a 1# package of tenderloins and poach them a week ago (and freeze them). The first day of the Nativity Fast falls on Thanksgiving this year, so we are eating on Tuesday. My menu plan is:

    Monday: pick up mashed potatoes and rolls from Whole Foods (I ordered them in advance; I can’t make good mashed potatoes to save my life); put roast in the crockpot (I cover it with cream of celery soup and an envelope of lipton onion; instant gravy!), chill canned cranberry sauce and sparkling juice.

    Tuesday: Roast butternut squash ala Ina Garten (her carmelized version is fab), reheat turkey slices, make pumpkin pies, reheat potatoes and make a vegan poultry gravy for the turkey (I made this last year and it was good!), warm the rolls, steam some carrots and boil some corn, everything on the table.

    We are def. not PHD compliant around here, but my meal is fairly easy for me to get on the table in a reasonable amount of time, and since the baby has taken to screaming through any and all meal prep, I need easy and fast this year.

    Gobble gobble!

  5. Girl I lovelovelove your menu. I have a sweet potato recipe that takes like so little work and deeply veers from the traditional “dessert-y” recipe. Let me know if you want it.

    Yeast rolls = my heart

    Centerpiece of small squash&/pumpkins in a basket lined with a bit of linen or muslin. Orange and blue are complimentary colors!

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