Before I even thought of the Thanksgiving Challenge, I knew I wanted to do something on the healthy side this Thanksgiving. I decided that this year, we’d make Thanksgiving a “healthy indulgence.” I knew I wanted to make over as many dishes as possible erring on the healthy side, for the health of me and my family. I even proposed my idea to Foodbuzz for 24, 24, 24, but alas…I did not win.
I told my family about my idea for a healthy Thanksgiving and they were very supportive. My dad is on a strict diet anyways, so in reality, a lighter Thanksgiving was really good for him. Not to mention thanks to my health-freak dad, my family already eats pretty healthily anyways. 🙂
The Prep Work
My whole family got together to cook. We had a great joint effort!
Sweet Potato Casserole – a healthy recipe my sister found online at eatingwell.com.
Dad’s dressing. My dad actually shocked me by using white bread (he is the biggest anti-bleached-white-bread person I know!) in the dressing. Luckily, we used plenty of veggies and fresh herbs from my parent’s garden.
After the turkey was done, the casserole and dressing cooked away.
My parents picked up some organic kale for me to cook.
I couldn’t help but notice how pretty the water looked welled up in the back of the kale leaves as I washed them in the sink. So sparkly!
I blanched my kale before sauteing it with onion, garlic, and chicken broth
Pine nuts – toasting away to top the kale
Buttermilk mashed potatoes with a dab of real butter for flavor.
We used whole wheat pastry flour to make our gravy.
Tofu pumpkin pie! My sister used a flat blade to ensure the pumpkin pie was COMPLETELY flat. The pumpkin pies baked away while we enjoyed our dinner.
A little Beaujolais Nouveau to enjoy with dinner
Passing the torch
Bailey was very attentive, though we did make him sit to the side.
Makeover – Basted with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter
Makeover – as much fat skimmed away as possible and whole wheat pastry flour subbed for AP.
Makeover – got fresh-baked rolls from Great Harvest Bread Company in whole wheat (they grind their own wheat and don’t use preservatives!)
Makeover – steamed green beans instead of creamy (and heavy) green bean casserole
Makeover – roasted with extra virgin olive oil instead of mashed potatoes with lots of cream and butter
Makeover – mashed potatoes made with healthier buttermilk and with small dab of butter instead of lots of cream and butter.
Makeover – made with veggies and fresh herbs to boost nutrition
Veggie Side #1
Makeover – used superfood kale sauteed with chicken broth and topped with toasted pine nuts, easy on the olive oil
Veggie Side #2
Makeover – steamed in microwave
Makeover – no makeover here…maybe next year?
Makeover – made with whole wheat flour, low-fat milk, heart-healthy canola oil and waaaaay-easy on the butter
Makeover – used tofu instead of eggs/milk/cream/cream cheese/etc.
I took a little bit of everything (as much as possible) for my Round #1 (see Easy Ways to Make Thanksgiving a Healthy Indulgence). Everything looked so good, I wanted to pile my plate with food! Instead, I forced myself to take tiny portions (look at the corn…that’s like only 1 tbsp worth!) but I was hoping my tiny portions would pay me back with seconds.
Turns out I’m better at portioning than I thought because I was feeling pretty full after Round #1 and decided to hold off on Round #2 for awhile.
After relaxing at the table for a bit, I decided to go in for Round #2, but this time, I had one target in mind – that Sweet Potato Casserole. Yum!
After letting a couple hours go by, I was ready for dessert. Tofu Pumpkin Pie! I enjoyed dessert (with a bit of skim milk) while catching a movie (the new Star Trek) with the fam.
Holy wow is tofu pumpkin pie good or what?! It tastes just like regular pumpkin pie!
Hubby saw our recipe laying out and got freaked out by the pie.
I talked him into trying a tiny slice, doused with tons of whipped cream.
He actually got seconds (albeit another tiny piece with extra whipped cream, but still….a WIN IMO!)
I’m so pleased with Thanksgiving this year! The food was lighter and I still got to indulge without feeling horrible afterwards. The best part…my family got to enjoy the healthy indulgence, too!
What a wonderful thanksgiving with family and great food! So much to be thankful for!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!