Thanksgiving celebration and dinner

Stepping Outside the Thanksgiving Box

Thanksgiving is a holiday that’s steeped in warm, heartfelt traditions: Grandma’s stuffing, Dad’s sourdough bread, Auntie’s pecan pie, Mom’s sweet potatoes… As “Turkey Day” approaches, many of us find ourselves reminiscing about meals, memorable recipes, and times we’ve shared with loved ones in days gone by.

But what if you feel like your traditions could use a little bit of an update? I mean, if we were still doing things like the pilgrims did on the very first Thanksgiving, it would be just… weird. It’s natural to progress, to adapt, and to make room for improvements. Here are some suggestions for amping up your Thanksgiving dinner:

The turkey: I love a traditional turkey with crispy browned skin and gravy as much as the next person, but people are trying lots of modern twists these days, and what’s the harm in changing things up? Suggestions:

• Surprise your guests with a deconstructed turkey: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Deconstructed-Holiday-Turkey-with-Sage-Gravy-236317
• Amp up your turkey’s flavor profile by wrapping it in luscious bacon (Tip: Serve biscuits
instead of rolls to go with the turkey-bacon gravy you can make from the drippings): http:// www.today.com/food/bacon-wrapped-turkey-step-step-make-ultimate-thanksgiving- bird-t50971
• Go all in and impress your guests with turducken: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ paula-deen/turducken-recipe.html

The side dishes: I know–there’s something comforting and nostalgic about sharing familiar dishes year after year with your loved ones. But with increased attention to food allergies and healthy eating, the demand for creative and tasty options is on the rise, even on holidays.
• Quinoa: Consider dishes starring quinoa for healthier options, including salads and stuffing:
http://www.simplyquinoa.com/best-quinoa-thanksgiving-recipes/
• Cauliflower: Cauliflower is low in carbs, virtually a blank slate when it comes to taste, and a great substitute for starchy potatoes. Check out this link for tasty cauliflower recipes: http://allrecipes.com/recipes/2436/fruits-and-vegetables/vegetables/cauliflower/

The bread or rolls: With so many people trying to reduce their gluten intakes, don’t be afraid to explore gluten-free options. Gluten-free products, such as gluten-free flour, almond flour, and coconut flour, are available in most grocery chains now. If you can’t find these, consider corn- based offerings, such as tortilla chips or corn-bread. For recipe ideas, try this link: http:// allrecipes.com/recipes/1755/everyday-cooking/special-diets/gluten-free/bread/

The desserts: Pumpkin pie is the go-to for a Thanksgiving meal, but what if not everyone likes pumpkin pie? Or what if you want to try something a little “fancier”? How about a pumpkin cake roll? Or a cranberry-topped cheesecake? Here is a great link for some holiday-themed dessert options that will wow your guests: http://allrecipes.com/recipes/1257/holidays-and-events/ thanksgiving/desserts/cakes/

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

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