a healthy thanksgiving roundup

holidays, mains, recipes, sides

I eagerly collect recipes starting in what seems like, July… clipping things from food magazines and adding all the beautiful and inspiring food images to my Pinterest boards (drool). This year, we are celebrating Thanksgiving in Belfast, Northern Island and we are really looking forward to gathering around a table with dear friends and some of our favorite comfort foods that this season has to offer.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, just a few days away, it is time for the big feast!

As anyone who follows an AIP lifestyle or any restrictive diet knows, the holidays can be a tough time. Finding delicious holiday recipes made of whole foods that do not use any dairy, gluten or grains, and nightshades this time of year can be a struggle. It can make social situations feel a bit awkward at times but there is no reason why it cannot be a celebration that includes all of us, and deliciously so, with recipes that do not sacrifice on taste or ‘specialness’. I found this article from the gals at autoimmune-paleo.com to be really helpful for this time of year, a wee guide on how to navigate the holidays and social situations when managing your disease through diet and lifestyle.

We do not have to give up on a holiday feast just because do or do not eat certain foods. In fact, many of the food most commonly enjoyed on Thanksgiving Day are perfectly fine, and just require an attention to quality, the removal of a few ingredients, and creative substitutions of others.

Here is a roundup of Thanksgiving recipes that can help make this year the most delicious, and nutritious, yet. These dishes are so tasty, you and your fellow diners may not even notice they are eating healthier a variation of their favorites!

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Bring on the Stuffing: Rather than relying on expensive gluten-free breads or flours, these two types of grain-free stuffing are made with a bounty of fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs. They feature all of the flavors you love in traditional stuffing, without leaving you feeling too “stuffed” afterward.

Grain-Free Stuffing

Cranberry Holiday Stuffing

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This recipe uses cauliflower rice as the base and includes fresh green apples, cranberries, bacon, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and celery, spiced with cinnamon and rosemary. The texture of this stuffing is great, and it has the perfect blend of sweet holiday spice and tart flavors.

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Bring on the Mash:  It is hard to beat a bowl of creamy, buttery, mashed potatoes. I have found that lots of mashed vegetables can be oh-so-delicious and great addition to a properly combined Thanksgiving dinner.  Over the years, mashed cauliflower has become a popular low-carb/ Paleo alternative, but it has not been high on my list. I prefer mashed carrot and parsnip, or mashed sweet potato. Have fun experimenting with different root vegetables.

Roasted Garlic Vegetable Mash

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Mashed Cauliflower “Potatoes”

Celeriac Mash

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Bring on the Sauce: Because sometimes you need to give all those sides a bit-o sauce love and get your plate a spot at the flavour disco. And unlike many of the canned cranberry sauce options, these two recipes below are naturally sweetened with honey and bursting with Fall spices. They are quite the upgrade and will make a delicious addition to your feast.

Starch-Free Gravy 

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Basil Vinaigrette Dressing 

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Cranberry and Orange Relish

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Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce – Cranberries, cherries, ginger: it is a delicious high-five of powerful antioxidants that happens to go well with roasted turkey.

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Bring on the Veg: If there are sides that I get seconds…  okay, thirds of, they are the veg. I love all the seasonal sides our family contributes. These are healthy alternatives to certain casserole dishes and there is no limit on how many to include. The amazing thing about veg, especially autumn harvests, is the variety. The colors, the flavors, the nutrient-density and deliciousness we can get from plant-based sources is something to be grateful for.

Clean Green Bean Casserole

This fresh green beans and caramelized onions from The Dextoxinista is just about as clean as it gets. Rather than relying on a cream-based soup, it is held together by a creamy puree of parsnips and mushrooms.

Green Bean Almondine

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Holiday Slaw with Roasted Shallot Dressing

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Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts

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Brussels sprouts can be a bit intimidating on their own, but when roasted with a splash of balsamic vinegar, they become a delectable treat! Tender on the inside, and crispy on the outside, these veggies are a quick and easy addition to any Fall meal.

 

Oven Roasted Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash with Cranberries

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Cabbage, Orange + Date Salad 

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Roasted Root Vegetables 

Why limit yourself to one or two vegetable varieties? Treat your guests to the full spread of fall veggies, simply roasted and allowed to succeed on their own merits.

