Most important of all, I am alert and aware of all the things for which I am thankful, not being in a food coma already this week--I mean, to get in all the treats that are available for Thanksgiving, you really need a week! Pumpkin rolls, egg nog, cute frosted cookies, pies of every sort, chocolate treats (though I associate chocolate with Christmas instead), an enormous turkey, creamed this and that, dips and cheese balls and punches and sauces . . . it's all too much!
First strategy: Avoidance - purchase or make less-tempting-to-me versions of favorites. For example, I purchased brown-and-serve rolls from the grocery instead of making the heavenly ice-box rolls that are a family tradition. Yes, we love them, but why not put off having them until maybe Christmas, when one missing family member will be here? Also, I'm skipping making a pecan pie because that's my favorite. We'll have pumpkin and apple, and I'm going to find or dream up a date-and-pecan kind of treat that will keep me happy--I'm thinking a ball/truffle kind of thing.
Second strategy: Indulgence - purchase the nicest versions of fully nutritarian items, like unsweetened coconut, fresh pineapple, gorgeous pears, brussels sprouts on the stalk, and nuts and dried fruits for special treats.
Third strategy: Creativity - make dishes nutritarian-friendly to begin with or make my own versions to serve alongside the versions the family will have. With that goal in mind, I share a few of the things I've made today . . . (no verdict yet on the ones I haven't tried beyond initial tasting)
2 cups boiled white potatoes
1/4 cup Amazing Creamy Garlic Dressing (see below)
2 tablespoons dried chives
pepper to taste
Mash the potatoes, mix in the other ingredients, and serve. I put mine in a small casserole dish to reheat for Thanksgiving and after.
Amazing Creamy Garlic Dressing
1 cup raw cashews
3 cloves garlic
juice of one lime
1/2 - 1 cup water
Whirl all in a high-powered blender until completely smooth, and store in a jar in the fridge.
Verdict: Excellent. I have enjoyed this on salads this week, and when I put it on steamed collard greens last night the family was sure it was butter.
Simple Skinny Sweet Potatoes
1 cup baked sweet potato
1/3 cup minced fresh pineapple
dash each cloves, ginger, and cinnamon, with more cinnamon for the top
1 tablespoon chopped pecans
Mash sweet potato with the pineapple and mix in spices, then put into a non-stick-spray-coated custard cup and top with pecans and more cinnamon
3 quarts Valencia or Navel oranges (make that about 6 pounds oranges, which yields 3 quarts of sections)
2/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted or not, as you prefer
1/3 cup Cointreau (optional)
Peel and section the oranges, then tear each segment in two, to release the juice somewhat. If you're really OCD, remove all the membranes, but I think they include important nutrients. Add coconut and toss, then pour Cointreau on and toss again. Refrigerate at least overnight to let the flavors meld, stirring occasionally.
Verdict: Excellent! This is one of my all-time favorite holiday dishes (especially for Christmas), even without the Cointreau, though I've traditionally had it with sweetened coconut. I usually serve it at the table with the meal, but for Thanksgiving this year I'm serving it as a dessert, so I won't notice the pie I'm not eating! It's better as the days go by, so that's why I make so much to begin with.
To be continued . . .