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Giving Thanks

Grateful feels and a stretchy waistband. You know EXACTLY what I’m talkin’ bout, right?

Anyone who knows me well, knows I used to absolutely dread Thanksgiving and honestly, it’s still my least favorite holiday. Except for the food. It’s always been a break from the everyday dietary routine, a much needed break from work or school, a break to just simply stop and think about what you’re thankful for (e.g. food), and eat until you can’t feel your toes anymore.

Obviously, this holiday holds far more significance than simply stuffing our faces. Throughout history and across the world, it’s deeply rooted in celebrating the year’s harvest. In small town communities across the US, it’s deeply rooted in prayer, football, and turkey.

Thanksgiving is pretty much the same around here since going low carb. We celebrate our harvest (feeding and watering a kid is tough work!) and we give thanks for the good things, big and small, that made it all worthwhile. The only difference is the menu.

Jump To: Chicken | Stuffing | Green Beans | Sweet Potato Casserole | Pie | Bonus | The End

On the menu:

Rotisserie Chicken

Full Disclosure: Turkey is not my favorite foul.

If I had to choose between Turkey and Chicken, I’d choose… Steak. BUT. Chicken is a great runner up when so many local grocers offer these little roasted delights at such a great price. If we had a larger family to feed, we might opt for something else. Honestly, any great cut of meat that’s roasted in some parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (you’re totally singing it in your head…) will make your house smell like Thanksgiving and give your taste buds a delicious sense of nostalgia.

Low Carb Stuffing

Hey, remember that super long post I did a few weeks ago about Low Carb Bread? That post is Low Carb Stuffing’s best friend.

I wasn’t sure what we were gunna use to make our stuffing low carb friendly. Early on, I was leaning toward something homemade but we ended up finding a loaf of Sola’s Low Carb Bread at our local supermarket (freezer section) and decided to give it a spin. Each slice is about 3g net carbs and we used 6 – cubed and toasted. Add in some celery, onion, broth, and a few other key ingredients like parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme ( ♪ ♫ ♪ ) and you’re well on your way toward a semi-traditional Thanksgiving dish.

Roasted Green Beans and Bacon

Because BACON makes everything taste better. It’s true.

We don’t use bacon very often, never have, but I strongly believe it should always have a place in the Foodiest Holiday of the Year. Today, it has a first row seat with fresh snapped green beans, tossed with sea salt, ginger powder, and garlic then roasted until crispy.

Sweet Potato Casserole

This is NOT keto-friendly, not by a long shot. Sweet Potatoes are loaded with carbs (healthy, nutritious ones thankfully – helllooo vitamin A!) so making my husband’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish remotely low carb, complete with MARSHMALLOWS on top, was a massive challenge. If you keep the serving size small and you keep to just ONE serving, this *might* be considered a low carb safe casserole. It really depends on what your body can handle in a day’s worth of eating. The hubs special requested this holiday dish long before November rolled around, so this is the recipe we (literally) mashed together:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen cubed sweet potatoes (plain, drained) or fresh sweet potatoes
  • 5 oz sugar free marshmallows*
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar substitute – we used Sukrin Gold
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

* We were juggling many dishes this year and short on D-Day time, so we’re using ready-made La Nouba Sugar Free Marshmallows in this recipe. These contain Maltitol – a sugar alcohol that can cause blood sugar spikes and other unpleasant side effects in some people. The hubs seems immune. If you’re sensitive to Maltitol, we highly recommend making your own marshmallows at home (pretty easy actually!) or omitting them altogether.

Homemade Marshmallows: Recipe 1 | Recipe 2

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375° f and grease an 8″ casserole dish.

2. Prepare the sweet potatoes according to package instructions (if frozen) or microwave fresh sweet potatoes until cooked through (don’t forget to poke holes in them!). If you have time, you can also boil or roast fresh potatoes until soft.

3. Place cubed sweet potatoes, cinnamon, brown sugar substitute, butter, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl.

4. Mash all the ingredients together until well combined. You can also pulse in a food processor for a finer texture.

5. Place the mixture into a greased baking dish, smooth the top with a spatula or spoon.

6. Sprinkle marshmallows on top.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the marshmallows start to brown on top.

Makes 8″ casserole, 9 pieces| Serving: 1 piece| Net Carbs: 7.5g | Calories: 104
Disclaimer: Info provided here by entering the ingredients used into Carb Manager. These numbers can change based on the ingredients/brands/etc. you choose to use.

Pumpkin Pie

Low carb, sugar free pumpkin filling and buttery, almond flour crust topped with homemade whipped cream. The flavors were great (perhaps a bit too sweet?), but we had a minor fail with our pie crust shield and thoroughly burned the edges =(

We decided to be super sneaky and hide the burned rim under dollops of whipped cream…

Check out my pie crust recipe here
Note: While it’s sugar free and wheat free, it contains nuts and gluten. The bottom of the pie crust post has links to low carb sites with recipes that are nut free and gluten free.

Pumpkin Pie Filling Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (about 12oz, can use 15oz can if you’d like)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or coconut cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup erythritol or equivalent sweetener (use more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 365° f and grease a pie pan.
If using a crust, follow directions for making crust and leave raw or very lightly blind baked – line edges with a pie shield or foil.

2. In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix puree, heavy cream, and eggs.

3. In a small bowl, combine sweetener, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.

5. Pour the mixture into the pan or crust.

Tip: You may have filling leftover depending on pie pan shape/size and how thick the crust might be. In that case, you can always prepare small tart dishes/ramekins and bake some extra mini pies.

6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Wait about 15 minutes for pie to cool before cutting.

Makes 9″ pie with 8ish slices | Serving: 1 slice | Net Carbs: 3.6g | Calories: 126
Disclaimer: Info provided here by entering the ingredients used into Carb Manager. These numbers can change based on the ingredients/brands/etc. you choose to use.

Note: The above macros are for a crustless pumpkin pie. If you add in my low carb pie crust, each slice would come in just under 5g net carbs.

Bonus!

But not really… another special request the hubs made was cranberry sauce. Fresh, frozen, or canned cranberries are NOT low carb friendly, even less so than sweet potato casserole…

However – you CAN still make them without added sugar. Just wash and cook the cranberries in a stove top pot. Add in desired sweetener, a bit of lemon juice, maybe a few extra spices like cinnamon and cayenne pepper, then a dash of salt.

Cranberries don’t require any help turning gelatin-like as they already naturally contain a lot of pectin. Let the mix cool down and place it in a dish for serving or a jar to store in the fridge.

For a smooth texture, toss it into food processor or high powered blender before serving.

What I’d really like to know though – who has time to make homemade cranberry sauce from scratch the day of Thanksgiving??

Certainly not me, and I’m only prepping for a family of 3! It’s usually an afterthought if we remember it at all. So whatdya do? Well, like most, I turn to cranberry sauce in a can. We place the entire contents of the can into a little bowl and mix in cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne. And that’s that.


However you choose to celebrate the day, I truly hope your belly can be full of delicious food and that you can share it with folks who are hungry. ‘Cause for me, for always – this is the FOODIEST holiday of the year.

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