Thursday, November 15, 2012

Healthier Food for Thanksgiving

Welcome to the November 2012 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Healthy Holiday Meals.

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month our members have written posts about how they are making healthy choices during their holiday celebrations.


As I was thinking about Thanksgiving and making the annual meal this year, I wanted to include some healthier options. Here are some things I'm planning to include in the menu this year.

Homemade Applesauce

Each fall Sophia, Olivia, and I make homemade applesauce. Normally this is done in September or October. I'm a bit behind schedule so we haven't made the applesauce yet. The apples from the orchard are still in refrigerator ready to be peeled, sliced, and boiled into applesauce.

Olivia Making Applesauce
Olivia peeling and slicing the apples for applesauce.
(Photo taken on October 1, 2010)

During the next few days, we will be canning the majority of apples into applesauce. However, we will set some aside in the refrigerator so we can enjoy homemade applesauce on Thanksgiving.

Turkey Vegetable Platter

Rather than serving fresh cut-up vegetables in bowls or a divided serving try, I'm using an idea I saw on Eating With Food Allergies of arranging vegetables in a turkey shape. In this way, the vegetables are in a more child-friendly presentation which may encourage younger children to try some healthier food. For those readers on Pinterest, this is the pin.

There's another version of a vegetable platter on Living Locurto. The pin is here. This vegetable platter includes two types of olives and pickles, so it has some different items than the platter above.

Homemade Rustic Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Each year we make mashed potatoes. Normally, I just add a bit of milk, salt, pepper, and butter to the mashed potatoes. This year, I found a recipe for Rustic Garlic Mashed  Potatoes that can be made in the slow cooker.

A Job Sophia Likes to Do
Sophia peeling potatoes one year for Thanksgiving
(Taken on November 26, 2009.)

The recipe only has a few ingredients besides potatoes: garlic, bay leaf, chicken broth (or vegetable broth), whole milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Using this recipe rather than a potato casserole filled with cheese and condensed mushroom soup will be a much healthier alternative.

Healthy Jello

When I was growing up, any holiday meal - whether it was Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter - had to have Jello. You're probably thinking, "Jello isn't healthy." Honestly, I was thinking the same thing too.

Yet, according to Mama Natural, "[Jello] is a good source high in anti-inflammatory amino acids like glycine and proline.  Gelatin helps your nails and hair grow fast and strong, promotes restful sleep, improves memory and learning, and even has anti-tumor properties!" It also "helps soothe the intestinal tract while assisting digestion."

Rather than using Jello purchased at the store - which is loaded with artificial ingredients - you can make your own homemade Jello.


2 cups juice (ideally use freshly made or “not from concentrate” organic juice such as grape, cherry, or orange)
2 tablespoons gelatin (e.g., Great Lakes or Bernard Jensen, both of which are hormone-free, all-natural bovine gelatin)
Raw honey, coconut nectar, or stevia (optional)
1/2-1 cup raw fruit or 2 tablespoons fruit rind (optional)


Take 1/2 cup of the juice and put it in a sauce pan on low to medium heat. Wait until the juice is hot and then add your 2 tablespoons of gelatin. Stir constantly until the gelatin is fully dissolved. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 1-2 minutes. Don’t let it sit long or it will start to clump.

Add the gelatin-juice mixture to your remaining 1 1/2 cups of juice. Stir and taste. Add and mix in sweetener if you desire.

Pour mixture into a Jello mold. Put Jello into the refrigerator and let it sit for at least 3-4 hours. Better to leave it overnight.

Please note: Do not use raw pineapple juice as the enzymes in the fruit will prevent the Jello from setting.

I'd like to use this healthier Jello in a recipe I have for an orange jello with pineapple and bananas. Having the  bright orange salad on the table will be a colorful and festive addition to the holiday meal.


Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival!

Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:


mika jones said...

I love to see your turkey vegetables.

Brittany @ The Pistachio Project said...

Ooo thanks for the jello recipe! I keep meaning to try natural jello and this one looks great! said...

Cute turkey! I repinned it. :) Thanks for the jello idea. I was never much of a jello eater but if my children want it, I will make it with this recipe!