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Monday, November 25

Monday Meal Planning: A Paleo Thanksgiving

For this week's meal planning tips, I decided to share some of my favorite paleo Thanksgiving recipes with you. Since husband and I host for his family, we usually have a mix of paleo and traditional items as most of his family isn't exactly on board with our way of eating. That being said, husband and I still feel like we get all the benefits of Thanksgiving {even the pumpkin pie!} without sacrificing our health or priorities. Some of these recipes aren't strict paleo and include things like  honey or coconut sugar, but they are much better alternatives to the standard American Thanksgiving menu.

The main event: the turkey
We use this recipe for roasted turkey with cranberry butter, and it is easily my favorite turkey recipe I've had. We also use a simple brine for our turkey overnight, which I have done both with and without the brown sugar. I will say that the sugar in the brine does help if you're using fresh cranberries for the butter. I decrease the sugar content to 1/4 cup and have used both brown sugar and coconut sugar with the same results. For the rub, you could simply substitute ghee for the grass-fed butter to make this dairy-free. I wouldn't suggest leaving out the honey or a sweetener of some sort, just because the fresh cranberries can be a bit tart.  

Support staff: side dishes
Maple bacon pecan roasted butternut squash: savory and sweet and so delicious that even non-paleo eaters will love this recipe
~ Primal cauliflower casserole: this recipe does include dairy so it's not strict paleo but would be good for a mix of eaters like we have. {This creamy cauliflower and artichoke soup is also delicious, but I'm just not a fan of soup at Thanksgiving dinner. No real reason, just not for me. This soup is amazing for breakfast though!}
~ Brussels sprouts with toasted walnuts & dried cherries: I've been making a similar version of this recipe for years, using walnuts and dried cranberries or cherries {depending on what I have at home!}. I don't use the chick peas or cheese in mine, making it completely paleo and amazingly delicious. Substitute frozen Brussels for fresh for some cost savings as well as time savings. Added bonus: this dish is tasty served either hot or cold. 
~ Green (not bean) casserole: again, not strict paleo because of the use of heavy cream, but you could substitute full fat coconut milk or even almond milk to make this completely paleo. 

A Sweet Ending: desserts
~ Pumpkin pie: LOVE this recipe from Elana, the woman behind one of my favorite cookbooks. I suggest making your own pumpkin puree from a freshly roasted pumpkin. It makes the pie much more flavorful. And really, what Thanksgiving table is complete without pumpkin pie?
Eggless eggnog cookies: served with a glass of spiced cider, these cookies are a great way to end a Thanksgiving meal.
~ Apple pie tartlets: for those who prefer apple over pumpkin. Me? I'm equal opportunity.
~ Gingerbread squares: you can also cut these into shapes with the littles (after baking them) for a fun twist.

Quite a few of these recipes will be on our Thanksgiving table this year, specifically the turkey, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and pumpkin pie. Hopefully you will find a few that you can use as well! Let me know what you think!


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