Enjoy a Low Carb Thanksgiving
Natalie and I love the holidays! We are heading towards another new year, one holiday is down and Thanksgiving is around the corner. I call this time of year the Bermuda Triangle of holidays, sometimes my ideal lifestyle gets sucked in and feels exceedingly hard to start anew. But alas, not anymore.
During our grade school years, we are taught that this is the holiday where we must actively show gratitude through words and/or actions. Kids make cute crafts where they write all the things they are grateful for on a cut out turkey made from construction paper and hand it over to our parents and watch them get teary eyed and let out a big “Awe!” over our small childhood achievements. Fast forward a few years and we now realize that Thanksgiving represents a key pivotal moment in the year. Will our lifestyle make it?As we have aged crafts have morphed into lots of desserts made to look like turkeys!
There is no denying that Thanksgiving will be filled with carb loaded and sweetened sides for dinner and the same for dessert. The purpose of this article is to give you hope. There is a way out. We are here in hopes to provide some guidance on how you can enjoy this Thanksgiving, with gratitude and less processed food! We want you to have a successful gathering where your hearts and tummies are full without any food coma, regret and FOMO!
There are some very simple tips that we practice that we believe can be extra useful during any social gathering, especially Thanksgiving. Dr. Tro Kalayjian reminds us to “set yourself up for success”. How I put this into play is to find out what food is being served where I am going. I realize this is not always feasible, so in such instances, I make sure to eat a full meal that will keep me satiated enough where I won’t be tempted. It’s like saying, never go to the supermarket hungry!
Another way you can set yourself up for success is to take along a low carb and/or sugar free dish or dessert that fits into your lifestyle that you can enjoy! A host has never turned down my offering to bring along a dessert, which has worked extremely well for me considering I have a huge, sweet tooth! When hosting, it is much less stressful as you have control over the menu. I am going to share our low carb Thanksgiving menu so that you too can serve a full low carb Thanksgiving meal without anyone feeling deprived and hungry!
Let's get started.
Appetizers (that can also double up as sides): Charcuterie boards are perfect for a party pf 4-40. A quick google search can guide you to the perfect plating. There are also companies that you can order from such as Charqute, who is out of the Los Angeles, California area. For our board, we like to include black Moroccan olives, marinated and spiced green olives, and/or jalapeño and garlic stuffed jumbo green olives. Can you tell we love olives? We add prosciutto, salami, mortadella, and/or turkey alongside a variety of cheese; usually parmesan, gouda, manchego or goat cheese. A separate plate for falafels, raw veggies and homemade dip are also crowd pleasers. See our simple sour cream dip recipe below.
Main dish: For the main protein, pick your favorite one or two (or three)! It is customary to make a Turkey or Ham, but you can absolutely prepare a slow cooked brisket or roast in its place if that's what you enjoy. Natalie usually hosts Thanksgiving and prepares the turkey with our parent’s recipe, which we are sharing below for you!
Dessert: You can't go wrong with oranges and fresh berries on a table with a classic pumpkin pie keto-fied, cranberry bars, Italian rainbow cookies, pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese...these are a staple at all holidays. OH, and there's always a good old fashioned cheesecake, which I will be preparing this year. The best part? You would never know that all the deserts fall into your lifestyle plan if we didn’t tell you!
In summary, Thanksgiving is usually celebrated with a lot of food, desserts and drinks. Prepare yourself by eating beforehand so that you are not so hungry that you lose control and/or take along a low carb option you will enjoy while sharing with others. Set yourself up for a successful and thankful celebration!
Ranch Dip: ½ container sour cream, mix in ranch seasoning and salt, to taste.
Sour Cream and Chive dip: mix ½ cup sour cream, 2 garlic gloves, salt, to taste, ¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives (dried will work too), ¼ cup mayo is optional.
Cream Cheese Glaze: mix 4 oz whipped cream cheese with ¼ cup softened unsalted butter, 1 tsp vanilla, and ½ cup powdered sweetener (or more to taste).
Kale Salad: We do not have an exact recipe for salads. Usually we add a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Our friend makes amazing salads on the whim which are easily turned with a few omissions. She shared this super simple and quick Kale salad with us.
Use chopped kale as your base. Add olive oil and lemon juice, massage and toss until every leaf is fully covered. Let it sit a few minutes while you prepare the rest. Add sliced red onions, crumbled goat cheese, kalamata olives, and chopped pecans. You can also add marinated chickpea (optional). Dress with the green goddess dressing to make it creamy, or a balsamic vinaigrette. Mix it up and enjoy!
- Turkey, 15+ pounds
- Lemon Juice, 48 oz
- 4 Onions, large
- Salted Butter, 1.5 cup melted
- Crushed Red Pepper, to taste
- Spicy Red Pepper Paste, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- Garlic, crushed or chopped, to taste
- Begin to prepare the turkey the night before cooking.
- Rinse turkey real well inside out with cold water.
- Generously pour lemon juice all over turkey after rinsing with cold water and rub it in really well.
- Cut onions into chunks and stuff the turkey. Leave aside ½ onion to throw into the bag before sealing.
- Rub turkey with crushed red pepper, salt and pepper paste. We like it spicy so you can add these ingredients to your taste. Try to rub some of the seasonings under the skin, wings and legs too.
- Put the turkey in a large brine bag, close tightly and put in the fridge.
- The next day, take the turkey out of the bag, remove the onions from the inside and place the turkey in a large roasting pan.
- Melt salted butter and rub the turkey with the butter.
- Cover the turkey well with aluminum foil and add water to the pan.
- Cover the pan and put in the oven 400°F.
- Boil water on the side so that you can keep adding water if the water level goes down.
- Every 30 minutes or so, baste the turkey with its juices and cover again.
- At about 4-5 hours, raise the temperature to 450°F and keep basting. Basting is the key to keeping this turkey moist. Cook at least 6 hours or more until the turkey is tender and done.
- Remove from the oven and let it sit for 20 minutes before carving.