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Gluten Free Thanksgiving

November 14, 2013

By Coach Maria – Salus Nutritionist & Food Expert

The holiday season is upon us and many of us are already scrambling; trying to get our Thanksgiving plans figured out and maybe even stressing about hosting a Thanksgiving meal and feeding a large group of friends and/or family.

For some, the menu planning will remain the same as it has always been year after year.

For others, this year marks the start of a healthier and more creative tradition; a tradition rich in uniquely paired ingredients, teeming with incredible flavors that are sure to please the many different palates you will be serving this Thanksgiving.

When you share a meal with loved ones, you want to present the best culinary skills you possess – right?

It’s all about how the dish will look and how the dish will taste; true, but it should also go deeper than that, it should also be about how the dish will impact their health!

I thoroughly enjoy sharing meals with family and friends and I care enough to put emphasis on not just the appearance of the meals or the flavor of the meals, but I also want to make sure the food I am sharing will not contribute to or negatively impact their heart disease, high cholesterol or blood pressure, thyroid dysfunction, hormonal dysregulation, body composition and/or any other health issue that so many are struggling with these days.

This Thanksgiving, why not switch gears and decide to include the same emphasis when sharing your Thanksgiving meal with family and friends?

With a few changes that do not require a ton of effort, you’ll not only leave your guests with satisfied belly’s, but you’ll leave them with belly’s that do not ache, cramp or feel bloated (unless, of course, it’s because your meal was so delicious, they helped themselves to too many portions!).

Brussels Sprouts & Quinoa Salad
6-8 servings

1 lb Brussels sprouts, stems cut and cut in half
1 c quinoa, cooked
1 c nut of choice (walnut or pecan work great!)
1/2 c pomegranate seeds (watch this easy deseed pomegranate video)
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400.
Place brussels sprouts in a rimmed baking sheet, toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast for 20 minutes until browned lightly, gently tossing around in pan halfway through roasting.
Dump brussels sprouts in large bowl and add remaining ingredients.
Taste – adjust seasoning as desired.
Can be served warm or cold!

Roasted Pumpkin w/ Feta
serves 6

This side dish can be served as a salad (a personal favorite), or as a stand alone dish.  If you can’t find a small cooking pumpkin, you can use butternut squash (Costco has them already diced!).  Either way, the combination of the sweet pumpkin and tangy cheese is genius!

1 med cooking pumpkin, cut in half, seeds removed, sliced into thin boats and peeled (or butternut squash cubes – Costco!)
2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c pine nuts (or, if you prefer, any other nut of choice)
5 oz feta cheese
1 tblsp raw, unfiltered honey
1 tblsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400.
Place pumpkin slices and pine nuts in rimmed baking sheet.
Drizzle olive oil over pumpkin and pine nuts, and mix until thoroughly covered.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until tender.
Drizzle with balsamic, honey and sprinkle with feta.

Mushroom & Bacon Stuffing
12 servings

Just because it’s gluten-free, doesn’t mean it’s taste-free! 

1 small gluten free loaf of bread (shop here) or make your own favorite recipe
1/2 c unsweetened cranberries
1 c apple juice
1 tblsp evoo
6-8 slices free range , uncured bacon, cooked and chopped
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c fresh parsley
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.
Break up bread loaf into chunks (1″ size) and place on a large baking sheet.
Leave bread out for 24 hours – the bread should no longer be soft and should be a bit tough (this will allow crumbs to hold it’s shape during baking!
Combine cranberries in apple juice and set aside.
Heat oil in large pan over med high heat and add onion, celery and garlic; cooking until soft (5-7 min).
Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
In a large bowl, add bread chunks, vegetable mixture and chopped bacon – mix.
Pour apple juice and cranberries over top and toss lightly (do not over mix).
Dump everything into a large casserole, cover and bake for 35 minutes.
Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.

Stay tuned next week for:

Desserts!

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