Thanksgiving dinner, a new way.

A year ago, I would have been in a panic over the thought of eating only nourishing foods that were strictly organic, gluten free, dairy free, soy free and allergen friendly for every member of our family.  I would have felt limited and cranky over it all.  But we have a year under out belts and this year, in spite of being all those things, I have been looking forward to Thanksgiving.  What once felt like a challenge, feels normal.  What felt overwhelming, feels simple.  Healing, nourishing food…I’ve embraced it in such a huge way, our whole family has.  Cooking on Thanksgiving used to feel like a chore….actually….cooking at all always felt like a chore.  Something I wanted to rush through.  I always wanted dinner on the table already, faster, easier, more efficient, just…..done.  But using food to heal, and nourish and really beginning to understand food and how incredibly powerful it is, well, it made me slow the hell the down.  And appreciate it.  And respect it.  Dare I say, the mom who used to love drive-thru fastfood and had dominos on speed dial, has become a foodie.  A real foodie.  We are blessed in so many ways, we are particularly blessed by food and all of it’s healing powers, this year.

So….I thought I’d do a blog post about how exactly one family that is GFCFSF with a long list of allergies does a traditional thanksgiving dinner.  I get A LOT of questions about how we eat and prepare our food.  I hope this post will take some of the mystery out it.  We ate traditionally prepared foods….many of things others eat on Thanksgiving, just prepared in a different way and perhaps a different quality.  Do we eat these foods ever day?  Well, no.  We rarely eat carbs like this, we try to stick to tons of healthy veggies, fruit, very high quality meats, nuts and healthy fats.  But, it’s Thanksgiving and today my family had a feast, just like other families did.  We were due!  What I LOVE about our meal today is that each and every thing we ate was prepared in a way that added nourishment and nutritional value.  You can eat carbs and have them be beneficial.  We have little guilt at the end of this day and know that our children walked away full and nutritionally sound.

I started off on Wednesday with two big crock pots full of nourishing bone broth.  I knew I was going to be needing a lot of it.  I started it a little late, ideally it should cook at least 30 hours but 24 was long enough for what I needed plus some I had stashed away in the freezer.  It is actually still simmering and I just took out what I needed as I cooked.  Chances are, if you stop by my house on any given day, you will be greeted with the smell of bone stock at the door.  We almost always have some simmering on the counter.  We use it for gut healing.  Taryn used to drink it straight but I’ve gotten the hang of including it in our food enough now that it isn’t necessary for her to drink it straight very often anymore.  And we all get the benefits daily!  This is my current favorite recipe.  I do vary the ingredients based on what symptoms and healing we are doing.  Bone broth is rich in glutathione and glycine and both are beneficial to inflammatory mucosa. Broth can be used not only for gut healing, but also in the following conditions: anemia, fatigue, detoxification, blood sugar dysregulation, muscle wasting, wound healing, pregnancy, infant and childhood growth, asthma, hypochlorhydria, jaundice and liver support.  Add in some nettles and you’ve got an entire day of vitamins and minerals!  If nettles don’t grow in the wild near you, I recommend getting them from If you want more info on the benefits of healing bone broth, WAPF has some great info here.  I thought our parsley looked especially pretty and plentiful.

Since I had the camera out, I decided to take a photo of our dinner that night, well, at least part of it.  We started our festivities a little early with a special treat for us.  Honey Glazed Chicken Bacon Bites.  OMG.  Joy in every single bite.  Homemade honey mustard glaze, to die for.  I served it with Sautéed Butternut Squash with Lemon, Walnuts, & Parsley, a raw carrot salad and a big green salad.

Mmmm, bacon.  Moving on to actual Thanksgiving food….

I really wanted to make this fermented cranberry sauce, but ran out of time to let it ferment for 2 days (it is busy season for my business so time is pretty hard to come by here lately).  So instead, I altered this Orange Zest Cranberry Sauce recipe first thing this morning so it would have time to cool.  I did significantly alter the recipe though.  We don’t use white sugar.  I subbed one cup of white sugar with 1/4 cup of organic sucanat.  This was my first time making cranberry sauce that didn’t involve opening a can.  It was sooooo good and EASY!  And it all gelled really well.  I’m so happy we have a lot left over.

