Our 2012 Paleo Thanksgiving

We had a full house this Thanksgiving. Brent’s mom, Kathy, did an amazing job decorating the table for us.

Hey everyone!

We hope you’ve enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving and are recovering from the food comas with rest and relaxation this weekend. 😉 Having successfully hosted our first Thanksgiving, I (Heather) am feeling a bit sentimental.

Over the years, holidays have little by little lost their sparkle for me. Maybe it started when I realized Santa Claus did not exist. It was probably furthered by the bratty spell of teenage-hood, years during which I found myself fighting with my mom about everything. And in my early adult years, fewer and fewer of the holidays have been spent gathering the family in one house, simply for logistical reasons: my parents live in Wisconsin and we (their five daughters, four of whom are now married and three of whom have children) have lived far apart in different parts of the country–one as far as California for a few years.

When Brent and I moved in together, I knew holidays were not going to get any easier. So, last year, to minimize the stress, Brent and I did our own Paleo Thanksgiving–just the two of us. We cooked together, ate together, watched football and snoozed on the couch together (with our dog, Mason, too, of course)… it was so relaxing.

Maybe holidays weren’t so bad after all. Maybe I had allowed the angst of those teenage years to spoil the fun for a little longer than I should have and I simply needed to grow up a bit. Just maybe. 🙂

Now, despite the inordinate amount of drama that has overtaken my family’s lives this past year (I won’t trouble you with the details), one day this summer Brent suggested we host Thanksgiving this year for our parents and anyone else who would want to join. It was a lovely idea! It was a terrifying idea! My optimistic self daydreamed of the joy we’d experience gathered around a table with his parents, my parents, my sisters and their families. Our plates would be piled with delicious foods and merriment would abound. But my realistic/pessimistic self knew we don’t have a table large enough, one of my nephews is allergic to a lot of foods, and drama follows my family like a shadow–chances are, the whole thing could be miserable. Do we really want to torture ourselves with that?

But we decided, “What the hell–Let’s do it! Let’s show my family how to host a holiday without the hell!”

We rented a table and some chairs. We invited everyone. We planned a Paleo menu (and gave everyone full disclosure about it). Brent and I cleaned and readied the house last weekend, and I took Wednesday off to cook most of the side dishes in advance. My parents arrived Tuesday evening; his on Wednesday afternoon. The rest of the attending family members (all mine, of course, haha) showed up a few hours before dinner on Thursday. Somehow, we didn’t have any screaming matches. Somehow, we had all the food ready in time for the planned 4 p.m. meal time. And somehow, we all had a lovely time.

So, what did we eat? Here it is! Finally, after all my ramblings, I am going to share our Paleo Thanksgiving 2012 menu. Our goal in crafting this menu: provide a delicious and nutritious Thanksgiving meal without any of the “junk” found in the SAD.

Brent and Heather’s Paleo Thanksgiving 2012 Menu

Brent’s mom served herself a perfect sampling of our dinner items. Doesn’t it look scrumptious?!?

Appetizer
Shrimp with homemade cocktail sauce (simply horseradish and tomato paste)

Dinner
Carrot soufflé by Primal Palate
Carrot “chips” (raw, for the kids)
Cranberry relish
Mashed garlic cauliflower
Salad of baby spinach, baby arugula, pear & walnuts with balsamic drizzle
Steamed Broccoli
Stuffing made with Brent’s special Pumpkin “corn bread”
Sweet potato casserole by Paleo Diet Lifestyle

Turkey (from Moving Meadows Farm), roasted with herbs and ghee and stuffed with carrots, a lemon, onions and celery

Desserts
Apple crumble

OK, so there was some bickering and tension among my family early on Thanksgiving morning. But after we ate brunch, I think my nerves and those of my parents’ calmed. The rest of the day went better than I expected. The food was amazing, and everyone was on their “best behavior,” haha. It was so lovely!

For the good food, we are thankful. For the good times with family and friends, we are thankful. And for the good leftovers that will feed us this week, we are thankful.

~Heather & Brent

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