Beverages, Crossover, Dessert, Dinner, Drinks, E, FP, Holiday, Recipe, S, Sauces, Dressings, Sides, Snack, Veggies

My Thanksgiving Picks

Do you know that Thanksgiving is 3 weeks from today! I feel ready and I hope you do too. I have spent the last several weeks gathering and posting recipes here to get ready for the holiday season. Here is what I have gathered.

The first thing on my menu is the turkey of course. I started using a “spatchcock” method for cooking my turkey lately and I highly recommend it! It cooks so much more quickly and evenly. Check out how to Spatchcock a Turkey and get a bonus gravy recipe HERE.

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Here are my picks for the best things to have alongside the bird:

Sweet Potato Casserole (Crossover or E)

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Bean Casserole(XO)

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Green Bean Casserole (E)

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The Best Green Beans (S)

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Loaded Veggie Casserole (S)

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Roasted Veggies (S, E or XO)

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Stuffing (S)

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Cranberry Sauce (FP)

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Mashed Cauliflower (S or FP)

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Rolls

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Broccoli Salad (S)

And for dessert I suggest the following:

Pumpkin Roll (S)

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Coconut Cream Pie (S)

slice-of-pie

Pecan Pie (S)

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Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake (S)

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Pumpkin Pie (S)

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Tagalong Pie (S)

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (S)

Berry Crisp (S)

Need some beverage suggestions? Here are my favorites:

Cranberry Wassail (FP)

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Pumpkin Spice Latte or Creamer (S or FP)

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How is your holiday planning going?

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Crossover, E, FP, Recipe, S, Sides, Veggies

Roasted Veggies

Sometimes you don’t need a big fancy recipe to make something delicious. Sometimes you just need a few simple ingredients and the right cooking method to turn out something everyone will love.

That is what is so great about roasted veggies. It is a simple preparation that can be done to almost any vegetable. It can be a S, E, FP or XO side dish depending on the type of veggie and the amount of fat you use. Roasting the veggies brings out the natural sweetness in them and can change your least favorite veggie into one you crave. Think you don’t like asparagus or brussel sprouts? Have you tried them roasted? If you haven’t then you can’t answer that honestly just yet.

So what do you need to know about roasting veggies? Temperature, location and size, that’s it!

First, temperature

You want a nice hot oven so set it at a minimum of 425 degrees for most veggies. Root veggies can handle a temperature of 450 degrees.

Second, location

Place the oven rack in the lowest position. Having the veggies roasting on the lowest position allows a better caramelization to occur.

Finally, size

Whatever size you choose, it needs to be uniform. When you are chopping your veggies you want them all to be pretty much the same size. (Shape does not matter.) If you have some large chunks and some tiny pieces the veggies won’t all finish at the same time. The size of your pieces will play into how long your veggies need to cook. The bigger the pieces the longer the cook time.

 

What veggies should you use?

Well, what kind of meal are you preparing? Is it an FP or an S? Then choose whatever non-starchy you’d like! Broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, brussel sprouts, asparagus, cabbage, mushrooms, zucchini, green beans, even onions and tomatoes in moderation.

For an FP meal you want to chop your veggies into whatever size you like. Then you have two choices. You can either lightly spray the pan and veggies with cooking spray and sprinkle on your seasonings, or you can place your cut veggies in a Ziploc bag and add no more than 1 tsp of melted oil or butter per serving. You can toss the veggies around in the bag to make sure they are fully coated with oil then add your seasonings to the bag, moving everything around to be sure everything is evenly seasoned.

For an S meal you can do things exactly the same as above except be more liberal with the oil.

For an E meal you can add the starchier veggies. E meals are where I like to get my root veggies in. While some root veggies can be used in small amounts in other meal types, I like to have more of them when I am having them roasted, so I keep my roasted root veggies to E where I can really enjoy them. Sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, butternut or acorn squash. Cut your veggies into even pieces, apply oil and spices as you would for your FP meals above.

What oil and seasonings should you use?

Coconut oil, Red Palm oil, butter or olive oil are all good choices. As far as seasonings go I always use salt, pepper and nutritional yeast. Beyond that it is really up to your personal preference.