And since I slacked on getting the fermented cranberries done, I pulled out a ferment that had been culturing for about 5 days already.  The timing was perfect for these and omg, they were ah-mazing.  Garlic Dill Fermented Carrots.  We serve ferments with each and every meal at our house as a part of gut healing and to promote healthy gut flora.  Teagan particularly loved these and I caught him going for seconds then trying for thirds.  We eat ferments in small amounts so hopefully he won’t have any dieoff of bad gut bacteria from eating so many.  I can’t wait to eat more of these tomorrow and then every day after that until they are gone.  We also served raw Bubbies kraut so the kids could have a choice in what ferment they wanted.  Ty chose the kraut, Taryn chose both.  Kids who love raw ferments, be still my beating heart.

Tons of fresh, organic, herbs to stuff in our turkey and add to stuffing.  We purchased our organic, pasture raised turkey from Fresh Pastures Farm.  It was literally alive and happy until about an hour before we got there to pick it up.  So fresh and SO much better tasting than anything we have ever purchased from a store.  I was really surprised at the differences in texture and taste.  Very impressed!  As for the stuffing, I had big plans to make my own with dried gfcfsf homemade bread made in our bread machine.  We don’t make bread that often because Taryn is on a rotation diet for both eggs and rice.  We rarely give them on the same day (we did today though) so if Ty makes bread, he eats it or maybe once in a great while Teagan will have a piece, but that is pretty rare.  Anyway, I ended up going a different route when I spotted assembled stuffing packs at Bees Knees.  Feeling rushed this week, I grabbed 2 bags just in case I didn’t have time to make bread, dry it and do our own stuffing from scratch and I’m so glad that I did!  It saved me a ton of time and it was so good!  We added celery, onion, fresh herbs (and her herb packet included) and some fresh organic sausage we picked up at Fresh Pastures Farm.  Instead of water, we used bone broth for the liquid and it added so much flavor and nutrition.

Ty made this Apple Salad.  He had no idea that you can soak apple slices in lemon water and they won’t brown.  He was fascinated by the science of it all.  The end result was absolutely delicious.  Organic red apples, coconut flakes, cinnamon, cranberries and I toasted the walnuts in a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg.  This dish is both yum and nutritious.  Cinnamon is a great detoxifier, cranberries are great for the kidneys and coconut has way to many benefits to list!  And outside of a little raw, local, honey, no added sugar!

Gravy.  How on earth does one make gravy that is gluten free, dairy free and actually tastes good?!  Julie Matthews to the rescue.  This was so good and Jase and I actually high fived over it.  I always have had a jar of gravy in the pantry in years past because when I try to make gravy, it never ever works out.  I didn’t have that luxury this year and we didn’t even need it.  This recipe was really, really good:  Gluten Free Gravy I used both drippings and bone broth.

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes were a last minute addition.  I’ve never been a fan of the whole marshmallow sweet potato thing, just too much sweet in one dish.  I had planned to make these grain free Sweet Potato Popovers but then decided we didn’t really need them and I didn’t have the last minute oven real estate.  So I used the sweet potatoes for these instead and they were to die for.  Tons of flavor and sweet potatoes are so incredibly nutrient dense, we felt no guilt whatsoever.  To make this dish healthier, and dairy/soy free, I subbed the margarine (yuck!), for clarified ghee.

Things I forgot to take photos of:

Our turkey!  I can’t believe I forgot to take a picture of our turkey, doh!  It was so simple to prepare.  No brining, no nasty plastic bag to cook it in, just a pastured, organic turkey rubbed with salt and pepper inside and out then stuffed with garlic and fresh organic herbs in a roasting pan.  Easy peasy and so good!