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Roasted Squash, Pecan + Pomegranate Salad

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Bring on the Dessert: With all of the work involved in preparing Thanksgiving dinner, we could all use simple dessert recipes that do not involve to much work or have so much sugar it feels impossible to enjoy them after a hearty meal like Thanksgiving dinner. These following recipes are all easy to prepare, and taste so decadent– with surprising amounts of nutrients and no refined sugars or unhealthy oils.

No-Bake Pecan Pie Bars

 

Pumpkin is my favorite. Always. The textures, flavors and overall satisfaction of this collection of pumpkin recipes is over. the. top. so. good. They all have the taste and texture similar to pumpkin pie, but better for you! Whether you prefer almond butter or coconut flour recipes, these have got you covered!

Grain-free Pumpkin Bars

 

Pumpkin Spice Muffins 

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Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bars

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No-Bake Pumpkin Tarts

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This recipe features a sweet pumpkin filling and a grain-free crust. These mini tarts are a quick and easy seasonal dessert. Naturally sweetened with fiber-rich dates, they can be whipped up in a blender in minutes.

I have also included some additional recipes for those that would like to incorporate some seasonal fruit into the holiday mix.

Honey Roasted Pears with Sea Salt + Rosemary Cream 

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Paleo Apple Crisp

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Citrus + Pomegranate Mint Salad 

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I wish that Thanksgiving did not come only once a year. Not just for the food (but close…) but also for the spirit of gratitude and thankfulness that spreads through the season. I am thankful for this season of our life. I am grateful for a God that is faithful when I am less than worthy. I am thankful for supportive family and friends that continue to pray for us and give of themselves generously. I am thankful for my job and the young people I work with. I am thankful for the Autoimmune Protocol community. I am thankful for better health, especially when I compare it to how awful I felt one year ago. I am especially thankful for my husband who supports me wholeheartedly on this healing journey and who I get to share life with everyday.

Whatever you choose to serve this Thanksgiving, I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday celebrating good food and all the things you are grateful for.

As always, let me know what your favorite holiday recipes are?  Will you be making any modifications this year?

Happy Thanksgiving, x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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garlic+ herb turkey sausage

breakfast, recipes, sides

I love breakfast and I am such a crank if I skip it or do not get enough to eat in the morning.

One of my biggest challenges since going Auto-Immune Protocol [AIP] in February of this year are breakfasts. Egg-free breakfasts can be difficult in the paleo world and many store bought sausages are heavily processed, full of sugar and usually not gluten free.

Thankfully, there are loads of amazing AIP cookbooks and resources out there, so finding all kinds of breakfast inspiration is easy as toast (well, not toast, but you know what I mean).

This recipe for turkey sausage is easy to make in bulk, can be frozen and are quick to reheat in the morning. I usually eat them along with a big bowl of sautéed breakfast greens,- kale, cabbage, broccoli, sweet potato hash, whatever is on hand- and a side of some delicious, heaping scoop of fermented food like sauerkraut or kimchi. At lunch, they are perfect on top of salad or between two thin slices of roasted sweet potato with avocado mash, whoa!

Makes 16, 1 oz. patties or 8, 2 oz. patties 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (approx 500g) ground lean turkey breast
  • 1 tbs chopped garlic
  • 3 chopped green onions
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tbs lime juice
  • 1-2 tbs mixed dry herbs (or something similar)
  • coconut oil (optional, for cooking)

 

Directions

It is this easy.

  1. In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients until it reaches an even consistency
  2. Knead with hands or wooden spoon
  3. Heat skillet to medium heat
  4. Mold 1-2 oz (smaller than a golf ball) patties with hands and place in skillet
  5. Turn every 5 minutes, until both sides are brownish/goldish and fully cooked, the middle should no longer be pink
  6.  Repeat until the mix is done

Notes

– I did not add any oil to my pan to cook these. I found that adding a little water to the pan (because they are lean, not a lot of fat to cook in) when they were sticking did the trick. But if you prefer oil, just add bit of coconut oil to the pan before adding patties.

-The mixed herbs + fresh garlic add a burst of flavour but feel free to experiment.