Cooking Method

Your cooking method is the same for all, even though your temperature will vary. Preheat your oven to 425 for non-starchies and 450 for the root veggies. Spread prepared veggies into an even layer on a lightly greased, rimmed sheet pan. Place the pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Check on the veggies and stir them around every 10 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the veggies and the size of cut you used. The cooking time will most likely take at least 20 minutes but could take 30 – 35.

 

Try different varieties, different combinations, different seasonings. The variations are endless! I hope you will give some new veggies a try with this method!

Crossover, Holiday, Recipe, Sides, Veggies

5-Bean Casserole

There are some things that just scream Thanksgiving to you based on your experience. This recipe does that for me. We have always had it, for as long as I remember. I believe the recipe was passed down from my great aunt, I am not sure. What I am sure of is that as soon as I smell the sweet/tangy scent of apple cider vinegar mixing with the sweetener and onions I know that Thanksgiving has come.

This recipe is a crossover due to the fat used. It is true that you could use turkey bacon and omit the 1/4 c added oil that is suggested to make it an E. However, this recipe is a holiday celebration meal for me, so I leave it as a crossover. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

5-Bean Casserole ~ THM Crossover

Ingredients

8 Slices Bacon (If using turkey bacon you will need to add 1/4c coconut oil to the recipe)
2 onions, sliced very thinly
3/4 c xes sweetener or gentle sweet
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1 14.5 oz can butter beans, drained
1 14.5 oz can red kidney beans or great northern beans, drained
1 14.5 oz can green beans, drained
1 14.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
11 oz Amazing Baked Beans (or canned baked beans if you can find no sugar added)

Directions

Fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from the pan but keep fat in the pan. (If you used turkey bacon you will need to add 1/4 c coconut oil to the pan.)20181003_101100.jpg

While bacon is frying, mix dry ingredients together with apple cider vinegar and molasses. Add vinegar mixture to the fat (oil) in the pan and whisk together over medium high heat. (Be prepared for your sinuses to be cleared!) Add onions to the pan and mix to coat. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover pan, reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
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While onions are cooking crumble the bacon. Mix drained beans together with baked beans in a large bowl. Add half of the crumbled bacon. When onions are finished cooking, pour this mixture over the beans. Stir well and put into a 3 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the rest of the bacon on top of beans.

Cover the casserole dish with lid or foil and bake at 350 for one hour.

(I actually made this a one – pot dish by using my cast iron Dutch oven for the whole process. Yay for less dishes! If you have a pan big enough that has a lid and goes from stove top to oven I highly recommend this method.)

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Honestly, I like this dish best the next day after the flavors have had a chance to meld together. Therefore, I would really suggest getting this dish prepared a day in advance giving yourself more free time on Thanksgiving day! You can also cook this in the crock-pot if you’d like. In that case I would suggest cooking it on low for at least 4 hours, giving it that time to marry the flavors.

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Be sure to keep checking back. I will be posting all of the recipes that I like to have on hand to keep me on track during the upcoming holiday season. I will eventually compile them all into a Holiday Menu post to be published on November 1st.

Crossover, E, Holiday, Recipe, Veggies

Sweet Potato Casserole ~ THM Crossover or E

Sweet potato casserole is my Thanksgiving day “splurge”. Sure, I am going to make lots of yummy treats for Thanksgiving day, I have a few different desserts planned even. But all of those fit into the S day I have planned for Thanksgiving. (If you have no idea what I am talking about then I highly suggest going over to Trim Healthy Mama, ordering their book and having your life changed!) Sweet potatoes are an E food though and this recipe is actually a crossover all by itself. But it is Thanksgiving! It is a feast day! I don’t intend to derail all the hard work I have done for the past year with a day of eating junk, but I do intend to feast! And this dish will be a part of this feast.

Like I said, this recipe, as written, is a crossover food. It contains both a significant amount of carbs and fat. This is the way I will serve it on Thanksgiving. The rest of the food will be S food (even the stuffing!) so adding this dish to it will make my meal either an S Helper (if I have a very small serving) or a crossover if I have a regular sized serving. At the end of this post I will put in tweaks you can use to make this recipe an E recipe.

