I can’t believe it’s already holiday season again, but I am reminded that winter is coming every time I go outside and am greeted with a blast of frigid air (I’m not a winter person). The only thing that gets me through the cold and depressing weather is getting to spend more time with family and friends during the holidays. Call me crazy, but I love planning and making Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. I get lots (most) of my inspiration via Pinterest. Until I started getting involved with cooking, my family had used the same recipes for several years and we always had the same dishes every Thanksgiving. The first year I was in charge of the meal, I still wanted to have the traditional sides but make them in a healthy way. My family was reluctant to put me in charge again the following year. I’ve since learned that by taking the time to create completely home-made dishes, you can still make them healthier than the traditional recipes that use pre-made or processed ingredients without being a health-nut (For the record, I enjoy being a health nut but it doesn’t usually please a crowd). I wanted to share with you what I have on the menu for my family’s Thanksgiving Dinner this year.

Thanksgiving Menu 1

Sweet Potato Casserole

I’m super excited to try this sweet potato casserole recipe this year. It’s a little lighter than traditional recipes but still has butter and marshmallows. I appreciated that this recipe incorporated BOTH a pecan AND a marshmallow topping, too. Also, blog photo GOALS!

Thanksgiving Menu 2

Cranberry Apple Stuffing

I’m interested to see how this stuffing recipe will turn out as its more of a sweet and savory dish. I’m hoping it will be a good balance between the two. I’ve never made a crockpot dish for Thanksgiving but we all need more stovetop room while cooking for the holidays so it seems like a no-brainer.

Thanksgiving Menu 3

Green Bean Casserole

This is (and always has been) hands down my favorite holiday side dish. My family has always made it with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup and while I love the traditional recipe, I wanted to see if it could be even better without processed ingredients. My entire Thanksgiving feast revolves around this dish so it MUST be delicious.

Dessert

I am making traditional pumpkin and pecan pies for dessert, both with crusts made from scratch. I found the cutest pecan pie filling in a jar at Trader Joe’s so I’m excited to see how it turns out, although I am more of a pumpkin pie person.

What are you thankful for? I feel so lucky to have all of my closest friends, family, and loved ones celebrating this holiday of pilgrimage with me. My hope during this holiday season is that those of us who are lucky enough to have all the things we take for granted are reminded of our many blessings, but to also keep the ones who aren’t as fortunate in our thoughts. There is so much pain and hurt all around the world right now and it would be a much lovelier place if we all vowed to keep the holiday spirit alive year-round. Spread love and light because you never know who you may meet that is in desperate need of some kindness and compassion. I’m wishing all of you a happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season!

Emily

November 2015

Recipes and photos from “Thanksgiving Menu” are from the following blogs;

Sweet Potato Casserole; Recipe link HERE

Cranberry Apple Stuffing; Recipe link HERE

Green Bean Casserole; Recipe link HERE