thankful planning

My favorite holiday is in exactly five days and twenty-three hours. This means I’m planning what dishes I’m going to bring to the family Thanksgiving dinner. Most of the family doesn’t follow my brother’s and my general guidelines for eating right now: soy-free, refined sugar-free, and grain-free (except on occasion: not more than once a week, and that serving must be traditionally prepared), so we’ll be bringing some of our own dishes to enjoy with the others.

Here’s a little round-up of what I’ll be cooking this weekend to prepare for the big day:

*Cranberry stuffed roasted chicken

The original recipe calls for the use of Cornish game hens, but I’ll be using a husky pastured chicken– plain and simple. My family was hoping to find a pastured turkey, but, being new to the pastured turkey market, we missed out because we didn’t know the turkeys are reserved long before November. But there’s always next year.
In the meantime, the chicken will do. Instead of cubing processed rye bread, I’m making my own loaf of bread (whole wheat sourdough because I can’t afford rye flour for a rye loaf) and using that in place of the rye. Instead of the shiitake mushrooms, I’m using basic baby portabella mushrooms; instead of fresh herbs, I’m using dry ground ones; instead of unsalted butter (which usually contains soy and other mysterious “flavorings”), I’m using salted Kerrygold butter; instead of the leek, I’m using an onion; instead of coarse salt, I’m using a fine, unrefined salt; instead of dried cranberries (which are usually paired with refined sugar), I’m using a combination of fresh cranberries and raisins, and instead of fake canned chicken broth, I’m using my own homemade bone broth. (As you can tell, I see recipes as guidelines.) It will basically be a nice, poor-man’s version of this fancy schmancy recipe.

*Cranberry Apple Chutney 

Confession: I love cranberry sauce. Despite the tacky can-ridges and its unknown origin, it is, in my mind, a Thanksgiving staple (topped with whipped “cream” from a can, of course). However, this sweet side presents the traditional eater with a dilemma: it’s not traditional. It’s not even moderately healthy. There’s probably no redeeming factor in cranberry sauce at all. So what do we do? We make a chutney. This is probably the closest thing to a cranberry sauce I can pull off– sweet and sticky with hints of bitterness from the cranberry. The chutney will differ from the sauce in that its texture will be looser and not as characteristically gelatinous. It won’t be as sweet, as chutneys are traditionally a blissful combination of sweet and tangy, but I think this will be lovely with the roasted chicken and sweet stuffing.
My alterations are as follows: I’ll be using all (or 99%) organic ingredients, only a pinch of garlic (the original three cloves is a little heavy-handed, I think), a combination of sucanat and honey instead of white sugar, and I’m omitting cardamom all together because I can’t find it in my local grocery stores. (Buying from Amazon would take too long, I fear.)

*Pumpkin Streusel Pie

This is essentially what I made last year for a Thanksgiving dessert, and it was delicious. I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but a friend made it not long ago, and she said it was wonderful. She has good taste in everything, so I’m excited.
No subs for this one, other than I’m using almonds and cashews only for the pie because they’re what I have on hand, and I’m using ground chia seed instead of flax, also because that’s what I have hiding in my pantry at the moment.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 


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