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My Thanksgiving Menu

I am a foodie at heart and I love love love finding ways to celebrate life through food. Since I have been on the path of #whole30 (or maybe I should say #whole28) I have found ways to substitute better ingredients for ones I used in the past to make my menu more wholesome, organic, healthy with less sugar, grains, and preservatives. Pull up a chair, grab a hot bev and see what we are making this Thanksgiving. Still menu planning? Not to worry, this menu is delicious, healthy, fun to make and pretty simple to put together.

I always like to start off my menu with drinks, move my way to appetizers and then of course to the main dish.

My mom and I always start with coffee (um hello)… and our local favorite is Texas Coffee Traders Pecan… it is made with love and you get a giant hug with each sip. Then we get to cooking. For our Thanksgiving breakfast we wanted it to be scrumptious and easy...

Apple Cinnamon Rolls and a Bacon Quiche with a Spaghetti Squash Crust this is such a delicious, healthy way to do a quiche without the unnecessary grains.

I love letting the season shine through the produce that is available. For cocktails I kept leaning toward apple, maple or cranberry. After we drink our coffee and the parade is in full swing, we pull down the champagne glasses…it is mimosa time.

Then we like to put out a few appetizers that will help carry us over to our big feast later that day.

Baked Brie- the best thing about this appetizer is you can put just about any dried fruit, nut, jam or preserves in it. I always go with what is in season. This year we had harvested some cherries from the summer in Northern Michigan, dried and jammy we thought this would be a perfect addition to our brie. We added some toasted walnuts and apricot jam to take this appetizer to the next level. We served with warm bread or for grain free peeps like me, I dip with my pecan Nutthins.

Marinated Goat Cheese- this you can do yourself or you can grab one already done from your local store. Very simple, yet divine. We love cheese in our house. Cheese boards are made on the regular. But over the last 18 months I chose to give up most dairy. Plus I think I just ate too much cheese in general (ha). After a few months off dairy altogether, I decided to add goat cheese back in on special occasions. What is nice about goat cheese it is gentler on your digestive system… and thankfully more people must like goat cheese because our grocery store bodes an impressive variety nowadays! Goat cheddar, goat gouda, goat brie, the list goes on and on. But this marinated goat cheese, is so delicious and looks beautiful. If you make your own you simply take a plain goat cheese log, pour high-quality olive oil (or whatever oil you prefer the taste of) with all the fresh herbs you love… rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano… whichever herbs you have available and prefer work. Add in salt and pepper and make sure all is covered on the goat cheese log, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve with warm bread, Nutthins, crudité or plantains.

This is usually the time we switch to a different cocktail. This year we decided to give a Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour a try. I have never been a whiskey girl…but my husband has swayed me as of late with this amazing cherry whiskey we found in Northern Michigan from Traverse City Whiskey Co. I love using maple syrup instead of sugar, so this 4-ingredient cocktail recipe became a winner.

On to the good stuff. This year we decided to take on Ina Garten’s recipe for her turkey roulade. We were doing an early Thanksgiving and the one we are going to have actual Thanksgiving day is going to be smoked (YUM). I love trying new dishes and ways to eat turkey, I am an interesting combination of a traditionalist and a pushing-the-menu-limits. We rarely serve the same recipe every year. So this roulade recipe became a perfect choice, stuffed with my mom's perfect stuffing recipe.

This turkey recipe is like Thanksgiving rolled up in one delicious bite.

Our side dishes:

My husband has a co-worker that’s daughter goes to college in Maine, when they went up for parent’s weekend they ordered their lobsters for Thanksgiving dinner to be delivered to their holiday house in Montana. That got us thinking…didn’t the first Thanksgiving table just overflow with seafood…I mean they were on the East Coast afterall. We decided to incorporate a little bit of that into our meal.

Fresh shrimp + pumpkin….why not!?

My mom is a sucker for rutabagas. I know I know, you may not even know what this is. It is a root vegetable and some put it in their roasts. My mom loves it. This year, we decided to make this our mash vs the always popular potato. It has a slight bitter taste to it, so to balance it out we are adding plenty of seasoning, fresh parsley and… everything is better with bacon.

I recently saw an article about how good Brussel sprouts are for you, so it was pretty easy for me to add this on our menu.

Fancy it up with butternut squash and sprinkle with pomegranates so the dish looks like it is topped with jewels.

Dessert is always a reason for us to really try new recipes. Pumpkin pie never went down in our house as a favorite, maybe we didn’t add enough spice? This year we decided to make pumpkin cheesecake instead. The plus side is, my nutritionist said of all the desserts out there this one is the best to have (a good quality one of course) because the fat cancels out the sugar…and as we all know fat is all the rage right now. Scientists

and the masses have finally figured out fat is essential for our brains and good for our bodies as a whole. Needlesstosay, it was easy to make the switch. In the crust, I

substituted coconut sugar for brown sugar and in the filling I substituted 3/4 cup of maple syrup vs white sugar. I used my clove, cinnamon bark, and nutmeg essential oils from Young Living for my spices...they add a stronger, more prominent flavor (not to mention the health benefits!)

Then when looking for another dessert recipe… figs kept popping into my head. I found this galette recipe and we are thrilled to incorporate this into the end of our meal. Another simple recipe that is on the healthier side, which thrills me!

Dessert: Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Maple Drizzle

Serving coffee with dessert always goes over well. Usually Baileys always makes an appearance, and I was super excited to try out this recipe for a Coconut Whiskey Chai Latte I found a recipe that was a bit more health conscious...yay! I hope you love this menu as much as we do!

Wishing you and yours a plentiful, comforting, joyful, blessed Thanksgiving.

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