New Thanksgiving Table Traditions

Thanksgiving is a holiday rife with longstanding traditions.   Many of these traditions revolve around the food, naturally.  A traditional Thanksgiving menu consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce.  Other supporting players might be a yam and marshmallow dish, green beans, a wild rice casserole, or perhaps a rice pudding.  To finish things off, you will likely see pies: pecan and pumpkin being the frontrunners; mincemeat and apple varieties bringing up the rear.

While most people don’t want to mess with tradition and change things up, I definitely feel like this meal is so heavy and overly filling. There are always several dishes I make out of habit and tradition that don’t seem to be as popular to many in my particular group. I find myself wondering why we slave over and then consume all of this heavy food that gives us a sluggish food hangover, in particular, if we don’t necessarily enjoy it.

I long for a lightened-up Thanksgiving menu, which still has some traditional elements.  I also long to alleviate the stress and the countless hours of slaving away in the kitchen.  Here are a few ways I plan to lighten up my menu this year, while keeping the important traditions intact.

Lighten up on the front end.  A crudite platter is always a great idea, in particular in advance of the large meal served at the Thanksgiving table.  Create a unique one with interesting seasonal veggies – definitely pass on those weird preformed baby carrots!

WGC-Crudite-Board-copy1.jpg Mix in a salad.  Perhaps it will be a pretty winter salad of Boston lettuce with orange slices, nuts, and pomegranate seeds, or maybe a shaved Brussel sprout salad with dried cranberries.  Either one will be a winner, and I plan to make a double recipe to encourage people to make wise choices (affording them the opportunity to save room for pie!)Butter-Lettuce-Salad.jpg

One potato, two potato?  I think mashed potatoes are untouchable and should never be deleted from an American Thanksgiving menu.  But do we need both mashed and sweet potatoes?  No, I say.  No.  I’m dumping the sweet potatoes this year.  Alleluia!  Now I can focus on perfecting my mashed potato recipe with no sweet distractions!Savory+Mashed+Sweet+Potatoes+_+Personally+Paleo.png Cheat on one dish and one dish only.  I choose cranberry sauce as my non-homemade hack.  Being a dish that most people only eat once a year, I don’t think many are true connoisseurs of cranberry sauce.  Therefore, who will really know that I picked up a pint at the grocery and put it into that pretty dish?  No one will.  cranberrysaucespoon.jpg

images via bhg, pinterest, savorysweetlife

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