Go Stuff Yourself

Christmas decorations are up. Everywhere. And it's not even Thanksgiving yet. Which is all I really care about right now.

The big day is less than a week away and I'm ready. We've planned our menu and are including a few of our traditionswe can't imagine a Thanksgiving dinner without mashed potatoesas well as several new dishes we're going to add in the mix this year.

In our attempt to keep this day moderately healthy, we decided to replace the dreaded belly-filling stuffing with a wild rice stuffing that will have the traditional mirepoix (carrots, celery and onion) along with roasted mushrooms and chestnuts.

We also agreed to drop kick the crust-laden pumpkin pie for a light and tasty pumpkin pie pudding recipe I found in a recent issue of Cooking Light magazine.

And we're preparing a raw cranberry relish as opposed to our traditional cooked version. (If these are new dishes winners, I will certainly take copious notes and share them with you after the holiday celebration.)

As you finalize your plans for what I believe to be the very best day of the year, here's a few suggestions on what to you might want to make for your family. And if you're a lucky guest this year, perhaps one of these dishes will be a perfect complement to your host's dinner menu.

No matter what your plans for the coming celebration and no matter where or with whom you congregate, take the time to be grateful for all you have. We have each been blessed with an abundance of gifts and gifted people who love us and who we love. The joy is recognizing what and who those are and allowing them to unfold.
  
A great way to start the morning. I can assure you everyone will be thankful you made these beauties.

A healthy appetizer that is equally good warm, hot or at room temperature and can be nibbled on while everyone's waiting for the bird to come out of the oven. And because it only gets better with time, you can make this dish on Tuesday for Thursday's celebration.
Add dried cranberries to make this fantastic salad more festive.

This recipe is unbelievable and unbelievably simple. Forgo the marshmallows for this winner of a dish!

In lieu of the dreaded though beloved green bean casserole, make a big batch of creamed spinach. They'll never miss the uber-processed can of cream of mushroom soup...or the sodium.

Mashed cauliflower 
For the paleo or just the health-conscious, these are so good, you'll swear you are eating potatoes.

Yes, I promise know one will ever know that turnips have been concealed in these mashers.

Roasted vegetables
With all of the root veggies in season right now, this is a great way to feature them at the harvest meal.

Homemade cornbread
Forgot to buy Jiffy? No sweat, just whip up a batch of homemade cornbread for your stuffing. No additives, preservatives or chemicals! And it tastes great.

Popovers
This northeastern tradition will soon become your family's fave as well.

This pie crust can be made in the food processor, well in advance, even doubled and kept in the freezer until you need it.

The egg white meringue really lightens this pie so you will still have room for dessert...which is the best part, in my book.

My great-grandmother made the best pecan pie. Now you can, too. The key is her secret ingredient...and this time it's not love.

Buen provecho!


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