-You can also play with the patty size to pre-ration how much you want to be eating.  When I batch-cook, I make them on the small side so that I can be flexible about portions and use them with other meals for a couple of days.

 

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I would love to hear what your delicious and quick go-to breakfast items are. As always, have a delicious day!

x

superfood blueberry + quinoa salad

mains, salads, sides

Blueberries and summer – they just go together.

This time of year we all seem a bit more interested in fresh salads and light meals. This recipe is one I tried last summer from The Minimalist Baker (before going AIP) but I absolutely loved it and think it is worth passing along! This salad is perfect for summer and will give you an excuse to pick up some fresh blueberries at a farmer’s market near you. This salad is in season, full of flavour and packed with superfoods!

The dressing really brings all the flavours alive and dancing on your tastebuds: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a little sweetener and a good amount of pureed blueberries! It is a perfect vegetarian option, packed with plant-strong goodness. It is sweet yet subtle. It is quick but well constructed. A perfect option for a summery, crunchy lunch or dinner!

 

Serves: 2 entries / 4 sides 

Ingredients

SALAD
DRESSING
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup (honey or date syrup)
  • 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) olive oil
  • Pinch each salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup (approx 50 g) blueberries
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Instructions

  1. Prepare quinoa (easy guide here) or use ready-to-go version.
  2. In a food processor or small blender, add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, blueberries, maple syrup, and a pinch each salt and pepper. Blend until pureed, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  3. On a plate, or low large bowl, arrange mixed greens and top with cooked quinoa blueberries, nuts and avocado. Serve with dressing. It’s that easy!

 Notes

  • If you are following the AIP lifestyle, toasted coconut chips make a great substitution for the grain and nuts.
  • I used pre-cooked quinoa for convenience, by all the means cook your own, read here for easy instructions.
  • I have used hazelnuts and sliced almonds in the recipe but my favourite is pistachio and pecan mix. Use your favourite!
  • A crumbled goat cheese or feta would be a nice addition if you tolerate dairy

 

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What are you favourite recipes that use seasonal fruits or ingredients? I hope you have a delicious weekend!

x

warm turmeric roasted beet + sweet pea salad

mains, recipes, salads, sides

Salad is my favourite food and this time of year I am constantly tossing them together. There are so many creative and delicious ways to dress up leafy greens! They top my list because they are quick, nutrient-dense, budget-friendly and the toppings are endless. This recipe combines the anti-inflammatory spice of turmeric with warm roasted beetroot and sweet spring garden peas. Simply drizzle with a bit of balsamic and you are good to go.

Ingredients

3 red beets, roots and stems removed
1 tsp cider vinegar
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp turmeric + ginger powder
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup diced celery
1/3 cup chopped fresh spring onion
3/4 cup shelled fresh or frozen green peas, thawed

Method

1. Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C

2. Wrap red beets loosely in foil. Place in a roasting pan; roast at 375° for 45 minutes or until just tender. Cool completely. Peel beets, and cut into quarters; sprinkle with garlic salt and tumeric powder, set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine olive oil + vinegars stirring constantly with a whisk. Add beets; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with tumeric, ginger powder + garlic salt.

4. Prepare bowl(s) with lettuce mix and top with chopped celery, peas and marinated beets.

5. Share with your people, or enjoy solo. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Looking to add some protein? This salad will be fantastic with roast chicken or grilled salmon
  • If you tolerate dairy, some goat cheese would be the perfect compliment to the sweet beets and peas.
  • Add a little extra crunch with pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • This recipe inspired by an Ottolenghi recipe from his book Plenty More which is currently one of my favourite books to look through. Next time I make this, I will definitely be adding heaps of avocado.

 

Have a delicious week and let me know, what are your go-to spring inspired salads?

x

 

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Thanksgiving: herb roasted root vegetables

appetizer, holidays, mains, recipes, sides

It is time to celebrate our second Scottish Friendsgiving.

Thanksgiving is less than one week away and we are grateful to have friends to share the occasion with in Scotland. This time of year, many people find it impossible to eat healthy. This side dish is seasonal, festive, mouth-watering and it won’t break the bank or increase the waistline. This recipe is great for a crowd because you can easily double the quantity and roast baking sheets full of veggies.