Mashed potatoes.  It took awhile for us to really perfect dairy free mashed potatoes but Ty and I finally have it down.  We peel and cook the potatoes is bone broth as this really adds to both the flavor and nutritional content.  We drain and then throw in some ghee, salt, fresh minced garlic, one spoonful of coconut dairy free yogurt and mix with a hand held blender.

Deviled eggs.  Taryn didn’t get to eat these as she was already getting egg in the stuffing and the pie, in small amounts.  I didn’t want to overload her system.  She was totally fine with giving up a deviled egg with no drama if it meant she got a sliver of pie.  I made these because my husband LOVES deviled eggs.  We avoid mayo though so it can be a challenge to get a good deviled egg.  I finally found one that everyone likes.  Egg yolk, salt, pepper, mustard, a few teaspoons of coconut yogurt and a splash of Annies lemon and chive creamy salad dressing.

Raw carrot salad.  We had some left over from the day before so I threw it on the table.  This is a favorite around our house.

I think the only thing we really missed, was green bean casserole.  Teagan can’t have mushrooms, even organic ones, because they are bad for myelin.  We love green beans sauteed in garlic, coconut oil and lemon and that was the plan, but we couldn’t find fresh organic green beans, only conventionally grown, so we just skipped it.

I also cheated and bought pie from Bees Knees.  Ah, yes, I do feel a little guilty over the pumpkin pie.  But you know what, pie once in a year, totally worth it!  Served with a spoon of coconut ice cream….yes, I’m heading to the gym tomorrow for sure!  We all agreed this is the best pumpkin pie we’ve ever had.  You’d never ever guess it was gluten and dairy free.

Yes, it turned out to be a lot of food.  But it had more nutrients than your regular old run of the mill Thanksgiving carb fest.  Bone broth at every corner, fresh herbs and spices, local honey, no sugar, no white processed flour, just healthy/solid ingredients.  And yummy ferments to help counteract all those carbs our bellies are not used to.  And it was safe for all of us to eat, allergen friendly, no gluten, dairy, soy and organic.  I’m pretty proud of this, mostly because above all else, our meal tasted ah-mazing.

And because I can never pass up a good opportunity to make bone broth, new stock is already brewing!  Yum!!

From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.  May you be blessed throughout the year with good food and good health!

Recipe Round Up:

Healing Nettle Infused Bone Broth
Honey Glazed Chicken Bacon Bites
Fermented Cranberry Sauce
Orange Zest Cranberry Sauce (altered to avoid sugar content)
Fermented Garlic Dill Carrots (altered to omit the whey and used cultures for health jars)
Gluten Free Gravy
Apple Salad
Raw Carrot Salad
Sweet Potato Popover (Grain Free)
Sautéed Butternut Squash with Lemon, Walnuts, & Parsley (I subbed ghee to make it dairy free)
Hasselback Sweet Potatoes (I subbed the margarine for ghee in this one too)

Heather - Happy Thanksgiving! Looks like you had a great feast. Thanks for sharing all the recipes and good info about food. I too am amazed at the wonders of good food.

Claire - What an accomplishment, Lyndsay! Amazing! You inspire me in so many ways. Time to start planning my healthy AND yummy Christmas dinner!

Love that picture of you and Teagan at the end!!!

teri mason - Wow, awesome! Thanks so much for sharing all the recipes, too!!

jod - Wow. Way to make this mom feel super guilty! :) Just the thought of cooking all of that gives me a headache! I’ve SO fallen off the wagon in good healthy cooking. It started in June when we bought the house, got worse in July when we were spending every waking second working on the house (and eating oodles of take-out), August we moved and had to stock our kitchen from scratch and then it moved right into my busy season. I’m not even buying the best foods anymore! Ugh. This was a good wake-up call but seriously, I know I will never have bones cooking on my stove so it makes me feel so guilty that maybe I don’t care about the health of my kids enough or something. I’m proud of you friend. This all is amazing.

10 on Tuesday » Life In Motion Photography - [...] If you want details about ours, you can find them over on Finding Our New Normal, complete with menu and photos.  I get a lot of questions about how we eat so I thought a pretty detailed post would be fun.  I [...]

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