A picture of our last micro holiday meal (Rosh Hashanah). Having a few of our favorite holiday dishes on the table made the meal feel special, even though it was just the 4 of us.
It's officially going to be another micro holiday celebration. We decided that the socially responsible thing to do was stay home for yet another holiday, and limit our meal to just the 4 of us. This hit me hard for Thanksgiving because it's the time of year that I most miss my mom. Being with my sisters always helps. But gathering isn't the right thing to do this year, so we will find our own way to celebrate at home.
I spent some time thinking about how to make a good micro (mini) version of our usual Thanksgiving holiday spread. It made me really think about which of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes each of us actually
loves. Etienne likes cranberry sauce so much that he eats a bowl of it with a spoon; Scarlett and I are suckers for anything with warm, sweet flavors (as you can probably tell from our Stylish Spoon bakery items!); and no holiday meal would be complete for Lyla without a crispy roasted potato. So this year I am focusing on these dishes as the essentials for our Thanksgiving menu, along with a green side vegetable (of course!) and skipping the rest. And I am sharing our micro Thanksgiving menu right here, since it may help you streamline your meal.
I invite you to think about how you can make at least one dish that makes it feel like Thanksgiving to each person at your table, or what kind of meal would best suit this year. Maybe that means making a turkey breast instead of a whole bird, quinoa-stuffed acorn squash instead of turkey, stuffing instead of potatoes, or pumpkin pie instead of an apple crisp or pie. Maybe that means ordering in (we've all been doing A LOT of cooking in 2020, so it could be a good night off). Whatever you decide, let us all remember to be grateful for a few things that seem even more important this year: Our health, our family and our friends, near and far.
Micro Thanksgiving Menu
Photo credit: Cooking Light
Small Turkey or Turkey Breast
This Honey and Thyme-Brined Turkey Breast
is a good option if your family (like mine) only likes white meat. I used to make this a few times a year; it's delicious if you like poultry. The brine keeps the meat super moist, and the honey and thyme infuse a hint flavor into an otherwise bland cut of meat. If I can't find an organic turkey breast, I'll make a small turkey and use the leftovers to make turkey bone broth.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows
You know how I feel about processed sugar, but my sister made sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows for the first time ever a few years ago and we have been wondering ever since why we went without this as a side dish for so many years. I like to roast the sweet potatoes a few days in advance and mash the insides. For this dish use the sweet potato mash, add a little vegan butter and a sprinkle of some coconut sugar if you want to make it really decadent. Place the mash in a baking dish, sprinkle with mini 'shmellows, and bake at 350 until the potatoes are thoroughly heated and marshmallows are lightly browned and wallah! Dessert for dinner.
Roasted Russett Potatoes
The simplest of dishes. I keep the skin on my potatoes for extra fiber, cut them in advance and soak them in water to get some of the starch out so they crisp up nicely. I dry them in a kitchen towel before I toss them with salt, pepper and olive oil and roast them in a single layer on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes at 450 degrees, tossing half way through.
My mother-in-law makes a delicious cranberry-orange sauce that is loaded with sugar. I recreated it with coconut sugar and here's the link to the complete recipe for my paleo-friendly cranberry-orange sauce.
Here’s the short version of the recipe: 16 oz fresh cranberries, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup coconut sugar, zest of 1/2 medium orange and a cinnamon stick (optional, remove before serving). Bring to a boil and then simmer until cranberries pop and break down (about 20 minutes). Taste and add another 1/2 cup coconut sugar if you like your cranberry sauce sweeter. Serve chunky or purée until smooth.
Green Beans with Almonds and Craisins
This green bean recipe
is a holiday favorite in my family, and one that my kids will eat (they use their fingers to eat the green beans and call them green bean "fries"). I'll either skip the shallots in the recipe or use a tiny bit of garlic instead since my family would prefer them without.
Apple Cranberry Crisp with Pecan-oat Topping
I am a huge fan of any crisp! Warm and sweet pie filling with a sweet, crumbly topping is my idea of a delicious dessert. I also love that I can easily make it gluten-free without anyone missing the gluten (as opposed to gluten-free pie crusts, which are not great for those who can eat gluten).This Apple Cranberry Crisp
has all the flavors of fall without all the fuss, and everyone is my family loves it (I couldn't even get a pic before they dug in!). Make this crisp with any fruit combo that makes you happy. I like apple and cranberry for Thanksgiving, but Apple Crisp with Ginger and Almonds
is also a regular in my fall dessert rotation.