This year I am contributing these delicious herb roasted root vegetables. The mix is a wonderfully colourful and comforting mix of roasted parsnip, butternut squash and sweet potato. You can use any combination of root veggies you like. If you don’t like sweet potato, you can substitute white or red potatoes. Not a fan of parsnip? Use carrots instead. It’s a great way to clear out your produce drawer, and the process could not be easier.

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Ingredients

Serves 4

1 large butternut squash, halved, seeded and cubed
3 large sweet potatoes/ yams, scrubbed and cubed
1 medium yellow onion
3 large parsnip, cubed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or coconut oil), plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, chopped garlic, mixed herbs + thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
Top with 2 handfuls of pumpkin seeds

* Dairy options in notes below

Method

Place 2 baking sheets in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F or 220 C/Gas Mark 7.

Cut all the vegetables into 1 1/2-inch pieces or cubes. Cut the onions through the base core to keep some of the layers in chunky pieces. Toss all the vegetables with garlic, oil, seasoning and salt in large bowl. Season generously with pepper.

Carefully remove the heated baking sheets from the oven, brush or drizzle with olive oil. Divide the vegetables evenly between the 2 pans, spreading them out to assure they don’t steam while roasting. Roast the vegetables until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Notes
-If you tolerate dairy, some sprinkled feta, parmesan, or crumbled goat cheese would be a nice addition.
– Best to keep seasoning simple in this recipe.  Root veggies have such earthy and wonderful flavors. For more flavor, you could sprinkle them with rosemary, oregano, a little cumin, or fresh chopped parsley. Be creative as you want.

-If you use red beets in this recipe, keep in mind that the roasting will release a pinkish juice that will color the other vegetables. If you’d rather not have pinkish veggies, use golden beets or omit the beets completely.

For more inspiration click here to see several healthy vegetarian side dishes for Thanksgiving from Food Network and Delish.

What do you plan to cook this Thanksgiving? I hope your day is a special and delicious time with family, friends and the ones you hold dear. May peace and grace be yours abundantly!

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

strawberry + mixed greens salad with toasted nuts

mains, recipes, salads, sides

The bright and beautiful strawberries used in this recipe were picked at Craigie’s Farm. This pick-your-own farm and cafe is one of Edinburgh’s treasures and it is easy to see why city folk like myself flock to the farm on weekends. We wandered up and down the greenhouses and fields filling our baskets with strawberries, raspberries and cherries. This proved to be highly addicting. My baskets were full but I just couldn’t stop looking for deep, red, ripe fruit. I would find one and say, “okay, this is the last one” but it would turn into another fifteen minutes of foraging. Needless to say, the entire experience made me rethink the times I have sat and plowed through a carton of raspberries in 1.5 minutes. This week when I looked at my berries, I thought more about the colors, the textures, the hands that picked them and the joy of finding them- but I still ate them rather quickly. 

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One of the best parts about summer? Salads! And tossing fruit into our salads! Hooray! I love salads because they are customizable and can be easily experimented with. Putting in the stuff you like and picking out the stuff you decide you are not crazy about is easy peasy. The idea of strawberries on salad is not a new concept. There are many wonderful strawberry salad recipes out there, two of my favorites that you can view here are from the wonderfully talented The Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows.

This strawberry salad is fresh, satisfying and super… super easy to make.  I always prefer a little crunch in my salad, so tossing in some unsweetened coconut flakes and toasted nuts are delightful additions. They also provide important healthy fats and a protein boost, win-win.
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INGREDIENTS
DRESSING

3 tbs olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1-2 tsp date syrup (or sweetener of choice)

Mix all ingredients in small jar, set aside

SALAD

1-2 c (150-200g) quartered strawberries

200g arugula + watercress mix

200g spinach

3 tbs unsweetened shredded coconut

3 tbs raw hazelnut + almond (or nuts of choice)

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C) and place nuts on lined baking sheet. Toast for 5-8 minutes then set aside

Add mixed greens, strawberries, coconut and toasted nuts in a large mixing bowl

Drizzle 2-3 tbsp of balsamic dressing and toss gently

Notes
*Serve additional dressing, nuts and coconut on the side
*Best when fresh. Share it for 2 entrees or 4 small salads
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