Hosting Thanksgiving At My Home – My First Time Wrap-Up!

Thanksgiving has came and went. Whew! This was my first year hosting the Thanksgiving Day holiday at my home. I gotta say that I was probably nervous about the whole situation for the month leading up to it. I know that a lot of work and prep goes into pulling off this festive day. Our feast that we had here was perfect and excellent from start to finish. I was satisfied with how every single element of it came out. No complaints whatsoever here! I hope all of my readers also had a great holiday and enjoyed their big plate of food!

Here is a look at my dinner plate from Thanksgiving! I have a little bit of everything on my plate: roasted turkey, redskin mashed potatoes with French butter, Brussels sprouts, wild rice stuffing with mushrooms and cranberries, White Castle stuffing, Clean Bean (green bean) Casserole, ambrosia, sweet potato casserole, and my favorite~ Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cranberry Sauce! I am hoping to do a recipe post soon for my famous cranberry sauce. I can turn any cranberry-sauce-hater into a lover! So far it has worked with two haters in my family.

Thanksgiving Holiday Platter
Thanksgiving Holiday Platter

Today I will be discussing Thanksgiving and how we pulled it off. I could not have possibly made this day possible without the help and support of my family. My mom, Kathie, was a huge help. She purchased the turkey and a great majority of the food that was served. Money is super tight right now with my family so I was very grateful that she pitched in (big time) to help me create this feast.

My mom bought the 19-pound turkey and an electric roaster to cook the turkey in. I spotted the roaster when we took a trip over the Costco and I thought it would be a great idea to cook the turkey in there so we could free up the oven space for the side dishes that needed to be warmed up. Turned out to be the best idea ever!

My stepmom, Evelyn, was also a huge help. She came over early on Thanksgiving to help my mom and I prep. Evelyn brought over an appetizer and a side dish to pass as well. The appetizer that she brought was unique. They were bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Well, they were delicious. These got gobbled up pretty quick. For a side dish, she brought her famous sweet potato casserole. My stepmom was incredibly helpful with the kitchen clean up as well. That helped me tremendously.

 

Prepping for the Thanksgiving holiday

 

Paleo & Vegan (Gluten-Free) Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

The day before Thanksgiving, I did what I could to prep for the big day. The first thing that I did was I created my Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake. This is my favorite fall dessert at the moment. I wanted to get that done early because the cheesecake needs to set for at least six hours. I gave it plenty of time to set by creating it the morning before the holiday. I have a recipe for this paleo/vegan cheesecake on my blog. I did modify the recipe just a tad bit. Obviously, I did something different for the topping. Instead of creating a whipped cream with coconut cream I topped this cheesecake with a ton of walnuts and pecans. I wanted to make it extra nutty. I purchased a can of non-dairy, almond milk whipped cream to top it with. Instead of using the spices individually I used a jar of pumpkin pie spice.

Paleo & Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake topped with walnuts and pecans
Paleo & Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake topped with walnuts and pecans

Paleo cranberry sauce

I also busted out my slow-cooker the day before Thanksgiving to make my paleo cranberry sauce in advance. This is one of those set-it-and-forget-it recipes. I love cranberry sauce and my cranberries have the power to turn cranberry sauce haters into lovers! My husband never eats cranberry sauce. Guess what? This year he did! And I know that he enjoyed it because he helped himself to some for his leftover plate. This cranberry sauce is simple to make. I call it my Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cranberry Sauce! There are many ingredients that go into it but it is very easy to create. There are no refined sugars in this cranberry sauce. I use an entire bottle of pure maple syrup to sweeten it. I also use fresh-squeezed orange juice, orange zest, two ambrosia apples, walnuts, and pecans to create the sauce. The apples are a nice, welcome addition and the nuts give it a great texture. The sauce is heavily seasoned with pumpkin pie spice. I picked up a bottle of the Spice Hunter’s Pumpkin Pie Spice at Nino Salvaggio’s in St Clair Shores. This pumpkin pie spice seemed like a wonderful blend of spices. It worked out well in my Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake too, so the funds I spent on it was a great investment.

Ingredients Cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, star anise, fennel, black pepper

You can pick up a bottle of this awesome pumpkin spice seasoning on Amazon. I highly recommend using this Spice Hunter blend for all of your fall flavored foods.

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cranberry Sauce
Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cranberry Sauce

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Paleo Turkey & Turmeric Chili – Gluten-Free – A Healthier Approach To Chili

Paleo Turkey & Turmeric Chili simmering in the Staub
Paleo Turkey & Turmeric Chili simmering in the Staub

It seems a bit early in the year still for chili but temps are cooling down a bit here in Michigan and I so ready to make my first batch on Sunday night. This version that I created was totally paleo (gluten-free) and this time around to keep it paleo I avoided kidney beans, which I usually do love to use in my chili. I also usually use ground beef and I switched it up and went for a lean ground turkey. I had a craving for some paleo turkey chili and I had to make it to satisfy my craving! The added turmeric was a nice touch as well. My husband and I reveled in this bowl of comforting chili. There is just something so comforting about eating chili. It is always satisfying and it is also so simple to make!


How I created this paleo turkey chili

This chili will make quite a few servings. I would say anywhere from 4-6 servings, depending on how much you place into your bowl. It started off with garlic and onion sauteed in the Staub until it reached a nice translucent, golden color. You will need a large pot to prepare the chili in. I love to use my Staub dutch oven for meals like this. The Staub is a heavy-duty piece of cooking equipment. It is very durable and built to last a lifetime. I always enjoy cooking with it.

Then came the lean ground turkey. I broke that up with a wooden spoon and continued to brown it. I seasoned the turkey with some organic chili powder, turmeric, cumin, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. This was my first time using turmeric in my chili so I was not sure how we were going to like it.

While the meat was browning I also added in some diced red and green bell peppers. Every chili needs to be chock full of peppers for me. Peppers in every bite! For this chili, I also decided to add some chopped zucchini pieces.

Once the meat was cooked and browned I added in an entire can of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes. This is my favorite brand of tomato products that I currently use. Muir Glen is an organic line of tomato products and they always lend an extraordinary flavor to the dish I am preparing. You can read more about Muir Glen HERE and their principles as a company. They are outstanding!

I allowed this chili to simmer for a couple of hours. This can also be prepared in a slow-cooker and simmer all day in there. Just be sure to brown/cook the meat before putting it in there.

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