Sweet Potato Casserole – THM Crossover

Potatoes

Topping
Let’s make it!
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Combine potato ingredients with a hand mixer and put mixture in baking dish. (I am baking the sweet potatoes a day ahead of time to save time on Thanksgiving day. In fact, lots of this recipe could be done the day before. You could also combine all the topping ingredients (except butter) and store them in a baggie till the next day).
  3. In another bowl combine sweetener, molasses and extract together to make “brown sugar”. Then stir in all other topping ingredients to make a crumble.
  4. Pour crumble evenly over the top of potatoes.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes.
*E Tweaks
Anything you see above that has an asterisk needs to be adjusted for an E variation, but the assembly/cooking process is exactly the same. Here is the E variation:

Sweet Potato Casserole – THM E

Potatoes

  • 6 baked sweet potatoes, peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 c gentle sweet
  • 3 egg whites (or carton egg whites)
  • 2/3 c almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
Topping
  • 1/2 c gentle sweet
  • 3/4 tsp molasses
  • 1/8 tsp of caramel, butterscotch or rum extract
  • 1 c old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 c baking blend ~OR~ oat flour (just grind rolled oats in your blender)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 8 tsp melted butter (if you make this into 8 servings this is the entire amount of your added fat for an E meal)
I hope you enjoy this recipe!
Be sure to keep checking back. I will be posting all of the recipes that I like to have on hand to keep me on track during the upcoming holiday season. I will eventually compile them all into a Holiday Menu post to be published on November 1st.
Crossover, Dinner, E, FP, Lunch, Recipe, S

Secret Ingredient Chili

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Fall is coming! School has started and that is a sure fire sign that soon enough it will be sweater weather. And that means chili! This is a meal that we enjoy all year round but especially when the weather is cooler.

I have to let you in on a little joke though. It is pretty well assured that when I make chili it will be the warmest day of the week! I don’t plan it that way, really I don’t! It just happens. This week I wanted to make chili so I could take pictures for this article. It was only supposed to get up to 81 degrees which is bad enough. It ended up getting up to about 95! Oh well, the chili was delicious anyway.

Now on to the recipe. Let me preface this by saying that we are not super spicy food lovers around here. You can feel to spice this up as much as you want, but this recipe is pretty mild as written. This recipe is so easy to multiply to make large pots. I almost never make it without doubling it because we love the leftovers.

And the secret ingredient? OKRA! Don’t worry, no one will even know it is there! Trust me on this one!!

Secret Ingredient Chili THM S

2 lbs ground beef
2 28 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can black beans
2 Tbs chili powder
2 Tbs dried minced onion (optional)
1 Tbs cumin
4 tsp mineral salt
2 bay leaves
1-2 cups frozen cut okra
1 cup very hot water

  1. Begin by browning the ground beef. After beef is browned, drain off grease and put beef in stock pot or crock pot. Add tomatoes, beans (no need to drain), seasonings and bay leaves. Stir it all together.
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  2. Next place your cut okra in the blender. I have a ninja. The way I processed the okra was to blend it till it turned into okra “snow”. Then I poured the hot water in and blended again for about a minute till there were no more chunks of okra at all. If you do not have a high powered blender then you can pour the hot water in with the frozen okra and blend away.
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  3. Now pour the mixture into your chili. Don’t worry, your chili will not be that green!
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  4. Stir everything together.
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  5. You now just need to heat your chili through. You can do this in less than 20 minutes if you are doing it on the stove-top by just simmering it on medium-low heat. Stir it occasionally to keep the bottom from burning. I personally like chili best when it has simmered for a long time. So I put it on very low heat and simmer for at least an hour. I like it best when I put it in the crock-pot on low all day! Remove bay leaves before serving.

I hope you love this chili as much as my family does. This is an S recipe as it is written. The amount of black beans does not amount to enough per serving to take you out of S mode so feel free to add cheese, sour cream or avocado to your bowl.

If you would like to make this chili FP then make sure you use 97% lean ground beef or rinse your ground beef in VERY HOT water. Make the rest of the recipe as written. Use 0% Greek yogurt to top it.

Want an E chili? Follow the FP suggestions above and add a few more cans of beans.

Feel like having a crossover? Use the original recipe and add a few more cans of beans.